New Show Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 01×04, “Eye Spy”

I just cannot get into this show. I feel bad for saying that. I am the official recapper, after all. I gave myself five episodes to like it. This is episode four. My brain is realizing this is not a Joss Whedon show; it is a show with his name as a producer only. It is still hard to not compare S.H.I.E.L.D. to Buffy. In a Swedish plaza, scary white men in red masks carry briefcases and look menacing. Where is Lizbeth Salander when you need her? The episode’s main character is shown following these scary men onto a subway. She shuts her eyes and turns off the lights on the car.  The lights come back on and reveal all the scary men are hurt with a bit of gore thrown in. The briefcase has been take from a man by detaching his hand.

We cut to Melinda flying the bus. Coulson interrupts her and they briefly chat about him wanting to learn to fly. She chides him and says she loves flying for the solitude. Punchline! Fitz-Simmons and Ward are discussing Night-Night Gun 2.0. Why does it matter? I don’t know. Coulson and Skye have a bit of a chat about figuring out how someone is stealing diamonds. Coulson’s briefing of the theft brings up that he knows the perpetrator. They debate ESP/telepathy because that was Skye’s first thought. Skye goes on Instagram and figures out someone saw the crime before it happened. The thief turns out to be a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent that Coulson trained, Akela.

We are headed to Belarus! Skye and Coulson discuss protégées because Akela was also a Coulson trainee. Skye is comparing herself to Akela.

Akela is meeting some gentlemen in her hotel, where she shows off the stolen diamonds. They make an exchange for a passcard to some building.  The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are in a van heading to the Belarussian town. Worthless banter blah blah blah. The lines fed to Fitz and Simmons seem to be making fun of nerds, not having fun with the nerds. It is like a Big Bang Theory version of nerds. And there it is: the the joke that’s not really funny to trans* people about girls and boys having different parts. Skye basically says boys have penises, girls have vaginas. This almost made me turn the TV off all the way.

Coulson and Ward make it to the hotel where Akela is staying. The feed that Skye has been thinking was TV turns out to be some sort of camera watching the van. Akela rams the S.H.I.E.L.D. van and flips it over. Back on the bus, Ward is trying to convince Coulson that she doesn’t care about him anymore. Skye believes she can hijack the feed. The big reveal is that Akela’s eye is the camera. They take turns watching the feed. Coulson goes to relieve May and she is gone.

What do you know! May went to confront Akela. They have a bit of a fight and Coulson uses Chekov’s Gun 2.0 to get her knocked out. Akela is afraid her handlers will kill her via a killswitch in the implant, but Coulson reveals they hijacked her feed and put it into Clark Kent glasses for Ward to wear. Akela gets a whole 7 minutes of exposition to explain what happened to her. Skye and Ward are using the Clark Kent glasses to complete Akela’s latest project while Fitz-Simmons try to get the eye out of Akela. Coulson is headed to find her handler.

Fitz and Simmons begin surgery on the eye while Ward does his thing. Oh look, a homophobic joke for frat boys. It goes like this: How gross is it that Ward has to seduce the bearish guard. It’s funny because Ward is super heterosexual. Instead Ward takes the frat boy route and beats up the guard after trying to have a bro down over sports and girls. Fuck it—I am almost done with this show. Alien script is apparently the mission. Some random math equations maybe. Really? I had to suffer through all this crappy acting to get some Good Will Hunting shit?

Coulson finds the British handler, played by a poor man’s Nick Frost. The Belarussians are alerted to Ward’s presence in their compound and start going after him. Fitz and Simmons get the eye out and get it disarmed after calling Ward who tells them to cut the wires – he accidentally looked into a mirror and blew his cover. The British Handler also had an eye implant and dies after seeing Coulson’s badge.

May escorts Akela to the waiting S.H.I.E.L.D. task force. Akela makes some comment about Coulson being different. Skye and Coulson chat some more. It ends with Fitz trying to cheat at poker against Ward by having Skye use the backscatter glasses from her bunk to read Ward’s cards. He abandons the scheme when Skye points out that she’ll be able to see him naked, but she sneaks a peek at Ward anyway.

Yet again, I am feeling disappointed. The best part about this episode might have been the new Thor 2 trailer that played during one of the commercial breaks. This is not a Joss Whedon show. The humor is too crass, too lowest common denominator, and too masculine. This show is just not something I really care to like. I know the first season of Buffy was awful [Ed. note: I don’t think it was as bad as this] but there were flashes of brilliance of what was to come. I don’t see that here. I can’t even tell if this show is better than Alphas or Heroes. Use some freakin’ Marvel characters, OK guys? I want some random C list villains and heroes. I do not care if it’s Squirrel Girl. Please make it Squirrel Girl!

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Alyson

Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

9 thoughts on “New Show Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 01×04, “Eye Spy””

  1. This show is a lot more fun when you don’t have to think about it or how you will recap it… which for a geek demographic franchise is not a good sign. There’s a difference between suspension of disbelief and brainless watching. With suspension of disbelief, you can still geek in on aspects of the world and enjoy characters and so on. with brainless watching, turning your brain on means everything gets a lot less fun.

    I have a little more hope long term, but not for something critical- I want to see A C’s plot come out really badly, so my hope is more the kind of hope you have when your comic’s writer changes up and the new one isn’t that great- you can’t just quit reading until the next writer happens b ecause you’ll miss too much if there isn’t a reboot, so you bear it out or at least binge read at a friend’s house.

  2. You’re being far too critical of this show. Don’t take it so seriously, we’ve barely even started. If you’re measuring it against the Marvel movies or the later seasons of Buffy and Angel, you’re going to be disappointed.

    Relax. Take a breath. Give it a season to pick up speed. You can’t expect big interesting story plots right away, and they’ve even already laid out the groundwork on a couple or more of those.

  3. I think I have to disagree. Joss’ finger prints are all over the show. People seem to forget that Buffy took time to get up to speed and who can forget Fire Fly which was never allowed to get legs. People need to keep in mind this is a show based on the Misogynistic world of Comic Books. I think the show did an admirable job in integrating strong female characters but still need to see where it’s going to go. Like most Joss show there clearly is a season arc which has yet to truly reveal itself. This is in true Joss form. But like all his shows, especially in first seasons where you are not only trying to give week show plots and a season arc you are also trying to provide background material for your characters. Never easy with these types of shows. Buffy played off of a movie, so people had some background. And although Avengers has a movie, their is really no background to the characters or the plot of the show, making Joss’ task that much harder. I am hoping in true Joss fashion that his story arc will be a good one and one well worth watching. But I do agree, he plots are very comic bookish (not surprising) and unfortunately the entire show seems very reminiscent of another Marvel failure Mutant X. Would be surprised if any reader on Persephone though has ever watched Mutant X.

  4. The main feeling this episode inspired in me was mocking disbelief that anyone who had ever been to Belarus would believe fake-California-Belarus for a millisecond. I complained about this for a while and then my chemist boyfriend one-upped me with “Have you heard the science on this programme?!”

    True.

    Skye seems to be the focus for now and she’s actually not the most interesting character. And some of the ‘team’ are still just caricatures (ahem, FitzSimmons, ahem).

  5. Yeah, this show has really been a huge disappointment. The transmisogynistic and heterosexist humor really didn’t help, and I also thought the episode, and the series in general, has some anti-Black undertones that are really off-putting. Between all that and trying to do, essentially, a spy thriller with next to zero canon Marvel characters, I’m about done.

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