Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap – “The Asset”

     October 8, 2013


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!

marvels-agents-of-shield-ian-hartThe 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.

marvels-agents-of-shield-david-conradThe  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.

Grade: B+

- 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.

marvels-agents-of-shield-chloe-bennet-the-asset- I find it hilarious that Coulson was wearing a suit while on a mission where he knew he’d see action. That’s gotta be uncomfortable.

- 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.

  • dax3d

    I’m pretty sure the Malta they were referring to is the country:

    • Scurvy


      LOL @ thinking Malta was an organization. Geography fail.

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    • Scurvy

      While I’m glad that Evan has edited his original recap, people should know that he originally thought Malta was a new organization named M.A.L.T.A.

  • docaliban

    Huh, the Unobtanium thing never even occured to me. In fact, I got the impression in Avatar that they went with a jokey name like Unobtanium because Marvel had already used all the good ones. For someone writing about Marvel you don’t seem very immersed in the lore, for that to be your reaction. Go read Fantastic Four (original series) 40-80, stat.

    • Norrtron

      Why would anyone need to know about the original Fantastic Four series when they are reviewing a show that has nothing to do with them?

      • docaliban

        Because, natch’, that run stand as the crowning achievement of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s (they also created SHIELD) Marvel Universe. It is a primer for all things Marvel. It introduced the Inhumans, The Silver Surfer, Galactus, T’challa the Black Panther, Vibranium (which Captain America’s shield is made of), Adam Warlock (Him) and The Kree, among others, all in a 24-issue span. It was Stan and Jack at the absolute Zenith of their creativity. They came up more cool funky gizmos and substances in that period than any comic series before or since. Like I said, required reading.

    • Radical11

      I think I heard Cameron in an interview that it wasn’t him that even came up with that name Unobtanium. It was instead real scientist that named it referring to a substance or metal with certain characteristics that scientist believed to be possible but have never actually discovered it. So its not a real thing but its a real idea which Cameron just used in his movie.

      • docaliban

        Yeah, it was a term they used half-jokingly. I was surprised Cameron used it in Avatar because I found it “took you out of the story” a bit–sort of broke the fourth wall. While some of the substances Marvel came up with sounded silly at times, they wouldn’t remove you from the story.

    • Darren

      Unobtanium is actually a real term that’s been around since the 1950s:

  • Bob

    Awesome set up for Gravitron. I mean he’s an extremely strong villain, if anyone has seen Avengers:EMH you know what I’m talking about.

  • Bob

    Also, great episode.

  • Drake

    Loved this weeks episode! Best yet, slightly better than the pilot and much better than last week’s. It had the action, the twists, acting was improved, in addition to a moral question. Quite promising, good stuff!

  • diggle

    Very nice episode. Looks like the show is going to follow the typical Whedon formula where it takes a while to gain traction. I hope it keeps improving and the ratings hold up.

  • eternalozzie

    Coulson is literally the only character on this show with any depth. So far we are 3 episodes in and there is no main story arch at all … I have gotten so used to shows diving into an intertwining story arc immediately like Criminal Minds, Teen Wolf, both NCIS’s, The Mentalist, etc … Every line in those shows are written to tie things all together and so far nothing in this SHIELD show. We have only got a bunch of CGI fluff and a little foreshadowing about Coulsen’s condition and Graviton.

    What has people hanging on the edge of their seats waiting for the next episode? It has to be more than the “shiny Marvel on TV” effect.

    • Nerdgasm

      Wait did you just NCIS, Teen Wolf and The Mentalist are overarching stories? Do you realize all of those started off the same way as Monster of the WEEK type shows. You’re an idiot.

      • eternalozzie

        Name calling? Really? Actually every line of every episode of the Mentalist and Teen Wolf from day one was tied to the shows singular storyline. You are right that NCIS started off Season One the way you said.

      • Nerdgasm

        Yes name calling. I mean when you deserve to be told you are blind then it must be said. Number one All those shows are terrible and two there is a difference between overarching stories and character development. AS LITTLE as it was all those shows had character development much like SHIELD does again as little is it is it’s still there. But none of those shows have OVERARCHING stories plots. MAYBE two to three episodes share the same connecting story as in the BADGUY GOT AWAY and shows up 5 episodes later for the finale. OVERARCHING PLOTS are like Game of Thrones and BB where you really need to watch every episode to understand the storyline. SHIELD. NCIS. BUFFY. TEEN WOLF. MENTALIST. ONCE UPON A TIME…are all for the most part as of 95% of the seasons are all tied down to just an episode at a time.

    • GrimReaper07

      NCIS and Criminal Minds don’t have intertwining story arcs. If they do, it’s the exception to their rule and might happen once or twice a season. They’re also horrible, awful shows.

      • LEM

        I liked Criminal Minds until Mandy Patankin left the show and it did just become a regurgitation machine.

      • GrimReaper07

        I love Patankin in Homeland but all the cop shows that follow the same formula as NCIS and CSI are repetitive boring messes with no character development and no emotional investment from the audience. They tend to work like mature versions of Scooby Doo.

      • LEM

        I think that was one of Patankins’ reasons for leaving.

  • dungeons and draccus’s

    Stop reviewing these. You’re obviously biased and like this silly cheesy trite far too much.

  • Strong Enough

    Nolan’s Batman > Anything Marvel

    Thumbs up if you agree!

    • ʝoe Ģnaśher ßloggs

      I prefer asparagus.

  • Andrew Butler

    - I find it hilarious that Coulson was wearing a suit while on a mission where he knew he’d see action. That’s gotta be uncomfortable.

    ^ Coulson has to be a LMD…he even joked about it in episode two, he was like, “Yeah, I got stabbed in the chest…New York was crazy – Blackout 2012, but I recouped 6 months later…” Maybe he was always an LMD? ULTRON!

    Jarvis = Ultron

    • Nerdgasm

      If it was an LMD then he would know that he didn’t go to Tahiti which obviously is the cover up. He remembers dying but it’s the what happened after that he is in the dark about. I doubt he will be Ultron cause I would think would use him to voice it… My guess is he is an android. So. I would say he could be Vision.

      • Andrew Butler

        It’s true, but don’t let the casting fool you – it’s very possible that Ultron is Jarvis. Jarvis could absolutely change his voice to be more intimidating, plus we don’t even know what voice choices Spader will take. Could be an android, no doubt, but the only problem is Vision is created by Ultron to destroy the Avengers, only to later join the team (yes various writers/plot lines/etc). My logic, Whedon is going to use what he’s already established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Jarvis has access to Shield data and is a supercomputer) – my guess is that a virus or malfunction causes Jarvis to go AWOL. That and wasn’t Ultron originally the creaton of Ant-Man, who creates his own android using his brain waves (which happen to be unstable and skitso)? Considering Ant-Man just started filming and won’t be out until after Age of Ultron, it’s possible that Whedon took some liberties to keep the plot of Av2 and the Cinematic Universe going in a certain direction.

        ALSO, I have a feeling that we’re going to see a cross over between Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers for the final Avengers film. At one point, Tony joins the Guardians and I think (HOPE!) that we see tony use the Infinity Gauntlet to fight/defeat Thanos.

        Me thinks its a possibility…

      • Nerdgasm

        I dont think they are going that way with JARVIS i just don’t. But I will say that would be awesome with Iron Man cause it could also be a realistic way to kill tony off. One last sacrifice to save the galaxy and too much power that ends up killing him since his arch reactor is gone so his suits don’t heal or conceal his body the same way as before.

  • Christian Leroux

    For the most part, I disagree with almost every point Evan makes. I found the more “charming” moments described exposed a checklist that became more of an annoyance than anything else (Oh, let’s hit a punching bag and talk about our feelings). It could have been done well, but this was CW level writing. The villain was horrible because like last episode, the actor was either underplaying or overplaying it. He never felt threatening. The only redeeming factor here is when Hall becomes exposed as the true antagonist and explains that he “likes to think he’s smart”, but I still think it would have been more effective if he were really intimidating. He instead came across as comical, literally a comic-book villain.

    The third act though was fantastic. Visually it was stunning (that shot of Hall falling and being absorbed by the graviton is awesome, in the literal sense of the word both dazzling and fear-inducing). Also, I love how Coulson proves Hall’s point. Coulson tries to save his team and ends up creating a monster. That last shot… HOW BRILLIANT!

    Now we are in the realm of superheroes. Now things are getting interesting!

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  • Random Bystander

    I’m gonna be extremely disappointed if Coulson actually turns out to be an LMD.

    • LEM

      Why? does it really matter?

      • Random Bystander

        I’m not sure if it will ultimately matter, however, other than my personal preference for Coulson to remain human, it would be a very lackluster resolution to an important and intriguing mystery.
        98% of the audience will already harbor the theory that Coulson is an LMD or at least be aware of the theory and the rest will be the only ones who view the reveal as an actual revelation.
        It seems like its going to be a season long story arc and for him to turn out to be an LMD would be so little payoff for so much and so long of a build up.
        I also think that Joss Whedon is a better writer than that and a plot device to resurrect a character that is so obvious that half a million people thought of it independently just doesn’t seem like it’d be good enough cause to Clark Gregg for demeaning his character’s death in The Avengers.

      • Doug_101

        I’m still saying clone over LMD.

      • Random Bystander

        I think I’d prefer a clone, but I still don’t think that’s mind blowing enough. It’s gotta be all “BRUKAPOW!”… but in the mind.

      • Thal Sinestro

        Maybe a skrull.

      • Random Bystander

        Intriguing, but alas Fox owns the rights to Skrulls

      • LEM

        Fuckin FOX mucking up the works. Disney should just buy back all properties. They’re supposedly worth almost 104 billion and if they some how broker a deal to regain ownership they could make some incredible crossover movies.

      • Random Bystander

        Since they haven’t yet and don’t look like they will, they’ve probably figured out that it just isn’t worth it financially, though that may change after they do the next Star Wars. Big production companies tend to underestimate the power of the fans until something big (money, lots of money) gets their attention.

  • Gaebora

    If Quinn wanted to get away from organisations like the US Government, the EU and SHIELD, which might interfer with his research, then why does he build his facility in a state, which is a member of the European Union (Malta)?

  • Gaebora

    If Quinn wanted to get away from organisations like the US Government, the EU and SHIELD, which might interfer with his research, then why does he build his facility in a state, which is a member of the European Union (Malta)?

  • Asashii

    Hey everyone has a right to like watered down ,network television, Politically correct garbage. I choose NO!!!

  • Ridge

    With this episode now I’m convinced, no interesting characters, bad cgi, different and simple and boring stories every episode, and SLJ cameo was really disappointing to me (he didn’t contributed with anything to the episode),in Iron Man or Thor, SHIELD looked like an awesome organization with awesome and very skilled agents but now they are trying to tell me that a nerd hacked SHIELD? really? come on, even if Rising Tide helped her, its SHIELD!! damn it!

    IM3 totally sucked, SHIELD is taking the same path….I still have some hope in Thor: TDW and Captain America: WS, but for now, AoS is out of my list of Tv series… meanwhile I’ll continue watching The Blacklist, everytime I see James Spader I imagine how good will be his performance in Age of Ultron.

  • LizLovesPOLLP

    This episode was definitely a step in the right direction for the show. I hope they have more like it! Liz@POLLP

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  • fatboy

    I agree with Jordan O’Hagan and his long but on-point Facebook comment above. My sentiments exactly. Bravo.

    • docaliban

      I agree with Jordan, absolutely, but also with Andrew Butler, and you know how that makes me crazy. The camerawork is pedestrian. It needs to be more sharp and clever. Not dizzying like CSI, but you know, crisp. And the FX of the jet while it’s in the air is terrible.

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  • ACallCreative

    I had a few problems with this episode. It felt like they had retread some previously done ideas within the marvel universe. The big one being containing the gravity field which made me think of Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2.