We've been waiting for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to settle in and tonight's episode may have given us our first indication that it's happening. I think it's still too soon to say that "Eye Spy" is what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to be as a series. After all, we've only seen four episodes, but Episode 4 got it right. As great as wild stunts and flashy special effects are, it's the story that'll get us hooked, and if the series follows along this course, it won't be long before I'm officially hooked on this show.
Tonight's episode hit close to home as Agent Coulson and his team tracked down one of Coulson's former proteges. Akela Amador's X-ray vision allows her to see tumors in people, and to detect something different about Coulson. On that, she didn't elaborate, but we can add her question about what they did to him to the pile of clues that something about Coulson's different since he died or nearly died and went to "Tahiti." It's a magical place. Back to Akela, her special vision allows her to commit crimes too.
While Akela was the target at the start, Coulson and his team soon discovered that she's being monitored through a special eye installed by some mystery organization that has been pulling her strings since fashioning the spy-eye. This adventure of the week had Fitz-Simmons studying the eye, while Ward and Skye headed into the field to perform one of Akela's missions on her behalf in order to buy her time while Fitz-Simmons figured out how to remove the eye without triggering the fail-safe. Melinda May is credited for helping to apprehend Akela to begin with. Team work! In the end, everyone mostly succeeded. The big mystery of who was behind this situation was left unanswered, as Akela's handler -- the man issuing her demands -- died the moment he set eyes on Coulson. Apparently, he too had a spy-eye and was being issued orders. Once he was made, he was of no use to the higher-ups. RIP British guy with thick fingers.
Akela was shipped off to prison feeling freer than she has in a long time. Can't say I blame her. I wouldn't want to go to prison, but at least she can look in the mirror and not have to wonder who's looking back.
The story and the characters really clicked tonight. The plot was set up so that all of the lead characters had a purpose to serve, and there was a personal side to it, when factoring in Coulson and Akela's history. Not every episode will be able to do that, I'm sure, but seeing things gel tonight gives me hope that Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finding its footing.
The Rising Tide story was put aside, which I think is a good thing for now. At this point, it's hard to know what to make of Skye, but I'm trying to like her, even if I'm not supposed to trust her. But If I keep being reminded that I can't trust her, it makes it easier for me to set her aside from the rest of the characters and treat her like a potential villain, which I don't think is a good thing for this show. That's something that works later on in a series when a mysterious new character is introduced and they're causing problems. In fact, Joss Whedon's sort of great at turning nuisances and villains into likable parts of the group over time. But it may be too early in the series to try doing that with a lead while also drawing us into the story at the same time. We know we can't completely trust Skye, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to see her redeeming qualities. I felt like we saw them tonight, and it makes me more interested in her story than I am when she's acting shady. Obviously she's going to have to choose a side at some point, and I'm even ok with her throwing a wrench in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s plans once in a while, but I wouldn't hate it if that plot was shelved for a little while. Maybe just long enough for us to forget a little bit that she has ulterior motives.
Either way, thumbs up to "Eye Spy."