The fourth episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, entitled “Eye Spy”, starts with an creepy and elaborate diamond heist in the subway in Stockholm, Sweden.
An entourage of well-dressed men wearing red masks move as if they were in a flash mob (and maybe somewhat evocative of the Observers from “Fringe”), and board a subway train. They are quietly observed by a woman wearing headphones. She closes her eyes and the lights on the train go out and the mask-wearing men are slaughtered. The headphone-wearing woman is revealed in the subway tunnel with a bag of diamonds–apparently the men were part of a complicated transfer process.
Agent May is flying “the bus” to an unknown destination. Coulson visits her, hoping to pick her brain about returning to combat duty, but May tells him bluntly to GTFO.
It turns out the heist is only one of several recent occurrences throughout Europe. S.H.I.E.L.D. (Fitz/Simmons specifically) use their tech to determine the culprit by hacking into Instagram and Tumblr. I thought this was a pretty clever and timely use of real-life situations.
Coulson reveals that the thief is former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Akela Amador (Pascale Armand), whom Coulson trained and supervised. It was thought that Amador had been killed in an incident seven years ago, but Coulson suspected that she was still alive and behind the diamond heists due to her particular skill-set. What is unknown is why she’s had a “heel turn”. Coulson believes she’s being controlled in some way and that the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. should rescue her.
The team takes “the bus” to a village in the former Soviet nation of Belarus, where they’ve triangulated that Amador was last seen. The tech group of the team (Skye & Fitz/Simmons) set up a base in a van while Ward and Coulson ask around about Amador. It turns out there aren’t too many people who look like Amador in Belarus. The techies hack into an unknown feed, where they see their van being x-rayed in real time and then whatever is generating their feed plows into the van, knocking it sideways.
Amador trades the diamonds with a burly Russian guy for a control keycard to an unknown location/entity.
In a weird commercial cut, we see the entire team assembled on the bus. I thought it was a stretch to go from seeing the team helpless and under attack in a ditch to being safe and sound. I guess the assailant just…left them alone after trying to kill them? The team picks up the feed again and discover that they are watching Amador’s POV (and that she can switch to X-Ray vision at will), because she has a cybernetic eye that is beyond anything Fitz/Simmons can even conceive of. It’s determined that she’s following orders from (YET ANOTHER) unseen menace, but agent May wants her taken out (and “slingshotted” apparently).
May finds and confronts Amador in her hotel room, and Amador reveals that the eye can be remotely detonated if she (Amador) doesn’t acquiesce to whomever is behind it. Agent May don’t care care, yo, and the two tussle. Amador gets May in a killing position, but Coulson enters and knocks out Amador with a new version of Fitz’s “night-night” gun.
In an over-long monologue, Amador tells Coulson that she blew it seven years ago by not trusting her field team and got her fellow agents blowed up real good. Amador lived, but was a shell of her former self and had lost her sight. The still-unrevealed bad guys (HYDRA? ZODIAC? AIM?) nursed her to health and gave her the cybernetic eye to do their bidding. Amador can tell something is wrong with Coulson and he’s not himself (perhaps literally–again, is he a clone or something?) The S.H.I.E.L.D. techies hack her feed to the big bads and try to lure the villainous force out of hiding.
Fitz/Simmons perform surgery on Amador to deactivate the remote detonator and disconnect her from the unknown manipulators. Skye and Ward use the keycard to get the data Amador was pursuing. Coulson almost gets his hands on Amador’s malefactor, but dun-dun-dun, the villain escapes and we still don’t know who was controlling Amador.
Amador is brought into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, where Coulson assures her she’ll be dealt with fairly. Amador is thankful to have closure and to be free from her captors.
This felt more procedural (a la C.S.I. or N.C.I.S.) to me, and though those are successful shows, there wasn’t much in this episode that felt particularly “Marvel-ous”, if you pardon my pun. I guess the formula (with the exception of last week’s Graviton origin story), is going to be “unknown gadget/superhuman of the week” not unlike non-mythology episodes of “Fringe” or “X-Files”. This was maybe the least compelling episode to me so far. Hopefully Amador will be brought into the main team (and will stop the cries for more diversity on the show), but they’ll have to make her more interesting. I liked the red masks at the beginning, but was let down that they were just a small part of the episode and not used for a more sinister storyline. WELP, better luck next time. See you next week!