Wednesday, February 12, 2014

View Log: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "The Asset"

I'm not a huge TV guy. I watch a few things, like Doctor Who, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and a couple others. I've never seen Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, or any of those HBO shows. Being a full-time college student, I only have time for so many obsessions. As such, I can't really analyze this show in the same vein as the Critbox; I can't view this alongside and compare it to award-winning drama. All I can do is watch it and tell you how it adapts the source material and, more importantly, whether or not I enjoyed it. As some of you may know from my own site, I dislike "reviewing" new things because I feel that proper evaluation requires time to let initial feelings settle so things can be looked at critically. As such, I plan to eventually re-watch and review AoS at season's end. But for now? Let's look at my initial reactions to Episode 3, "The Asset."

Well, right off the bat, the show’s about what I said it should be about. It’s about the non-Avengers cases. The stuff left behind (like last episode), or the stuff that can't get out of hand (like this one). And it's improving. If we can get more episodes like this, AoS could be well known as good, solid, quality entertainment. This episode started off amazingly.

I like the building camaraderie between Ward and Skye. It's like the relationship between Shadowcat and Wolverine from the comics; a gruff mentor with a bubbly protege. I'm also becoming increasingly appreciative of Fitz/Simmons; the fact that they have such distinct personalities is a breath of fresh air amongst the generic agent characters. They also remind me of both my sister and some of her colleagues I've met in her profession as a paleontologist. Turns out, scientists are quirky in real life.

The individual characters a becoming more distinct to a degree, as well. Ward is gruff, but kind. Skye is sarcastic and bubbly, but well meaning. May is a cold, emotionless, human weapon. Coulson is awesome. The characters are getting chances to play off of each other instead of just being abrasive to each other. The interactions feel more natural.

Of the three episodes so far, this one was the strongest. It dealt with some awesome comic sci-fi in a nice way. They went all out with a single idea ("Gravitonium"), but didn't get self conscious or self-parodic. Yes, "real" elements are named after people, but "Gravitonium" sounds like an appropriate placeholder name for an element that was, up until the events in this episode, merely theoretical.

Speaking of theoretical, what happened to Coulson while he was dead? He had some trouble disarming a guy and has visible frustration over this later, saying it should be muscle memory. Could this be the fact that he's a robot duplicate? After all, he keeps saying that he's gotten "a little rusty" at disarming. But then again, he keeps saying that after he died and came back, he went to Tahiti. Which he keeps describing as "magical." Thor? Scarlet Witch? Drinking unicorn's blood?

I do like the general idea of what S.H.I.E.L.D. is as suggested by this episode. S.H.I.E.L.D. is Big Brother, but one that genuinely cares about his little brothers. A good way of addressing the criticisms with the agency.

I knew that Dr. Hall (the "asset" that was being rescued) wouldn't want to leave his kidnappers. It was a classic Whedon twist. Also, he had to be put into a situation where he could potentially get gravity powers. After all, in the comics, he's a villain known as Graviton. His reveal as the traitor, as well as his exposure to the Gravitonium was probably obvious to anyone with the comic knowledge. Still, that's the risk you take with a show like this.

I liked the callback to The Avengers, when Hall mentions that S.H.I.E.L.D.'s search for a power source led to an alien invasion, when he explains to Coulson why he's sabotaging the real villain's gravity machine by using it to destroy the place. I'm very excited for a potential sequel to this episode; I think Coulson may have created a supervillain. Thanks to Coulson, Hall was sucked into the Gravitonium core, which was locked away by S.H.I.E.L.D. I predict that Hall emerges with gravity powers. (Note: this prediction was written before I saw the ending with Hall's hand emerging from the Gravitonium.) I'd love to see Dr. Hall come back with a vengeance.

All in all, this was a good episode. The question is, will this be the norm? Or was this a fluke?
We'll see when we get to next week's episode.

Until then,

(Originally posted on 10/10/13)

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