I review the fourth episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, entitled “Eye Spy”.
It’s got to the point now with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D that I’m actually starting to not look forward to each new episode. Take this week, for example – I missed it when it aired in the UK and didn’t feel as though I missed anything. I also missed Orphan Black, and I was a lot more gutted about that – but then, as the reviews from fellow UK people who had seen the episode started to stream through my twitter feed, I realised that I could have made a mistake in not tuning in. The reaction for Eye Spy, the fourth episode – was a lot more positive than those that followed and it was pretty much, bar one or two dissidents, viewed as being better than its predecessors. And I’m going to have to agree there – Eye Spy is certainly a marked improvement, but there are a few things that sets it back from making Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D must watch TV.
This week’s plot starts off in an interesting, eerie way that sees red-masked suit wearing men with briefcases swarming through an urban area, attracting lots of attention. This was one of the highlights of the episode for me, even if the rest may have been a standard drama that we’ve seen before. Also, with the whole eye-cameras – I’d like to point out that Torchwood had them first. (well, probably not first – no doubt somebody’s used them beforehand), but having watched the superb Children of Earth recently I couldn’t help but think that they were a little too similar, even if they were used in entirely different circumstances here, and to a deadly effect. This episode sees the S.H.I.E.L.D team chasing after Akela, Coulson’s former protégé – that allows for an actual, engaging story for the first time in the show’s current episodes that is an improvement from what we’ve seen before.
A good thing that this episode had was its attempt to cut down on the banter that didn’t always work. One of the best lines of the whole episode came from the conversation between Ward and Coulson who were discussing Skye, and Coulson asks if she’s stopped saying “bang” every time she pulls the trigger during training. Another element that was easily one of the funniest things of the show so far was when Ward was ordered to seduce a Russian Guard. It’s the first thing to earn even a mere snorting moment from this show so far, and hopefully this is a sign that the humour will improve as the show goes on.
Also, something else this show needs is to sort out its problem with diversity. Fellow blogger Abhinav (Shadowhawk’s Shade) raised this problem on his blog and I have to agree with him – Agents of SHIELD so far has seen POCs portrayed only as the bad guys (even if they do get redeemed by the end) – and I’d like to see more diversity amongst the main cast. It’s good that we got to see Melinda May kickass in this episode, but other than that chances have been few and far between. To be fair though, Akela proved to be more than a capable foil to the team over the course of the episode and it was very fun to watch everything unfold.
However, some things don’t always work. Whilst I enjoyed the moment when the non-combat agents spend ages trying to spot the location of the camera – when even the most disinterested viewers could spot that it was quite clearly their van long before they could – especially when they even failed to recognize it following the statement that “it looks like our van”.
And there’s still the problem with characters. Skye remains as annoying as ever and nothing has changed that – Fitz and Simmons aren’t always annoying but there are still moments that don’t quite work, and Ward, despite the fact that he got one of the best moments of the show so far in this episode, still comes across as the blandest characters in the team and this episode really did have the potential to make his character a lot more interesting. And it didn’t.
Something else of note, are we supposed to believe that Agent Ward could fool Akela’s controller for so long, especially when he was DRIVING A CAR for a certain period of time. I don’t know about you, but most of the time, when you’re driving, you look in mirrors. There’s no way that Ward would have been able to go the whole journey without looking in a mirror once, right?
Despite its flaws though, the action was still fun this week and it was still a fairly strong episode. The plot was fairly solid if unoriginal, and the opening sequence really impressed with plenty of darker elements used this week. Also – how awesome was the fight between Akela and May? Another highlight of the episode for me, I think.