Will the first “normal” episode give me hope for this series?
The episode starts with the “bus” (the S.H.I.E.L.D. team plane) blowing a hole mid-flight and a man in fatigues getting sucked out the side.
Cut to 19 hours earlier: Skye is officially joining the S.H.I.E.L.D. team as a “consultant”. Agent Ward grumbles, but Coulson reminds him that technically, Tony Stark is also a “consultant”. The show establishes that Skye was not the only member of The Rising Tide, which answers one of my big questions from last week. Coulson tells the team that they’re going to Peru to investigate an object of unknown origin (like my second child?), classified here as an “0-8-4”. For instance, the last “0-8-4” S.H.I.E.L.D. investigated was Thor’s Hammer, Mjolnir. Ward nonchalantly tells Skye to read the on-board airplane safety manual (psst…they’re doing some foreshadowing).
They find the 0-8-4 in a temple in Peru, and the device looks like something made by HYDRA (evil bad guys from Captain American: The First Avenger,) Ward and May (who’s unanswered question from last week gets a new detail–something happened in Bahrain to take her out of the field) are guarding the temple when an unnamed Latin American paramilitary group confront them.
The army group are lackeys for Coulson’s old friend/girlfriend Comandante Camilla Reyes. She and Coulson have a nice moment before rebels attack. Ward uses a cool gadget that makes an energy wave that knocks down the rebels, and the team gets to the bus and they take along the Peruvian forces (I’ve got a bad feeling about this).
While in the air the Skye realizes the Scooby gang of the other agents are not much older nor much more experienced than she is, which coincidentally addresses another of my concerns. Fitz/Simmons still don’t know exactly what the 0-8-4 is other than some kind of laser weapon. Skye and Ward flirt in an “I hate you so much that I’m destined to fall in love with you” fashion that we can see coming from galaxies away.
Coulson and Comandante Reyes reminisce about past missions (and….liaisons?) in his office, but predictably, she and her forces are really just after the 0-8-4 and knock out Agent May and take over the plane before you can say “hey, there’s still a half-hour left, how are they going to fill the time”.
Our Scooby gang (the Agents minus Coulson) are imprisoned in a cargo hold, where Ward reveals that Agent May is the “calvary” assigned to bail out the rookie agents if something goes awry. They brainstorm an escape plan, which begins with May using her super spy powers to get out of her restraints and knock out their Peruvian guard.
Comandante Reyes attempts to coerce Coulson to give her classified S.H.I.E.L.D. codes so that the big boys upstairs don’t know anything’s wrong. Reyes reveals that relocated HYDRA agents in Peru(think “escaped nazis”) designed the 0-8-4 for the Peruvian government to suppress any rebel uprisings. The device was lost for years, but luckily, S.H.I.E.L.D. was able to locate it for her. Thanks, S.H.I.E.L.D. Reyes plans to use the 0-8-4 to “stabilize” Peru.
One of Fitz’s “seven dwarves” (his mini devices that analyze mysterious places/devices) is remotely deployed to depressurize the plane by shooting a hole in the side. We see again the camo dude fall out of the side of the plane, meaning we’ve caught up with the flash-forward. The pressurization on the plane is compromised, and the cargo doors open up.
The agents retake the plane, and Skye patches the hole in the bus (just in time for Coulson to not get sucked out) with an air raft she read about in conveniently placed safety manual.
Reyes is detained and the bus lands at a S.H.I.E.L.D. base, where they launch (“sling-shot”) the 0-8-4 supposedly into the sun via rocket so no one else can use it (or is it being sent to someone we’ll see in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie? Coulson commends Skye for her original thinking, and the team for working together to re-take the bus.
The Scooby gang bonds by drinking bottled beer (but they don’t even look 21, mostly) and watch the rocket carrying the 0-8-4 launch into the stratosphere. Yay team, we did it. Skye receives a text from an unknown (to us) benefactor, and she replies “I’m in”. Uh-oh, didn’t see that coming (actually, yeah, we did).
AND THEN, the episode ends when Nick Fury himself (YES! YES! YES!) berates Coulson (behind closed doors) for already trashing the bus two episodes in. I’m very encouraged by this cameo, no lie.
So, this episode addressed some of my concerns (they know the team is made up of kids, there was a TON more action, Fitz/Simmons were less prominent and therefore less annoying) but some things were still….off like how this episode seemed super-predictable, Agent Grant Ward is still lifeless, and we’ll probably never see ScarJo as Black Widow on the show. They gave us a bit more insight about The Rising Tide/Skye connection and Agent May’s exile from active duty, but questions remain. Is there a HYDRA/Centipede connection? What exactly went down in Bahrain with Agent May? Is Coulson a clone, a ‘magically’ healed Agent or even an android? Will the show continue to improve? Tune in next time, true believers!