Episode 102: "0-8-4" (SPOILERS)
The second episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD aired last night. During the preview at the end of the first episode, we were teased with the phrase "Oh-eight-four." In last night's episode, we found out what an 0-8-4 is. It's the code for an object of unidentified origin. The last 0-8-4 Coulson dealt with was Thor's hammer in the dessert. This 0-8-4 takes the team out of the country to a South American jungle.
The episode began excitedly, with a gaping hole in the SHIELD plane's hull mid-flight. We then immediately flashback to the start of the mission. I know this cold open with the plane in distress was used to lure in viewers, but I think I would have preferred finding out about the hull breach when it actually happened. This opening telegraphed Camilla's betrayal too much.
Speaking of Camilla, when she first started flirting with Coulson, I started to think that Coulson was like Will Ferrell's character Detective Gamble in The Other Guys. Hot women are just throwing themselves at him. We find out later Camilla had other plans.
Another thing about Coulson: he bleeds. After he gets punched in the face, Coulson is clearly bleeding from the mouth. If Coulson is some kind of Life Model Decoy, he's an advanced one, with blood pumping through his veins...or tubes. If Coulson is a LMD, I hope we get a scene that involves a decapitated head with wires sticking out.
FitzSimmons continues to delight. They are easily my favorite part of the show.They remind of equal parts Doctor Who companions and Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter. I would watch a FitzSimmons spin-off.
Ming-Na Wen's character Agent May is my other favorite. She's just so bad ass. I like that the mysterious bad ass agent with a past on Agents of SHIELD is a woman. It seems like a refreshing change of pace from most shows. But I honestly wouldn't expect any less from Joss Whedon. Melinda May is the Wolverine of Agents of SHIELD.
The only downside to this episode is that it felt a bit uneven. While the episode served to bring this team of disparate individuals together as a unit, the build-up in the first half of the episode was on the slow side. The focus shifted a bit too often, but I guess that's a problem when you're still introducing a cast this big to the audience. I'm hoping future episodes, once we know everyone, will be a bit more streamlined. But the episode still has all the wit and charm you'd expect from a Joss Whedon show and I don't see that stopping, so I can't complain too much.
This episode's fanboy service comes to you courtesy of the SHIELD team's airborne mobile command center, whose call sign is SHIELD 616. In the Marvel Universe, 616 refers to the Earth where all the classic Marvel superheroes live. Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men, if you grew up reading Marvel comics, chances are you were reading the 616 universe. This term originates from a Captain Britain comic from the 1980s, in which Captain Britain discovers he's a member of an interdimensional group of Captain Britains. He's the Captain Britain of Earth-616.
Did you catch the blueprint of the SHIELD 616 behind Coulson's desk? Marvel will be selling this blueprint at NYCC 2013.
How awesome was Nick Fury's appearance at the end of the episode? It felt like an after the credit scene in a Marvel movie! The fact that we got Samuel L. Jackson in this episode makes me hopeful that we'll get some of the other bigger names from the Marvel Cinematic Universe showing up in future episodes, even if it's just for a cameo. Maybe a debriefing with Thor after the team handles a problem of Asgardian origin, or an appearance by Jon Favreau as Tony Stark's head of security Happy Hogan if the team needs to secure something on Stark property.
Two episodes in and the only complaint I really have with Agents of SHIELD is that it conflicts with Brooklyn 99, my other favorite new show of the season.