The second episode of AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. is a real Marvel!
While S.H.I.E.L.D.’s pilot left the question, whether or not the show would be original or an NCIS -type-procedural with a coat of Stan Lee paint, the 2nd episode proves this show is the real deal; a deal even Samuel L. Jackson can’t refuse.
This episode, Marvel movie fans get the treat of transitioning from A.I.M.’s Extremis in episode 1, a Hydra’s Tesseract weapon of mass destruction.
Responding to a ‘0-8-4,’ Agent Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) elite unit of S.H.I.E.L.D operatives and Skye (Chloe Bennet), the former(?) member of ‘The Rising Tide,’ (and acting consultant, just like one Tony Stark), end up in Peru. What is a 0-8-4, you may ask? (As Skye did…).
Well, let’s just say the last 0-8-4 Agent Phil Coulson responded to was an unmovable hammer in New Mexico…
This time, the 0-8-4 is a Hydra weapon running on the power of the good ole’ Tesseract (aka ‘The Cosmic Cube’), found within ancient ruins, Indiana Jones style. A remnant of Captain America’s time.
Although highly unstable, Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), is forced to dislodge the 0-8-4 from the pyramid in a hurry, as revolutionaries attack the dig site and Coulson and team are saved by the incredible fighting styles of Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) as well as a Peruvian soldier from Coulson’s past.
Onboard ‘S.H.I.E.L.D. Force One’ (as I humbly call Coulson’s fucking sweet airplane) Coulson’s old flame/Peruvian contact takes control of the ship using her unit that also escaped aboard the plane. It takes Coulson’s mismatched team of Ward the lone soldier, May the pilot/super agent, lab geeks FitzSimmons (aka Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons), and Skye the consultant’s cooperation to save Coulson, his plane, and the Hydra artifact.
Not a full functioning team at the beginning of the episode (much like a certain big-screen Marvel team…), the unit works together, or ‘assembles,’ against a common enemy, just as Coulson warns his Peruvian traitor will happen.
Hydra weapon goes off, all enemies are subdued or sucked out the hole it created, and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are triumphant! Syke finds a more realistic way to use an inflatable raft to survive a plane crash than even Indiana Jones.
Apparently, in the 21st century, Hydra weapons are best dealt with by launching them into space, not storing them in a giant warehouse. So off it rockets, watched by Coulson’s newly assembled team.
Skye though, apparently still has ties to the Rising Tide, and appears to be a spy. And there is still something fishy about Coulson’s recovery after being impaled by an Asgardian.
The show is much, much better in its sophomore episode than the first, even though it wasn’t written or directed by the great and powerful Joss Whedon. It no longer resembles a network procedural and is instead taking its place amongst Marvel Studios’ films in a big way. It continues the fun/serious tone of the Marvel Movie Universe established by IRON MAN and perfected in THE AVENGERS
Coulson’s fascination with history and the “old ways,” a theme taken from his love of Captain America and the ‘old fashioned’ Stars and Stripes in THE AVENGERS and continued through this series will all his old spy memorabilia is a fun through-line that I hope to see more of.
But, I am most impressed with this week’s cameo. There may be no Maria Hill this week, but instead Coulson gets a visit from the man with the eyepatch himself, Agent Nick Fury. Samuel L. Jackson makes a jump to TV after all!
Is there any chance for a Romanov, Hawkeye, or even an actual, superpowered Avenger in the future? I never thought Samuel L. Jackson would appear on T.V., nor did I ever consider a network drama could be this good… so I guess, on AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., anything can happen!
See you next week true-believers! Nuff’ said.