If last week‘s pilot was a little underwhelming in its general perfunctoriness, what does the second episode of ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. look like? Apparently it’s “Disney with an edge”
Let’s bitch it out…
So…that wasn’t great, was it?
A few concessions obviously need to be recognized, which is that the second episode of most shows is a challenge to pull off. If the pilot has to introduce characters, give the series its tone &”look”, as well do some world-building, the second episode basically needs to do all of that all over again without feeling stale. In this capacity ‘0-8-4’ is mostly a success because it truly does feel like a brand new adventure, albeit one with relatively low stakes considering how much damage the mysterious object can do.
So why then does 1×02 not work for me? Well, in all honestly, this feels far too much like Disney brass slipping notes to the showrunners reminding them that the show must be light and fun and filled with family friendly messages. And so we get a 42 minute episode all about how this newly formed team doesn’t know how to communicate or work together…until they encounter a crisis that forces them to not only communicate, but work together, too! It’s such a simple and facile message that I almost expected the cast of Sesame Street to show up for the much advertised cameo to teach us all about friendship and sharing (perhaps next week?).
I appreciate that this is a new team and there will be growing pains as everyone learns what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are. That’s only natural. And it’s not as though ‘0-8-4’ is devoid of highly enjoyable moments – particularly once the heavy handed messaging is set aside for the action sequences aboard “the bus”. I just really hope that we don’t get too many more of these “very special” episodes that are as subtle as a blow to the head with Thor’s hammer (aka the last 0-8-4 object S.H.I.E.L.D. encountered)
- While I will admit that I dislike Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) less this week, they’re still easily my least favourite characters on the show. My favourite: Ming-Na Wen’s mysterious Melinda May (aka The Calvary) who speaks in truncated sentences and can dislocate her wrist as easily as she can incapacitate a man with her legs. It’s love, folks…
- I feel like I should know, but are Fitz and Simmons together? Brother/sister? Tech geeks? Shouldn’t it be more clear what their relationship is?
- Speaking of dreaded love, let’s all pray that now that Ward (Brett Dalton) has agreed to act as Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) Supervising Officer, the misguided attempt at romantic flirtation between the two will be abandoned. How about we learn who these people are before they begin getting nekkid?
- How does everyone feel about Skye being a Rising Sky mole? It definitely explains why she would sign up for this madness, but it – again – feels like an unnecessary plot so early in the show. Also: am I the only one who thought the Rising Sky movement was really just her working out of her van? I was convinced that it would be revealed that she was operating alone!
- I’ll try not to be too nitpicky on a show that takes place in a world where gods and aliens exist, but can we all just agree that an inflatable life-raft would not have sealed the hole in that plane? That is a laughably bad plot hole
- The highlight of the episode for me is when generic villainess Camilla Reyes (Dallas‘ Leonor Varela) suggests that Coulson (Clark Gregg) is surrounding himself with attractive youth, purchasing expensive gadgets and flying on a luxury jet because he’s having a mid-life crisis
- Finally, is the Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) cameo even worth mentioning? Berating Coulson for trashing the jet and joking about fishtanks is not worthy of the hoopla that is obviously little more than a publicity stunt to goose the week two (good on ABC’s marketing team if it works, but this reeks of short term plotting, not long-term viewership). I prefer Maria Hill, personally
- Skye (after the shoot-out): “I gotta say it: I miss my van.”
What are your thoughts on the all-important second episode? Are you warming up to these characters or do they still need a lot of fleshing out? Were you as annoyed by the facile storytelling as I was? Did the cameo merit the attention or did you find it underwhelming? Comment away below
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on ABC. We’ll see you next week for episode three