Agents of SHIELD brought a better episode this time. It’s still a very stereotypical “the team learns to work together” episode, but it helped me get a better feel for the series. Or a least give it to midseason to make a “final” decision about, because I did enjoy it more than the pilot.
The episode begins with a view of the Bus flying with audio of Coulson communicating with air traffic control when suddenly a hole appears in the Bus, and a body goes flying. Flashback to the day before, Skye moving into the Bus and saying (a temporary) goodbye to her van (and of course, SHIELD has a device that can drive it for them.) We learn that the team is headed to Peru to deal with an 084 or an object of unknown origin (the last one was Mjölnir). The team arrives at an Incan Temple (archeology/history experts, was that one that was appropriate for Peru? Thinking back, it looked more Mayan to me, but that could be a Hollywood bias. Also, Google Images brought up the same images for both Maya and Inca.) and discover an impossible device embedded into the wall. I’m not going to lie, I saw possible Tesseract technology and South American and was convinced we’d see Nazis or HYDRA. Instead we get Peruvian national police (with a connection to Coulson) and local rebels.
While everything is being shot up, we get arguing and miscommunication between Coulson’s handpicked team, and Melinda May is once again forced to face combat. They successfully get the 084 on the Bus with Coulson’s “friend” Comandante Camilla Reyes and her team. There’s downtime, Skye tries to cross the bridge between her and Ward, May locks herself in the cockpit because she’s angry at Coulson, FitzSimmons gets to researching, and Coulson shows Camilla his collectibles. We all know something is off when Camilla comes on very strong to Coulson, and then the team is taken out and tied up in the cargo hold in order to force Coulson to cooperate. The team bands together to break free, uses the 084 to depressurize the Bus, and saves the day with a raft. The team has completed their first bonding exercise, Skye appears to be a mole, and Coulson is chewed out by Fury.
What I liked:
- Melinda May. It’s official, she’s my crush of the show. Also, her codename was The Calvary, and is famous among new recruits. If I was better at sewing, I’d be making a Melinda May outfit for Halloween.
- Coulson speaking Spanish. I always love it when show acknowledge language skills and then shows them being used competently. Of course, I don’t speak Spanish, so I have no idea a decent of a line it actually was.
- How they worked in the movie references, because they didn’t feel awkward to me.
- Camilla bringing the chocolate with the comment about American tastes. I’m American, but I can’t stand how sweet most things are in this country.
- Coulson having an afterlife crisis. (I was actually surfing on tumblr late last night and saw someone made that joke after Lola was first revealed.)
- proving the usefulness of the inflight safety pamphlets. I loved looking at those things when I was a kid, and I still glance at them when I fly now.
What I didn’t like:
- Stereotypical language divide between the muscle and the scientist. It may have some kind of realism, but can we for once have a scientist who recognizes who his/her audience is and speak appropriately? (I’d ask for muscle who understands, but the point of it is to explain for the audience.)
- Ward just taking the 084; I understand why, but it lead to a lucky we didn’t set it off scene.
- Ward has a crush? Right now his relationship with Skye is being framed as “he sees potential in her”, but also in that “I’m attracted to her way.”
- HYDRA reference but no actual HYDRA
- Slightly more subtle product placement then I’m used to (hi, Teen Wolf!) but I’m glad to know that SHIELD drives a Lexus, anyone want to let me know what model?
- The bus’s call sign was 616. For the uninitiated, that’s the number for Marvel’s base comic book universe. Much like DC’s is/was (I no longer pay attention) Earth-1
- Is Skye a mole for The Rising Tide? Or is Coulson aware that she’s not fully on board and using her? The problem with spy stories, you never know who knows what
- Also FitzSimmons appear to be the welcoming committee/appeasers of the group. Or maybe it’s just Simmons, since she was the one trying to smooth things over about Skye’s first visit to the Bus and is also the one who convinced Fitz to join the team. I’m now looking forward to an episode that focuses on the two of them or separates them. This episode completely reversed my first reactions to them.
- Fitz’s drones reminded me of scifigrl47’s Roombas from her epic fanfic series In Which Tony Stark Builds Himself Some Friends (But His Family Was Assigned by Nick Fury) among others.
- Fury’s cameo would’ve been better if it hadn’t been spoiled by every news outlet. I enjoyed his chewing out of Coulson, but sometimes you need to remember the impact of these things before it’s splattered in the headlines (I don’t read the articles for the same reason, but it’s hard to avoid when I see it skimming through the titles.)
- Tahiti mentions: 1; Magical place: 1
- Pop culture references: Hunger Games, Marvel Comics-verse
(Also, Thor’s “still muscley and everything”! I love Darcy.)