This week the focus is on hacktivist outsider Skye (Chloe Bennet) as the team investigates the case of a missing scientist (I’m bored just writing that generic description). After a rocky start (and an even rockier second episode) is Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. settling in?
Let’s bitch it out…Another week, another episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. What is there to say about ‘The Asset’, which feels like more of the same for a show that hasn’t quite found its way yet.
Well…I can say that this show is kinda boring.
Don’t get me wrong: I still think that there’s potential, and it’s interesting enough to merit watching on Tuesdays because I don’t really watch much else. And this episode is far superior to last week’s “blech” inducing effort. But this isn’t great TV by any stretch. In fact, it’s barely perfunctory.
The moral messages remain way too obvious. The character shadings are surface-level…and also obvious. The action is generic and the plots are super predictable. And if I didn’t recognize the actors, I might have actually confused this episode with the most recent episode of The Blacklist because both feature pretty, unprepared spies going undercover and getting their asses rescued by more experienced men when the sh*t hits the fan.
Let’s just be clear about this: I should not be able to compare this show to The Blacklist. Or No Ordinary Family, which this is really starting to remind me of (and not in a good way).
The biggest issue for me is tone and audience. The “aw shucks” vibe is appropriate for the family-friendly audience that ABC and Disney are likely after, but I honestly think this tone is diluting the quality of the storytelling. I don’t care about Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) “turning point” because it’s so friggin’ obvious that she’s going to reach it by the end of the episode. Ditto Melinda May’s (Ming-Na Wen) return to field operative duty – oh gosh, I might not have seen that coming except that it was telegraphed at every step of the way in this episode.
So did anything work for me in ‘The Asset’? Umm…well aside from the fact that Quinn (David Conrad) is a caricature cross between a James Bond and Captain Planet villain, I’m kind of down with a recurring egomaniac, billionaire villain (even if his evil master plan isn’t really all that evil and involves a natural resource that is called, of all things, Gravitonium. Argh – so dumb!). But hey, the guy is charismatic and he can become a foil in what now seems destined to be a romantic relationship between Skye and bland-o Agent Ward (Brett Dalton). Big thumbs up all around for that…
- The changing gravitational fields in the lab is also kind of cool. I don’t fully buy Dr. Hall’s (Frank Hart) rationale for destroying an entire compound full of people, but the dumb suicide experiment brings out comments about government intervention and the dangers of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s unorthodox methods that have cropped in repeatedly in the series. I’m hoping that the writers will explore this in greater (any?) depth as the season progresses. Plus, there’s a darkness in Coulson’s willingness to kill a man at the drop of a hat so bonus points for not being jokey about that moment
- As for the science project run amok and the Carrie-esque hand emerging from the Gravitonium at the end? Boring, predictable & lazy
- Tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb aka Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are more tolerable this week, though Fitz’s awkward comments about Skye’s boobs is beyond cliche (a virginal, clueless scientist? How rare in Hollywood!)
- In the “stop teasing it and get to the main event” category: Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) death and/or difference. These comments are already played out and we’re only three episodes in. We all know that he’s not the same, but heaven help us if this plays out over half or even the full season because by the time it’s revealed, it won’t matter what the pay-off is because by then it’ll just be a nuisance. What’s going on with Coulson either needs to be handled more subtly or it should be addressed head-on
- Seriously, is the theme of the week evil villains hiding in underground bunkers? Did The Blacklist and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers have lunch and both decide to write like-minded tales? So weird…and bad
- Fitz (dismissing Skye’s offer to infiltrate the compound): “Did you hear the deadly lasers part? Without a brave monkey-“
- Skye (after Melinda feeds her info via ear piece): “I could get used to this, people. It’s like Siri if it worked.”
- Simmons (as Coulson berates Fitz): “Saying his name repeatedly does not increase productivity”
What are your thoughts on ‘The Asset’? Were you frustrated by the too obvious character and plot developments or am I way off track? Do you want to see Quinn or some version of Dr. Hall return? Should the Agent Coulson mystery be solved sooner rather than later? Have at it in the comments below
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 8pm EST on ABC