Mania Grade: B-
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- Episode: 0-8-4 (Season 1, Episode 2)
- Starring: Clark Gregg. Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet
- Written By: Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen
- Directed By: David Straiton
- Network: ABC
- Studio: Marvel Studios, Walt Disney, Mutant Enemy
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 0-8-4 Review
It is a code 0-8-4!
By Tim Janson
October 02, 2013
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC
© Marvel Studios
While the second episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. failed to hit as many high notes as the pilot it still managed to give viewers several surprises and references to the Marvel Universe. Joss Whedon proves again he is smarter and one step ahead of a lot of the show’s opening episode critics. While people complained about the young hacker Skye (Bennet) a civilian being included in the team, Whedon addresses this issue right off the bat. Agent Ward (Dalton) voices his concerns about her To Coulson. Coulson uses the reasoning that the fact that she is NOT a trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent will be a benefit, especially now with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s resources at her fingertips. Probable? Maybe not. But definitely viable…in a comic book sort of way.
The team responds to a code 0-8-4 which means that an item of unknown origin has been located, prompting Coulson to tell Skye that the last one was “a hammer”. They arrive in Peru at the site of an ancient Incan temple to find a mysterious device embedded into a wall. Now my first thought, being that the device was small and looked alien, was that it was the Ultimate Nullifier…you know, the thing that scares the bejeezus out of Galactus. How cool would that have been! As it turns out the object’s origin is more terrestrial in source but still interesting. The object is powered by the same energy as the Tesseract (i.e. Cosmic Cube) seen in the Avengers film and had its origin in World War II apparently created by HYDRA, giving us our official mention of the terrorist, arch-foe of S.H.I.E.L.D., not to mention a Captain America drop. S.H.I.E.L.D., however, is not the only party interested in the object. A Peruvian military unit is also after the object and manages to take over S.H.I.E.L.D.’s flying fortress dubbed “the bus”, intending to kill the team. This leads to an explosion on the airplane and the silliest use of a life raft since “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”.
Going from a super-powered guy who has the potential to explode to a group of soldiers was a big drop off in antagonists this week. While not expecting super-powered characters every week, you hoped for a somewhat more intriguing villain than a handful of overmatched soldiers. Still, it gave Ming-Na Wen a chance to shine as badass Agent Melinda May, living up to her legendary reputation. The downtime on the plane also gave the show a chance to develop some of the other characters, particularly Ward who begins to see the value in Skye after May tells him all she needs is a good Supervisor.
Joss and Jed Whedon again show their tongue-in-cheek humor by poking at their own show by mentioning the team is full of young, good-looking agents, again which was a criticism of some fans after the pilot. While the first two episodes have been self-contained, it’s obvious that Whedon is building up HYDRA. The group was behind both of the devices seen in the first two episodes although the implication is that HYDRA was wiped out in World War II. This would be a great opportunity to perhaps introduce villains of that era like Baron Zemo, or Wolfgang Von Strucker.
The biggest surprise of the night came after the last commercial in typical Marvel ‘after the credits fashion’ when Samuel L. Jackson made a cameo as Nick Fury to tear Coulson a new one for allowing the bus to be damaged. And therein lies the key thus far for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not only to we get mentions of Thor, Captain America, and Tony Stark, but one of the lead actors from the big screen film making an appearance to further legitimize the series. And Warner Brothers waited TEN seasons to put Tom Welling in a cape!