Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E03 “The Asset” Discussion

Posted by Matthew on October 09, 2013
Television

Agents of SHIELD

Another week, another adventure in the Marvel universe. This week’s Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a few twists and turns, ish. As with last week I’m not going to do a straight recap but rather just talk about the key points as I see them, things of interest that I’ve noticed, and anything else that I find cool (or not).

This will assume you’ve watched the show so yes of course there will be spoilers.

So let’s take a look at “The Asset”.

Holy Effects Budget Batman

Yeah I know but there’s no Marvel hero with a similar catch phrase that I can think of right now.

Anyway, the effects in this episode were much better than the pilot or “0-8-4”. Particularly the gravity generator and the opening gambit attack on the truck.

Seeing stuff like this:

Truck

And this: Generator

On TV is pretty cool. I mean it’s not really unique to this show, we’re in a golden age of TV after all, but I’m glad they’re throwing money at it in this particular case and more importantly I’m glad it’s getting better.

They Have Shiny Gadgets But Still Insist on Telegraphing Things

Training

Seriously, the opening scene is Skye training up to be a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and Ward, now her supervisor, telling her that “Every agent has a defining moment”. That moment obviously comes mid-episode when she has that realization that S.H.I.E.L.D. does do some good in the face of power hungy assholes like Quinn, manages to escape and finds that they actually have her back.

Defining

Ward

She’s still Rising Tide though, so it will hopefully be more interesting when that particular storyline comes back. It could go really predictably (“I agreed to work for them but things changed between then and now”) or it could go more interestingly (“I told Coulson ages ago and I’ve been working as a double agent”) or they could throw me a curveball. Personally I’m hoping for a curveball.

And even though it’s a cliche, I did kinda like how it started with Skye training and reluctant and ended with Skye training and bought in.

Training

Side note: They live in a world with laser fences and flying command centres and gravity manipulation machines and semi trucks with heads up displays but they don’t have any other fight training rig other than a punching bag? Hm. well I guess that’s the right way to work a budget on a SciFi action show. I guess.

Family History Hour

Family

This episode was clearly The Skye Character Development Hour. We watch her go from aloof to committed as we just talked about and we get to hear a little more about her orphan past, part of the past life she supposedly erased from the world, and how she’s not used to having anyone give a shit about her. Again, defining moments in the life of a *shield- agent.

Family

We also got to hear from Ward though, the stock hardass character has a fairly normal stock hardass background, he was the one who had to stand up to his bully older brother. It’s made pretty clear that his brother is more than just a regular bully too. I’m guessing we’ll see some development there. Hell, if this show keeps going the way it has been, he’ll show up as a bad guy they have to fight and Ward will have a one on one fight with him.

Coulson is Rusty. Rrreeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyyyy.

Rusty

Numerous references to Coulson being “rusty” since New York. Ok, can we officially call this as his being a robot, probably a Life Model Decoy, now?

Even the exchange between him and Melinda May where she calls him Rusty, he calls her out for not wanting combat, and that “besides, he saw a lotof action with the Avengers” to which she replies “yeah. you died.”

So yeah. Can we just call this now? Can we just have it out? I’d like to see the character learn about it and work through it. That’d be a nice development arc. Plus, that episode can end with “alright. let’s talk upgrades.”

Suit

Side note: I really liked how when they go ashore Ward is decked out in tectical gear and Coulson is still wearing his suit.

Cavalry

Still, it’s nice to see Melinda “The Cavalry” May re-up for combat duty even if it is only to keep Coulson out of the line of fire because as badass as he is, she is clearly far more so. Plus, she’s the cavalry. I wonder if she’ll every actually become Cavalry, the C-List hero? Hm.

The Whedon of It All

I know I talked about how clever the show clearly knows it is before and I’d like to say this again, when everyone’s being clever it’s hard to take anything seriously. Basically, I think the show needs to pick a straight man and stick to him. Or her.

It’s not like the jokes are bad, they’re not. In fact I laughed out loud at the moment when Quinn asks Skye if she has what it takes to shoot him and she considers it and then bails.

Nope

What’s In A Story?

Gold

I don’t have much on plot this week, it was pretty standard comic book stuff. I mean if you’re going to kidnap a scientist to build your gravity manipulation machine you might as well do it, at least in part, using construction equipment you bought off a random cowboy using gold from a mine on the other side of the world, right?

Yeah it’s ridiculous but at this point it’s the least of my concerns.

A New Villain. Finally.

So here it is. The first new villain introduced in the series and not the movies and it’s this guy:

Frank

Yup. Frank the scientist. It makes sense they way they handled this, faking you out by making you think the power/profit hungry asshole would be the villain, and he kind of was for this episode, but when it turns out that Frank is trying to do good by destroying the super-unstable-and-overly-powerful-and-rare new element you knew what was coming right?

Plus, Coulson has to stop Frank and he does so by using him as the needed catalyst to shut the machine down. Because of course he does. So let’s be clear here, it’s not this that will make Frank into Gravitron:

shield-s01e03-fall2

shield-s01e03-fall3

shield-s01e03-fall4

shield-s01e03-fall5

It’s this:

Villain

So basically later in the series we’re going to get a villain who can manipulate gravity, consumed with angst and rage because his plan to save the world was ended and because Coulson made him a monster.

I think this can be good. It’s very Joss Whedon that the real enemy will probably turn out to be his feelings and empathizing with him and appealing to the remaining good in his heart will probably be what stops him in the end, but if executed well I think it can be good.

Side note though, Coulson has the gravitonium stored deep in an underground unmarked vault why exactly? I mean, sure, trying to keep it out of people’s hands, but why not use the slingshot and fire it into the sun?

Vault

Yeah, I know it’s so that this can happen:

Hand

But couldn’t someone have asked “why aren’t we using the slingshot? what are our other options?” or something?

Conclusion

I feel like this has come off pretty negative. I’m picking it apart to be sure but I am still enjoying the show so far. It’s good old fashioned light hearted fun and I like that. Hell, given some of the other TV I watch I probably need that once a week.

I do hope it gets better though because there’s a lot of room to develop basically everything that’s going on here. So far most of that development has been pretty predictable and I hope it gets less so because while I’m enjoying it I would also categorize it as “good enough” which isn’t exactly the highest praise I can think of. It’s enough that I’ll keep watching and I’ll recommend it to Marvel fans (and people inclined to like this kind of thing) but it’s not enough for me to recommend it to everyone. So far, anyway.

Final notes:

  • Seriously, can we just get to the part where we find out Coulson is a robot?
  • If Coulson a robot and eventually becomes Vision (popular fan theory at the moment and it completely fits) and Melinda is Cavalry, could the over reaching arc of the show be that we’re seeing the formation of an Avengers B-Team? That could be cool.
  • If Ward’s brother really is as bad as is being implied then as I said above it’s pretty obvious he’ll come back in some way. The question is how? Will he be a mercenary henchman they have to tangle with or will he have evolved from simple bully into full blown bad guy? My money is on the former but I’m kinda hoping for the latter.

So that’s it for this week. Next week I’ll be slightly late again as I’m still on vacation, but I’ll get it posted as soon as I can. So we’ll see you then for a look at the next adventure: “Eye Spy”.

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