TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "0-8-4"

I liked this episode a little better than the pilot.
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“0-8-4,” the name of the episode, is a S.H.I.E.L.D. code for an object of unknown origin, like what turned out to be Thor's hammer at the end of Iron Man 2. Agent Coulson's (Clark Gregg) team, though they squabble and act more like a bunch of individuals, is called into action when an 0-8-4 is found at an Incan archeological site in Peru.

While analyzing the mystery object, the Peruvian National Police show up, and Commandante Camilla Reyes (Leonor Varela) just so happens to be a former fling of Coulson's. They agree to work together, but once on-board the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane, the Peruvian Police take it over in an attempt to steal the object, which they hope to use against the Shining Path rebels. The S.H.I.E.L.D. team must work together to save the day, and of course they all do.

I'm still indifferent about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The stories are okay, and the Marvel Comics references are fun to catch, but I haven't connected to the characters yet. I barely know their names so I don't really care what happens to them. However, the revelation at the end of this episode that Skye is a double agent for the mysterious Rising Tide organization sounds like it had potential for future episodes. 

Even though I didn't get how the team activated the mystery object with a remote copter nor believed that an inflatable raft would have covered a large hole in the plane, I liked this episode a little better than the pilot. Joss' humor was a bit distracting and not very believable coming from these characters.

The overuse of close-ups during the action scenes in both episodes makes it seem like it's a low budget, straight-to-DVD action film, which contributes to the series not feeling like an ABC show. Should be on Syfy or USA and without Joss' involvement I can't imagine it drawing many folks at a convention other than people making for the panel that follows.

Todd Karella responds:

Well, I can certainly agree that this second episode was better than the first, but it’s like comparing two steamy piles of dog crap and saying which one smells better. No matter the choice, you’re still left with a pile of shit. I can’t believe how disappointed I am in this series. While I didn’t expect perfection or anything near motion-picture quality, I was at least expecting something mildly entertaining.

The film quality is subpar and looks like they borrowed the cameras used during some of the now-defunct daytime soap operas or maybe one of the crew just figured they’d bring in their own personal camcorder.

The sets look completely fake. Even the trees look plastic. It was obvious that the exterior of the plane was a model and who decided to nail some hideous wooden S.H.I.E.L.D. emblems to the vehicles? Episodes of The A-Team shot 30 years ago looked more realistic than what this show presents.

The actors have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever, which is magnified tenfold by the terrible dialogue and atrocious acting. Even Clark Gregg who plays Agent Coulson and should have some decent acting chops by now is as wooden as Jimmy Fallon fumbling around trying to read off his cue cards while doing his nightly monologue. The characters are so one-dimensional that I too can’t remember a single one of their names. So I’ve given them some of my own. There’s “The Hot Chick", "the two nerds (Frick and Frack)", the “Wussy James Bond”, and the “Token Minority.” I could have called the last one Buffy or River since she’s the same bad-ass chick that has become stereotypical of every Joss Whedon production.

While I agree that using a life raft to plug a giant hole in the side of the plane that people had literally been violently sucked out just moments earlier was the most absurd part of the episode and made me cringe with vile flashbacks of the horrible scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom when they used a life raft to jump safely out of a plane, there were a few moments that I actually enjoyed.

I liked when Wussy Bond pulled out his collapsible bo staff and blasted his attackers with an energy wave. That was actually pretty cool and the actual special effects were good.

There was also the scene on the plane where Wussy Bond and Hot Chick actually had a moment. There was actually some character development and there was no fake scenery in the background.

And finally the ending where Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) appeared doing a guest cameo as he has done in many of the Marvel films. But let’s face it, Jackson makes everything cooler.

As bad as this show is I’m surprised it hasn’t already been yanked off the air. I can only imagine that it’s still on because everyone is hoping that at some point it’s all gonna click and come together. I must admit that it’s the only reason I’m still watching.

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