Gordon S. Miller writes...
I know this might be faint praise considering my reaction to the previous three episodes, buthis week's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the best of the series so far because of a creative script by Jeffrey Bell, which was reminiscent of past spy shows like Mission: Impossible.
“Eye-Spy,” which has multiple meanings, opens in Sweden with 55 men wearing red masks making their way through Stockholm and onto a train. This stunt is to keep secret a shipment of diamonds one of them is carrying. Almost no one seems to notice their odd appearance, except for a young, black woman. She knocks them all out on the train and makes off with the diamonds.
Coulson chooses to involve the team in solving the robbery, but doesnt want the S.H.I.E.L.D. higher-ups to know. That's because the thief is Akela Amador (Pascale Armand), a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent trained by Coulson, so once again, it's personal. She disappeared on assignment seven years ago and was presumed dead.
However, it turns out Akela is not acting of her own freewill and is constantly being monitored through a camera in her eye. Skye is able to hack into the video feed and place a camera on a pair of glasses so Ward can continue her mission with Akela's handlers none the wiser. There is a good bit of humor when Akela's order is to seduce a guard to get past him, and also a good plot twist when Coulson confronts her handler.
While I liked the story, the episode still had some character issues. Ward really needs to be more compelling. He shows a little more personality here, but his stoicism is making him boring. There was a dopey bit when Skye breaks mission protocol to call and ask what she and the tech twins are supposed to do for a bathroom and food while working in a surveillance van. It was beyond childish.
Agents was granted a full season order last week. I was concerned how I was going to make it through, but if the writers can continue with scripts like this, it'll be fine. Also, I am glad to see what appears to be the Japanese hero Sunfire coming next week.
Todd Karella responds...
After watching this episode, I was quite concerned that I was beginning to get used to the poor quality of the show and that my level of acceptance was dropping, but knowing that my fellow reviewer thought it wasn't too bad makes me feel a bit at ease because I actually liked this episode. It wasn't great and I didn't love it, but it was okay and certainly better than any of the previous episodes thus far.
There were still a few strange aspects of the show that confused me a little bit if I tried to think about them too much. When Melinda May stubbornly refused to accept the possibility that there ever has been or ever could be such a thing as ESP or telepathy, I found myself wondering if I was in the Marvel Universe or not. The name Professor X immediately jumped to mind. Maybe in the concept of the Avengers films so far there hasn't been anyone telepathic, but it just felt very odd. So did Fitz commenting about how the fake eyeball was decades ahead of their current technology. It was also interesting that they could block the visual signal coming and going from the eye but yet couldn't block the termination signal.
I didn't mind the bathroom break phone call that much. It was a little silly, but I at least felt they were trying to add a little more personality into the show. If they had tied it in with an actual important message they had to communicate and it was more an aside than the only reason they called, it would have worked much better.
The last few weeks my favorite aspect was the cool special effects, but this time it was when Ward was impersonating Akela and he received the instructions to seduce the male guard. Not only was it completely unexpected, but you knew it was something his rigid character would have difficulty doing even if the target had been a woman. That brief moment actually made me laugh out loud for the first time this entire season.
Even so, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to bring this show up to the level of really deserving to have a full season. But from what I saw in this latest adventure, they are finally trying to make steps towards developing the show. It's nice to see some improvement, but only time will tell if they can ramp it up quickly enough to keep viewers watching.