This week, we shift the focus from the characters that make up Coulson’s ragtag gang, and instead take a closer look at how the team actually handles a case under normal (I use that word loosely) circumstances. Since Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came in with a solid performance last week, I’ve been anticipating this week’s episode with high hopes, and I’ve not been let down; tonight’s episode delivered.
“Eye Spy” focuses on a rogue agent; one that Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) himself has trained. Remember those men in red masks with briefcases around their wrists that were featured in the leaked photos before the show’s premiere? Well, that mysterious bunch is made quick work by Agent Coulson’s former protégé, Akela Amador (Pascale Armand), thanks to some sort of special vision she’s picked up since her time under Coulson’s command. As it turns out, she’s been using her gifts to thwart heists, and take the riches for herself.
Now, I know what you’re thinking; “Since when does S.H.I.E.L.D. investigate theft of diamonds? Focus on the superheroes, AC!” You’d be right, but, apparently, Coulson is aware of just how dangerous Amador could be if she chooses, which is why he risks his team to save/stop her. I mean, he even knew that the thief had to be her, just from the fact that only a few people in the world (Melinda May being one of them) could pull off the level of theft that she did, so this is one badass chick that we are dealing with here. Even though they have good reason to be going after her, don’t let that fool you; Coulson is personally invested in finding her, even going as far as hiding it from HQ. For someone who is supposed to be a top agent in an organization that strives for “the greater good,” Phil sure is getting to be a softy. After last week’s ending, it doesn’t seem he’s willing to sacrifice the few for the many… at least, not since Tahiti.
Naturally, to compete with super agent, Akela Amador, we get an extra dose of Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) this week. Much to my dismay, she sticks with her grouchy-loner gimmick yet again. Maybe it’s just because I hate people with her personality (or lack there of) in real life, but when she’s constantly raining on everyone’s parade, offers nothing in the way of an alternate solution, and is then the first to “reluctantly” offer her help in implementing the original plan that she shot down, I just get irritated. I’m never sure whether she’s a by-the-book agent, or one that plays by her own rules; all I can ever be sure of is that she will consistently disagree with everyone, and it bugs the ever-living shit out of me. At one point, she slightly breaks this character and does something cool, accidentally giving us a halfway entertaining scene, only to fall short on the full potential of the character. I’d be accepting of her character if she could just be some sort of kickass ninja that, when she steps into combat, you know heads are rolling… but she isn’t. She’s, maybe, barely above Coulson and Ward from what we’ve seen. While that’s pretty good, it doesn’t make her anything special, which is exactly what she could be, but no. She’s just the annoying “mother” of the team that has to constantly tell them what they’re doing wrong.
To track down Amador, Coulson enlists Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) computer wizardry once again. Unfortunately, aside from being able to use Instagram to find proof of the rogue agent’s involvement in the heist, they really make her seem hopelessly incompetent when it comes to all aspects of training to be a field agent. She can’t figure out the difference between the gun’s safety and magazine release, and I can’t help but think that they are trying to lure me into thinking she’s a lot dumber than she seems. In fact, you almost forget about her manipulation of Agent Coulson, and basically all of S.H.I.E.L.D., because she seems so clueless when it comes to just about anything else. Even though Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) takes a lot of screen time in tonight’s episode, and shares a considerable amount of it with Skye, they don’t ever really get a chance to go off and explore that relationship too much on an emotional level, which was kind of disappointing. While it was refreshing to see them not overanalyzing the team, I was looking forward to seeing these two getting some more one-on-one time.
Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) revert back to lightening the mood of the show, which was a thankful addition to tonight’s rather gloomy tone. These two have proven able to give us some of the most awkward, funny moments on the show, and have left me anticipating a story focused on the two of them. From what little we’ve seen of the depth of these characters, I can’t help but think that they’d shine in this format, if given the proper storyline. Any time that they get to mix it up with the rest of the group is a treat, especially in tonight’s after-credits scene.
Overall, tonight’s episode does a good job of spinning another thread for the story to follow. We are at episode four, and there are a lot of exciting possibilities of where the show can go from here. The ship seems to have been righted after its bumpy start, and if tonight is any indicator, we’ve got something special on the horizon. Aside from a solid story in itself, we also got a glimpse of what the format for this show could be like, and it works.