Agents of SHIELD
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review - Episode 4: Eye Spy

Bob Chipman | 16 Oct 2013 11:15
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More refreshing, though, is that the situation with Amador herself has been mostly handled by the midpoint of the episode. We get exactly enough fun out of watching the good guys have to piece together clues based on whatever Akelah is looking at while they're spying on her eye-feed, a brief x-ray enhanced fight scene with May and then she's in custody - good! Instead of more protracted bad guy chasing, it's time for more weird science, more spycraft and more character scenes; all the stuff that this show is good at but needs to do more of:

On the weird science side, Fitz/Simmons have to figure out how to remove the suspiciously-advanced implant from Amador's eye. On the character side, Coulson "interrogates" his ex-protégé via what turns out to be more like a confessional. As for the spycraft, Skye and Ward attempt to ferret out the identity of Amador's controller by swapping her eye-camera feed onto Ward and having him continue her mission... which hits a small but not insurmountable snag when one of the instructions for bypassing the guard to an underground vault in Belarus is "seduce him."

My favorite bit, though, is that Amador's final target turns out to be a tiny room, empty save for a chalkboard full equations covering three of the four walls and two unassuming men calmly working on old-fashioned typewriters. We never find out what these guys are working on, but it makes logical enough sense as establishing that whoever is in charge wants whatever this is to not even touch a digital access point; for now I'm digging just the simple "WTF?" of it - and not just because it's our second indicator (after the red mask guys) that whoever penned this episode has an affinity for, if not Steranko-era S.H.I.E.L.D, at least their taste in spy fiction.

In any case, the mystery wraps without resolution as Amador's handler turns out to have been controlled himself. A bigger, rival, evil organization to fight? If so, finally! More importantly, Akelah Amador makes it out minus one eye but otherwise on the other side of her situation. Some of her scenes felt a lot like try-outs to become a regular cast member, and if so I could really get behind that - though they'd have to figure out a way for her to function as something other than a spare Melinda May.

Speaking of Agent May, she gets the final dialogue exchange with Amador that gives us our mythology-tease for the week. During their earlier scene, Coulson had made reference to being a changed man since last she saw him, calling back to the earlier implication that he was a harder taskmaster when she knew him. She brings it up on her way to S.H.I.E.L.D custody. May explains (again) that he was "almost" killed during the events of The Avengers, but that doesn't seem to be what Amador was talking about. She wants to know "what they did to him" - which would seem to imply that the Coulson she knew was somehow different from the way he appears here and the way we knew him from the previous Marvel movies...

PARTING THOUGHTS:

  • Early on, Skye posits that telepathic abilities would explain the abnormal effectiveness of the mystery jewel thief. That doesn't seem like an unlikely prospect given that this is a world of aliens, transdimensional portals and Vikings gods, but it's immediately shot down with the explanation that telepathy is not among the supernatural phenomena that have been confirmed to exist thus far in this universe. Obviously, this means that a telepathic threat must be in the Agents' future, but it's also a pretty concrete reminder that we're still not even winking as to the possibility that certain characters might be out there, somewhere.
  • Here's an idea: If Agent Amador does come back as a regular, can we maybe not overdo it on the "S.H.I.E.L.D only hires black people if they have one eye" jokes?
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