Tuesday, October 1, 2013

REVIEW: 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' - '0-8-4' Brings the Team Together & Stages a Cool Cameo Appearance

ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Episode 1.02

Coulson and his S.H.I.E.L.D. agents travel to Peru to investigate an object of unknown origin, codenamed 0-8-4. But when he runs into Comandante Camilla Reyes (Leonor Varela), more than just sparks fly at 30,000 feet.

"0-8-4" is the obligatory hour where this ragtag team of heroes learns how to work together and becomes a team. The hour is painfully blunt where every minute you know exactly what the show is trying to do. And sure, those action sequences on the plane are pretty exciting. But the plot of this hour felt like something the show had to do instead of something that organically came from the narrative. It's a necessary evil.

So while this team does come together in the end and emerges victorious against the evil Peruvian agents, the series has not presented a character you can actually get invested in outside of Coulson. Ward is simply cocky and off-putting; Skye is simply naive; and Fitz and Simmons are British and speak too quickly. Melinda succeeds the most at being a defined character. The mystery surrounding her past intrigues me and I enjoy that the show isn't explicitly telling us about it yet. It gives her edge. The rest of the characters know about it - except for Skye, and the show very easily could explain it all to her - but they are showing restraint with that. But her past does define her on this show. Thusly, she doesn't pop either.

But the hour also felt like the show was trying too hard for fan service. People are expected to eat up the reference to Thor's hammer, or the 0-8-4 being tesseract technology or Samuel L. Jackson's appearance at the very end of the hour. That's all fine and daddy. But it's simply the show succumbing to the movie franchise. Sooner or later this series is gonna have to stand on its own two feet and offer up its own merits that call back to its own history and not the history of the Avengers - because they are by far more fun and interesting and exciting as of now.

Some more thoughts:
  • Leonar Varela was fine in a pretty much one-note and thankless role.
  • I HATE the prospect of a Ward-Skye relationship. Largely because Ward just annoys me too much.
  • It also doesn't help that the show is only mimicking the way the movies were shot. It's great to draw parallels between the two. But also really points out the budget constraints this show has.
  • The opening sequence showing the outside of the plane before they blew the hole did lessen some of the tension coming later on. We knew something was going to happen once they were in the sky. And thusly, the show never gave us a reason to trust the Peruvian soldiers.