Welcome to Level 7: This Week on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Episode 4 / October 15, 2013)
NOTE: Join us every WEDNESDAY as we review the latest episode...
EPISODE 4: "Eye-Spy"
SYNOPSIS: Agent Coulson and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team try to track down a mysterious woman who has single-handedly committed numerous high-stakes heists. But when the woman’s identity is revealed, a troubling secret stands to ruin Coulson.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
Coming off of two very different episodes of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., neither of which featured a character with superpowers comes this episode...which still features no superheroes. But hey, that is what Joss Whedon told us this show would be: following the humans investigating the stuff that doesn't make the big screen movies like THOR or IRON MAN. So, what is the threat this week? A former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent under the influence of a robotic menace.
The teaser sequence this week builds some nice tension as men clad in red masks are taken down by an unassuming woman on a traincar full of passengers. Her bounty is revealed to by diamonds and she disappears. If anything, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. has mastered these opening scenes, building a mystery for the rest of the episode. In this case, the next ten minutes of the episode match the same formula as each prior episode: shot of the plane, recap of where Skye's training stands, intro to this week's mission, and the reveal of Coulson's connection to the villain.
This villain turns out to be Akela Amadour, a former protege of Coulson's, who shares a lot in common with Skye despite turning to the enemy. That enemy turns out to be some sort of power triggered when Amadour closes her eyes. Skye suggests she may have superpowers like ESP which Melinda May brushes off as being nonsense. You know, for a show centered on characters with powers outside of science, they certainly disregard them pretty easily.
After being attacked by Amadour, the team decodes a signal being transmitted via a robotic camera inside her eye. Fitz and Simmons reveal the technology is beyond what S.H.I.E.L.D. is capable of, which is kind of depressing for the agency to be who is protecting humanity. The team learns that Amadour is being controlled by a third party and confront Coulson who feels responsible for bringing Amadour in safely.
While the team impersonates Amadour, she and Coulson discuss what happened to her leading to this point. After the short fight scene between Amadour and May in the hotel room, to have this much narrative really bogs down the flow of the story. We do learn her handler is an Englishman based on word choices. The team is working much more in unison now with the focus of discord shifting to May and Coulson.
The undercover sequence/eyeball surgery that follows is a well paced scene that is a perfect indicator of what the show could be followed by a very anticlimactic ending that ties things up a little too neatly without answering anything.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES:
The Battle of New York is name-checked, but that is about it.
"Next time I decide what we call it" - Coulson in reference to Agent Ward referring to their away team as the Short Bus.
Amadour versus Melinda May in the hotel room was a pretty well choreographed fight sequence, if not a little brief.
DO WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO COULSON YET?
Amadour asks May what happened to Coulson. She says he almost died before the Battle of New York to which Amadour asks "no, what did they do to him?", May stands silent.
EPISODE CLEARANCE LEVEL: 7/10
This episode had a lot of potential but ended up feeling like a filler episode. Nothing progresses the story. That being said, by taking the overt superhero elements out of the story it allowed for an overall more rounded episode. But, it still felt more like an episode of ALIAS than anything.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
"Girl in the Flower Dress" - An elusive girl in a flower dress may hold the key to the mystery that brings Coulson and team to Asia to rescue a young man with an unusual and dangerous power; and Skye has a secret that jeopardizes her relationship with the team right when they need her most.
TELL US WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THIS EPISODE BELOW!