Marvel's Agents of SHIELD roared to life, with last week's premiere drawing in 12 million viewers, but can the series maintain the legions of fans that the Marvel cinematic universe has amassed? These are not the members of S.H.I.E.L.D. we are used to seeing. While Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America are off saving the universe, Coulson's new team must tackle more isolated events.
'0-8-4' (an unknown artifact) takes the team to Peru where they find what appears to be alien technology, harnessed by a German device. We soon discover that the power inside the weapon comes from the Tesserract, which was a device that Odin himself once used, only to be manipulated by the Nazis in Captain America, and then by Loki in The Avengers.
The backdrop of this week's episode comes in the form of a Peruvian rebel uprising over mining operations throughout the country. This conflict introducers us to an old fling of Coulson's named Camilla Reyes, who is played by the stunning Chilean actress, Leonor Varela (Human Target). The political struggle also gives way to some nice dialogue between Skye and Agent Grant, who discover that they have very different perspectives on the world. Grant is a hardened solider with an overly negative outlook on war and violence - while Skye, in her naiveté, sees this conflict through the lens of Twitter, and how social media can be used to bring a nation together. Neither viewpoint is wrong, yet it's exciting to see the writers deepening the character's relationships as the series progresses.
Melinda May's dark past was another interesting story, and hopefully, we'll learn more about this "Cavalry" term applied to her. Fitzs and Simmons are the weakest members of the group in terms of character development; their only purpose seems to be comic relief. At times their banter can be overkill, especially with such a talented comedic actor as Clark Gregg leading the charge. However, it's important to remember that Joss Whedon's shows - like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse - often take time to find their footing. Whedon has a slow-burn approach to building his series, so we might have to be patient.
The battle in the clouds was a thrilling affair, which gave this new team time to work out their kinks and find a solution. Watching Coulson figure out Reyes' seduction techniques was comedic gold, and Skye's plan to use the inflatable life-raft to seal a hull-breach was so over-the-top that it actually made the scene work. '0-8-4' was an episode with some much needed character development that last week's premiere lacked. This kind of development needs to continue in order for ABC to keep viewers coming back for more.
The big surprise at the end of this episode came in the form of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who laments over the loss of the plane's bar. Is this a sign that some of the other Avengers could make appearances? Perhaps that's wishful thinking, but one of the more enjoyable aspects of this series is how they tie-in stories from the films in order to give more depth to each episode. Also, it's worth mentioning Skye's mysterious text from the Rising Tide. What are her true motivations? Tune in next week to find out.
Agents of SHIELD continues with 'The Asset' next Tuesday @8pm on ABC. You can check out a preview of next week's episode below:
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