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Agents of SHIELD ep.4 Review

Agents of SHIELD
Episode 4 – Eye Spy

The Good Nerd

There it is folks! This is the episode Agents of SHIELD figured out what it was all about. This episode solidified most of the characters and brought them to life!

Let’s start by talking about Fitz & Simmons, because they are priceless. They are the comic relief of the show that, brilliantly, don’t come out and say: “My awkwardness is the joke, so laugh”. The humor comes as much from their little moments of Nerd Joy as it does from their frustration and being yanked out of their lab. They are also the flip side to Ward and Melinda May’s badass butt kicking. Out in the field, they are in over their heads and have made it abundantly clear they hate it. Of course, in the lab, they are the ones who kick ass and have no problem flaunting their skills, especially over Ward. Fitz and Ward often come across as rival brothers, the Jock and the Nerd. Both trying to prove who is the best to mom and dad (Agent’s Coulson and May), and I love that. In the second episode, the show hit us over the head with the sappy “we are your new family” stuff, but this episode communicates it better and cleaner.

The tech in this episode really started to feel like what SHIELD would have. Facial recognition software that was hinted about in Avengers, multi round taser/trank guns, and spy infiltration camera glasses were top notch. Our super spies are starting to feel like they are actually elite rather than just glorified FBI in a cool plane.

The taser/trank gun was great because it started a running gag that is subtle and very funny. Ward and Fitz seem to love naming things and argue about it frequently. Fitz named the gun the nightlight, which Ward hated and vetoed. Ward named their reconnaissance van the short bus, which Coulson vetoed and hated. With new tech and vehicles sure to pop up frequently I can see this be a great running gag.

Melinda May showed us more of the take-charge attitude that I have been wanting from her this whole time.   When the solution to a specific problem came up she didn’t wait for Coulson to chat about it, she took action. Melinda May makes a decision and then acts on it. She doesn’t do kid gloves. The fight between May and Agent Akela was awesome and one of the best parts of the episode. Coulson previously stated that Akela was the only other person he knows as badass as May and the two of them got to go head to head. I am dying to know more about her character’s past; hopefully we will get some of the terrible secrets soon.

Coulson like always was great, unless he was talking to Skye. When dealing with the rest of the team, he is in command and direct. However, any time he talks to Skye, it feels forced. The conversation is half the time exposition and half the time sappy heart to heart moments that sound better coming from an ABC Family Movie than from Coulson. This isn’t a problem with Coulson per se, more a problem with Skye.

Skye, what are we going to do with you? I am seriously asking! In Episode 3 she picks up field skills in less than 8 hours. This week she had multiple days of firearms training and still had problems knowing the difference between the safety and the clip release. Figure out what you want her to be, please!  If she is really a double agent for the Rising Tide, then make her competent. But if she really is supposed to be this naïve and incapable of learning simple tasks then get rid of her. Chloe Bennet is a great actress and she can play whatever they want her to be, but they need to make up their damn minds. She needs to stop being the one to deliver all the exposition; conveniently popping in and out of conversations is not a good use of her character.  According to the trailers, next week they focus heavily on Skye, so hopefully they figure it out then.

So, what did we learn?!: the official Agents are really getting their act together, Coulson is awesome when not talking to Skye, and the writers need to decide who Skye is and then live with it. All of this just goes to show you that the writers are figuring it out and they are finally moving towards the SHIELD we want.

Good Nerd: Thumbs Up

The Bad Nerd

What’s the frequency, Coulson? No, seriously. What frequency are you operating on? Spoiler alert central from here on!

“Eye Spy” was the “He’s our leader, but do we trust him?” episode. And so the episode begins with Coulson choosing the assignment (we were promised he would!) that sends the team after his first protégé. But this isn’t a hunting expedition as much as it is a sketchy reunion. But it’s clear from the outset that Akela is no Anakin Skywalker, but rather a puppet. And here’s where things take a turn for the “meh”.

This story is too small for this show. Good writing is supposed to take you places, question truth or reality, or make you believe in something bigger. And since it’s part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), I expect big stories. Over the last month, the series has seen a marked decline in viewership overall. I say it’s a direct result of thinking too small. When you consider that most homes today have large, widescreen TVs that bring a cinematic-like experience to your living room, it makes no sense to dial down your story whatsoever. That doesn’t mean you need a bigger budget, it means you need bigger ideas.

This is S.H.I.E.L.D. we’re talking about. They’re supposed to be tracking down the weird, the super spy networks, the big bads! And this week, again, instead of hitting it head-on, they chose to focus on the smallest speck of a major organization. And we all know it’s A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) behind the cyborg-like killer eyeball. Why not just acknowledge it? They’ve already been active in the last Iron Man. S.H.I.E.L.D. knows of their existence and their style. It just feels so forced to not say what/who is behind these attacks and acts of espionage. Or it’s HYDRA. Either way, take off the kid gloves and let us have it already!

And on a final note, Coulson is SO a robot. They couldn’t be hinting louder that he’s either an LMD (life model decoy), or the Vision. Get it? Eye Spy…Vision?! I don’t know if that’s how they plan to handle it and incorporate it into the MCU at large in the next Avengers movie, but it seems to make sense at this point. 

All in all, I’m still not impressed. But I fear that has to do more with my expectation and desire to see this property to given license to kill it on the overall arc of the show. Until then, I’ll be tuning in each week to spew my nerd rage, right here!
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