Image credit: Richard Foreman/ABC
FIRST DAY JITTERS Skye (Chloe Bennet) learns how exciting — and dangerous — life is as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Reyes now in control, she attempts to strong-arm Coulson in order to give him the codes to ensure that S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't realize the Bus has been hijacked. She then performs a classic villain monologue, explaining that the device was created by ex-HYDRA expats living in South America on commission from the Peruvian government. It was lost decades ago in a clash with rebels, but Coulson and the agents happened to get to it before her team could when it was rediscovered. Reyes wants to use it to end the rebellion and "stabilize" the nation.
Locked in the cargo hold, the team bemoan their fortune. But with a little pep talk from Ward (Is he officially team captain), they put their collective heads together to come up with a plan. May, ever the bad ass, achieves the firs objective, freeing herself from the restraints and taking out their guard. This is their Avengers moment — united by a common enemy and goal. Coulson's death played this role in uniting the team to stop Loki and save the world.
Fitz executes his part of the plan, managing to activate the 0-8-4 with Sneezy, one of his robot babies. It shoots directly at the plane, thus causing the hull breach from the beginning of the episode. The drop in cabin pressure unseals the doors, and the team is free! The subsequent re-taking of the vessel and related action is about as exciting as action can get when the stakes are low. (It's only the second episode; no one important is going to die.) Skye grabs an emergency raft and inflates it, filling the hole in the Bus and stabilizing the plane. I'm not sure about the physics of such a move, but whatever, it's a comic book TV show. The day is saved! The device is contained, Reyes is apprehended, and the team is relatively unscathed with only a trashed mobile command vehicle and a few henchmen sucked out into the sky as collateral damage.
The agents rendezvous at The Slingshot, a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base to receive repairs and contain the 0-8-4. The device has been deemed too powerful for any party to use, and it is placed on a rocket heading for the Sun. (This is a lie, right? If Nick Fury was willing to hold onto the Tesseract itself, he's not going to let go of a weapon based on Tesseract technology especially since he relinquished the Tesseract back into Asgardian custody. Let's wait for this to be a mid-season or season finale shocking reveal.)
The team unwinds and watches the rocket (supposedly) holding the 0-8-4 blast-off. For the first time, they actually start to feel like they're part of a team. But Skye receives a cryptic message from The Rising Tide. Is she a double agent for The Rising Tide? Will she become a triple agent? Is this storyline ridiculously predictable? The answer is most likely yes to all of the above, but I don't mind that it's predictable — it would be strange for such a committed OWS-type hacker to immediately switch allegiances without batting an eye.
Speaking of Director Fury, Samuel L. Jackson makes a much-appreciated cameo at the end of the episode. This look alone made the entire episode:
Being a part of the MCU is S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest asset and challenge. The possibility of encountering movie characters on the small screen is exciting for fans, but it also handicaps the show from developing its own engaging characters. So far, the appeal of the agents has had some hits (Melinda May) and misses (Grant Ward). What I'm most excited to see is how this dynamic may work in the opposite direction. These TV-based agents (plus Coulson) could show up in any future Marvel films. Would FitzSimmons prostrate themselves in front of Stark and Banner? Would May and Ward swap trade secrets with fellow agents Black Widow and Hawkeye? Would Skype dig out her old Iron Man cosplay outfit? The possibilities are boundless!
How did you think this second round of S.H.I.E.L.D. fared?