Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 1 Ep 3 (TV Show Review)
After the second episode of the show, I was pretty disappointed. The pilot had been fairly strong but things took a nosedive with the second episode. Glib dialogue, stereotypical characters, predictable plot, all backframed by the Marvel universe, with roots in the Marvel movies that have been around for a while now. All in all, it was important to keep in mind that the show was still in a very early phase and that kinks would need to be worked out over time as everyone gels together and the actors all get comfortable with their roles.
Which is why I was really looking forward to this episode and in a way why I think it was a better episode than its predecessor. Problems still remain, that is undeniable and somewhat alarming to a degree as well, but I think that the show is moving in the right direction after last week’s misstep.
Its nice to see that the show has bounced back from the previous week’s episode (link at the bottom). It was a really disappointing episode because of its utter predictability and because of how much it asked the viewer to forgive in terms of internal inconsistency. Very little of that this time around thankfully, and I have to say that this episode might well be better than the pilot even. Which is, like I said, nice.
This time, we are dealing with a SHIELD top-secret-individual-being-transported mission that goes wrong and Maria Hill calls in Agent Coulson and his team to make sense of things and track down what happened. And the team gets down on the job in quite a stylish fashion. By the end, a multi-billionaire CEO, a world-class scientist with a specialty in a very specific element, and some undercover spywork is involved. And for the most part, its all a great ride really.
Strong points – Agent Coulson going into the field for the first time since his… death and then recovery. The last time that Coulson was involved in a straight field op, IIRC, was in Thor and things didn’t quite work out as expected since the Devastator pretty much smoked his team to Asgard and back. Not a fun time. But still, Coulson comes off the whole movie really well. Here too, we see him being all kickass and I say its about damn time. I know, I know, its early in the show and all, but come on. This is the one guy in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who proved to be such a fan-favourite that, first of all, he’s been in pretty much all the movies since his first appearance, and that he has gotten into the comics as well. He was created for the MCU but now he is a… bona fide Marvel character. That’s awesome. And Clark Gregg has been portraying him really well. He remains the best actor on the show and he is one of the strongest points, hands down.
Then, there is the fact that the entire story in this episode is much stronger than in the previous two episodes. It has much more immediacy to it, stronger tension, and it is much more entertaining in a way that really explores the mythology that the show is creating as it goes along. Its not much, sure, but this story was light on what a friend would call “action movie pretensions” and it focused more on the kind of missions that SHIELD should be doing, and does do in the comics.
Something that the show has been full of so far is that it each episode is centric on a piece of technology that we have yet to see before. Mostly. This is both a strength and a weakness. Strength in that it explores the completely different world that is coming about as a result of the Battle of New York and all the advances in technology that are being made with the advent of super-powered individuals all over the world. And it all ties into the comic-book roots of the setting. But it is a weakness in that each episode is dependent on a techno-crutch, a gimmick that is used to hook the viewers and doesn’t exactly offer much beyond that one simple fact.
So is the case here. In the context that it is a strength and a weakness, I both liked and didn’t like the techno-gimmick this time around. But it was much better explained and it was something “home-grown”, that is, it was something completely of the Earth, and not something fanciful like an alien artifact or something that is a hybrid of alien-tech and Earth-tech.
Additionally, Agent Ward finally got to be fully honest with Coulson in regards to his feelings for Skye, and it is kind of high time that this talk happened now. Skye has been the the odd one out in the entire team so far, for a variety of reasons and this time we learn just why she is on the team, despite her dubious background and her questionable loyalty to SHIELD. Finally!
And the FitzSimmons pair was much less annoying this time around. Less tech-speak, more English, that always helps. And we also kind of saw a personal story with them this time since the objective of the team’s mission here is something that is related to their backstory. We’ve had precious little to see on that front so that’s another plus.
However, there are still several negatives that cannot be ignored.
For one, Skye is annoying. Very, very annoying. All her sass and her glibness is extremely forced and just gives me a headache. Its as if Joss Whedon is trying to recreate a Xander or trying to recreate a Jayne/Kaylee clone. Its just not working for me. This episode marked the one point where I felt really, really annoyed with her character. And I just don’t get what exactly she is doing here, especially in light of the fact of a big twist later on in the episode, which had me really confused. It kind of makes sense in a way but it just didn’t work for me.
Furthermore, Agent May clearly has a troubled history with field missions and we continue to dance around the why. This episode could have been a great way to focus on that, instead of Skye’s antics, but sadly it just doesn’t happen. All May has done so far is pilot the plane really, with extremely little in the way of taking out the bad guys, whether in New York or in Peru. She has the potential to be a really good character, but she’s being wasted. She can be the perfect foil for Ward, who is slowly growing on me, and I would really like to see something happen in that direction.
Finally, the ending of the episode was way too comic-y for me. When that entire scene began, I was shaking my head. I knew exactly what would happen. It is such a cliche, given how the team’s mission itself ends, and I’m not really sure that introducing something like that this early was such a good idea.
But we will see. In the meantime, this was still a fairly strong episode, with much better pacing than the previous two, and the acting is generally at par with what I’d expect of a show like this, so all good. I’ll be tuning in for episode four next week, that’s certain.
Posted on October 11, 2013, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged Agent Grant Ward, Agent Jemma Simmons, Agent Leo Fitz, Agent Melinda May, Agent Phil Coulson, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Clark Gregg, Cobie Smulders, Joss Whedon, Maria Hill, Marvel, Marvel Comics, Marvel Studios, Movie Tie-In, Review, Review Central, S.H.I.E.L.D, Skye, The Avengers, TV Show, TV Show Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.
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