Does ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Prove Third Episode is the Charm?

Published 2 years ago by

agents of shield episode 3 graviton Does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Prove Third Episode is the Charm?

[This is a review of AoS Episode 3. There Will Be SPOILERS.]

This week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, “The Asset”, takes a welcomed step away from any sky tales and trips to Peru. Instead, Malta is this episodes setting – perhaps its most important – as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  attempts to tell the origin story of how Franklin Hall (Ian Hart), a brilliant physicist, becomes the super villain comic book fans know as Graviton.

As with the previous two episodes, a lofty and ambitious tale is weaved on what (still) appears to be a poorly-utilized shoestring budget. All the dressings of a technologically advanced, global adventure are there in theory – and are, at times, extremely compelling. What still undermines the series, however, is its foundation (or lack thereof).

In the three weeks that Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.  has been on the air, the series has yet to truly provide a foundation for these tales to exist. Coulson (Clark Gregg), the beloved icon from the movie franchise, is somehow alive and is surrounded by a team of experts who don’t really do all that much, are not really different from any other fictional secretive team, and are largely unknown.

Mysteries are great for evolving characters and keeping viewers anticipating what’s next; unfortunately, with S.H.I.E.L.D. it’s almost impossible to tell what’s next – or what’s currently happening for that matter – because the only thing that really connects the episodes is Coulson’s mysterious rebirth, which, at this point, has become a bit of a moot subject (it’s pretty much one of these theories, right?).

agents of shield episode 3 asset Does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Prove Third Episode is the Charm?

Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  still feels weak in its third week (ha…) and still very much like a pantomime, one could make a strong argument that the series, in its current form, would make a terrific radio play. Yes, the musical accompaniments are over-the-top; and yes, the visuals are more of what Fringe would have been if WB put it on The CW instead of Fox; and yes, the dialogue is campy and often unnecessary. Yet still, in audible form, with a bit of imagination replacing the visuals of ABC, S.H.I.E.L.D. could be great. As it currently stands, the series is much like Coulson’s mystery: unnecessarily confusing and underwhelming.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been any evolution to the series – it’s just been in all the wrong places. Seeing Ian Hart on S.H.I.E.L.D.  after his fantastic work on FX’s Dirt is always enjoyable, even if his character – and acting talents – are wholly underutilized in this episode. In what may be a surprise to many, Ghost Whisperer’s David Conrad steps in as Ian Quinn, one the (many?) nemeses of S.H.I.E.L.D. , and really helps to sell the story at hand. As for S.H.I.E.L.D. , it may very well be Ming Nah’s character, Melinda May, who turns out to be the saving grace of this series.

agents of shield episode 3 asset coulson Does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Prove Third Episode is the Charm?

Though Coulson is put front and center in almost every situation, May is literally – but also emotionally – held back. Her silent-but-deadly persona may have been a bit off-putting at first, but in this episode, May’s slight comments to Coulson and her largely cautious demeanor helps to pull viewers in to the overall story that’s attempting to be told – which is what should have happened in the pilot.

Now three weeks in, the future and direction of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  still remains uncertain – and for a good reason: it hasn’t yet earned the season 2 pickup it will likely receive anyway. Still, somewhere in there, outside of Disney’s need for the show to work, there’s a glimmer of hope that a beautiful tale of technology, superheroes and Coulson will emerge. And if it does, it’ll be through Melinda May – so keep an eye on her.

Agents of SHIELD returns next Tuesday with “Eye-Spy” @8pm on ABC. You can check out a preview of next week’s episode below:

Follow Anthony Ocasio on Twitter @anthonyocasio
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  1. Seemed a bit extreme for anyone even claiming to do good to have your property protected by an invisible force field that disintegrates anything, or anyone who touches it.

  2. I’m done.

    I’ve given it a chance and watched 3 episodes without trying to judge straight away, I might watch the next one out of curiosity but I doubt it, frankly, the show in my opinion has been appalling. I can’t believe how annoying and badly written the characters have been, (apart from Poulsen) Such an unoriginal, generic and stereotypical group of characters with very uninspired, cringey and cheesy dialogue. To me the show feels like that 90’s cartoon James Bond Junior.

    Take away the Marvel Universe setting and it wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.

    How on earth anyone could invest anymore time in characters like Skye or captain Chad ‘boring ass’ Beefcake is beyond me.
    Thats 3 for me and I’m afraid I’m out, best of luck with watching the rest of the series everyone, I hope it improves for your sake.

    • Thank you buddy, although i´ll keep watching and i´m enjoying the show, I can really see your point.

    • Considering you called the lead character ‘Poulsen’, I’m not 100% convinced you’re the best judge of the show’s quality. Maybe pay a little more attention?

    • Totally agree man. The lifeless characters, horrid writing, and that annoying “villain of the week” syndrome is making this quickly one of the most unwatchable shows.

      • Look at Arrow? A lot of people said the same thing about that show starting out. That the “person of the week” of the list was gonna get stale, but it improved over the season. Its only 3 episodes in and they are still introducing there core characters and you are getting to know them.

  3. Coulson definitely has another body, would he be a clon?, a cyborg?, I don´t kwon, but he is not the “same” Coulson from phase one, with all of that muscular memory loss…

    It better be a really cool explanation for the Coulson mistery, becasue thats the lingering tread that´s keeping some viewers tuning…

    • I had to read about the LMD (life model decoys). I had seen them but in comics, but never as conscious beings. Evidently they are robots that are controlled remotely. So maybe it’s just Coulson’s mind controlling a robot but he’s unaware of it. His body could be too damaged. Many have pointed out the “motor memory” and “rusty” comments as clues to his being a robot, but then there is also the “magical” word from the first episode. Maybe this all has some tie-in to how Ultron will be born (robots with a dash of magic).

  4. Dear Anthony & fellow moaners of Shield – I don’t think you could be anymore wrong if you tried. This show has a massive backstory to build, how can you expect everything to happen in the first few episodes? The dialogue has been witty and interesting, as have the story lines. If you cant believe that Joss and the gang have the hang of making a fantastic tv show at this stage, then either you have not watched his shows before, or you are not intelligent enough to appreciate them. Perhaps the science bits are too difficult for you? This show is brilliant, and can only get better.

    • Go ahead and say my opinion is wrong, but

      “Perhaps the science bits are too difficult for you?”

      Are you seriously holding up the comic book science an eight year old would come up with as being a deep intellectual high concept that we just ‘don’t get’? Because a man with super strength, alien weaponry, and gravity warping machines (do not get me started on the rubbish logic behind that one) is not something that requires a college degree to understand.

      Additionally, “wait, it gets better!” is never a reason to keep hanging onto a show one does not like.

      • Okay, I’ll go ahead and say it: You’re wrong, John Kelly.

        If you read Claudia’s comment carefully and eliminate all of the available possibilities, you’ll understand why you’re not crazy about the show (mine, as it turns out, was “not intelligent enough…” [boy was I surprised!]).

    • Trying to insult the intelligence of people who happen not to like this show seems really unwarranted. You are trying to argue that this show is too cerebral for some people, when other fans of the show defend it by calling it simple fun. Anyone who has seen more than three episodes of any incarnation of Star Trek will not have a problem following the sci-fi jargon (which are not actual science bits as you call them), nor is the show that deep that it requires a PhD to understand it. They did plug a hole in a jet with a rubber raft last week, so it’s not that serious.

      • Not only did they plug the hole in the fuselage with an inflatable raft, they shared a drink and a laugh before they would obviously pass out due to lack of oxygen.

      • Hi, actually yes you’re right. I honestly apologise to anyone I may have offended, it really isn’t like me to post something like that. I get worked up because Joss Whedon never gets the respect he deserves in my opinion, I think he is unfairly underrated. Still, it was childish of me to come on here and have a go at you guys, so I’m sorry.

  5. I was halfway through the 3rd episode and ready to give up on this show. Then, Graviton’s hand happened. I perked up. I didn’t think they would have actual villains from the comics involved. I thought this was supposed to be CSI comic book world without the characters.

    I’m annoyed by the whole Coulson thing. They should somehow show the viewer the answer to his resurrection without revealing it to the character.

  6. Everyone claiming this show has been the worst hero show ever should be strapped to a chair and made to watch every episode of the cape back to back.

  7. I really want to like this. But I’m having a lot of trouble. The only character I like is Coulson. The rest all feel flat and one-dimensional. Especially Skye. She feels like a character that the corporate suits forced into the show…”We need a computer whiz! A beautiful orphan loner rebel with a heartbreaking past who learns the importance of teamwork while bringing a much-needed dose of humanity and compassion to this rough-and-tumble group of secret agents…Yeah! The teen-set will totally identify with her.”

    That said, I’m not giving up quite yet. But it’s on life support. Maybe they could “GI Joe” the cast (except for Coulson) and start over. This is supposed to be Shield! Anyway,those are my feelings on this so far.

  8. “Coulson (Clark Gregg), the beloved icon ” – He is ? Beloved ? He is okay,but to call him that ? The show is okay also. Going to give it a chance to get better. They are trying.
    I figured when He fell into the Ball ,he was still going to be in there ,and sure enough he was. Was pleased when they had his hand pop out as if it was Pleading “Hhheeelp Me.”

  9. Honestly, if you’re going to go with the whole espionage/spy angle, then bring in villains like Spymaster and the Ghost. Both of those would work great with an IM/RDJ cameo…

  10. I’ve honestly really enjoyed the show so far and dont see what everyone is complaining about…

    • Me neither, I think it’s a ton of fun and is delivering exactly what was promised

  11. Insane, the egos that thrive online, giving everyone a voice, but, did everyone want to hear this many voices, no. It’s a show, and I for one am glad most of these negative-I am God-cease to exist reviews don’t add up to much. This is descent show, don’t like it, kindly shut the front door on your face, stand back, and let these guys work. Thanks.