Butler County Times Gazette
  • Costello: "Agents of SH.I.E.L.D." has great sci-fi feel, highlights character interaction

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  • Major spoilers ahead for Episode 2 of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
    At the end of the opening scene of the second episode of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.", which is entitled "0-8-4", agent Coulson, while flying the agents' base in the form of a heavy-duty aircraft, says through a communication channel, "Nothing but blue skies from here."
    Of course, immediately after that, an explosion goes off, which creates a giant hole in the hull that brings turbulence to the aircraft.
    What's been great about "S.H.I.E.L.D." in its first two episodes is how transparent the show is. The writers obviously know the tongue-in-cheek nature of several of the punch lines, yet it walks that fine line of not insisting on itself. It's more like the writers are giving us off-camera smiles and winks.
    While it didn't have as much flare as the pilot, the second installment of "S.H.I.E.L.D." proved the show is no one-hit wonder. "0-8-4" built on the previous starting points with more specificity and interaction with characters while balancing the proper pace of the story and action.
    The episode picks up where the pilot left off, with Coulson and his team on a mission to confirm the discovery of a code 0-8-4, which turns out to be an artifact buried inside an ancient temple in Peru. This artifact was strangely located half- singed to a wall. Fitz and Simmons, the two young, nerdy tech agents, learn that it actually is a device with Tesseract energy signals (the tesseract, of course, was the energy cube that connected Thor's world with Earth in "Avengers", first discovered in "Captain America").
    Local military insurgents of sorts soon bring a surprise attack upon the agents at the excavation site, and the agents have to protect the device. One cool piece of tech used in the fight was a grenade that set off a flat sphere of an explosive blast (an idea ripped straight out of "Star Wars: Episode II, by the way). All in all, the scene somehow was an odd blend of X-Files and new-age Indiana Jones.
    The Peru soldiers appear to be after the artifact as well, but the battle immediately stops as Coulson locks eyes with a woman leader of the group. This woman, named Camille, apparently is an old flame of Coulson's, a nice touch to shed a little more on his character. Later in the episode, it seems that Camille's feelings haven't changed over the years, including during a moment he shows off his collectible walkie-talkie watch (Coulson loves his vintage pieces). Of course, love blinds Coulson from her true motives, and chaos ensues.
    Page 2 of 2 - The brilliance of the episode, though, came together with the rest of the agents' interactions. Agent Ward, the hot-shot solo specialist, is in awe to be working with the great Agent May, with whom he has a couple conversations about how to be a leader in the field. Fitz and Simmons are two peas in a pod; they are comical, wound up, young-at-heart scientists of their respective areas of expertise. Skye, the Rising Tide hacker who joined S.H.I.E.L.D. for the time being, has some personal time with Ward while the aircraft base first takes off. The two of them simultaneously clear the air and raise suspicion about each other's motives. Skye opens up a little about the Rising Tide, and describes how individual role players become dedicated to work together to accomplish goals "1 percent at a time," as she explains it.
    The aforementioned plane explosion was caused by Camille and her soldiers, who turned out to be double-crossing the agents. While they hold the plane hostage, the agents all have to work together to free themselves of restraints and take back control. The scene was vintage "Avengers" as Joss Whedon, the show's creator and lead writer, again shows how good he is at assembling a team together.
    Perhaps the best scene of all was at the end, almost like the Marvel movie's post-credit scene. None other than Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson) shows up as he cleans up the mess and tries to understand more about what's going. Based on the ending, there's plenty more to discover as the show picks up next week.

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