Hey folks! I've got us a new drinking game! Every time someone in "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." makes a reference to events from one of its relating films, take a sip — or a gulp. Heck, just down the whole bottle, you might need it for this episode.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Thor reference as much as the next overly excitable comic book nerd, but I can't help but feel that "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." may need curb its enthusiasm for tie-ins in favor of establishing itself apart from its big blockbuster brothers. Let these kids have their own fun! It certainly doesn't mean the writers should avoid nods to the Marvel universe at large altogether, but there's no need to hit us over the head with Odin's hammer two minutes into the second episode.
This week our dysfunctional crew of S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives are called into Peru to investigate an "0-8-4." What's an "0-8-4" you ask? Well, it's basically code for "we have no idea." But Agent Coulson is excited, because the last time we all saw him investigating something of this nature, it turned out to be Thor's hammer. (Don't remember the scene? Grab your "Iron Man 2" DVD and fast-forward to the end of the credits. I'll wait.)
Skye, the super hacker from last week, is officially on board as a "consultant," but Ward isn't happy about this because she's inexperienced, untrained and untrustworthy. Hmmm. Sounds to me like someone might have a bit of a crush, amirite? He's doing everything BUT pull her hair. (This is OK, I guess, because Skye’s hair is unnaturally perfect for someone who spends most of her time living out of a van.) Anyway, despite Brand's objections, Coulson seems generally unperturbed, which is how he spends most of this episode. Being bought back to life in Tahiti has done wonders for his composure.
A quick shot of a terrible CGI plane (S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ or "The Bus"), and we've landed at the mission site. The device in question is buried inside an ancient Peruvian temple, and after a few computer scans and accompanying technobabble from the adorable Fitzsimmons, the "0-8-4" has been identified as being of unidentified origin ... with German design influences. Right. More on that later because, right on cue, the team is attacked by a handful of Peruvian soldiers.
Agent May earns her reputation as "The Cavalry" in this scene, and with the help of Ward they easily subdue their attackers.
More soldiers arrive, however Coulson coincidentally recognizes the Peruvian Commanding Officer. They used to work together "back in the day" he informs his team with that trademark Phil Coulson smirk. Oh, did I forget to mention the Peruvian Commanding Officer is an attractive and flirtatious superwoman-in-charge? Coulson, you dog, you!
Back on The Bus, it's obvious the team isn't gelling as well as Coulson would like, but their bickering is cut short when the "0-8-4" is finally identified as a piece of equipment that acts in a similar manner to that of the “Tesseract” — the alien device that featured heavily in "Captain America." That is: it's an extremely powerful weapon that emits a large amount of gamma radiation. That thing’ll blow holes right through your plane! The team all awkwardly take one step back from it, but no one questions what a piece of Nazi equipment from World War II was doing in the heart of an Incan pyramid. Seriously, guys?
Our team are betrayed by the Peruvian army who, unsurprisingly, want the device for themselves, and the moral of this episode is revealed: It takes teamwork to get things done properly. There's an explosion or two, a scuffle, and our heroes are triumphant, finally beginning to show that they can all come together, proving to Coulson that he made the right choice in handpicking them all for his squad. Very touching.
The episode wraps up with our protagonists sitting at the back of the hangar sharing a beer. It's revealed that Skye hasn't exactly dropped all of her connections from "The Rising Tide" organization. This should make for some interesting double agent-type shenanigans in future episodes, considering that S.H.I.E.L.D. stands for everything that "The Rising Tide" is against. Watch this space.
That’s it, folks. Episode 2 done and — wait, no! It's the cameo you've most likely already heard about thanks to those not so subtle teasers throughout the week: Samuel L. Jackson as the eye-patched Director Nick Fury makes an appearance! He and Coulson share a hilarious little exchange, but if you were expecting anything more (like a teaser for the upcoming "Thor: The Dark World", perhaps) you'll be disappointed. Well. As disappointed as you can be when you’ve got Samuel L. Jackson being awesome on your small screen.
It’s a great way to finish off what was a pretty shaky episode, but the series definitely has potential. Things haven’t become as “weird” as Coulson keeps promising Skye, but it’s heading in the right direction. Considering the scope of the world these characters are playing in (worlds if you count Asgard), the sky is by no means not the limit.
So what did you think? Did “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”s second episode hit the target for you? Did your inner nerd do a little happy dance at Nick Fury’s cameo? Do you want to know where Skye gets her hair done? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you here for next week’s recap!