Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap: Blue Skies From Here On Out?

The agents adjust to changing conditions and differing personalities in their first official mission
Ep. 02 | Aired Oct 1, 2013

FIRST DAY JITTERS Skye (Chloe Bennet) learns how exciting — and dangerous — life is as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Richard Foreman/ABC

Off the heels of their first major trip as a team (second if you count the mission to recruit Skye), none of the agents are happy. May broods in the cockpit, angry that she was placed in a combat situation when Coulson explicitly promised that wouldn't happen. Fitz and Ward bicker over what words constitute actual English since both are members of different divisions of the Grammar Police. Simmons feigns a cheery mood as she reminds everyone that the device could detonate at any moment. Skye freaks out, realizing the crack team she was recruited to be a part of is just as green and inexperienced in group dynamics as she is.

In the requisite pseudo-science-let's-explain-stuff scene, FitzSimmons determine the device is a powerful laser weapon. (Shocker.) I like the abstract idea of FitzSimmons, but everything they say sounds like some sort of secret code language that only they understand. This is in part intentional but even when they discuss monkeys and snakes, I have a sneaking suspicion that I caught about 70% of what they actually say.

Meanwhile, Skye tries to mend fences with Ward in the best way possible — booze. Skye jokingly asks Ward if he's reading The Hunger Games — if she was a real hacker, she would be a Battle Royale fan. But he isn't just a generically pretty face, Ward is reading the Vietnam War account Matterhorn. (I haven't read it, but I'm partial to The Things They Carried. Thanks AP Lit!) Ward and Skye want to get along, but as Ward states, they "just can't seem to understand each other." (Groan. I doubt this is the first time Ward is going to make me roll my eyes. I should start a count!)

Coulson and Reyes talk-flirt in his office. But something isn't quite right with Reyes and her men. Reyes is laying it on thick, too thick. It's a trap! Reyes and her team take over the Bus, knocking out May and apprehending the rest of the team. Why? Because Reyes doesn't like Coulson's team.

For a show that makes things plainly evident (This device is dangerous! This device is unstable! Did we mention this device is dangerous?), Reyes' distrust and lack of faith in Coulson's team, and therefore Coulson himself, was not made as obvious as it could have been. The main motivation to betray her old friend is how disorganized and fractured his team is. It's the crux of the episode, the lynchpin that puts everything in place including how Coulson's team come together as a direct objection to Reyes' judgement. Somewhere in the talk of sentimentality and Grammar Police quibbles, this significant aspect of the plot was lost. (And no, half second reaction shots of a mildly disappointed Reyes does not count.)

Character analysis aside: the most consistent characteristic Coulson has displayed throughout the MCU is his penchant for collecting and nostalgia for the past. From his Captain America trading cards  to his collection of old-school gadgets, he is a collector. Although present throughout most of the MCU projects, we don't really have a significant insight on who Coulson is as a person, but the notion of Coulson the collector helps inform who he is and where his values lie.

NEXT: The TV version of the movie version of the comic version of The Avengers

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