Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 3: “The Asset” Recap

DAVID CONRAD, CHLOE BENNET

In “The Asset”, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s first super villain is born and Skye’s loyalty is put to the test.

Continue Reading for my spoiler filled thoughts on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1, Episode 3.

The premise of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an open template for a variety of stories to be told. Each week could alternate from a spy vs spy thriller to a Indiana Jones action-adventure or a mysterious investigation of a new meta-human. But it’s evident after Episode 3, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is struggling to commit to any particular vision other than mildly entertaining sci-fi story of the week featuring cookie-cutter characters.

The Asset’s opening scene started off with a strong hook. I love seeing the cars and semi-truck plucked out of the air like it’s snatched by an invisible hand. The reveal of the highly valued cargo contents is a good twist, none other than Dr. Franklin Hall.

A takeaway from this episode is witnessing the origin of comic-based super villain Graviton aka Dr. Franklin Hall. It’s a clever ploy for Dr. Hall to arrange for his own kidnapping. He will be both an extraordinary physical and cerebral threat when he inevitably breaks out of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s vault. Too bad we have to wait for future episodes to see him in full villainous action.

Unfortunately, Dr. Franklin Hall is sorely miscast. The actor’s line deliveries fell flat. As much as I wanted to be convinced by whatever he was saying to Agent Coulson at the end, I could not follow his dialogue. I guess I’ll pencil him in as a mild-mannered physicist gone mad; a man willing to cause mass destruction for what he believes is the greater good.

As fellow blogger Tim The Film Guy pointed out, Agent Coulson is best when he is playing off other strong characters. Coulson’s strongest chemistry among his teammates so far is with Melinda Mays. In upcoming episodes, I hope to see more scenes and development between these characters but not necessarily as a romantic pairing.

The writers don’t have a good handle on how to best utilize Coulson yet. A couple of moments in “The Asset” he’s regulated to narrating some obvious plot points: “Are you saying it was an inside job?” and “I didn’t see this twist coming”. It is a cool moment when Coulson sacrificed one individual to save many others although it’s a decision that will come back to bite him since he created the show’s first super villain. If you’re playing along with the Coulson resurrection mystery game, his lack of muscle memory is an intriguing clue.

agents-of-shield-the-asset

FItz finally got some more screen-time this episode but it exposed the actor’s lack of comedic chops. I think I was supposed to laugh when Fitz proposed his monkey infiltration plan and talked about Skye’s secret weapons (ie. her boobs). Fitz could take a page from another geeky character: Buffy’s Xander Harris. Xander is endearing because of his self-effacing humor and not taking himself too seriously. Similar to how Xander was infatuated with Buffy, Fitz’s not so subtly pining for Skye should come across as adorable but viewers need a reason first to care about him.

Last episode’s ending revealed Skye is a possible double agent for Rising Tide. So the crux of “The Asset” largely depended on how likely she would turn on S.H.I.E.L.D. Because of her conflicted expression in “0-8-4” and it’s so early in the season, I found it hard to believe she’d double cross S.H.I.E.L.D. even after confessing everything to Ian Quinn which took away from any suspense. That’s not to say Skye doesn’t have a long-term strategy as a mole or ulterior motives.

The development between Skye and Agent Ward feels forced but it’s a small step in fleshing out their characters. We learn that Skye does not have a family and moved around several foster homes. S.H.I.E.L.D. might just be the closest to family she has known making it all the more difficult to betray them and another reason why she’s committed to becoming an agent. I did like Agent Ward telling Skye there is no such thing as a truth serum. It would be great if we find out that Agent Ward is fibbing or playing with Skye because he’s a very stiff, humorless dude.

“The Asset” is the weakest of the first three episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. There isn’t much meaningful character development and the show hasn’t developed its own identity. There is a possibility for a cool, super villain but there wasn’t one in this episode. I’m still loyal to the show and I’m hoping the next episode can show me the potential I saw in the pilot.

What is did you like or dislike about “The Asset”? Does S.H.I.E.L.D. have a truth serum?

More Posts You Might Like:

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

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot” Recap

Fall TV Preview: Your Guide To New Science Fiction-Fantasy Shows

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About Eddie@Jaccendo

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

Posted on October 9, 2013, in Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Television and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. Haven’t seen this ep yet, hopefully Thursday night!

  2. I thought the actor for Dr. Hall wasn’t that bad. He could chew the scenery at the very least. But yes, this episode, while not awful, highlighted some of the flaws I think will crop up a lot with this first season.

    • I preferred the actor that played the other bad guy, Ian Quinn. That’s a character I’d wouldn’t mind returning to the show. Yeah, it’s not a bad episode but showcases a number of wrinkles to iron out. I like that your optimistic for a season beyond the first. 🙂 I really want this show to succeed.

  3. Haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but that’s too bad to hear it’s the weakest of the three. 😦 I’m still hanging in there though, and hoping this show will find its voice!

    • After I had the night to sleep on it, it’s really not a bad episode. I think I just had higher expectations this time because I heard it would feature a super villain. I’m also hanging in there with you! 🙂

  4. It really is the weakest! It made no sense. If shield didn’t get involved the machine and the man behind it would have been destroyed, and Dr. Franklin Hall would have been a hero. Instead Coulson killed him which somehow stopped the machine?! And made a super villain that will never be seen again because nobody on the show has the ability to stop someone that in the comics can take on the Avengers.

    Who is writing this show!? 1st episode was ok had some potential, 2nd was predictable and boring for me. The 3rd though is just stupid and the worst thing about it is it had a moment of near genius as Dr. Franklin Hall was about to sacrifice himself to stop a dangerous weapon out on the world, but then he’s a villain for some reason and Coulson makes a joke or two and then kills him. Just did not work for me!

    Oh and thanks for the mention 😀

    • Didn’t Joss Whedon himself pen the first ep?

      Anyway I agree with what ^he said. ;P

    • Phew, I thought you were gonna love an episode that I didn’t haha. I think the writers set out to create the super villain Graviton hence he had to somehow get sucked into the gravatonium machine which required an incredible leap in logic and made little sense. It’s a classic comic convention for the hero to create the villain (or vice versa) hence Coulson killing two birds with one stone.

      I was thinking the same thing that the Avengers would be the best match for this super villain. I don’t know much about Graviton but if he has Magneto level powers he would be out of these agents’ league. Sure, Fitz-Simmons could “whip up” an anti-gravity device to neutralize him but that would be lazy writing and what would be the fun in that?

      My mind disconnected from whatever Dr. Hall was saying so I didn’t process much of that scene. I’m glad you explained it! You’re welcome for the mention and great to hear your perspective as always!

  5. Hello there, I know I am remarkably late in commenting on your review but I really wanted to re-watch this episode and get my review up before sharing my thoughts here. I think we’re on the same page when it comes to this show, I too agree that this was the weakest episode so far. I mean I had to watch it twice to get what was going on and that’s never a good thing for me.

    I see what you meant about the whole Skye and Ward thing, I felt like that conversation between them could have happened a little further down the line and that they could have slowly developed some form of co-worker bond before giving us what I think is some romantic foreshadowing. Also I loved your point about Xander from Buffy, I think his approach to humour was of the best aspects of Buffy and yeah Fitz could take a leaf from that book. Also what’s going on between Fitz and Simmons? Are they just mates or what? And where’s their backstory? I know we get to learn a bit more about them in this episode but at this point their the least known about and I think the least developed.

    Oh and by the way nice recap! 😀

    • Hey there, it’s never too late to comment or share your thoughts. 🙂 I totally understand, I also like to put down my own opinions in my reviews first before reading others. I may be a bit harsh in this review but one reason I thought it is a weak episode is the suspense depended on if Skye would betray S.H.I.E.L.D. If she truly did that so early in the series, I don’t see how Coulson would want her in the team and she would be off the show. Which is not going to happen since show revolves around her at this point.

      I would also like to see more co-worker bond before any romantic overtones between Skye and Ward. Ward is her supervising officer, but it would be cool if Ward first thinks he’s superior to Skye but eventually realizes he could learn a thing or two from her. The show can gradually depict them as complimenting each other’s weaknesses, making them better agents – both as individuals and as a team, which can help set up a potential romantic relationship way down the line.

      With emphasis on other relationships on the show. Fitz & Simmons are underdeveloped at this point although it’s only 4 episodes in. I don’t feel any romantic tension between the two which is a good thing, I like their sibling like bond. I would like some clues to their back story with some hints of darkness that’ll make their progression more compelling.

      Thanks for the kind words and always great hearing your thoughts!

  6. I rather enjoyed the episode. It wasn’t remarkable but I liked the exotic resort location, something unexpected from a fantasy action series, and the suspense over Skye’s loyalty to the team. Melinda Mays was very ‘quiet’ here and I hope to see her more in action in future episodes. Also, as you said, the opening to the episode was a good one. It was gripping and a great hook to view the rest of the episode.

    I’m not in tune with the history of the story, neither have I read the comics, so it’s interesting what you said about Franklin Hall. Looking forward to seeing more episodes and then coming here to learn more about the series! Cheers.

    • I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the show and this episode. There’s usually something neat in each episode even if others parts aren’t quite working. I enjoyed the gravity effects especially in the beginning with the flying trucks. I agree that Melinda Mays didn’t get a whole lot to do this episode. I also hope to see in action in future episodes.

      I’m not familiar with the comic book history of Franklin Hall other than what I’ve read on wiki haha. I think every episode after this one gets better. I’d be curious to know if you think the same after you’ve watched them. Nice to discuss the show with you as always. 🙂

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