Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In Which I Review Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (1x2)

I'm having a rather hard time deciding if this show is blog-able. On the one hand, there is some sort of arc happening--the scientific experiments that were set up in the pilot--but on the other hand it is very "plot device" of the week as demonstrated by this weeks "0-8-4" and with Sleepy Hollow being my limit on episodic television, I'm not sure if I have the energy to cover SHIELD as well. It's not to say that this weeks episode wasn't good--it was a perfectly fine second week episode, if overly predictable. In any given show where you have a wide array of personalities, at some point you have to give them a common goal or enemy to bring them together so that they learn the value of teamwork. It's supposed to unify them and give the audience a preview of what will come--people using their own individual strengths to others advantages. But the problem was that beyond learning to work together, there was very little point in the overall episode. 

 The episode begins with Coulson's voice over saying that everything is blue skies, as the SHIELD plane flies serenely through the air. This is, naturally, followed by the side of the plane exploding and chaos ensuing. We then flashback 19 hours to see the events that led up to this incident. It more or less picks up where last weeks left off: Skye is now a consultant for SHIELD though no one really knows what that means; an 0-8-4 has been called in and, like Skye, no one is really sure what that means. All they know is that an 0-8-4 is a device of unknown origin that needs to be intercepted before some rogue government or rebel army can get their hands on it and destroy the world. The 0-8-4 is supposed to be paralleling Skye as she is also an unknown asset. Can she be trusted? Will she betray the team? And what is her purpose? She's not a rocket scientist super nerd like the FitzSimmons duo; she is not an expert fighter like Ward and she's not even a trained veteran like May. She's a hacker who spent most of her time trying to uncover and expose SHIELD--like the weapon she may have the power to destroy the entire unit. The paralleling is fine, if heavy handed.

The artifact in question lies deep inside an Inca temple in Peru and is supposedly 1500 years old but somehow German in origin. As the science team of FitzSimmons try to figure out what exactly it is and what it can be used for, the national police lead by former Coulson flame, Camilla Reyes, pulls up and a small turf war breaks out. But it's all good because Coulson and Camilla are obviously friends and they all want to work together. If you believe any of this, you don't watch nearly enough television.

This attempt at camaraderie is interrupted both internally and externally. Internally, the agents of SHIELD are having trouble getting along: the scientists want to be careful and perform tests to determine origin, May and Ward are trying to feel each other out while Ward tries to dig into May's past, and Skye mostly walks around confused and in the way
trying to figure out what her purpose is. Externally, rebel fighters show up wanting the 0-8-4 and a gun fight ensues. The national police under Reyes and the Agents make it to the Super Plane; there the 0-8-4 is determined to be fueled by tessearct technology, which if you don't speak nerd is pretty terrible. Basically, the 0-8-4 is a weapon of mass destruction powered by alien tech. Go watch Thor, Captain America and the Avengers and then come back and see me. The only safe solution is to get the 0-8-4 to "The Slingshot" secret SHIELD base so that no government can have it. Along the way, of course, the national police under Reyes reveal their true colors and, of course, they are there for the 0-8-4 and not to be helpful. The manage to disarm Ward, May, FitzSimmons, and Skye and tie Coulson up. There's a lot of big talk about why Reyes wants the 0-8-4--something about government and rebels and how the device was originally commissioned by the Peruvian government in the first place. Frankly I was just waiting for the Agents to do what we all knew they were going to do: work together to get out of the situation. Which they did by blowing up the side of the plane. The action sequence itself is nicely shot with
fisticuffs and the vortex of open air sucking things out. The ultimate solution for the plummet was rather contrived--Skye opening a life raft to cover the gaping hole, but it was her contribution I guess.
It ends with the team arriving at the "Slingshot" and the 0-8-4 being put into a hold. The team then sits back and enjoys a beer (except Skye of course because she's not a member of the team and symbolism) and watching a rocket be shot out into space while some swelling orchestral music plays in the background.
So what is Skye's deal? At the end of the episode she receives a text from her Rising Tide cohorts wanting to know if she's "in." To which she replies that she is in fact, in. It's worth mentioning that she did hesitate but that's to be expected. They're clearly setting her up as the betrayer with a conscious. Will she actually betray SHIELD? During this episode, Skye was put in a life or death situation, managed to get out of it with her new found friends, was congratulated and thanked and made to feel appreciated, something I suspect Skye has had little of in her life. Ward is now going to take it upon himself to be her supervising officer and see her through and I suspect there will be some romance that goes along with that. In the end, she won't betray them but she'll come very close and her dynamic with the team will change. Predictable so I hope they tell it well.

Miscellaneous Notes from 0-8-4

--Last week I said that if they wanted the show to really succeed, they needed to find someway to bring in the Avengers. So what did they do this week? They trotted out references to almost every single Avenger. Skye is a consultant like Stark (Iron Man). The last 0-8-4 was a hammer (Thor). The explanation to what fueled this 0-8-4 was Captain America's story. And then who should appear at the end of the episode? Director Fury yelling at Coulson over what happened to the plane. Next week I suspect Hawkeye and the Black Widow will show up to give Skye fighting and shooting tips. Don't spend your credit all in one place, SHIELD. Spread out the love.

--Some pretty funny one-liners this week:
"You took a bullet?" "--ish"
"Device fueled by evil sitting in our cargo hold"
"You're having a midlife crisis" "After life crisis" "Don't even get me started on the red convertible" "Her name is Lola."

--Melinda May continues to be mysterious, though this week we did learn that she's referred to as "The Cavalry" which I suppose means they send her in when almost all hope is lost and they need a miracle. Other than this piece of information, she's still a boring character, given very little to do thus far.

--Once again Coulson refers to Tahiti as a magical place but he never says anything more about it. I suspect it will come up every episode until we get the full story.



  1. -Coulson can do no wrong. He is wonderful; I enjoyed him in the movies and I have yet to dislike a single thing he says while in this show. Seriously, as long as Coulson survives, every other character can be replaced.
    -I'm worried about Coulson also, SHIELD female version of Coulson as well as every other operative seems to know what happened to Coulson except Coulson. Why can't he know? Is he a clone? Was he revived using alien tech? Is he a cyborg?
    -That's all I have so far. I am not a fan of Skye by any means.

    1. I think he may have been revived using alien tech. I also wonder if he's a sleeper agent for the Centipede people.
      Skye is touch and go for me. She's a bit too eager.