Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Marvel's Agents of SHIELD" review: "0-8-4"

I wasn't going to recap "Marvel's Agents of SHIELD," but, darn it, I have opinions after watching the second episode!

"0-8-4" didn't quite live up to last week's premiere, but despite several issues that I hope they get under control soon, I was overall pleased with the second episode.

*Minor spoilers ahead*

On "0-8-4," Coulson & Co. travel to Peru to deal with a 0-8-4 - an object of unknown origin. While Skye, Agent Ward and FitzSimmons are investigating the object - which turns out to be a super gamma laser o' doom built by Hydra - Coulson meets a beautiful Peruvian military leader with whom he has a history (boom-chicka! Go Coulson!) and, when they're ambushed by rebels, Coulson takes the hot military leader woman and some of her underlings on the bus (which is what they call their gigantic triple-decker awesome plane). Unfortunately, things don't go as planned, and soon there are major problems with the titular Agents of SHIELD.

"0-8-4" is the first episode that features what I suspect will be the format for this show - a problem of the week with a few little nudges toward a story with a bigger scope that is brewing. After last week's interesting, person-centered episode, though, the mysterious Hydra weapon in a cave seemed a little bit dull. It was obviously just a means to an end - the end being a way to get Skye, Melinda, Grant and FitzSimmons to bond.

They did bond, but the bonding felt a little bit forced, especially when it came to poor straight-man Agent Grant Ward. It seems as though the writers don't quite know what to do with him yet. They're trying to get him to be a mentor for Skye, but I'm not feeling a super great connection between the two of them yet. They're definitely still trying to figure out how to use his dry, cranky demeanor to the benefit of the show. I think they can get there, but they need to decide exactly what to do with him.

The other issue in the second episode of "Agents of SHIELD" was some seriously clunky dialogue. Don't get me wrong, there were also several delightfully snappy exchanges - not as many as in the premiere, but it was still there - but the characters spent too much time overexplaining things that were going on. I appreciate that the writers are trying to make "Agents of SHIELD" an entry point into the Marvel-verse, and I'm perfectly OK with some clunky lines like, "Gamma radiation!? You mean that stuff that turns Bruce Banner into the Hulk!?" in order to explain things to the people who haven't seen every single Avengers-related movie, but it got a little bit ridiculous, especially in the first half of the episode. I'm hoping that, after a few episodes of teaching the audience the lingo, the writers will be able to settle in to a more natural voice.

There were a lot of positives to the second episode of "Agents of SHIELD," too, though. I still believe that bringing in Agent Coulson as the glue that holds the show together was a very, very, VERY smart decision, because Clark Gregg is just absolutely perfect in every situation. He's a delight, and, if nothing else, I'm thrilled to have a show that lets him be on my TV every week.

I'm also getting a fun bro vibe between FitzSimmons that I'm really digging. I pray that the FitzSimmons shippers are wrong, because I'd hate to see their breezy, fun friendship get ruined by sexual tension. I would love to see them get some sweet, sweet lovin' from other people, but I would love them to stay strictly platonic. There's nothing better than a strong male-female relationship between two people who love each other, but aren't in love with each other.

I also really enjoyed the last 2 minutes of the episode, but since it was such a delightful surprise, I won't ruin it. Suffice it to say, it was a nice little stinger for the episode that gave a nudge to people who have stuck with the Marvel-verse for the last few years.

Finally, for a moment I'd just like to express appreciation and unbridled fangirl glee that there is a superhero show like "Agents of SHIELD" on network TV, as imperfect as it might be? It's just wonderful to have something like this on TV. I do think that there are some issues with the show that need to be resolved sooner rather than later - mostly clunky dialogue and some characters who need direction - but I think there's a lot of potential that, if seized, will make "Agents of SHIELD" one of the best shows on TV.

I still can't wait until next week's episode, which is the best review I can give to a show.

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