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

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review

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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
  • Series:

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!
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CaptAmerica04 10/2/2013 8:56:05 AM

 "Warner Brothers waited TEN seasons to put Tom Welling in a cape!"  That sentence sums up why this show is better than any other comic book-t.v. show attempt thus far, and will likely even eclipse Arrow.  There will be bumps along the way, and imperfect episodes, but all in all the experience will be fantastic, comic-book styled, unashamed of its origins, and still be a solid drama show at the same time.

My only complaint of last night's episode was that the last time there was a 0-8-4, there were DOZENS of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents swarming the site, putting up barriers, pulling security, and generally acting like you would expect a huge government agency to behave when confronted with something like that.  This time we get... 3 field agents, 2 scientists, and a consultant.  Did S.H.I.E.L.D. suffer a budget drop after the Battle of New York?  Is the government shutdown affecting them, too?  ;)

Bah, it's a minor complaint.  The inflatable raft thing was silly, but I was able to overlook it (though I hope we don't devolve into too much of such silly action in future episodes).  The cameo by Sam Jackson was just icing on the cake for me.

Definitely a weaker effort for the second episode, but nothing even CLOSE to giving me ideas of jumping ship on this yet.

joe4306 10/2/2013 9:05:38 AM

i'm not a marvel fan....this show is ok....but it could be better.....dc rules!!!!!!

WarCry 10/2/2013 9:06:21 AM

  My only complaint of last night's episode was that the last time there was a 0-8-4, there were DOZENS of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents swarming the site, putting up barriers, pulling security, and generally acting like you would expect a huge government agency to behave when confronted with something like that.


I would counter-argue that - as shown in the post-credits scene of Iron Man 2 - the original response to New Mexico was Coulson, by himself, all alone. He showed up, there were already civilians milling around, and (off-camera) he would have had to confirm it BEFORE they brought in the swarming hordes.

This episode was the confirmation phase. Fitz was talking about bringing in containment, but then things went to hell in a handbasket and Ward took action.

ElBaz13 10/2/2013 9:07:17 AM

I'm digging this show. They are starting to set up their own mythology with some good character development last night.

I have to say, Phil Coulsen rocks. What a great character to come out of the MCU and not the comics. His line deliveries are great wether he cracks a funny or gets really serious.

Again, love the MCU references and of course the icing on the cake is Fury showing up. Has Sam Jackson ever done TV before? You would think a movie star would pass on a TV appearance but I have to give kudos to him on this one which means he enjoys playing this character.

ElBaz13 10/2/2013 9:14:36 AM

Bingo Warcry!

Plus I would also use the budget excuse.

gammenon 10/2/2013 9:27:02 AM

I'm going to take it that last night's shows was one of those filler episodes that actually builds up to something bigger, as Tim mentioned.   HYDRA would be cool.  I'm still waiting for Baron Zemo to show his diabolical hyde somewhere, either in this show or in a movie.

hanso 10/2/2013 9:36:57 AM

WB waited 10 yrs to put Tom Welling in a cape probably because the show was called Smallville about Clark Kent before he was Superman, and not Metropolos about Superman.


this ep at least had less jokes than the pilot so that was a plus for me.  And is Coulson always saying Tahiti is a magical place suppose to be like he was brain washed or something and that reaction was programmed everytime he hears Tahiti?

I liked seeing Fury pop up tahts certainly mich better than name dropping Avengers.

jppintar326 10/2/2013 9:37:20 AM

I think B- is the right grade for this episode.  I had a hard time believing that the Peruvians could gain control of the plane so easily.  Yes how the agents got the plane back was entertaining. Howecer, if I want to watch people taking over a plane, I'll switch to NCIS.  This episode has me concerned that the writers phoned in this episode.  I hope the third episode is better.

tjanson 10/2/2013 9:46:58 AM

Hanso come one expected Smallville to last ten seasons...Was Clark being the "Red-Blue Blur" really better than nutting up and putting him in the cape and tights?

hanso 10/2/2013 9:53:08 AM

 Yes, again the show was about Kent prior to becoming Superman.  If you make him Supes it defeats the purpose of what the show was about.  


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