Tuesday, October 15, 2013

REVIEW: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 1.04, "Eye-Spy"

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has certainly passed through its honeymoon stage with viewers; it's time for the show to make good on the potential that had so many fans excited for its debut.  The first three episodes, which I've enjoyed very much, seem to have left more than a handful of fans hoping for something more.  The fourth episode of the show, "Eye-Spy", saw the Agents confronted with a face from Coulson's past who turns out to be more than meets the eye (sorry).  Did "Eye-Spy" ramp up the intensity and give the show a different look for some of the less than enthusiastic critics?  I'll give you my take after the jump...

As I mentioned in the intro, I've really enjoyed Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so far.  And yes, I know that I'm predisposed to enjoy this series and most comic-related media but that doesn't make me a blind slappy...I'm on record as not having enjoyed The Dark Knight Rises and my tummy hurts when I watch Green Lantern and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  I've appreciated the fact that the creative team behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has taken its time developing the characters and the show.  I understand some critics concerns that nothing is happening and that they show is swinging from shirt-tails of the Avengers.  I understand some feel the agents are boring caricatures and that the antagonists of the episodes have been weak.  I also understand that this episode was my absolute favorite of the series and seemingly acted as an answer to most, if not all of those criticisms despite being written long before the critics had their say.

"Eye-Spy" introduces us to Akela Amador, a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, hand-picked and trained by Coulson, who went missing after the rest of her team was killed on a mission.  When we first meet her we see she's a serious customer but we also can tell there's something a little different about Amador...though we're not sure just what.  Amador puts a hurtin' on the red-masked men that were a big part of the promo for the clip.  Turns out those red-masked men were all ex-military types dressed the same and each had identical briefcases handcuffed to their wrists in a ploy to protect diamonds.  None of the men knew which one had the diamonds but, as it turns out, Amador did and, after whooping butt, relieved one of the men of his hand and took the diamonds.  After hearing about the heist, Coulson puts the team on the case and it is quickly revealed that he thinks it's Amador and that he wants to get to her before S.H.I.E.L.D. knows it's her.

Without giving away any spoileriffic I can tell you that Amador, after surviving her attack, had some work done to give her an edge beyond her considerable physical prowess and that, as was revealed in the promo for the episode, she isn't in control of herself...someone is behind the scenes pushing buttons.  Eventually Amador lands in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, setting up a the tense climax of the show in which Agent Ward and Skye work together to try to uncover the endgame of Amador's mission and just who is controlling her.

The rest of this episode did a nice job of giving each of the Agents his or her turn to shine without forcing it and it also gave us a nice set-up for next week's knockdown with Coulson and Skye.  However, the thing that puts this episode at the top of the short list is the Bond-esque spy plot and still nameless shadow organization behind Amador.  Quite a few breadcrumbs were left throughout the episode that we clearly aren't meant to be able to follow too far just yet but there is definitely an evil counterpart of S.H.I.E.L.D. out there with technology that FitzSimmons and Skye were shocked to find out about.  It's almost as if the breadcrumbs are an appetizer more than directions and that we shouldn't know too much just yet...though I have my hunches as to just who is behind this scheme.

This episode should go a long way towards building the big picture for the show.  Clearly there is another very powerful organization out there with resources that not even S.H.I.E.L.D. has and they will not go away, especially now that they know S.H.I.E.L.D. is on to them.  This gives us two consecutive weeks where Marvel put some money in the bank for later and I love what they're doing.  This show was not written for those who want it all up front; I'm hoping that the payoff in the end is as great as I'm beginning to believe it will be.  I'll put up a separate piece tomorrow with some early speculation on where I think this may be headed and later on we'll see how good my AIM was.