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Agents of SHIELD – The Asset

October 8, 2013

So another episode of Agents of SHIELD aired. And I’m going to give my thoughts. By the way, sorry about the lack of updates the past few days. I was stressing out a bit about school, and that made me not want to write. I’ve calmed down now, though.

Anyway. This episode starts with a truck driver with a SHIELD escort being taken out by something weird. They all just float up into the sky and then come down hard. The back of truck had Franklin Hall, a brilliant physicist, who gets kidnapped. The team goes in to investigate, and finds a weird little device, which Fitz and Simmons later explain has Gravitonium inside it. Gravitonium is a new element. If you can’t guess what it does, then I have no idea why you’re reading my blog. Anyway, the guy who kidnapped Hall is Ian Quinn, a businessman who lives in Malta because it puts him out of reach of any governments. He seems to be a pretty laissez-faire type; he talks big on transparency and freedom of information, but he also doesn’t seem to mind exploiting people and resources if it makes him money. Basically, he’s a libertarian. I have enough contempt for libertarians that I don’t actually object to seeing one as a villain, but I imagine most libertarians would find it irritating. Anyway, SHIELD is trying to figure out how to get into his compound, which is protected by a laser fence, and after a few minutes with her phone, Skye gets herself invited to a party Quinn’s throwing. Her job is to get close enough a computer for Fitz to hack it to bring down the laser fence so Coulson and Ward can get in. Once they’re in, they’ll get Hall and Skye and get out. Skye gets busted by Quinn, but she pulls some double-agent stuff to keep him from killing her. The two talk about SHIELD, and why she should work for Quinn instead, but she winds up helping SHIELD anyway. Coulson finds Hall, and learns that Hall was actually the one who leaked information that led to Quinn grabbing him, but also that Hall did it so he could destroy the large-scale gravity device Quinn had built. He’s going to sink the use the Gravitonium to destroy the whole island. Coulson stops him by shooting out the glass over the device, and Hall falls into it, which causes the device to shut down. The day is saved, hurrah.

As usual, some good and some bad here. Skye continues to be a terrible character. She’s just so bland, generic and cliched. She really does suck. She does get one good moment. She grabs Quinn’s gun, and he asks if she can pull the trigger (which obviously echoes a line from earlier in the episode, when Ward points out the difference between getting a gun and pulling the trigger – this show really does love those sorts of dramatic echoes, despite their cheesiness). Skye just gives out this “nope,” and jumps off his balcony into his pool. I just like the way she says “nope.” We also get some of her tragic backstory. Foster homes and no one loved her and blah blah. It’s all very sad.

Ward also still sucks. We get his tragic backstory – his older brother used to beat up him and his younger brother, and Ward had to learn how to protect them. Whatever. He questions Coulson’s decision to let Skye go into the compound. He brings up both her lack of training and her questionable loyalty. Both totally valid concerns. But then Coulson pushes a bit, and gets Ward to admit to it being because he’s had trouble training her and crap. The valid concerns Ward brings up don’t get addressed at all. Not even with, “We have no other options.” The fact that those concerns are brushed off in favour of Ward being peeved about how tough she is to train is really annoying. It’s a common tactic in fiction, and it’s always annoying. It’s no less so here.

Fitz and Simmons are still great. While they’re trying to figure out how to get into the compound, Fitz says they could use a monkey. Simmons reacts with a “not this again” kind of comment. Which means that this isn’t the first time Fitz has suggested using monkeys. He probably brings up monkey-related plans a lot, going by Simmons’ reaction. And that makes me smile. Fitz being obsessed with monkeys is amusing, and Simmons being annoyed about it is great.

Coulson’s good. We get another slight hint that something’s amiss. There’s no mention of Tahiti this week, but at a couple points, he has trouble disassembling a pistol. He remarks that he used to be able to do it, and that his muscle memory for it is gone. That would make sense, if he’s an LMD.

This episode does also slightly continue the rather uncomfortable “shadowy government is good” stuff. Quinn calls SHIELD Big Brother at one point. Skye responds that at least they’re the kind of Big Brother that protects their little brother (as a callback to her earlier talk with Ward about his backstory). This is even more uncomfortable coming from a transparency activist. The fact that the villain is a libertarian is also bad, despite my earlier joke. While I strongly disagree with libertarians on a lot of things, and while I reject virtually their entire philosophy . . . this is still an example of people who are sceptical and suspicious of the government being portrayed as bad guys. It continues to paint anyone who doesn’t trust the government in a bad light. And that is terrible. On the plus side, the guy playing Quinn did a great job. He was smart and charming, and it was actually tough to really think of him as a villain. So when he talks about how bad SHIELD is, he’s actually convincing. And that helps a lot. It makes his warnings to Skye about how SHIELD operates actually believable. It gives the criticisms weight. The show still needs to do a lot more to show SHIELD’s seedier side, to show that it does deserve scrutiny and mistrust.

So this episode was OK. Too much Skye and Ward, but I get the feeling I’ll be saying that a lot about this series.

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From → Agents of SHIELD

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