There are several lessons to be learned from the second episode of Agents of SHIELD.
First, do not, under any circumstance, mess with Agent Melinda May. It will not end well for you.
Also, don't go boozing around highly-trained foreign nationals, and never trust a hot Peruvian chick in camo who goes by the title Comandante, even if you used to bow chicka wow wow with her back in the day.
Finally, a common enemy is all you need to unite a ragtag bunch of un-superheroes who bicker like a married couple.
It may have been bathed in action, but if the pilot was all about introduction, exposition and team assembly, the follow-up is about getting everyone on the same page.
The plot revolves around the mysterious 0-8-4, which is SHIELD code for an unexplainable object. The last one was Thor's hammer, and this one is a weapon formed from the Tesseract (which for all you non-Marvel fans is an object of unparalleled power, the jewel of Odin's treasure room of relics that was formerly guarded by the Asgardians, but is now mostly used to make weapons of mass destruction and was the main object Loki promised to the Chitauri in exchange for their army in The Avengers. Got all that?).
A Surly Start
While the gang heads to Peru to investigate, the team is embroiled in tension. Ward, a loner, is pissed to be working with a bunch of noncombat-trained newbies. He's especially critical of Skye, you know, because he looooves her. He also hilariously claims he was brought on board for "risk assessment."
C'mon, Broseph, I know you like to pretend you're deep with your "reading" and all, but you're clearly the muscle of the operation. Still, he thinks Skye is a risk. Because it's always a risk when you give up your heart...
Anyway, May is still peeved about being back in the field after apparently enjoying admin work, FitzSimmons doesn't know if they belong outside a lab, Skye has no idea what she's doing and Coulson is just trying to keep everyone together. Thankfully, Comandante Camilla Reyes comes on board The Bus to bring them all together.
United We Fly, Divided We Crash
After Camilla and her team of national police officers hijack the plane, it's really a team effort to get the agents out of the jam. Everyone contributes, with May improvising, Skye forming the plan, FitzSimmons making it happen and Ward beating people up and tossing them off the plane like President James Marshall.
Skye came up with the idea of using the 0-8-4 to blow a hole in the plane and read the safety pamphlet to know how to plug said hole with an inflatable raft at the exact dramatic moment Ward's about to be sucked out, proving she has ideas outside the virtual realm.
Skye's efforts lead Ward to finally believe she may have some value, and he agrees to become her supervising officer and train her. "I'll do it," he says. Yeah, more like "I'll do her." It's going to bring old meaning to the phrase "Working under someone" -- what whaaaat.
I do question her decision to break out the hooch after escaping a war zone, but I guess I'd want a drink too if I had just survived my first gunfight and was flying in close quarters with an unstable bomb apparently made of "pure evil." It can't be good for the senses, though, especially when you're around armed foreigners. That bottle sure comes in handy, though, doesn't it, Agent Ward?
And if Skye has time to find liquor and do some shots, don't you have time to change your bloody white T-shirt before you start reading your book on the couch? Even if it is just a graze wound? Some people are just inconsiderate to the help.
So after a premiere that contained only one so-called mutant with special powers, this episode contains precisely zero. A cameo by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury (that didn't take long!) brings things nicely back into the well-known part of the Marvel Universe, but I think the series thus far is not exactly what people expected. And that's not a negative statement.
It remains intriguing and entertaining, but there is still a lot of work to be done to make this a stable, contributing primetime addition. The comedic dialogue remains a high point, with several chuckle-out-loud moments, particularly Fitz wishing he'd learned kung fu and the fish tank line at the end. Plus, Coulson is just so cool all the time. And man, does that guy have a grip.
I often wonder how difficult it would be to hold onto a piece of rope while trying to avoid getting sucked out of a gash in the side of a plane. Every time I fly, actually.
We get a bit more background on Agent May, namely that her nickname is The Cavalry, which I can only assume means she's the one you call when you're desperate for back-up. She's not a fan of the moniker, though. And there is another mention of Coulson getting stabbed through the heart and rehabbing in "Tahiti." Expect more on both fronts.
The episode concludes with a hint that Skye may be a Rising Tide mole, but she's clearly conflicted as to where her loyalties lie, especially after such a bonding experience. She texts her cohorts that she's gained access to SHIELD as the hacker organization prepares to go dark, but I can't imagine she's going to pull the wool over anyone's eyes.
Coulson and Co. are so observant and are always a step ahead; plus, they have been warned numerous times and are constantly talking about what a risk she is. There's just no way they'll be caught off guard should she turn.
So much like the post-Avengers world, where change is in the air as people become more aware of their dangerous surroundings and the existence of special abilities, so too is this team adjusting to working together. It ends all hunky dory, with a shared beer while they all watch the 0-8-4 launch on a high-powered rocket to its eventual destruction in the sun. You know, typical Tuesday night fodder for you and your friends.
You can watch Agents of SHIELD every Tuesday at 8pm on ABC.
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