Last week, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” did phenomenal numbers in the ratings. That was coming off of a lot of hype, and a lead-in that was basically the billion dollar big screen blockbuster, Marvel’s The Avengers. This week is the litmus test. Was it just a flash in the pan, or were the glowing reviews, including one right here. We’ll see how the second episode, “0-8-4,” rates, after the jump.
We were teased at the end of the last episode with the mystery of what an ‘0-8-4’ actually was, hopefully now we’ll get to find out. We get the answer fairly quickly. An 0-8-4 is an object of unknown origin. Like that hammer in New Mexico, heh heh. This particular 0-8-4 is in Peru, inside an Incan pyramid. So sorry, fanboys, that means the jungle scenes we all saw in previews of this season were not of Wakanda. Or at least not yet they aren’t.
The 0-8-4 is a fuel cell for a Tesseract. I’ll try to translate into comic-ese. This thing powers the Cosmic Cube, known as the Tesseract in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was a major MacGuffin in the Captain America and Thor films, as well as the Avengers. It’s bad news in the wrong hands, doing evil things like generating energy, shooting powerful beams, and opening up other dimensions.
When our fledgling team arrives in Peru and study the 0-8-4, an old friend of Coulson’s shows up. Mystery woman Camilla Reyes is very interested in both the object and renewing old ties with Agent Coulson. When rebels attack the pyramid, things get shooty, and our agents rescue Reyes and her men onto The Bus, and take off with the object.
What is The Bus, you might be asking. That’s the plane where this new team of agents has been working out of. I know, I’m bummed too that it’s not a helicarrier, but what can you do? It’s a television budget, and a helicarrier just ain’t in it. It still looks pretty cool, I mean how many of us have our own plane, right?
Time on the plane lends itself to lots of interaction. Fitz and Simmons take to Skye pretty quickly, and she tries to make nice with Ward. This second encounter leads to some possibly disappointing plot possibilities, but great character depth. Her explanation of The Rising Tide makes them out to be more Occupy movement than Hydra, AIM, or Zodiac. Sad for the hopeful fanboys, but nice to know we can trust Skye. Or… can we? The end of this episode may shed some doubt on that. That tricky Joss Whedon, never trust him in the long game.
This episode is the action drama equivalent of the locked in the vault together sitcom episode, and although clichéd, it works wonderfully. There are a lot of character moments aboard The Bus, too bad Camilla is there to double cross her old friend Coulson. Again, nothing like confinement, or imprisonment, to solidify a cherry team. The good guys win, and the bad guys lose. I like this, especially after watching admittedly excellent television like “Breaking Bad,” “Dexter,” and “Sons of Anarchy” where good and evil are simply shades of gray.
All ends well, except for what may be one of our ongoing story arcs. Skye’s loyalties may well rival how Coulson is still alive as that mystery throughout the season, and that’s fine with me. There’s some nice bonding at what appears to be the end of the episode. The team is finally starting to gel. Like the Marvel movies however, the end of the episode is not necessarily the end. At the very end, a minute past the hour, mind you, we get an appearance by the one and only Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. Nice. We need more of this.
I am really digging this series, obviously the premiere ratings are not a fluke, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is very good. I started off, like most of us, liking Coulson as my favorite character, but I think that’s changed. Ming-Na’s Agent May may have replaced him. Whether she’s The Calvary or ‘just a pilot,’ I dig her. Fitz and Simmons are a close tie for second. Who’s your favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. character?