Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has landed, and it has certainly left its mark with an Avengers share of the viewership. With over 20 million viewers having seen the first episode (factoring in DVR viewings, repeat airings, and online viewing), ABC/Disney studios is certainly happy with the pilot’s performance. As for the show itself, when last we left our heroes in the first episode: the team has been assembled, a mysterious villain lurks in the shadows, and Coulson’s car flew through the air with the greatest of ease. Tonight’s episode, entitled “0-8-4”, promised surprises for both the protagonists and the audience itself with a surprise mystery guest.
Hit the jump for a recap of the second episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The episode follows the team being called into Peru to investigate a “0-8-4”, S.H.I.E.L.D lingo for “we have no idea what this is”. Recent addition to the crew, Skye, the hacker who’s out of her depth, attempts to make small talk with the wacky duo of Fitz and Simmons, while Grant and Melinda (now dubbed “The Cavalry”) generally kick ass as the two highly trained agents that they are, skeptical about the whole operation in general. Coulson continues to be his calm and charming self, leading the team in the field while also meeting an old friend who’s now a commander in the Peruvian army, which was a nice touch as it helped to show that these characters have a world and back story unto themselves.
The group discovers that the “0-8-4” is actually a piece of equipment that uses machinery similar to that of the Tessaract, the “macguffin” from Captain America and Avengers, which emits gamma radiation. This leads to a humorous scene of everyone slowly backing away from it, after being told “its much MUCH worse than a nuclear bomb”. Our protagonists are betrayed by the Peruvian army while on “The Bus”, their flying HQ, and manage to take down their assailants, while attempting to save them as well, which was a nice touch. The episode ends with the agents sharing some beers on the back of the plane, with the revelation that Skye is still working with her original organization, “The Rising Tide”. Also, Samuel L. Jackson happens to show up and deliver an amazing performance as Fury in the final minute (GREAT cameo).
This episode, and the series overall, absolutely needs to slow its jets a little. We need a more in-depth look into who these characters are as people, as there’s a danger that they’re all starting to fall into their stereotypes, outside of Coulson of course. The brains, the brawn, the quip machine(s), they’re all here, but these tropes do not a great show make if they’re not given legs. The action is fast and furious with some decent effects work throughout, but if we don’t have characters to rally behind, then a disconnect starts forming.
I’m about the last guy in the world who should be saying this but the references to Avengers and the Marvel Movie-verse need to lighten up a little. It’s great that we have a shared Marvel universe now, but we need these agents to stand on their own, have their own adventures that are unique and independent to themselves. Don’t get me wrong, you can still have nods to the Marvel Universe, there’s a nearly unlimited wealth of elements to choose from outside of what we’ve seen in the movies/tv show as it stands, which should be delved into more.
Overall, the episode wasn’t as good as the pilot and we haven’t gotten enough reason to really connect with our lead actors aside from Agent Coulson. Hopefully, as the series continues, we get more character moments that drive the story, rather than the opposite.
Musings and Miscellanea
- “Can I get you anything while I go check on the device fueled by evil sitting in our cargo hold?”
- The subplot of Skye still being linked to her past organization is a nice addition that I look forward to seeing unravel down the road, along with the Coulson mystery
- “The Cavalry” escape scene with breaking her wrist to get out of the cuffs was undeniably cool
- The episode had its bumps along the way, but I’m still behind the series and look forward to the rest of the first season
- Samuel L Jackson cameo. It was rumored a lot, but that didn’t make it any less cool.
- Camilla’s idea that all of Coulson’s actions were stemmed from him having a mid-life crisis was great.