Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 2: “0-8-4” Recap

SHIELD-6

Only for Marvel movies do I stick around in the theater until after the credits roll for the bonus scene. I didn’t catch any of the promos to “stay to the very end” of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 2 so I’m super surprised at the guest appearance of …

Continue Reading for my spoiler filled thoughts on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 2.

… Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). Damn that’s a hilarious scene! It might be wishful thinking but I hope the show can keep this tradition going for each episode.

In my pilot episode review I pointed out Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s strength and flaws. Pilots have the longest development time compared to any other episode produced. They also are typically burdened with a lot of exposition, set up and new character introductions at the expense of the plot. For those reasons, the follow-up episode is a better snap shot of what we can expect each week.

Plot wise, the second episode did not fall into the trap of the “Freak-Of-The-Week”. It also did not quite go the route of the magical macguffin which the ancient artifact in Peru initially set up. The story itself is a tried and true conventional scenario that gave the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents something to fight against. Together.

“0-8-4” is much better at fleshing out the team dynamic compared to the pilot. I got a kick out of the agents getting on each other’s nerves which I know can come across as annoying to many viewers but I couldn’t help but chuckle. By the end, they needed to respect what each member brought to the team in order to take down Commandant Camilla Reyes and her crew. It’s formulaic storytelling but if you’re a bit more invested in the team now, then the episode did it’s job.

In interviews, Ming-Na Wen is very warm, talkative and vivacious. Whereas her character, Melinda Mays is a reserved, strong-silent type; I thought the writers didn’t give her much dialogue in the pilot but it’s actually her character. I get the feeling Mays is not letting on how much she loves to kick butt or at least she did at one point in time.

AoS_MelindaMay_Primary-banner

This may be a terrible comparison … Agent Ward’s personality reminds me of X-Men’s Scott Summers (aka Cyclops). They are hard characters to warm up to because of their rigid, stoic personality. It also doesn’t help that actor Brett Dalton doesn’t feel authentic in his role yet. I think it would be a mistake though if they try to open up his character through a romantic relationship so soon in the series. This brings us to Skye.

One issue that this episode addresses is why Skye should be on the team. Firstly, she’s not an agent. Coulson literally pulled her out of a van in some back alley. From the team’s perspective, Skye proved she’s an asset by thinking way outside of the box. I’m fairly sure using an inflatable raft to cover the hole in the side of the plane breaks more than a few laws of physics … but I’ll go with it.

From a character angle, acts of espionage and cover ups as a member of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes against her very nature to expose the truth to the world. This is why keeping her connections to Rising Tide makes sense for her character. The look on her face says she’s conflicted about being a double agent. I like this direction, although I can guess how this will play out. Plus, Coulson and Nick Fury are aware of Skye’s liability so it doesn’t make them look incompetent that there is a potential mole in their top-secret agency.

Aside from a greater focus on the team dynamic, the strength and flaws of the pilot are still readily apparent in 0-8-4. For viewers that didn’t enjoy the pilot, there’s not much in the second episode that’ll change their mind. But if you liked the pilot like I did for the fun, breezy adventure then this episode delivered. After two episodes, I’m still excited for S.H.I.E.L.D!

What is your favorite moment from “0-8-4”? What do you think about Skye now?

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

Movies, TV shows, comics, and video game news & review.

Posted on October 2, 2013, in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. Living the Geek Life

    I see you picked up on the McGuffin issue as well. I appreciated the character work this week, but I’m still not convinced about a couple of characters/actors. I wrote about it more in my review, too.

    Oddly, though, I found Melinda May to be more palatable this time out. I hope they get her balance right, because who doesn’t like a classic prickly-but-lovable team member? 🙂

    • Yeah, I think the focus on the McGuffin in the first act was supposed to distract us from realizing Reyes was going to turn on the Agents. Either way, it didn’t work for me.

      I agree there’s still a lot of character work to be done. Melinda Mays did have a better outing this time. Baby steps. I like that she’s not quippy but her deadpan remarks can be funny too. I’ll check out your review in minute! 🙂

  2. Haven’t seen this one yet Mikey so I’ll let you know once I do 🙂

  3. Ok I have just seen it. It’s not bad, I like the teamwork aspect and you’re right that this isn’t a ‘freak of the week’ episode which is nice to see. I sure hope they don’t bring in the romantic stuff soon, I mean they need to focus on the team before bringing in banal soap-opera-ish plot into it (it’s bad enough Dalton brings in that soap opera vibe already). My fave moment is when Ward uses the blast-inducing device when they got ambushed, that was cool! I like Skye from the start, I still like her and that last bit at the end got me curious just what she’s up to.

    • Yeah, the focus should be on the team. That’s so true, Dalton’s vibe is like he’s from a daytime soap opera haha, so many of his lines feels forced. Even his smile at the end didn’t register as genuine. The blast-inducing device reminds me of something that was used in a Marvel movie, but I not really sure … very cool stuff indeed. I’m also curious about Skye as a double agent and what’s she’s going to do next.

  4. “I didn’t catch any of the promos to “stay to the very end” of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 2 so I’m super surprised at the guest appearance of …”
    I thought it was weird throughout the past week seeing the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo wear an eye patch. And then it all made sense… Didn’t think they bring out the big guns so soon!

    “This may be a terrible comparison … Agent Ward’s personality reminds me of X-Men’s Scott Summers (aka Cyclops). They are hard characters to warm up to because of their rigid, stoic personality. It also doesn’t help that actor Brett Dalton doesn’t feel authentic in his role yet. I think it would be a mistake though if they try to open up his character through a romantic relationship so soon in the series.”
    I really like your comparison and agree it is too early for a love connection.

    “The look on her face says she’s conflicted about being a double agent. I like this direction, although I can guess how this will play out.”
    I predict she’ll betray the team, feel bad and try to fix it, only to find out that her “betrayal” was all part of Coulson’s masterplan!

    Overall, while I appreciated fleshing out the characters a bit more I have to say I enjoyed the pilot much greater than the 2nd episode. So far I can’t help but compare this series to two other series: the Blacklist and Arrow. After the first and second episode of Arrow I was hooked. The main reason? It immersed itself in the rich fabric of the DC Universe while containing characters I instantly connected with. Flashbacks, mysteries, action, it has it all. S.H.I.E.L.D. needs some help and I think next week is going to be a step in the right direction: an actual Marvel super villain – Graviton. As for Blacklist, that series tonally is what I hoped S.H.I.E.L.D. would be. Nice twists, great acting, espionage, and deception. It also helps that the voice of Ultron, James Spader, is fantastic in it. So far, S.H.I.E.L.D. has failed to live up to my expectations, something I didn’t think I’d be saying…

    • I missed out on the logo with the eye patch. I liked that Sam Jackson was willing to do it. It’s much better than only hearing his voice on the intercom which was suggested at one point.

      You’ve piqued my curiosity for Blacklist, sounds like something I’d be interested in checking out. I heard it already got a full season order.

      SHIELD hasn’t established yet that these characters deserve their own show and that it can work without the big guns. I’m still hopeful it can develop into some more, until then it’s a brisk hour of escapism TV. I can understand though if some viewers drop the show completely.

      Honestly, I’m not familiar with Graviton, but if this super villain can inject some genuine danger and make the show feel likes it’s integrated into a larger mythology it is a definite step in the right direction. I like your breakdown of the path Skye is walking down! The writers probably should have played it a little closer to their chest like Coulson’s resurrection. Anyways, Arrow will be back soon! 🙂

  5. This series has a lot of problems. Mainly its characters, hate the two scientists and care very little for the others. Coulson is fun but he’s best when playing off other well created characters. Like at the end with Fury, which is the best part of the series so far 😦

    I watch new series for the first 3 episodes and i’ll decide to keep watching after next weeks so it better be a marked improvement because I am not impressed.

    I struggle to see anything I really like and this type of show should be right up my alley 😦

    Also that raft should have just been sucked out, zero physics used haha 😀

    • Yeah there are a lot of weaknesses and flaws. I do find it funny that only two episodes in, the writers are already making fun of the two scientists: Agent Ward mixed up their names and can’t understand what they are saying. We aren’t missing much though because their dialogue is all nonsensical science babble. That’s a great point about Coulson. If I knew Nick Fury would show up, I wonder if I would have liked that scene as much?

      Since you’re a sci-fi and comic fan, it’s says a lot that SHIELD is disappointing you in a big way. Anyways, I’d be curious what you think after the 3rd episode and if you’re going to abandon ship er .. I mean raft.;)

  6. Hello again, sorry I’m late to your review but I didn’t watch the UK release of this episode until Saturday night because I was hungover from a house party the night before haha. But I digress.

    I thought that this episode was definitely a step up and a solid step in the right direction for this show too. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really benefited from the change in location, more specific storytelling with the item in Peru and having a stronger a team dynamic with the characters. I loved seeing the team finally come together, utilizing each others skills and seeing how they could eventually become the ultimate team of misfits that Coulson hoped for.

    Coulson is still great, Melinda May is still badass, Fitz and Simmons are a little less annoying and more useful, the same could be said for Skye too and Camilla Reyes was an interesting character to show up especially when it relates to Coulson’s earlier days of work. Oh and how awesome was that Nick Fury cameo? So good and I liked this version of the character a bit more, he was serious and a little more comic-like.

    The only things that bug me about this show is the same stuff from before. Besides Coulson and May, the rest of the team have yet to prove their awesomeness, especially Agent Ward, he seems so not likeable and relatable. The writers really need to improve his character. Fitz and Simmons need their own episode to be less zany and more serious and interesting and Skye need to fit in a little better rather than being a random outsider. Also I still haven’t found that amazing factor about the show or the hooking point which I think this show really needs not only for its fans but for those unconvinced too.

    I think the show is in a better position than before but it really needs a “kick ass” factor to make it one of those “must-see” shows like Whedon’s Firefly or Buffy series.

    • Always great to hear your perspective whenever you can find the time. Btw, sounds like a great party!:)

      “ I loved seeing the team finally come together, utilizing each others skills and seeing how they could eventually become the ultimate team of misfits that Coulson hoped for.” – I also liked seeing the team work together. In the pilot, the new team were never all in the same scene/shot. So the second episode needed to show how the individual pieces of the team fit together. It’s still a work in progress but a step in the right direction.

      “Coulson is still great, Melinda May is still badass, Fitz and Simmons are a little less annoying and more useful, the same could be said for Skye too and Camilla Reyes was an interesting character to show up especially when it relates to Coulson’s earlier days of work.” I did like how Reyes is tied to Coulson’s past and was able to make observations about Coulson. Joss Whedon was not credited as writer for this episode but I wonder if he had a hand in the Nick Fury cameo.

      “ Besides Coulson and May, the rest of the team have yet to prove their awesomeness” – Yeah, the team members have a lot to prove. It’s pretty early in the series, so writers can still address this problem. But they better hurry.

      “Also I still haven’t found that amazing factor about the show or the hooking point which I think this show really needs not only for its fans but for those unconvinced too.” – Very true, there’s not one element of the show that is so amazing, it’ll hook fans. There’s no awesome factor that can carry the parts of the show that are falling flat.

      The show is going through growing pains. It may never capture my heart and imagination like Firefly or Buffy but there’s are things to enjoy about it so far.

      • It seems like we’re on the same page about this show. I know the show has some ways to go before its reached its full potential, but I do feel like from what we’ve seem so far, we’re in a good place so far. I think we’re really gonna have to wait until about the halfway point say like episode 6 or 7 before we know what kind of rhythm the show will get into, I think the people on the show just need to stop moaning, its only two bloody episodes in, give the show a chance to breathe! 😄

  7. Didn’t like the second episode quite as much. I get they had to establish a good team dynamic but I don’t think there is much chemistry between the team beside for Fitz Simmons, which is kind of sad since these two are treated as a singular entity. Good comparison with Agent Ward and Scott Summers – completely agree – both are rigid and not easy to relate to. Thought the production value wasn’t quite there either – really appeared to be an “on-set shooting.” Hopefully the next few episodes will be better and the series will find its flow.

    • Yeah there’s little chemistry that’s working right now. I think the exchanges between Skye and Ward feel forced. Maybe once the actors feel more comfortable in their role and the writers give them something stronger to work with, it’ll feel natural. Fitz-Simmons are bland at this point, I agree they need to develop them as individuals. The establishing shot of the Peru pyramid screamed CGI. I did like the weapon blast effect that Ward used. I’m still finding things to like about the show. It does have a ways to go to hit it’s groove. Great hearing your thoughts, glad you liked the Scott Summers comparison. 🙂

  8. I didn’t like the second episode as much as the first, but I’m still planning to keep watching.

    • One aspect I liked more in the pilot is taking scenes in an unexpected direction. The second episode was more predictable once they got to the airplane. I’m sticking with this series as well. 🙂

  9. It’s interesting how much action can be packed into such a short time of one episode. Plus there were only two key locations, the ancient artifact place and the plane. I’ll definitely keep watching if only to see if future episodes are as exciting.

    I agree that as of this second episode, Brett Dalton as you say ‘doesn’t feel authentic in his role yet.’ He reminds me of Jeffrey Donovan as a leading actor in the first few episodes I saw of Burn Notice. I couldn’t quite root or care for that role either. The anchors of the ensemble in SHIELD seem to be May and Coulson, who are great to watch, with Skye being an interesting character as well. I hope given time I’ll find the other three just as interesting.

    • I’m surprised by the amount of action in this episode too. This episode does feel confined but I think it works to get all the characters together in one spot to focus on the team dynamic. Each episode takes place in a different part of the world and I think the show has room to improve the look of each location.

      From what I’ve read online, most people feel the same way as you about May and Coulson. They are instantly likeable and should be the foundation of the team. Agent Ward is harder to like but hopefully he’ll progress. I haven’t watched Burn Notice yet but I can understand what actors can bring or lack in a certain role. As for Skye, she’s polarizing. Some viewers such as you and I find her interesting while others have trouble connecting with her. I’d be curious if your opinion of any of the characters changes as you watch future episodes. 🙂

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