Agents of SHIELD: “0-8-4” Season 1 Episode 2 Review

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Early on in 0-8-4 Skye asks what an 0-8-4 is. Coulson replies, in reference to Thor, that the hammer was the last one, and that turned out to be “pretty interesting”. Well this episode was not.

It’s unfortunate that Agents of SHIELD is setting itself up as a “villain of the week” series. There is of course still time to remedy this but for now I think I need to wait until it’s more than what we are getting. If it ever gets there.

This week saw the team travel to Peru to investigate an object of unknown origin that turned out to be Tesseract technology (remember the blue cube from Captain America: The First Avenger?). Unfortunately Peruvian rebels are hot on SHIELD’s tail to obtain the potential weapon. After all we did see what it allowed HYDRA to do in Captain America and what it did to Loki’s spear in The Avengers.

Coulson appears to have ties to the commander of the local police and invites her on board when the rebels attack. Of course, it’s a sham and they want the object too. This leads Coulson to being tortured while the other five team members sit in the brig. They must work together to save Coulson and themselves. Every show that has a team dynamic does this, so forgive me for being a little bored with the whole thing.

With Joss Whedon officially not writing this episode, a lot of the humor was sucked out of this episode too.

But not all of 0-8-4 was bad. Skye has serious potential as a lead. She’s charming, modern, and has a compelling backstory. Sure, the final moments appear to show her betraying the team. She’ll eventually get caught and for one reason or another be accepted back onto the team in open arms. But for now, she’s fun to watch.

Still though, the predictability of Agents of SHIELD is a serious problem. It feels like The X-Files and Firefly thrown into one with some 2013 special effects. The show feels very much like a TV show, nothing like the groundbreaking nature of another great “nerd show” Game of Thrones. It may be unfair to compare the two, but I be the audiences are pretty similar.

What separates this show from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that several of those movies did break ground or invented something totally new in the superhero subgenre. A superhero never had as much fun before Tony Stark in Iron Man. A modern superhero movie never dared to be so unapologetically sappy and American before Captain America: The First Avenger. And no superhero film ever decided to trust that audiences would embrace the comic book essence as purely adapted as can be before The Avengers. But no matter how funny Nick Fury’s cameo was at the end, Agents of SHIELD just feels like a standard sci-fi monster of the week series.

For some that may be enough. But they might also be the fans who love Iron Man 2 or The Incredible Hulk. They aren’t bad movies, they just don’t bring anything new to the table. I hope Agents of SHIELD can eventually become that for this TV subgenre. If it ever does, I’ll gladly be back reviewing it. But as it stands, there are better things to watch. Grade: C

By Matt Dougherty

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