Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Eye Spy" Review: The Bionic Woman

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S01E04: "Eye Spy"


My opinions of TV episodes don't usually change over time, at least not as quickly as overnight, and my snap judgement immediately after watching "Eye Spy" was that I really liked it. And as I thought more about it while writing my review, I think I talked myself into liking it even more. "Eye Spy" continued the momentum built by "The Asset," and in a way, it was a darker, more adult outing for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The series' previous episodes were fine in that they acted as second and third versions of the pilot, allowing new viewers to step in without much difficult, but "Eye Spy" felt less like we were being re-introduced to the characters and what it is that S.H.I.E.L.D. does, and more like the latest installment of a more developed series. 

We also got the chance to dive into the well of Agent Coulson's history, which is at least part of the reason the episode worked so well. It's important to remember that Coulson is still basically a mystery, even to fans of the Marvel films. Clark Gregg once said he only appeared in the first Iron Man film as a favor to Jon Favreau, and now the character is leading an entire TV show. We still don't know much about who Coulson actually is, let alone what really happened after the Battle of New York, and "Eye Spy" gave us a peek in to his past.

The mission this week was one that Coulson picked up on his own, without orders from S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Right away that should've triggered warning bells. And his insistence that the team complete their task without help from HQ was another red flag. They were tracking a master thief, believing that maybe the person was an unregistered gifted—Skye threw out the idea that their target had telekinetic powers or ESP, but Agent May told her there was no evidence of anyone with those powers existing. As it it turned out, the thief was actually a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who had been trained by Coulson himself.


Believing Akela Amador had been killed in action several years ago, Coulson obviously felt responsible for what had happened to her. She'd been held prisoner for years and then implanted with a robotic eyeball that not only allowed her to see through several spectrums but acted as a camera for her handler and whoever else was controlling her. When Coulson learned that she was alive and being held prisoner in her own body (haha what's free will?), his guilt ratcheted straight up. He was adamant about helping her. Is it ridiculous to think that Coulson has formed this new super squad in an attempt to right his past failures as a leader? Akela had been sent on mission after mission, forced to commit crimes and to carry out the work of an unseen master who would activate the kill switch located in her robotic eye if she disobeyed. It was kill or be killed for Akela. And that's a really shitty way to live, to be honest.

Akela's predicament was later "solved" after Skye hijacked her camera feed, allowing Akela to spend some quality time recounting what happened to her all those years to a guilt-ridden Coulson. While they were playing story hour, Agent Handsome completed Akela's latest mission wearing a pair of special eyeglasses that reported back to her handler as if nothing was out of the ordinary. He received all of the orders sent to Akela, including one that directed him to seduce a security guard. Agent Handsome attempted to bromance the guard, and holy crap is he bad at making friends.

Agent Handsome's people skills really are the equivalent of poop + knives—or a porcupine, if you prefer it that way. And it's obvious his inability to play well with others, or even hang out with others in a way that's not strictly "I'm in charge of you, do what I say" will be his season-long arc. It's also obvious that his relationship with Skye is supposed to be the thing that changes him. The two actors work just fine together—especially in this episode, where they were actually partners instead of being thrown together for future romance's sake—but after awhile it's going to start to feel old if it's constantly Handsome and Skye against the world, even if he is her superior officer. 


The only way this team will ever feel like a team and act like a team is if these characters interact with every member of the team. So far, the pairings have been Skye and Ward, Fitz and Simmons, May and Coulson, and Skye and Coulson. These aren't bad match-ups, especially not while the show finds its legs, but eventually I'd like to see Skye and Simmons or May and Ward work together and get to know one another. 

Skye and Coulson's relationship is probably the strongest of the series so far, and that's great because every series needs a constant. She looks up to him and trusts him because he offered her a family with S.H.I.E.L.D., something she hasn't had in a very long time. Which is why I'm really interested to see how her continued affiliation with the Rising Tide will affect her as the weeks go by. Will she become conflicted? Will she drop the Rising Tide like hot trash? This has the potential to be a great personal arc for Skye, and I don't believe, despite what next week's episode previews suggest, that Coulson will find out about her parallel dealings with the group, otherwise that would be a complete waste of a complicated personal story for the character. 


As for the brainiac twins, I don't know that we'll ever really see much of Fitz and Simmons splitting up on missions. But I'd really like the writers to give them something more to do than save the day by performing standard robotic eyeball removal surgery and complaining about being hungry while doing surveillance (though I laughed at that entire scene, because they would think nothing of calling Agent Handsome to ask about using the restroom and grabbing a bite). The closing scene of "Eye Spy," in which Fitz and Handsome were playing cards, was fun once you realized Skye was helping Fitz cheat, but it was also fun because it was a pairing we haven't really had a chance to explore. I just want everyone to be friends, is that too much to ask?

Anyway, like I said at the start, this episode was a welcome change for the series. The characters worked well together, the sampling of Coulson's backstory helped bring us up to speed a bit on who he really is, and the episode at least toyed with the idea of reaching for something deeper. If S.H.I.E.L.D. can continue to build on the momentum it's created with "The Asset" and "Eye Spy," I think the series stands a chance of becoming what we want it to be. It might not be the high-stakes series fans hoped for, but I don't know that that was ever going to be the case. And I don't necessarily subscribe to the notion that the team needs to be fighting a global threat every week to be successful. Right now it's very plot-heavy, but given time, S.H.I.E.L.D. will add more character drama, I'm sure of it. And if it can balance those two things, that full-season pickup will turn out to be a very smart idea.



DECLASSIFIED CASE FILES


– While I enjoyed the hell out of this episode based on what happened on the surface, I wish it had dealt more with the idea of free will. Akela couldn't even go to sleep without permission from her handler. This is the kind of stuff that could make Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. a worthy series and a successor to Joss Whedon's other work. Dollhouse was all about free will and being human, Buffy was one giant metaphor for high school being hell. Firefly was basically just the best thing in the 'verse. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can tap into stories that tackle larger, more character-driven stories and spark debates about larger issues, it'll definitely raise the bar in terms of quality.

– Akela's handler had been a former MI6 agent, who was also being controlled by someone else. When Coulson approached him, his kill switch was engaged. Who is the mysterious master here? Who is calling the shots? Is this a new Big Bad or the same one we've been dealing with? I like the way the series is playing up potential longterm threats, but sometimes I have no patience and I want answers, stat.

– "What did they do to him?" Akela asked May with regard to Coulson. If she could tell something was off about him after not being in his presence for any number of years, why can't May? Coulson and May clearly have a history of some sort. I suspect this will lead to a lot of May staring at Coulson in the background, watching him and attempting to see what Akela saw in a matter of hours.

– "You're a robot, can you do that?" Ouch, someone get Handsome an ice pack for that burn, plz.

– "Bang?"

– "Our parts aren't penises!" (No context needed)

thekaitling:list:marvels-agents-of-shield-what-did-you-think-of-eye-spy/

 

Comments (232)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Oct 29, 2013
...and I'm out. This isn't a Joss Whedon show, it's NCIS: Marvel with a sheen of Whedon character archetypes and humour. I've given it four fair chances to be a good show and it keeps refusing. So disappointing.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 20, 2013
I still don't like this show and I think I figured out why. I was hating on the cast last week and I still believe that to be accurate, but those feelings originate from the fact, that we don't know anything about the characters. You make up your mind about people the second you see their face and the show hasn't done anything to give us another idea about these people.
The cases were kind of interesting I guess, but that is not what we want. Even in superhero movies, which this is supposed to be after all, though dialed down, the main point of interest is the person and how he becomes that hero. But this show is just hanging around mildly interesting cases and stereotypes we have seen thousand times before. Knowing Whedon, I still think this might change by some major turning point soon(like Korra maybe did just now). I really hope it does. This is really dissappointing so far.
Also, please raise the stakes... We are not watching CSI, this is about the change in the world after an alien attack... Is there not anything more important to do, than getting a weapon or some agent?
More+
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 22, 2013
Amen, brother (sister, whatever) ! lol
Reply
Flag
Oct 20, 2013
Location shoot in Sweden was great. Production values are going to help this show stand out from shows like "Arrow" (which I rather like, mind, even though they can't match the deep pockets of Marv-isney). I'd like to see Akela come back, also, maybe become a recurring character, though I guess time will have to tell.
Reply
Flag
Oct 19, 2013
I was very close to dropping the show, but this was the best episode yet and it made me want to give the show another chance. The characters were given some space to breathe and it flowed naturally, unlike the previous episodes. Also, Skye is the best thing. She was hilarious.
6
Reply
Flag
Oct 19, 2013
I like the show's humour, and based on that alone hope they get a chance to develop the characters more.

I think it has potential.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 19, 2013
Haven't seen E03 & E04 yet, but I'm not convinced until now. It looks a lot like Stargate Atlantis, Atlantis or others: you have the team which actually perform the on-the-ground-job whith the 2 geniuses who know everything and explain it all. S01E02 was sooo predictable that I was bored to death ...
Reply
Flag
Oct 19, 2013
Like I said before, this show gets better and better with each ep! :)
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 18, 2013
May does know what's wrong with Coulson it was explicitly stated in the premiere followed by May saying, "He can never know."

Coulson: You should go sometime.
Maria: Where?
Coulson: Tahiti. It's a magical place.
Maria: 3 days in I'd be begging for an assignment.
Coulson: Exactly.
*Coulson turns around and leaves the room*
Dr. Streiten: *to Maria* Tahiti. He really doesn't know, does he?
Maria: He can never know.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 19, 2013
Melinda May is not Maria Hill, but I definitely believe that she knows nonetheless.

I strongly suspect Agent Hill was going to appoint handler whoever agent that refused Coulson's offer first. And that's how the Calvary got the job.
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 18, 2013
It's the x'ray vision that makes her notice something's off with Coulson. I mean when they were talking in the room she still had it working even Ward and Sky was sending out the cam feed.
5
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I dont think its a case 'sensing something was different about him (AC)' but more of 'seeing that he was different'
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
So... did they ever get the diamonds back?
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 19, 2013
I was more concerned about that masked guy getting his hand reattached...
Reply
Flag
Oct 20, 2013
So are they dealing with some unregistered super? No just a former agent who can see diamonds in a suitcase with her x-ray eye but as for how she kills large numbers of elite military trained personnel in a five second window because the lights are out on a train carriage is never answered. Give the audience some visual candy and then forget about justifying anything later. So loss of freedom, yeah horrible concept, let's ponder ..hmm terrible.... end show,... but what about the other missions and those diamonds? Are they related? Are they gonna examine the MI6 guy, track his controller, oh well new episode, who cares, someone will lift a bus on the next trailer or something and we all forget.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
The start of this episode really reminded me of Fringe. I miss Fringe.
This episode wasn't amazing but it was a vast improvement on the previous episodes. The characters felt more connected and we had some character development. I wish they would make Ward look more like a badass agent and less like a catalog suit model. He stood out so much going into that place and walking through it, I don't know how he even got as far as the guard.
Also we get it, they need to work as a team, and something happened Coulson. Dear ABC the audience are not idiots. No need to keep shoving this in our faces. And what's with the music? Only for it I would never know that something important has happened in a scene.
6
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
i said the same exact thing to my wife! i was like, this is kinda like our new FRINGE. hah
especially with the "observers" with briefcases and the girl with powers.
at least at the start. then it went back to SHIELD for me.
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I would love to see more Ward/May in teh field team up. Especially on a rescue mission. another team up I woudl like to see is Ward adn Fitz in the field being undercover. and may and Simmons could be an interesting duo.
while I like the Skyu/Ward interactiona dn I adore FitzSimmons I agree that they need to mix them up a bit. it was part of teh reason why I liked the scene in the van so much. it brought a bit of a different dynamic to the team.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Dude, you didn't mention the cold open where Akela cut off hands for diamonds; c'mon, that's badass!
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
First, I'd like to say this is the first time I'm leaving a comment on this show, but I've been following it since the very beginning! The premiere was bad, there's just no nicer way of putting it. The next episodes to come were just as dull and uninteresting. Frankly, I've grown sick and tired giving this show chances just to be left dissapointed over and over and over.

The biggest problem I have with this show is the characters. The only two compelling characters are Skye and Ward. Yes, I love those two! But everyone else is just terrible! The asian chick a.k.a. miss Melinda May is just a rip-off Maggie Q's character in Nikita! She has zero personality. Same goes for the 2 "genius" young but attractive british couple (are they?) , they have no personality whatsoever. Don't even get me started on the boss. He's merely a plot device!

Here is hoping that the writing will improve, but the only reason that I'm still watching is the chemistry between the two actors playing Skye and Ward and their development thus far.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 18, 2013
I'd say you're in the minority for disliking the premiere. If you deny that, read around.

The characters are developing. It's only been 4 episodes.
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I like Ward and Skye as well, I think they have a lot of potential togehter and as individuals. nice to know I'm not the only one.
and I don't really care for Agent C. one way or the other.
but FitzSimmons I find cute and I'm intrigued by May
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
For what it's worth, I actually ENJOYED the Pilot.

The following episodes though... they're alright but not great. Considering we're not swimming in sci-fi / fantasy shows I'll continue to watch it.
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Telepathic not telekinetic.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
This is my favorite episode so far. The "OMG a Coulson-centered tvshow" thrill was starting to fade away and I needed some more serious, adult, great episode to drag me in again and this one worked perfectly for me.
Like in "The Asset" I felt like the episode lasted waaaay less than 40 minutes and really hoped for more. But this is also the first episode in which I really "felt" all the characters (including the ones who weren't part of the team: Aquila was an amazing "guest of the week"!) and enjoyed myself every second without rolling my eyes once.
Good work, SHIELD! Plus, with the steady good ratings since ep 2, I'm thinking this could go a long, enjoyable way.
(Cause yeah, the ratings dropped between 1 and 2 but they have been very steady (little less than 8 mil viewers and 3 adult demo) since then, and they get the best Live+7 Day added ratings, so...)
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Really enjoying the show but not convinced about LMD Phil just yet. Even A.C. mentioned he had changed when speaking to Akela. Where is the "I told you so Coulson". "That's not me anymore"... Like getting the little pieces at a time on Coulson's Tahiti trip! Maybe we'll see just what made Coulson change, sooner or later.. Will be an interesting wait.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Well, the guest-star did ask what Shield DID to him, and when May asked what she meant she clammed up.

Considering she sees in backscatter whenever she closes her eyes, maybe she saw all of the hardware inside and figured they'd done something similar to him as the bad-guys did to her.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Great episode in my opinion. Loved the small fight scene between Akela and May, the very natural way May dodged that knife throw was so badass.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I dunno May said something about Coulson indicating he wasn't the same as before in episode three. I think the line was "yeah until you died" my pick is that she knows something.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I was sad that I missed Coulson saying that Tahiti was a magical experience. I think its part of the secret rehabilitation/resurrection story line.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I like almost everything, except for the twin parts.. they are so damn catoonish that I sometimes feel like I'm watching nickelodeon... it just makes me want to barf.
But nothing that can't be solve with a simple push of the forward button... always!
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I am more of a DC comics fan than Marvels, but somehow I am enjoying this show. Maybe because I am a big Whedon fan and enjoy the quips and jokes he inserts in his dialogue. I agree with Kaitlin though that characters need to develop and interact more - but Whedon is generally good with his character development so I am sure that will happen. All in good time :)
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I said In a earlier post that maybe all this show needed was some time to develop from good to great and it is well on its way I'm hooked
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Skye is one sly dog!! haha
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I was really glad SHIELD changed its pace a bit this week. I felt much more engaged and invested in this weeks episode that any before it.

After reading some comments online, I think people are unwilling to accept this show for what it is. SHIELD isn't on AMC or HBO. On ABC, you're dealing with almost twice as many episodes. 20+ episodes per season means that character development and story arcs have to develop much differently in order to be effective.

Also, it's simply never going to be anything with heavy adult content. SHIELD has an 8pm time slot with the "Marvel" name attached to it. Appealing to families who have seen Marvel movies is a good route to go. If you want a lot of violence, sex and adult content, this simply won't be the show for you.

4 episodes in and some people are acting as though this show has "failed" for whatever reason. I'll always counter that by taking a look at Scandal. That show took time to find itself, its audience and developed a solid foundation. Now it's one of ABC's top performing, growing drama's.

As a side note: SHIELD looks like it has almost stabilized from a ratings standpoint. Something that makes me very happy.
More+
8
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Good episode, I think the show is hitting it's stride.
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
i loved it so much this is the new show this season which has been continuously making me addicted!!!! Ahhhhh!!! Now I am itching for next week so bad, like SO BAD!!!!!!!
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Loved it can't wait for more :)
5
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I am pretty sure Akela could see the inside of Coulson, which is probably robotic,
I am also intrigued by the equation.
12
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Definitely an improvement over the past three episodes. I was actually connecting to the characters and relationships, which I've been struggling to do since the pilot. Also, they toned down some of the over-the-top music a bit, I think? Just all in all, it felt like things were clicking a bit better.
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
In regards to your desire to see more on the theme of free will and and control, I got the impression this might be a little bit of a taster for what is to come. They established that this kind of technology is out there and how it could potentially be used. Also that something is different with Coulson, both personality-wise and physically. I think this will all tie in to what has actually been done to Coulson after his death and when the whole idea of such things will be hit home. Especially if he is merely a LMD/Robot at SHIELD's disposal.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
This was almost up to Alphas golden scifi standard :-).
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I enjoyed the show!
Watching May & Akela fighting was cool!
I do not know how much history there is between May & Coulson but I can't wait to find out!
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Ok, here's my deal: I hated the Avengers & from that, I hated the idea of a SHIELD spinoff. I did a fair amount of pre-bitching before the pilot, & although I didn't really like the pilot, it hooked me just enough to progress to ep 2.

Since then, I've grown to like it more each week and at this point, I'm pretty much in it for the long haul.

For those that are still disappointed there's not a plethora of superheros: to be blunt, y'all are just gonna have to suck up all yer 'whah' by now & quitcherbitchin' They were pretty clear from the get go that this show wasn't gonna showcase that stuff, so it's time to either accept it or move on.

To the rest of ya: See y'all next week :)

10
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I have seen a lot of posts that talk about Akela seeing something different about Agent Coulson with her backscatter, but as soon as her handler looked at him he was dead. Shield ID or not, Akela told May facial recognition software would be deployed and they would know she was an agent. What I am getting at here is if Akela looked at Coulson and did not engage, then her fail safe would have went off just like her handlers did, so she could not have seen anything different about him with her backscatter. Does this make sense? Oh, gotta go, Arrow is coming on...
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Skye intercepted and rerouted the signal. The Science Twins jerryrigged up some glasses for the feed to be fed through. Ward served as Akela's proxy. The handler or any software had no idea anything was amiss, until Ward looked in a mirror.
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I get that, but if Akela looked at Coulson prior to this happening, then would that not have led to the kill switch? My point is, I don't think she saw him prior to Skye and Fitz-Simmons jerryrigging. Therefore, the part where she noticed that he was different than before was more of her own perception, not that of her unwanted tech. Does that seem valid? Or did I miss something?
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I think they did all that while she was unconscious. Ward was already out fulfilling her latest task by the time she woke up. I vaguely recall Coulson saying he hit her with a neural transmission blocker, which yikes. That's how he coaxed her into looking at him, while in the cell together.

I think she still had the ability to see within him and notice any "upgrades" up and until the point Fritz took her cybernetic eye. However, she did comment on him being less of a jerkass, since the last time she had seen him. So maybe it was a little from column A and a little from column B. Emotion and tech insight.
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Okay, yeah, I can go with that. It makes sense.
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
""What did they do to him?" Akela asked May with regard to Coulson. If she could tell something was off about him after not being in his presence for any number of years, why can't May?"

I took this to mean Akela used her backscatter X-ray to see inside Coulson's body and saw that he was an android or something similar.
6
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the x-ray thingy was only inserted in the eye that was removed? I more saw it as Akela making this statement after she said he was seemed different, like if he had a personality transplant, or something along those lines.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I think she meant in on both ways
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Agreed.

She still had a working mechanical eye (and back-scatter) while talking to Coulson... they simply hacked the signal so her handler wasn't seeing what she was seeing.

So it's possible she blinked at one point and noticed something funky with Coulson.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
I like that we are getting more and more tidbits leading into a larger arc. The 'man behind the curtain' pulling the strings on the handler gives us yet another overarching piece to the story, and will likely tie into the baddies introduced in the pilot. I'm really excited to see more.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
I saw Akela in movie starring the gorgeous Charlize Theron, Aeon Flux.
She's a damn good fighter. Too bad the costume had her looking ordinary and the fight scene was meh. The story was interesting though.
Whats up with Melinda May character I find her annoying. The only people I really like so far are the scientists.....when they are talking science.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
It was fun to see Stockholm. Maybe more fun than it was supposed to be. What the hell does "glömåla" and "flysbålog" mean? :) http://i.imgur.com/NhMRoZl.jpg. "Följa solen" means "Follow the sun", and "flysbålog" is somewhat similar to "flygbolag" ( = "airline"), so maybe that's what they meant. I wish I could see what's written under "flysbålog".

We got some good shots of Sergels Torg, but they were pretty confusing. We saw two groups of people with red masks walk down two different flights of steps to the square. When we're facing that big glass wall, looking across the square, we're facing south. One group came from the southwest, and one from the southeast. When they cut to the woman with the eye camera, in the middle of the square, and when they showed a view from above, we only saw one group, walking from the southwest to the northeast. The entrance to the subway is in the northwest. :)

The train was going from T-Centralen to Kungsträdgården, which is just one stop away. You can walk there in less than five minutes, and one of the two groups was coming from that direction.

The voice we heard making announcements about where the train was going was authentic. But the inside of a subway train car in Stockholm looks very different from what we saw. The inside scenes must have been filmed wherever the rest of the show is filmed. The eye camera woman was probably the only person they actually sent to Stockholm.

I couldn't tell if the train stopped at Kungsträdgården, or if that was just another shot of T-Centralen.

More+
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
wow you love to dissect a scene when you know the location
Reply
Flag
Oct 20, 2013
Well, when blatant mistakes are made, they hamper immersion and detract you from the story. For some reason, shows like these insist on going places without doing any research (the various posters in the subway could have used names/words from a dictionary rather than random combination of letters including å, ä or ö).

In this episode they actually portrayed Stockholm fairly OK, as they at least had some shots from the actual city, rather than some random european looking place or set (apart from the "Kungsträdgården" station and the action scenes from inside the train which used some set/non-swedish subway station).

Unfortunately, this time, Belarus takes a painful hit as all(?) of the outside shots of the white van are from Uppsala (Sweden) when they claim to be in "Zloda" (which doesn't even seem to be a real place). On foot, they use some set design that is definately not even remotely authentic-looking (for any Belarusian town), rather than looking at publically available images (for example from the actual birth place of the physicist mentioned) and trying to design something based on those.

Alias has done similar things when they used footage from Stockholm when they claimed to be in Malaga, Spain. Or when they claimed to actually be in Stockholm, they used footage from Amsterdam.
More +
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Coulson: What do you like about flying?
May: The solitude

Funny as heck, but I hope the grown-ups talk soon.

I liked this episode. Much better than the Skye-centric one of last week. I preferred the darker tone too. I don't mind the quirky personalities of the main characters, that seems to be the only Whedon staple I'm seeing thus far, but I need the case of the week and the fight for the good fight to seem grander, the stakes higher, the impact for failure more sinister. Give me grit.

Coulson and Amador touched my cold, dead, heart. I really wanted Coulson to give her a hug before she got carted off to a jail cell. Hopefully she'll get to return, after the trial and some counseling. I liked her a lot and I could actually believe her impetus for returning to being a SHIELD agent to either redeem or seek revenge for herself.

In that awkward, Coulson talks about his lost protegee and Skye seeks validation for herself scene, he pretty much reiterated his description of Ward from the first ep. Wrong character mash-up, wasted opportunity for some poignancy, methinks.

Ward is certainly...handsome. Oh, and he's a wannabe robot assassin that happens to be ticklish. Whatever. I did laugh at the little hushed "Help!" after the SEDUCE HIM edict, but I think it would have been just as funny if he had manned up, attempted to seduce the guard with some awful pick-up schtick, the guard being bemused/flattered, but still demanding his ID and then Ward resorting to violence. Skye could have still teased him about his very bad, no good social skills. I mean, how has Ward survived in the field so long? I don't believe this flawless beauty is the guy that was called in to KILL EVERYBODY then leave the scene. He seems to have emotions about his kills, if the truth serum is to be believed. It's not hard to phantom he's had to use his pretty face to get shit done bloodlessly now and again. He doesn't need to be a double-O Ho, but really?

The Short Bus scene made me laugh too. But it took the Genius Squad way too long to realize they were viewing themselves. Why was no adult with them? Where was May? They must have a surplus of super geniuses just lying around. So careless.

Still adore FritzSimmons. Simmons obvisously has the more outgoing personality in the pair. And I think Fritz is adorablecakes.

I like the Fritz and Ward personality pairing, the little we've gotten of them together. I hope they become friends and cut out the testosterone dog sniffing whatever, that seems to be brewing between them with a quickness.

Skye was useful! And yet, I still can't stand her! How old is she? She seems like a child, granted a child among children, but like the youngest child. She just came off as a little girl seeking a Dad with Coulson. I want to believe her irritating, "see I'm useful" "everyone get along" "everyone like me" "Mama May and Papa Coulson are fighting! I must soothe!" tendencies, is supposed to point to her foster-care, never been adopted damage. Buffy she ain't. Joss really needs to stop. Looks like a grown-up, but comes off as a teenager.

More+
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Thumbs up to this review, I pretty much agree with everything. However, you asked why Akela could tell something was off with Coulson and why May couldn't - there were several heavy hints throughout the episode that Akela is in fact psychic, or at least sensitive, in some way. I assumed that that was why she could tell something was wrong with him.

That said, I think you're maybe right that now May has been tipped off, she may start to watch him more closely.
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Umm, what? How was it even hinted she was psychic?

The eye had back-scatter. Combined with info being fed to her that explained everything.

So, between her having a back-scatter eye while talking to Coulson AND knowing how Coulson used to behave... she could comment "Something is really funky with my old pal... also why does he have machines inside him"
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I kind of agree with the earlier posts, she isn't necessarily psychic or sensitive, her actual bionic eye klets her sees inside of people, and Coulson's chest cavity has got to be a work of art to her.
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Lots of people are complaining about the quality of the show from the procedural-like format to the PG action to the lack of characters from the marvel universe. People need to realize this is NOT a cable show which means it is very much under pressure from network's inability to give a show a chance. I would like to refer you to "The Event", "Flashforward" and "Terra Nova" for shows that have come in with this much hype and budget, tried to create longer story arcs and been cancelled by the end of the season with a cliffhanger.

People need to have patience. Right now this show is taking the predictable route of having lower budget episodes (less characters) and a procedural-like series. When the fan base is built and the show is confident of being renewed every season then they will pick things up with the influx of money coming in from Marvel. "Fringe" used this format successfully a few years back, why can't "Agents of SHIELD"?

You can give up now and you could be right in seeing it cancelled (more people give up, more likely cancelled) or you can give it a chance and see what they do in their second season.
More+
13
Reply
Flag
Oct 19, 2013
Excellent point! And I think with Whedon as a creator/ executive producer the entire creative team behind Agents of SHIELD would be acutely aware of this fact. Whedon has always done extremely well in introducing longer, more serialised, story arcs as his series' progress because he understands the importance of building characters first, and that if you try to introduce a new series with a big mythology in its opening episodes, audiences are going to become disorientated and turn off.

It was done well with both Buffy and Angel. Firefly, unfortunately, never got a chance to have its mythology developed, which is probably why I find it the least appealing (for me, anyway) of any Whedon series because of its lack of serialised storytelling. Dollhouse tried to start off as a procedural, but I think the concept itself was too much for audiences and they turned off anyway. Upon realising this Whdeon and co. went full serialised knowing full well of their impending cancellation, which I guess we can be glad for.

So, yeah, I'm waiting patiently. I just hope the eventual payoff is worth the wait.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
My thoughts exactly! It was not just Fringe, either. Buffy and Angel started off as monster/case of the week standalone episodes at the start, before peppering in a grander mythology and becoming more and more serialised as they went. Even the great Firefly was "crime of the week" at times. Unfortunately, it seems procedural are the most popular and successful shows in terms of rating, so most networks enforce shows starting off more in that vein in attracting casual viewers, winning them over before serialization kicks in.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
I agree with 98% of what you said, the only problem is deputizing The Event, Flashforward and Terra Nova into your argument, because they were all genuinely bad shows and changing the initial episodes to shorter story arcs wouldn't have helped any of them.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Terra Nova was bad and kind of doomed from the start (but had similar budgets to this one). I actually liked Flashforward and The Event, both started off superb and kind of lost the plot after the midway point.
5
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
''The Event'' was actually a great show. Way better than ''AOS'' but i get your point.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Did anyone else get the feeling that Akela saw something with her robotic eye thingy in Coulson and that's why she was like What did they do to him? Thats how I saw it. Anyone else see it that way, or am I just crazy lol.
9
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Yes, that is obviously what was intended. May suggests that Akela meant a change in personality, and Akela clearly states that she meant a change in a different way (probably physically, which she saw with her backscatter eye)
6
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Nope, you definitely are not crazy. That was my line of thinking, as well. Now we just need the glasses to come back into play sometime in the near future, so that someone on the team can see it too.
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
So, I imagine that the Life Model Decoy theory about Coulson must be out the window since Akela would've been able to see that with her eye before it was removed, right?

I actually don't really care for this as the mystery of the season because we just didn't know enough about Coulson prior to his "death" for the audience to care all that much about what really happened to him. On top of that, we know that something happened, so it's not gonna be all that interesting to find out what.

Also, is this show ever gonna actually have someone with superpowers on it? They've stayed away from that fairly deftly so far, and I'm not too happy about it (and no, I don't count mechanical augmentations, they just don't interest me). With the Arrow universe adding superpowers in the form of the Flash, I may just turn there for all my comic-book-television-needs.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
there was a superhero in the pilot of the series. Coulson called him one . He didnt last long, but still there can and I believe Will be superheroes. They jsut don't have to be from a comic book.
This series can explore all of the super soldier rejects and projects they want to. As well as failed Hydra experiments, successful Hydra experiments. The sky is the limit on that one. As long as the villians and heroes don't step OVER the film franchises they can havesome serious fun with it. And they can have appearances by the characters that dont seem to have a future in the Marvel movieverse, like Hank Pym or Black Panther.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Oct 16, 2013
There are not going to be superheroes on Agents of SHIELD. And I'm not entirely sure you'll find the Flash having actual superhero abilities either.
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Arrow have already hinted at particle accelerators, which is obviously how they will explain away The Flash's abilities when he arrives. Which means mechanical augmentations, and that you will probably be extremely disappointed there too. Because dropping a real superhero in the Arrow-verse would be even more jarring and ridiculous than here.
As for Agents of Shield though, we have already seen a super-hero, in the first episode. Yes, he was made that way by technology, but that is most of Marvel. Even the characters from the movies don't possess actual powers: Iron Man, The Hulk, Captain America---All products of technology and science.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Big budget suck fest. SHIELD is a very large organization but this show makes them feel so small. The characters aren't believable in their roles besides Coulson and arguably Ming Na. It's TV PG and I think younger kids and families will get a kick out of it but it's not for me.
3
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
1. "Did you never learn the thing where boy parts and girl parts are different? And our parts aren't penises!!!" - best line of the episode.

2. I loved the talk about snacks and bathroom break.

3. Ming-Na action sequence! Agent May literally kicks butts!

4. Am I the only one who hates Agent Handsome? He's terrible.

5. I love the fact that Skye has "a new van". Also she got the x-ray glasses - good for her!

That was a good episode. I'm waiting for the next one.
8
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
When Skye was asking about the bathroom issue *I* just about peed my pants ;) Loved the episode!
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
Wow, I disagree completely. I thought this was by far one of the worst episodes of a TV show I've seen in years. But then, Shield is also the first basic-cable show I've seen in years.

Comparing this show to stuff on HBO/AMC/Showtime/FX, etc, is like comparing Picasso to smudged feces. Granted, the third episode was watchable (and the first was compelling because Whedon), but honestly, who didn't see that double cross coming? I'm about done with this show. I've tried to like it for the sake of Marvel, but it SUCKS.
2
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I just can't think of a comic book show - or any super hero show - featured on cable: S.H.I.E.L.D., Arrow, Smallville, etc they all air on network, some with better results than others.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Alphas, on SyFy.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
The main problem is that you seem to think that Agents of SHIELD is a basic-cable show. It isn't. It's a over-the-airwaves broadcast network show. (Even if you got it via cable. ;) )

It's hard to make out the rest of your argument, since after calling MAoS a basic-cable show when it isn't, you compare it to a combination of pay-channels (HBO and Showtime) and channels that are basic-cable (FX and AMC).

If you meant to say SHIELD is the first broadcast show you've seen in years, and then compare it to pay and basic cable, you might have a point. But SHIELD is hardly unique in that regard, so picking on it just because it's the only broadcast show you've seen, might be a little unfair. Derpanos spoke more on length at that, and I'll leave it to him.
1
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
I'm picking on it because it is shockingly bad compared to what I normally watch. The fact that it's on basic cable, or broadcast, or whatever the American term for a show on free TV is, is an aside at best.

However, I don't really see how you can dispute that it looks, visually, like crap. Very flat and cheap, but even low-budget shows can look great if the cinematographer knows what he's/she's doing. Not what I was expecting from a Marvel production.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
If you normally watch non-broadcast shows that have a higher budget (most cable shows only do 13 episodes rather than 22, so the price/episode is higher), then yes, any network show is going to look like they spent less money on it. Because... they did.

That'd go for the cinematographer as well. :)
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
"Ugh, hate Bourne-style jittering." Ha, that's a matter of taste. I prefer a dynamic camera to stationary for the most part.

And if AoS is better than 75% of what's on regular TV, then I feel pretty justified about not watching regular TV.
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Ugh, hate Bourne-style jittering.

Can't speak to the script: I watch broadcast and cable, AoS as of Eye Spy was probably above 75% at least of what is out there on broadcast.
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
So they can't afford a decent script? Writers don't get paid that much, and I'm sure you can find some film school graduate that knows how to do more than just put a camera in the middle of the action and sit there.

Hell, even using a very slight Bourne-style jittering would liven the action up.

But that's all side dressing. The most important parts are the writing, acting, and story. Take the first scene from Reservoir Dogs. Just a bunch of guys sitting at a table, with a, for the most part, motionless camera, and talking. It's riveting because the dialog and acting is so good. There are plenty of great starving actors that are cheap and would jump at the chance of being on that show, same for the writers. Going with such bland, un-charismatic (except for the hacker) leads is a failure of the show.

Maybe it will get better, I hope it does. But as it is now, it's simply not worth my time.
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Sorry in advance for the lengthy response, but I thought your analogy involving broadcast and cable television merited a larger discussion. I also felt your post was quite condescending, although that probably wasn't your intention.

A contrast between cable television and broadcast television is a strikingly "apples to oranges" comparison, and almost baseless. I do respect your opinion and can certainly discern from where you're coming, but it is really disingenuous to even metaphorically label something as "feces" simply for holding itself to higher standards. The only similarity cable and broadcast share with one another is that they both utilize television, as their respective subject matter couldn't be more distinct.

It should go without saying that programs which are televised on cable are essentially unrestricted in regard to the content that they are allowed to feature. Networks such as HBO and Showtime, in particular, have become rather infamous over the years (or famous, depending on your view) for casually permitting uncensored shots of bare buttocks, breasts, penises, lurid violence, extreme amounts of gore, and explicit sex scenes (at least on the level of "softcore" pornography), not to mention practically every swear word, racial slur, and derogatory phrase one can find in a dictionary (Oxford or Urban) is freely uttered without cause for concern due to the lack of the overbearing FCC and television watchdog groups (i.e. Parents Television Council).

Personally, when I watch shows like S.H.I.E.L.D., I'm fully expecting watered-down violence, "safe" story conclusions, more puritanical behavior from the characters, and clean dialogue because it is being telecast on a "broadcast" network such as ABC. It's not as if every series and every network can showcase Dexter Morgan- or Walter White-type characters. In other words, there are people in America who enjoy "family television" and oftentimes even prefer it to darker series. I just want to say that I unabashedly abhor the mentality (not from you, per se) which suggests that a television series can only be truly "Emmy-worthy" if it airs on a cable network.

There's a reason why television stereotypes and clichés still persist many years after the average viewer has become savvy enough to spot one anytime it appears: it serves as a basis for conventional storytelling in which both writers and audiences alike can use to expand upon their tastes and experiences. To frame it in another manner, the so-called "crap" on broadcast television that people frequently criticize for being inferior to cable still functions as a constructive barometer for what works, and for what does not work. Failure is a necessity for future improvement.

I'll provide a small example: those who were admirably successful in stomaching the abominable eighth and final season of Dexter can attest to what occurs when a longstanding dark and gritty series attempts to emulate broadcast television by including standard "soap-opera" elements in order to form a softer template. If you were to ask most fans of Dexter to name a single detrimental aspect to the final season, they'd probably tell you that the show died when the writers started humanizing Dexter Morgan. Does that seem indicative of the Showtime/cable model?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that adding boobs, gore, and/or curse words onto any show will automatically enhance its quality nor the depth of its writing, but the irony is easily perceptible. Broadcast shows have been imitating cable series for years because the network executives seemingly think that's what sells, even though popularity does not equate to quality.

I have to shake my head reflexively whenever people endeavor to delineate the flaws of a series by comparing it to something of a completely different format, demographic, genre, and/or style, because it's grossly misleading. It's like trying to juxtapose Finding Nemo with The Dark Knight, or Dragon Ball with Cowboy Bebop, or Twilight with Shakespeare, etc. The aforementioned examples are deliberately targeted towards distinct groups of people, therefore, they're not going to be similar.

Oh, boy. I rambled quite a bit on this one.
More +
19
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
As for the alleged condescension, I really don't know how you got that vibe.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Half-asleep, two cans of Red Bull earlier in the day.

Forgive me. ;__;
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
No worries :p
A admit, I was more hyperbolic than I probably should have been with the Picasso to feces comparison, but I honestly just kinda thought it was funny.
1
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Wow, that's a wall of text, man. I only have time to skim it, but I think I get the gist. I'm not American, so forgive me for confuzzling all the different variants of cable, basic cable, broadcast, etc.

As for your violence/nudity/language argument, I'm afraid that doesn't hold water. AoS isn't a bad show because it's PG, it's a bad show cos it has, so far, mediocre, bland characters, very perfunctory and uninspiring writing, lame stories, flat, unappealing cinematography, and what feels like a struggle to fill out 40 minutes.

It's a Joss Whedon show without Whedon's trademark wittiness. It's boring, and isn't really showing a sign of improvement. A good script can more than make up for a low budget, but I haven't smelt a good script anywhere near AoS as of yet. Obviously, your mileage may vary, but imo there's too many good movies, games and shows out there to waste time on a mediocre product.
Reply
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
It's alright. I was merely explaining (or trying to, while half-asleep) how it's kind of inaccurate to make such a comparison.

You mentioned HBO, AMC, FX, and Showtime specifically in your original post, but those networks all have something in common that traditional broadcast networks don't: they're able to develop "edgier" programming because the usual moral standards are mostly nonexistent. It's not a level playing field, in other words.

I don't think you're wrong or anything for disliking S.H.I.E.L.D. (it's an opinion to which everyone is entitled), but you didn't quite explain why you thought this week's episode was "by far one of the worst episodes of a TV show I've seen in years [sic]."
Reply
Flag
Oct 18, 2013
---"Heh, may I ask why you put the "[sic]" at the end of my quote? The sentence in question is grammatically sound, as far as I can tell :p"

It was fine grammatically, I just wanted to indicate that I was quoting someone accurately. =P

---"As for why, that's fair to ask. I thought the story was incredibly boring. None of the characters had anything interesting to say, and the plot revolved around a very predictable twist. I watch everything on my computer, and I found myself browsing the web several times, for several minutes, before I remembered that the show was on in the background.

It's just not engaging. For me, at least, and I'm a big fan of most of Marvel's cinematic offerings."

Well, this is also a form of criticism with which I can't exactly argue, as it's a personal interpretation. I suppose the only advice I can provide is that sticking with the show for a few more weeks may alter your opinion. I would say, however, that "predictable" isn't necessarily shallow writing nor a problematic facet for a series. The "twist" towards the end was basically the inclusion of a possible "big bad" character stretching out over the course of this season (or perhaps, even further).

I thought Skye was handled much better compared to the pilot or the third episode, wherein her Mary Sue tendencies surfaced more blatantly (not that Sue characters are bad on their own, but too much of one is never a good thing); Ward started to loosen up and come out of his anti-social shell, even though it still failed to help him in the field; I felt more comfortable with Fitz-Simmons, as they've seemingly found their niche within the group; my only disapproval with the episode was May's lackluster purpose, which is somewhat understandable as her character is meant to be enigmatic.
More +
Flag
Oct 17, 2013
Heh, may I ask why you put the "[sic]" at the end of my quote? The sentence in question is grammatically sound, as far as I can tell :p

As for why, that's fair to ask. I thought the story was incredibly boring. None of the characters had anything interesting to say, and the plot revolved around a very predictable twist. I watch everything on my computer, and I found myself browsing the web several times, for several minutes, before I remembered that the show was on in the background.

It's just not engaging. For me, at least, and I'm a big fan of most of Marvel's cinematic offerings.

Flag
Staff
Oct 16, 2013
You should expand on this and write it up as a separate review in our Agents of SHIELD community in order to get different perspectives.
4
Reply
Flag
Oct 16, 2013
It was OK.
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook