Thrills! Chills! Betrayals! Peruvian militants! Samuel L Jackson cameos! All this and more could be found in the previous two episodes of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The latest episode of S.H.I.E.L.D., entitled “The Asset”, follows the recently formed team attempting to rescue a kidnapped scientist named Dr. Franklin Hall, who in the comics becomes the supervillain known as Graviton. Will Skye betray the team to the Rising Tide? Will Coulson’s mysterious revival be further explored? Who else from the Marvel Movieverse will make an appearance?
Hit the jump to find out!
The episode begins with a trucker sucking down a Big Gulp, who actually turns out to be a S.H.I.E.L.D agent, accompanied by two black SUVs. The SUVs and the truck itself are flung into the air (which is very reminiscent of Magneto from the X-Men franchise) as a scientist in S.H.I.E.L.D’s employ is kidnapped from the back of the truck. Cue the agents as Skye trains with Agent Ward in “How to be a Field Agent”. This was a nice scene as we finally got to see the agents in a quiet environment, talking amongst themselves and revealing more about each of their characters.
The reveal that the truth serum Ward was given in the pilot episode didn’t actually exist was fantastic, and helps to remind that audience that, yes, S.H.I.E.L.D is an espionage agency and things aren’t necessarily what they seem.
The story then digs into the agents performing some detective work, aside from constant explosions and gunfights. Not as much in the way of humor or quips, but sometimes it’s a breath of fresh air to step away from that and start putting things on the line, adding a shade of seriousness to the events. The episode itself wasn’t completely devoid of humor however, as Skye attempting to be a field agent got a few smiles out of me, including making up her own spy terminology that no one can understand.
The lead villain, Quinn, was charming and serviceable, along the lines of Sam Rockwell in Iron Man 2. The idea of his diplomatic immunity in Malta is sound, in that his objectives fall into a grey area of attempting to perform experiments outside of government regulations. He’s attempting to turn a profit, but not necessarily doing anything malicious, which I find ultimately to be more interesting than “MUST DESTROY S.H.I.E.L.D”.
The continuing mystery of whether or not Skye is on the level/a double agent is played up well, as a curve ball is thrown right around the halfway mark. The episode overall threw a lot of twists into characters’ motivations and did a great job of playing with the audience’s expectations. I found myself thinking the story was going to go one route, only for it to go in the opposite direction, which was certainly enough to keep me interested.
Overall, this was a very solid episode. It addressed a lot of problems I had with the pilot and previous episode, digging more into the characters’ pasts and motivations. The episode also further tactfully weaved the mysteries that the show has been playing up with Skye and Coulson. Some definite potential to be found tonight.
– I know there are certain budgetary constraints, but they’re living in a world of Red Skulls, Abominations, and Lokis. Could we get a full blown super villain thrown into the mix? Though the ending of this episode is certainly hinting at a full-fledged Graviton showing up. Let’s see a costume show up, guys.
– Sorry kids, no Samuel L Jackson or Avengers cameos this week. Rumblings however are pointing at a certain Asgardian god of mischief making an appearance at some point in the future.
– “We can’t go in and risk worldwide public outrage!” If only S.H.I.E.L.D were some sort of secret agency that operated in the shadows!
– The element being called “Gravitonum” is a little too on the nose. I couldn’t stop thinking of Avatar’s “unobtanium” whenever it was mentioned.