Tuesday, October 15, 2013

REVIEW: 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Finally Achieves Most of Its Potential in 'Eye Spy'

ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Episode 1.04 Eye Spy

Agent Coulson and the SHIELD team try to track down a mysterious woman who has single-handedly committed numerous high-stakes heists. But when the woman's identity is revealed, a troubling secret stands to ruin Coulson.

"Eye Spy" is the first episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that we all wanted the show to be from the beginning. For the first time, this feels like the show simply being its own thing - instead of just being one big easter egg for The Avengers franchise. The case-of-the-week story was simple and well-executed. It used every member of the core team well and made each of them feel necessary. The characters all had clearly defined traits and beats that all gelled together well as everyone was working towards the same goal. The show had struggled in its first three episodes on how to utilized everyone for the benefit of the team. With some either seeming unlikable (Ward) or unsure of what skills they actually bring to the team (Skye). Here everything came together so well. Along with some realistic tension amongst the group. Coulson and May are still by far the most interesting members of the team. Their disagreement over how to handle Agent Amador felt grounded yet complicated - and further showcased their pasts. But "Eye Spy" was a positive sign of the rest of the team coming into their own.

So much of what made the main plot a success was Pascale Armand as Agent Akela Amador. From the first second she pops up, she pulls you in. She brought a mysterious intrigue to the role. And later, when she was captured by Coulson, there was a simplicity to her performance. She was fearful of the plot to finally set her free and yet she was always powerful. When she finally was able to lay down and fall asleep without worrying if it was okay from her handler, it was satisfying. That character went on a journey in this hour. And the series did that very effectively. Also, she could return in a future episode as well. She and Coulson have a history and that could prove to be very beneficial in his arc of what happened to him after the Battle of New York - which is the story we're all looking forward to, but seeing Coulson lead this team is fine too.

Some more thoughts:
  • That tag sequence is everything the show should try to do in those last minute scenes. It was simple and pretty funny. It also helped to see these characters when they're not on a mission.
  • I'm usually pretty good with the gory stuff. The one exception - eyes! I always get creeped out when someone is sticking something in there or something is sticking out.
  • I definitely can get behind Skye calling Coulson, "A.C."
  • The humor also felt like it came from a place of honest human interaction. That's a step up from seeming like the show going for a quotable line.