Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E04 and S01E05 Discussion

Posted by Matthew on November 04, 2013
Television

Agents of SHIELD

Ok it has been a while since I wrote about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s been nearly a month actually and in that time there have been two new episodes.

There are a few reasons for this. The first is that I was on holiday. The second is that, as much as I hate to say it, I haven’t been enjoying the show. So here’s a brief recap of the episodes we missed and the some discussion about the state of the show and where it’s going.

Episode 4: “Eye Spy”

At the start of the episode an impossible theft takes place. A group of men all dressed identically carrying identical briefcases handcuffed identically to their wrists and wearing identical masks board a train. A woman who has been following them manages to, in the dark, attack and rob the one whose briefcase is actually carrying something.

The team is called in and manages to suss out that it’s one of Coulson’s old proteges Akela Amadour, who was missing and presumed dead some years ago. As the team catches up with her and they quickly figure out that she has a prosthetic eye through which she can see in the dark and through objects (via x-ray) and also she is being issued orders. Orders she has to follow because the devices has a failsafe bomb within it in case she doesn’t.

Fitz and Simmons hijack the feed from her eye with a pair of glasses and send ward out to keep following Akela’s orders while they work on getting the thing out of her head, which they manage to do. At the same time Coulson finds the man they think is the mastermind behind Akela’s orders but as soon as the man sees Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. badge his eye explodes. Turns out he was also following orders.

At the end of the episode Akela asks May “What happened to Coulson? What did they do to him?” and then is of course rushed off before she can be asked to explain.

“Eye Spy” Discussion

I do like how the team seems to be gelling a bit better. Starting to know each others strengths. I also liked delving a little into Coulson’s past again, in a better way, even if the whole episode was a lead up to the girl who can see through things giving us a massive tease about Coulson’s present state.

And what is his present state? I was pretty convinced he was a straight up robot but maybe he’s a cybernetic organism. A life model decoy in the vein of a terminator. think Iron Man but with an Endoskeleton rather than Exo.

Either way, I’d like more answers and less teasing even though we’re only a few episodes in.

Episode 5: “Girl In The Flower Dress”

A street performer in Hong Kong, Chan Ho Yin, is a pretty ok magician, but also is Pyrokinetic. He’s already under surveillance by S.H.I.E.L.D., apparently all known powered individuals are, but also comes to the attention of a mysterious girl wearing a flower dress. She promises him fame in exchange for running tests on his powers. When he goes off the grid the team is called in.

They figure out that it was Rising Tide who leaked Chan’s info and blame Skye, obviously, but she tells them it wasn’t her and tells them it was another hacker. They go to Austin, Texas to find him, where it turns out that said other hacker, Miles, is actually her boyfriend. Or something. Anyway, they have sex, and then are both cuffed and taken back to the bus.

Meanwhile Chan is undergoing tests and his powers are greatly amplified. He’s being injected with extremis by the same folks we saw in the pilot. They figure out how he’s able to generate fire without burning himself and also give him a name, Scorch and tell him that it’s a name worthy of memory. They then strip him of the part of his physiology which is protecting him from his powers to integrate into Extremis.

He goes on a rampage, kills most of the people in the building and once the team arrives they are forced to activate the unstable part of the Extremis in his system and kill him.

Afterward, Miles is released on probation in Hong Kong with no cash or means to get home and a bracelet that will keep him from hacking. Skye is reprimanded by Coulson and she then explains the only reason she was in Rising Tide and has now joined S.H.I.E.L.D. is because her parents went missing and are connected with S.H.I.E.L.D. somehow. Coulson offers to help and then slaps one of the same bracelets that he slapped on Miles on her wrist. Elsewhere the girl in the flower dress goes to prison and visits someone who she asks to contact “the clairvoyant”.

“Girl in the Flower Dress” Discussion

There’s a lot to like here. It’s nice to see a character with powers that aren’t science based or magic, they’er just a guy who can make fire. It gives me hope that this is going to be something that comes up in the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Further, I’m liking the use of a stable extremis as the bad guys objective. Does this mean we’re dealing with AIM or some offshoot thereof?

I also really liked the idea that taking a name would inspire someone to greatness, one way or the other. A way to elevate someone above the ordinary and let them come out of their shell as a normal person and adopt a new persona. It’s a bit cheesy, but still. I like it.

I’m glad we learned something about Skye’s past finally but as with the Coulson stuff in episode 4 I’m already tired of being drip fed this stuff. It’s good to have answers but it took five episodes, five to tell us exactly why she joined the team in the first place. Hopefully this means that answers will start coming soon, but I kind of doubt it.

Conclusions

As I said at the start, I haven’t really been enjoying the show as much as I had hoped I would. It’s been getting better but it’s going to have to get better still for me to fully enjoy it.

I really want them to stop teasing character bits and just tell us what’s going on with them. It’s far more interesting to see people dealing with information than struggling without it. Or more specifically, not struggling without it.

Also, I have been enjoying the few tie ins to the rest of the Marvel universe, but I’d like to see that happen in a bigger way. Fortunately it sounds like that is going to happen, there’s a few things upcoming I’m actually excited about.

First, Titus Welliver is reprising his role as an agent from the Marvel One-Shot “Item 47” in the next episode, titled “FZZT”.

It’s also come out that there is going to be an episode which follows on from Thor: The Dark World (the team is going in to help clean up in the aftermath) and while there won’t be any guest stars from the movie the continuity alone will be nice. It also make me hopeful that they’ll follow on from Captain America: The Winter Soldier somehow too. It’ll be good to help establish a timeline of the universe too. Iron Man 3 was about 6 months post Avengers and Thor: The Dark World is supposedly roughly a year post Avengers, so S.H.I.E.L.D. is somewhere in between and will soon line up. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is, according to Scarlett Johanssen, 2 years post Avengers.

It’s easy to play with time on television so I’m pretty excited to see how the series keeps pace with the movies and continues to tie in with them.

Like I said though, the show itself needs to get better. It’s riding the line of “good enough” at the moment and it’s showing promise of getting better but really all this tie in stuff is all that’s keeping me watching at the moment.

So here’s hoping. The next new episode, titled “FZZT”, is tomorrow night and I’ll get back to the regular gig of writing the episodes up as soon as I can after.

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