I review the second Episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, entitled 0-8-4. Spoilers Within.
Agents of SHIELD Episode 2 sees the team, along with one of the most annoying characters currently on TV shows that I’m watching (not including shows that I’m catching up on, otherwise Xander Harris would easily be top of this list) Skye head to investigate an 0-8-4, an unknown object somewhere south of the American border. There, Coulson runs into an old love interest now working for a local militia, who have trouble fending off against a network of rebels. This episode gives an Indiana Jones feel to its display, but ultimately suffers once again in its execution – there aren’t any jokes that come anywhere close to the Pilot, and the plot as a whole is rather weak. It boasts all the signatures of being a Joss Whedon written episode without actually being a Joss Whedon written episode – his brother, Jed – takes over writing duties and does a fine but flawed job, with the post-credits scene easily stealing the entire show.
I don’t know about you, but I was bored for most of this Episode. I spent more time engaged in a twitter conversation about the upcoming NaNoWriMo than I did with my eyes on the screen. Heck, my brother was watching this one as well, and his eyes didn’t even leave his laptop for most of the Episodes’ run, only when things got good (at last) towards the end. It’s just a pilot episode is an excuse that can no longer be applied to shows like this nowadays, although it’s clear that with the exception of Firefly – which was stellar from the get go, the other Whedon show that I’ve seen so far, Buffy the Vampire Slayer – progressed a lot in its second season. Heck, aside from the final episode the first season of Buffy was pretty bad, there’s no denying that. Maybe we could be looking at the same thing with Agents of SHIELD? I hope not, because this show has to do something pretty good to keep me viewing following the first break (if it’s schedule is like Arrow, where it will air a bunch of episodes, take a few weeks off and then return), as well as make me put up with the adverts that seem to acquaint for what seems like half of the show’s viewing time, reminding me why I rarely watch TV outside of the BBC (pretty much 90% of non-BBC stuff is watched either online or on DVD), and I think this is one of those shows that could have benefited from lack of adverts in the middle.
The titular 0-8-4 in fact refers to a Hydra weapon, based in a set of jungle ruins in Peru. The last 0-8-4 that Coulson was assigned to was in fact a giant hammer – as explained in one of the better scenes of the episode, proving that the best thing about this show, especially when you take the post-credits sequence starring Samuel L. Jackson, giving Coulson a dressing down for ruining his plane already into account, are the references to the wider universe. However, whilst this episode contains some decent connections, it fails to correct the virtually zero chemistry that the team has between each other. Clark Gregg (Coulson), and Ming-Na Wen (Melinda May) are probably the highlights this time around, although Ward, Fitz and Simmons don’t make things as entertaining as they should, and Skye was just annoying, with that ever so predictable twist that she is a double agent providing no shocking moment whatsoever, as well as any other twist that attempted to come our way, for example – when the soldiers that had been taken onboard the plane rebelled. Seriously, who didn’t see that coming?
On the plus side though, the expensive budget that this show has really allows for some great special effects. In the final act, the fight on the “bus” is easily the best thing of the entire episode (minus the end-credits scene), and whilst we haven’t quite seen the flying car used yet in a scene which really called for its use – the resolution was still polished off pretty well.
Will I be watching next week’s episode? Yes, I think. This show has room to improve, and of course, I want to try and catch the many Marvel references. It’s a shame that J. Augustus Richards and Ron Glass only appeared to be guest stars – much like Samuel L. Jackson does in this episode, but more Clark Gregg is always a good thing. However, I won’t be looking forward to it as eagerly as say, Arrow’s return (3 days, people – 3 Days!), or the fifth episodes of Orphan Black and Peaky Blinders.
AGENTS OF SHIELD SEASON 1 EPISODE GUIDE: S1x01: Pilot, S1x02: 0-8-4,