‘Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ recap: Episode 3, ‘The Asset’

Skye's compact surely pulls its weight, not just perfecting her flawless skin, but also doubling as a spy gadget. Obviously. Credit: ABC
Skye’s compact surely pulls its weight, not just perfecting her flawless skin, but also doubling as a spy gadget. Obviously.
Credit: ABC

This week’s episode of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” brings us a few firsts: The very first super villain of the series! Skye’s first official solo mission! First time no one thought to mention Thor’s biceps! After the last two installments saturated us with references to Marvel’s cinematic universe, “The Asset” finally allowed its core group of agents to stand on their own two feet. (Well, mostly. There is the small matter of the anti-gravity machine, but more on that in a moment.)

Executive producer Joss Whedon is well known for his nuanced, fast-talking, ballsy female characters, so it’s no surprise that this episode focuses heavily on Skye. It’s her big opportunity to prove to the S.H.I.E.L.D. team that she’s got what it takes to become a fully fledged member of the agency. Of course, let’s not forget that last week she was a hacker (or a “hactivist”) still secretly aligned with the mysterious “Rising Tide” organization, so the enthusiasm she shows for her new job raises a some questions.

Like is she going stay true to her new pals, or will she decide to stick with old Rising Tide alliances? If it’s the latter, how will Coulson deal being stabbed in the back a second time? Do you think he’s got enough PTO with S.H.I.E.L.D. for another trip to Tahiti? Where in Odin’s name is Skye finding time to do her hair?!!

Anyway, before Skye can go out and do what S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives do best, first she’s got to go work on her fitness. With Ward. Of course. Sexual tension ensues, and we learn that not only can Ward do a hundred pull ups (so he says) but he’s also got an abusive older brother who used to beat up on him and his younger sibling during birthday celebrations. Yes, folks. This is our token hottie’s deep and troubled past. To say I’m not disappointed would be like saying I didn’t hit the pause button on Steve Rogers’ overly gratuitous butt shot in “Captain America.” Because I did. And I am. Luckily Skye’s past (young orphan bounced from foster home to foster home blah blah blah) makes up for it.

It’s a rescue mission for the team this time round, taking them to Malta where our big bad of the week, That-Guy-From-Ghost-Whisperer, aka Ian Quinn, has kidnapped S.H.I.E.L.D. scientist Dr. Franklin Hall. (Recognize that name, comic book aficionados? Were you all waiting on the edge of your seats for the big reveal? Uninitiated: Read on, the twist is coming soon!) Dr. Hall has pioneered the Gravitonium, which manipulates the field of gravity in a big, dangerous way. Quinn, who’s kind of like an evil Tony Stark, (hot and charming but without the alcohol dependency) wants to exploit that.

Anyway due to The International Law, and other Terribly Important Legal Stuff that S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn’t dream of ever getting involved in, Skye is the only member able to get inside Quinn’s compound undetected. Right on cue, loverboy — sorry — Ward objects, because he thinks she’s untrustworthy and untrained and a liability and so on and so forth. Sheesh. Just ask her out already.

His objections are quashed by Coulson, and so, using her extensive two week espionage training course (that is: her boobs — hey, Fitz said it first!) Skye manages to schmooze her way right into Quinn’s private lounge. Then, using a makeup compact as a kind of high-tech interference device, she disables Quinn’s security allowing for Coulson and Ward to fight their way inside.

Ward comes to Skye’s aid while it remains up to Coulson to rescue Dr. Hall … who … actually doesn’t want to be rescued. Turns out he planned the whole thing in order to take out Quinn himself and destroy the Gravitonium before it becomes a major headache for the rest of the world. It’s a noble cause, but kiiiiind of misguided, seeing as though Dr. Hall’s only solution is to trigger the machine into self destruction. Which will kill everyone on the compound. Not good.

Coulson’s regular charming shtick doesn’t succeed in talking the good doctor down, and so he does it the hard way: throwing Dr. Hall into his own creation.

Now, every good comic book nerd knows it takes equal parts of “pure genius” and “a twisted desire for revenge” to create the perfect super villain, and it looks like Coulson’s mastered this recipe. I doubt the silver hand trying to pull itself out of the spinning gravitational vortex will be the last we see of Dr. Hall. We comic book nerds know him better as Graviton.

“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is definitely building momentum, guys. It was really great to find out a little more about a few of our agents, and while some aren’t necessarily the most compelling, I’m thinking a few more missions and I’ll be hooked. Overall, this was the series’ strongest episode to date, and I’ll certainly be tuning in for next week’s episode. How about you?

Grade: B

‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ mission notes:

  • Does anyone else want to see more of Melinda May? Always in leather, mysterious past, can radiate utter disgust and disapproval in just one look? Yes please! I’m happy she’s finally seen the light and decided to volunteer for active duty.
  • The mystery surrounding Coulson’s near death experience deepens, this time it’s revealed he’s lost some of his muscle memory. Or did he just rust up on field? You heard it here first, folks. Coulson’s totally a robot. Or Life Model Decoy. I mean, who else wears a suit on such a physical mission?! Dude didn’t even break a sweat!
  • Really loved the use of the makeup compact as an espionage tool. Nice reminder that “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.” is essentially a souped-up spy show.
  • Fitz and Simmons really need their own podcast, amirite?!


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Manhattan ERs sees rash of synthetic marijuana

Almost two dozen people were rushed to Manhattan emergency rooms since Friday for possible negative reactions to synthetic marijuana products.

Money

The rules for dipping into your kid's college…

Find out when it is - and isn't - OK to use that locked vault college fund money to pay your bills.

Local

Times Square Spider-Man hauled off after punching cop:…

An amateur Spider-Man was anything but a hero on Sunday after authorities said he punched an officer to evade arrest in Times Square.

Local

Widow of Eric Garner says he was not…

The family of Eric Garner, who died while in NYPD custody, remembered him as being peaceful but constantly harassed by law enforcement.

Movies

7 things notably missing from this year's Comic-Con:…

From "Star Wars 7" to "Jurassic World" to "Divergent: Insurgent," there were a number of colossal pop culture entities MIA from this year's Comic-Con.

Movies

Comic-Con: An interview with Wired publisher Howard Mittmann

Howard Mittmann, publisher of Wired magazine, discusses the Wired Cafe and its role in the zoo that is Comic-Con.

Movies

9 bombshells dropped at this year's San Diego…

There were no big surprises at this year's Comic-Con, but attendees did get the first look at Wonder Woman and got some "Game of Thrones" news.

Books

Art imitates life (almost) in David Shapiro's new…

David Shapiro talks about his book, "You're Not Much Use To Anyone."

Sports

Kevin Love becomes third NBA player to pull…

Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves became the third NBA player to withdraw from consideration for Team USA in next month's World Cup, USA Basketball.

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

Style

Cara Delevingne's major fashion faux-pas

Find out why the outfit Cara Delevingne wore to Leonardo DiCaprio's charity gala raised eyebrows.

Food

Strawberry shortcake ice cream sandwiches

Make this ice cream sandwich all summer long.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.