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October 01 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss the second episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It is titled "0-8-4" and was written by Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, and Jeffrey Bell.

So it's a Mo-J & JB ep.
And as previously discussed directed by David Straiton, that has directed episodes of Grimm and Fringe. Previous Whedon credits include Angel S1 episodes 'Bachelor Party', 'War Zone' and S4 'Sacrifice', also some of the best Dollhouse episodes, 'Man on the Street' and 'A Love Supreme'.
Whyyy does ABC only go up to 720p?
Coulson: "After you."
Camilla: "After you."
Coulson gets in the car first.

Very subtly Whedonesque.
Fitz is in distress. Must be Tuesday.
I love angry Samuel L. Jackson.
Best part was Coulson - Fury: fish tank :-)
Not really caring about the rest of the team yet.
I do love May but as a team the 'family' vibe someone pointed out in a previous post doesn't ring true. Them all taking responsibility for the blown hull seems artificial at this point.

[ edited by baxter on 2013-10-02 02:08 ]

[ edited by baxter on 2013-10-02 02:14 ]
I was a lot happier with this episode, though some of the opening scenes in Peru reminded me of Relic Hunter-type syndicated shows. And I'm not a huge fan of Fitz-Simmons yet. Just a touch too precious.

And I can't be the only one who experienced major Firefly flashbacks in the docking bay and lab of the plane, right?
Yeah, for sure, everyone watching later should be sure to watch to the very very end.
Can't say I am invested in anyone but Coulson and May but then I realized, this is a Marvel show, not Joss's. I have to adjust my expectations.
I thought this was a great second episode.I liked that it really had the team getting to work through their differences.Although it looks like Ward's initial concerns about Skye as well as Fury's warning,in a fun appearance,are well founded.My hunch though is as the season progesses and as Skye becomes a real part of team and they all bond,she'll have a change of heart.I think it's already started with her pausing before sending the I'm In message back.
Regarding the whole Skye and the Rising Tide thing, it seems like we have a case of 'who is infiltrating who?' Coulson knows what he's doing. --I thought it was a strong second episode. We see more of Melinda May's coolness. Coulson continues to rock. The Samuel L. Jackson cameo was sweet. I'll be curious to see how this show feels around episode five or six, since if the past in any guide, it will just get better as it goes on.
And I can't be the only one who experienced major Firefly flashbacks in the docking bay and lab of the plane, right?

You're not the only one.

Last week the voice-over warned us that we would want to stay for the end of every episode. Could we be in store for a superhero pride parade?

I wasn't really thrilled about the chase/action scenes at the beginning (except for the Melinda May coolness). It was kind of missing real character moments. I also agree with baxter about not feeling the "family" vibe yet. It seemed that in all other Mutant Enemy productions, the chemistry between the cast of characters was there immediately, even if they were characters that didn't like each other. I don't see that this cast has developed that.

Still, even with those weaknesses, I didn't feel I had to struggle to find things to enjoy about the episode.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-10-02 02:35 ]
Not a huge fan of this episode. Some of this feels very after-school-special. And the characters seem like stereotypes. My favorite part so far is still Skye, even if she's a little too cutesy. And where's all the moral ambiguity? This is a covert government organization, right? Seems like the hats are all too white. I hope this gets darker.
Nebula1400, I agree about the characters. I wonder how much say Joss had in the hiring. They all look fine but there is something missing and the bonding was just a tad obvious for me.
I haven't warmed up to Fitz-Simmons at all yet. Just too cutesy for me.
There were some great moments in this one that have Joss's fingerprints all over them; my favorite was the act break where the massive danger of the 084 is revealed, and everyone just shuffles back a step, as if it were a puddle of spilled milk rather than a nuclear weapon.

The show is definitely still finding its footing (I thought some of the character-establishing Skye-Ward dialogue was particularly clunky), but I think AoS has a lot of potential to be great.

And does anyone else think Coulson sounds like an imprinted Doll? Any time the verbal cue Tahiti is given, he responds: "It's a magical place."

Really dug this episode. They spent a lot of it on the plane, but I'm liking it. I really can't wait to get into some of the character backstories!
I'd say that the characters grew on me compared to the pilot. While I agree that I don't feel a family between them yet, I could easily see it forming. I definitely feel chemistry between Fitz and Simmons.

Also, I'm going to make a prediction, and say that the Rising Tide will turn out to have mostly legitimate concerns, and the season finale will have SHIELD HQ do something terrible that pushes the whole team to the side of the Rising Tide.

Oh, also wanted to echo that the plane is an amazing set. I hope we see a lot of it.

[ edited by PaperSpock on 2013-10-02 02:53 ]
This was a much stronger episode than the pilot. I kinda wish it aired directly after ep 1 as a 2 hr episode. It had a lot more punch and excitement. I even thought the characters came off more rounded here in particular Skye who was too jokey in the previous episode.

I am officially sold on this show.

P.s. watch til the end!
And does anyone else think Coulson sounds like an imprinted Doll? Any time the verbal cue Tahiti is given, he responds: "It's a magical place."

Yes! I thought the same thing. I hope the show doesn't go there, though.

Maybe "Breaking Bad" raised the bar for what I expect to see in a great show. Right now, AoS is a C+ show. It has potential, and has some appeal, but it is far from polished, and a bit farther from great. It would be nice to see some more seasoned writers and a few acting coaches working on it.
Cancel the Fish tank.
A great team building episode (almost works like a metaphor), so the titled 084 is mostly McGuffinn, but used to great effect. Also it is great now we know what that code stands for, considering the previous 084.

Still really miss a proper opening credit sequence, with the cast names, with some great music behind it.

The cameo really works considering the context.
Did I miss something about the cameo? Did it advance the plot somehow?

Scenes from the next episode look interesting.
I had a great time watching this, and have fallen in love with Melinda May (Coulson was already a given). High points:

- Fury!!
- Lola is fine.
- Something's up with Skye - obvious, but it's not played too portentously.
- Final beatdown in the cockpit with May taking on repeated attacks. And not breaking a sweat.
- Those little floating drones are charming me against my will.
- The Tahiti thing, scary, Dollhouse-ish, eek. Am now waiting for Reed Diamond to show up. (Or Ron Glass, even better.)


- Oh, c'mon, everyone, clearly the Peruvians were bad guys. They should've been put in the brig [eta: by which I mean preventative detention] instantly, until the McGuffin was shot into the sun.
- A bit much dithering by Fitz and Simmons - and Skye occasionally.
- The ridiculousness of the life raft stopping up the hole in the plane. Surely it would puncture and/or get sucked away promptly?

Still ... Fun to watch, plenty of promise, team gradually cohering and I have Trust in Joss that the casting will eventually work, so - cool.

[ edited by javelina on 2013-10-02 19:39 ]
Fun episode. =D I'm really liking this show, though I agree with some people saying how the team members bonding was a bit too hasty. I'll just chalk that up to the adrenaline rush of aftermath combat. Also laughed at Fitz's reaction to Melinda breaking her own wrist. Certainly didn't expect the after-credits scene either. I'd like to see more of such scenes!
Pretty sure she dislocated her wrist. You can hear her pop it back into place right after taking out the guards. All of which was awesome.
Perhaps my favorite Marvel cameo to date ..

As for the episode proper it moved the ball forward. More comfortable that Coulson is up to carrying the show, think Skye will clearly be the breakout "star", and Melinda May continues to ground things with appropriate gravitas

Can't decide if my problems w/ the Ward character are actor or writing based, but to date there's a gaping personality gap in every scene he's in -

Last week I thought LMD. This week, with the magic reference again, I'm now thinking .... Zombie Coulson

Very fun and beginning to take shape
The wrist thing was fun.
Definitely agree about the ridiculousness of the life raft, also got Serenity flashbacks from Ward's "Bouncing Betty" grenade/stick, and WOW do I wish it was May that was going to train Skye as I still have very little use for Ward generally.

I wasn't so bothered with the team bonding though I do agree that it was unemotional--it's just that I'm fine with that to begin with. I like that they are using their brains to trust each other rather than their feelings; it would be too early for family feelings in any case (save FitzSimmons who are long-time partners). So I think this was a very good and appropriate first step.
Agent Ward needs to take his shirt off. ASAP.
Last 0-8-4 was a hammer. How many objects have they slingshot into the sun!?! Would have done the same with the hammer...if they could have picked it up.
I'm still hoping "magical place" means Dr. Strange and the physical therapist was Clea...although Coulson didn't say if the physical therapist was a man or woman.
Anybody remember what the slingshot avoided? Seemed like several things/places.
I'm sorry but if I hear one more Lola joke, I'm going to key the next Corvette I see.
I think it's too early to expect a family emotional bond between characters but I definitely feel the second episode was stronger and I greatly enjoyed it. Love this show!
They shouldn't be a "family". They should be teammates. The whole "found family" theme has been done to death in Joss projects. Time to move on.
That's one strong--or determined--raft...
Anybody remember what the slingshot avoided? Seemed like several things/places.

From what I caught through Fitz's Scottish accent, I believe it was avoiding Herschel, a space observatory that, up until earlier this year, was orbiting around a Sun-Earth Lagrangian point.
I can't believe they pulled the trigger on that already and no one blew it beforehand.
I was getting a Dollhouse vibe too with all the talk of blue skies. Do you suppose Coulson's been imprinted with Taffy?
I'm still enjoying it, but this episode was a little clunky.

Character A: I am saying exactly what's quintessential to me to establish my character.
Character B: And I too am saying exactly what's quintessential to me to establish my character, which sharply contrasts with yours.
(in unison): And yet for our differences, we are a team, each contributing in accordance to our own unique abilities.
Skye: Except I may be rogue.

I imagine Skye's betrayal will slow things down, but has the countdown clock started for Skye/Ward to finally connect and fall blissfully in love, meaning one of them will then immediately die afterwards? I will miss which ever one goes.
I thought the gun fight seemed interminable. Snooze.
Camilla looked as generic as the rest of the female cast.

Melinda May was the best part. I liked all her parts. I didn't like Coulson being so cowed by Fury. Not really a Fury fan.

Liked "cancel the fishtank."

Cast is growing on me but let's get some color in there!

If last weeks episode was an 8 for me, this was a 5. On a scale of pulling numbers out of my ass.
I liked this episode more than the last one in part since it spent more time on the main characters while also somewhat lampshading a lot of the issues people immediately had with the show (namely the generically beautiful generally younger-ish cast and/or the connections to the greater Marvel universe).

I'm open to warming up to the cast aside from the two vets who I already liked, but I do kind of question the wisdom about having two lines drawing attention to Ward's facial expressions when his default always seems to be sort of angry. (It sort of reminds me of the hunky beefcake dude from Orphan Black too-- The actor seems like he might be a fun personality off-screen but his character is a bit too dour and serious.) I think he did have a pretty good callback to the pilot where Fitz and Ward will apparently have a running gag about unsettling one another with bro-contact.

There's a chance the magical life-raft is made of a special basically magical polymer made by one of the polymers from the science twins?

And in terms of plot and/or similarities to past projects:
Any time an old friend we've never seen suddenly shows up and is caught up in the primary action, have they ever not been evil? Buffy did it with Parker, Angel did it with Jeremy Renner among probably others, Firefly did it with Tracy in that episode I still kind of loathe, and Dollhouse did it with Bennett.
I was actually kind of surprised that the mystical device didn't release some sort of poisoned ancient gas ala Illyria. (and somewhat like Torchwood's second episode, that it wasn't Skye's fault.)
BringItOn5x5, that kind of encapsulates how I feel about this episode, that the writing was very objective-oriented and color-by-numbers. Except for a few comedy moments, I really didn't feel like I was watching anything significantly different from most of what's already on TV.

Nothing about the plot was gripping to me. I mean... "Will they survive the plane?" How many of us didn't know the answer to that one? And I didn't really care for the Coulson backstory with the Peruvian government lady.

Perhaps I'm behind on something, but I'm honestly not getting why Coulson is so confident about this team. I still don't think it's believable that he should let Skye into the team, and having utter faith that his team would find its way out of the hijacking. Perhaps there is a grand twist down the line? As for Skye, I first thought she might be going double-agent against Rising Tide, but she clearly wanted to hide her reaction from the rest of the SHIELD. At most, I think she's just keeping her options open.

I am finding Skye much more likable than I did last episode, however.

Overall, I was underwhelmed, but I will watch the show faithfully because I expect Joss to develop longer, more interesting story arcs soon. The only interesting moment for me tonight was Skye's text message at the end.

Oh, and I also agree that Ward's shirt needs to come off soon for, you know, plot development.

And I tuned out before the last few minutes. Could someone please inform the uninformed?
I'm just glad we finally know where Simon got the device he used to help take down the doctor when he broke River out in the beginning of Serenity.
This episode wasn't very good.
I enjoyed this much more than the pilot. Sure, I figured the "comandante" was going to betray Coulson the second it was revealed they had history, but the bigger focus on the characters and their interactions helped a lot. Anyone up to speculate who "Skye" really is? I'm pretty convinced she's somebody we, or, well, readers of Marvel comics, should know. I'm very happy she's still playing for the Rising Tide even though she already seems to have some reservations.

Ronald_SF, Fury showed up, yelled at Coulson for wrecking the plane so soon, forbid the installation of a fish tank, warned about Skye being a security risk and was generally awesome. I'm sure it'll be up on YouTube in no time (if it isn't already).
From what I've been reading online, now that people have got over the shock of the new, there's generally positive feelings about the episode. I like Joss and co doing an unashamedly populist show. It's nice to have some fun again. Though I fully expect to have my feelings crushed in episode 10 "Ha Ha Got You There".
While 0-8-4 wasn't a perfect episode, I felt a tad more energized by it as an overall entity. Pacing was more even, didn't seem to have any real issues with musical bits affecting dialogue and our intrepid heroes got to get their crazy on while laying a beat down on Reyes and her troops as a team. Their teamwork and camaraderie did seem fast but sharing near-death experiences can allow for bonding between disparate personalities, though it has to be built on to solidify and grow.

I think the best part was the Fury cameo at the end, chewing Coulson's ass to bit for getting the Bus wrecked less than a week after it was recommissioned for service, though I do agree that Coulson seemed a tad too "submissive schoolboy being confronted by the principal". Unless Sam Jackson gets to show up every so often to let us gauge better the Fury-Coulson relationship post-The Avengers, it's hard to tell right now if Coulson letting Fury - who is his boss - walk all over him was just honest shame-disappointment for what his team had to do to stop the bad guys or whether it's part of the whole mess of how Coulson survived.

As for Skye's impromptu patch job with the water landing evac raft? I laughed when it luckily inflated and covered the hole just in the nick of time, but I accepted it as I recently read a "movies myths" article about how films drastically exaggerate how a sudden loss of cabin pressure would work. Reality would have the sudden sensation of a powerful vacuum as the air pressure changes but stabilization would happen quick enough, which could allow the raft to work as a giant bike tire patch without getting sucked out the hole in the Bus' fuselage...or fall off the wall as the Bus drops in altitude, which would need to happen anyway. So, in summary, raft could very much work, but the cliche of a long-lasting vacuum effect was put into play for dramatic effect first.

On a continuity note, I did find it chuckle-worthy that the SHIELD 4x4 apparently was a Lexus instead of an Acura (like how they are in the MCU films), though that is something that could have been true in the previous episode too. Maybe Acura wouldn't let the production team have many MDXs, so the stunt crew had to improvise with a Lexus for when our white hats are in a car chase ;P
It seemed to me like Coulson was just standing back and letting Fury do his thing. There is never anything to be gained - unless you are a mako shark - by interrupting a Samuel L. Jackson character mid-rant. Coulson, not being a mako shark, knows Fury isn't going to put him in a Winnebago. He makes all the right noises and then it's back to normal.
Everything Xane said, including the ass part.
Oh, I thought this was a poor follow-up to a good beginning. The story, in a nutshell is, put a Macguffin in the jungle, have heroes shows up to get it, have good (bad) guys fight the heroes, have rebels fight heroes and good (bad) guys to bring them together, then have good (but really bad) guys try to steal the Macguffin. Never saw that plot before. And then blast the Macguffin into space before we really know all about it. And have the male hero pull it from the wall because, hey, he's heroic so he always does heroic things even though he knows the device is incredibly dangerous and unstable. Blow a hole in an airplane and stop it with an inflatable life raft. I think Alien Resurrection tried that one. Though a bit differently and not with a life raft. Let characters speak to each other in tropes, so we can find out that they are heroic (male), a great fighter (female, who can dislocate her wrist to escape her bonds, even though that makes no sense at all), cutely smart (couple in love) and arch in a Faith kind of way (cute female outsider). The digital scenes did not work for me (of the plane flying, for example, or the jungle site), and the fights are not choreographed very well. So far, every enemy has been inept against May and male hero (who has made such an impression on me I cannot even remember his name as I write at 4am this morning). Sets are sort of cheesy as well. And while I did like seeing SLJ show up, I am getting tired, after only 2 shows, of all the Marvel tie-ins- see the Thor trailer! And see the merch coming! So far this is not resonating with me. The characters are not really characters yet; they are types.
Good episode, some cheesiness but that's to be expected, better pacing, more character development, maybe too rushed though. Maguffin still connected to existing MCU movies because audiences connect to it better but it looks like in the future they're going different places than we've seen before so that's good.
Oh, and about the Lexus/Acura SUVs, perhaps the deal with Acura expired or it doesn't say anything in there about any TV usage.

[ edited by Boto on 2013-10-02 10:17 ]
I thought the intro was awful, but the rest of the epsiode was fine, if a bit conventional and awkward at times.

Some stuff can be seen as heavy-handed if taken at face value, but are most likely hints at something more subtle. In particular, I don't think they just became a family over the course of the episode, it's just that Ward likes Skye and tries to reach out to her. He said he found her attractive in the first episode, in this one they played with the possible meanings of "SO" then he decided to become her SO... and the "we're a team" talk was just from him, after she said her stuff about peruvian uniting.

[ edited by Ragondux on 2013-10-02 11:58 ]
I enjoyed it quite a bit. The relationships are still a little wonky, but they're getting there. The story was fun and straightforward, which is what I want from an episode this early in a series.

The thing I really had trouble with is that the voices of the characters didn't seem distinct enough. Melinda May is the exception, she's keeping quiet and broody, which is fun. However, Coulson is joking a lot more than he did in the movies, so he feels a little inconsistent. I don't want him to be super serious, just maybe split the difference between funny Whedon character and the guy we saw in the first Iron-Man.

The Peruvians who all talked like native English speakers seemed weird. It's not just that their English was good, almost everything they said had American expressions in it. Things like "It's textbook" and "You got anything to drink around here?" seemed too colloquial.

I just feel like the writers could diversify the voices a little more.
I wish SHIELD was a magical place. *sigh*

I wouldn't be watching if Joss weren't involved. Well, Joss and Clark Gregg. It's all so, well, dull.
Really? Really, Coulson? Six Days? :D
Coulson is God. That was a great line, indeed.:p
And i really enjoy this episode. Not the instant cast chemistry of Firefly or even Dollhouse but we will get here.
Anyone notice the big continuity problem? Where did the hole in the side of plane go when it came in to land at the Slingshot?
I don't remember actual images of the landing. However, I believe we can see a yellow patch on the plane, during the panning shot that said "slingshot", and when they are all sitting, the reactor would hide the hole.

Of course, if that yellow patch is the lifeboat, it's a mistake, as it would have fallen down when the outside pressure went up.
@redeem147 I'm not sure I would be, either. I didn't dislike it, but completely agree that it was a paint-by-numbers let's-get-these-guys-feeling-like-a-team sort of episode. But because it's Joss, I have hope for improvement.
I thought the episode was just fine. Fitz and Simmons are starting to move away from the "cute babbling geeks" thing and show more personality... I especially like how Fitz was willing to stand up to Ward like that.

Melinda May is my favorite character so far. Every Whedon show needs a bad-ass with a pair of fists and a pair of X chromosomes. It's hard to believe that Ming-Na Wen will be 50 next month. She looks 20 years younger.

I've been getting a Serenity vibe with "The Bus" ever since it first appeared. Skye's hula girl really made me think of Wash and his toys, too.

I wonder if Coulson was somehow mentally programmed to say "It's a magical place" every time someone says "Tahiti." Could it be that in the future someone will use "Tahiti" as a password and "It's a magical place" is the response Coulson needs to give?

Somebody on another board made the interesting suggestion that
"Slingshot" may not really be shooting artifacts into the sun, but secretly sending them up to the orbiting S.W.O.R.D. base instead. Definite possibility.

My favorite part of the Fury cameo was when he got misty-eyed talking about the plane's "really nice bar."
Good point regarding Slingshot. Judging from Avengers, SHIELD doesn't look like it would destroy a potential weapon because it was too powerful.
I wouldn't bother to watch a 3rd episode if this weren't a Joss show I'm afraid to say. This was about as bland as bland can be. The jokes were all 'clams' (to use Jane Espenson's expression). The whole found family bit was tedious, implausible and cheesy. But the worst sin was that it was just boring.
I adored it. Action-adventure at its best. Like reading one of the legendary Lee/Kirby´s in the 60´s. Great early days of the show. :)
Shows getting its traction, cameo was priceless
I can't believe they had Fury appear just to set up a joke! I thought they'd save him for something important and plot driver. Loved the cameo, I'm sure there will be more.

Let's all face this right now: SHIELD is backed by Disney and written for mainstream television. There aren't going to be going to the same dark places as Dollhouse, and because Joss isn't directly involved the characters aren't going to be as instantly gripping as Firefly. Nostaliga is great and all, but remember that the first season of Buffy had a lot of clunky episodes in them.

Coulson and May are dead on right now. Fitz and Simmons are getting better, though their character is mainly their profession right now. I'd like to see some humanizing of them as time goes on, but I have faith that will appear.

Ward and Skye are facing tough challenges, mostly from the fanbase. Ward's character is meant to be off putting (like Jayne) but doesn't have the inherent goofiness that Jayne has. He's reminds me mostly of Angel, in his early days. We need a more straightlaced by-the-book character, especially if we are going to see the darker side of SHIELD down the road. Skye's character contineus to grow, and will be pretty important based on the end of the episode, but she gets lots of grief for being "too pretty" and "useless". Next week she gets to take the spotlight, and I look forward to seeing how she fares in the field.

Little geek moment: the call sign for the bus was SHIELD 616 (616 is the numeric designation for the Marvel Universe. Nice touch!)
You face it, if you want. :)

Also Buffy was Whedons FIRST SHOW EVER. Bad example. Angel might work better for you.

(just a bit tongue in cheek; no offense meant. )

[ edited by Darkness on 2013-10-02 16:17 ]

[ edited by Darkness on 2013-10-02 16:25 ]
This is bad television. It doesn't feel like Joss to me.
I expect we are going to some dark places once the show has established itself. Coulson isn't dead and he should be. There's going to be harsh consequences of some kind for whatever was done to make that so. S.H.I.E.L.D. is not exactly powered by innocence and rainbows. Melinda May has obviously been through something awful - and it must have been especially bad, to have made someone with her skill level and experience and pure moxy demand a desk job. The characters aren't as well rounded as they could be but it's early days. It takes time to fill in those other dimensions. I do like the show overall as it is - it's a fun adventure story every week - but I'm also watching with the expectation that the darker genre elements and deeper characterization that I really love are coming along in due time. Maybe not as dark or deep as previous shows - it is ABC - but I'm hoping for a balance between fun adventure and other things.
I liked it.

Yes, the thing about them becoming a team was a little heavy-handed, and the plot was kind of predictable. But I liked the characters more; Ward is growing on me, though I'm still not crazy about Skye and the Tophers. Melinda is awesome. Not just because she can kill ALL THE THINGS without even trying, but also because she says things like: "You people talk a lot."

Coulson is pretty cool, too--and I loved the cameo. I thought it was more than just funny--it helps sell the idea that this really is the same universe as the movies.

Also, I like the set a lot. I loved getting to explore more of the plane this week. It feels like a Firefly/Dollhouse hybrid--like Firefly because it flies, and every part of the plane seems well-thought-out, but with the shiny, pretty, no-expense-spared feel of the Dollhouse set.

I'm not in love with the show yet, but I thought it was an improvement on last week--I felt more connected to the characters.
Sunfire, I sort of mildly disagree. Main reason is pragmatic: as you note, (1) it's Disney, (2) it is broadcast during family hour (7pm CST here), and (3) it is also Marvel and necessary for their tie-ins, merchandising and world domination. I think the story telling wil be constrained as a result of this. Proof positive- you had Samuel L. Jackson be on screen for more than a minute and not one "MF" came out of his mouth. In what world does that happen?

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2013-10-02 17:49 ]
Dana5140, The Avengers.
I doubt AoS is headed into say, the dark underbelly of sex trafficking, but there's a happy medium to be found. This was a rather heavy handed introduction to the characters and the concept of being a team (which also feels like an Avengers redux), but it's out of the way and I think we can probably look forward to more complicated and engaging storytelling as the show moves along.
Curious about the central american temple in Peru. And claiming that rebellion is something new there? Aside from that, it was a good episode, but someone in the writers room needed to check Wikipedia.
Just another three or four of these type of episodes to go... just another three or four...

I kid. It was neither loathed or loved. The Tophertwins were at least dialled back to mildly Redbull'd so that was an improvement... it's all still a little "Marvel heavy" on cheese and superfasteverythingprogressasfastaspossibleareweattheendyetDONE but the bar line was nice. And remember. Just three or four more like this... just three or four more like this...
I'm of the camp who thinks Joss is boss. BUT, so far this show has failed to truly impress me. And I think watching 0-8-4 for a second time made me realise why. Joss doesn't do TV cliches well. He subverts, inverts and averts (?) them well, but he doesn't play them well. The cold open, the treacherous lover, the 'We're all in this together' vibe, the plane hijack, the convenient way to cover up the hole etc. It's all TV textbook but without the expert hand of someone who actually studied. This was my problem with early Dollhouse, and early Angel. It was stereotype after stereotype. In fact, IMO, the only show Joss has done that failed to fail at first was Firefly (yet to be a more perfect union of cast, crew and creativity in TV *sigh*).

If SHIELD goes south (I sorely hope it doesn't because the premise of the show is sound and it spews potential) I hope Joss' next move in TV will be to cable. The man deserves cable TV. Only there will he be able to do a show about exactly what he wants without having to pander to TV tropes. I mean, he could just have a whole show of witty, unique individuals talking at each other. I'd watch it.

Oh and Ward should pretty much be topless all the time. I'm not really sure why he isn't to be honest.
The yellow raft, there must have been an angel/deus ex machina on the other side of that thing keeping it in place? Or maybe some kind of superhero. I mean it is the craziest show on earth, so crazy things will and should happen.

But the yellow raft, oh god, could it at least have looked more sturdy?

Still enjoyed it more than most TV offerings.
In reality, the raft would be kept in place by the pressure difference caused by the air rushing past, I think - the Bernoulli principle. But the amount of air blowing out of the plane was unrealistic, and as far as I understand it, once the cabin was depressurized (which would happen quickly), it would have just been really windy, not dangerous (except for the lack of oxygen). But that's just television...

I really enjoyed this one. I think Fitz is getting most of my favorite lines. "This is all my fault. I should have learned kung fu." The team came together in a crisis, but there are still issues there that they're going to have to work through. I'm also curious about Coulson's "It's a magical place" repetition - it does look like it's a programmed response.
The yellow raft is probably one of those things that would work in real life, but look so fake on TV that nobody buys it.

Remember that the hull had been breached for at least a minute, so the pressure differential was smaller than when the first soldier was sucked out. And rafts have to be a little sturdy or they wouldn't be able to float with someone in them.
Much better episode than the pilot despite all the flaws. Loved Melinda. Fitz-Simmons still need to grow on me.

Skye? Ward? Felt Ward went too quickly from "The hacker girl shouldn't be allowed on this team." to "Can I train Skye to be a field agent? Please? Pretty please?". Don't see any chemistry between the two actors, to be honest.

On the other hand, I would totally be rooting for a Melinda May and Grant Ward pairing, if the writers went there.

P.S. I was curious about the ages of the actors playing Fitz-Simmons (both born in 1987) and saw that Chloe Bennet is only 21?! Holy crap. Only person I couldn't find a date of birth is Brett Dalton, but I figure he is... What? 30-31, maybe?
So the raft could have worked IRL. That's interesting.

The character's aren't working smoothly, but in the beginning of almost all shows there is some awkwardness, right?

I am hoping that this episode was sort of a bridge, dealing with awkward character moments that was going to show up in the process of writing the show. I think both Buffy and Angel had that to an extent, and Dollhouse had far too much of it, as I recall, whereas in Firefly, alas, everything flowed so well, but then it was cancelled, oh, woe is truly Joss Whedon's work (run-on-sentence, ugh).But, getting back to my point, I really hope the next episode will not be so awkward when it comes to character relations and dialogue.
It's kind of telling that I don't want to watch the second episode a second time. I really hope the show gets better, and adds some screenwriting heavyweights. It seems Mutant Enemy's least-inspired writers are writing for it (probably because all the really good ones have their own shows to run). It's like getting a Christmas present, only when you open it up, you find the puppy inside is comatose.
I'd argue the show has some of the best former Mutant Enemy writers on it, but each to their own. In Dollhouse land right now we'd be moving on to the pop star episode, in Firefly land we'd just had "The Train Job" (not entirely great) and that odd 'horror' episode, in Angel we'd had the pilot and "Lonely Hearts" (which I seem to recall got Angel production shut down?) and in Buffy we'd just finished the opening episode, where Angel's role and character development was... stalking Buffy. In other words, I'm willing to give it time to, well, start.
We are currently in the eye of the storm and every little detail must be seized upon and debated.

Buffy was fun at the start but cheesy. Angel took two seasons to find its feet. Firefly had some really mediocre episodes which everyone likes to gloss over and by the time Joss and co had figured out Dollhouse, it got cancelled.

Agents of SHIELD is fun, mainstream and populist. It was always going to be that way. Why some people were expecting something else, I don't know. And you know what, a lot of people really like the show. It's thrilling to see the reaction on Tumblr.
Remember the discussion over whether or not there was casual racism in the first Jim Steranko review of the show? Avoid this week's, in which he refers to someone's "black leather pimp coat".
I'm on the side of thinking this episode was an improvement on the first. As was mentioned earlier, the Bus reminded me of Serenity, but not just because of the layout. It feels as if this little team now has a home, where as the first episode it just felt like a way of getting from A to B. You could equate the Bus to the library, the hotel or the Dollhouse as much as you could to Serenity.

We are still looking at some really broad strokes here though, both in terms of plot and characters. But for all its lack of subtlety, I still loved the (completely paraphrasing) "1 person with 100% can't do much, but 100 people with 1% can get pretty far." I didn't need this being played out in the plot quite so in your face, but I still thought it was a good line (that I must actually learn properly, so I can use it!)

I also loved when they wanted to cool down the 0-8-4 in the jeep and Simmons suggests opening the window.
I really enjoyed this episode! It was funny, drama-y, full of great dialogue and action scenes. Not sure what there is not to like.

I love Coulson of course. And the rest of the characters are really beginning to grow on me a lot.

As Simon pointed out above this is only the second episode!

I loved the Nick fury cameo at the end – FairPlay to Samuel L Jackson for doing it.

Really looking forward to finding out what the deal with Coulson is. As others have pointed out, there is a creepy Dollhouse vibe going on.

Unlike others I am not looking for or expecting a "Joss Whedon' show in the typical sense, I'm to know what time getting i.e. a marvel universe show. And I love it. It's a lovely extension of the movies and more universe building. What's not to love?
Liked this slightly better than the pilot, but this show has a lot of problems to me.

I honestly thought Dollhouse, troubled as it was in the early going, showed much more promise after two eps. This feels dull, flat, cheap, pandering, generic. Really hoping that changes in the weeks to come.
@Biff, Llaqtapata is a real Incan site. It was part of the Machu Picchu groupings.

@Simon, "Firefly had some really mediocre episodes..."???
I loved every episode.
Scarlet Witch supposedly plays the cello.
Coulson was seeing a cellist, who moved to Portland.
Coulson died.
Scarlet Witch will be in the next Avengers movie.
Coulson thinks he has been in Tahiti, which he - as if programmed or under some kind of posthypnotic suggestion - describes as "a magical place".
Scarlet Witch does magic.
Theory: "Tahiti" is actually Portland.

[ edited by GreatMuppetyOdin on 2013-10-05 03:11 ]
When I first saw the Train Job, I thought it was pushing a little too hard to establish the characters. I also had a few problems with some of the other early episodes of Firefly. So there were some bumpy points in Firefly. I do think it came together faster than Buffy or Angel. I thinks SHIELD is having some growing pains, too.

The funny thing is, when I go back and watch old episodes of Angel, Buffy, or Firefly, the things that bothered me originally don't bother me so much. I think this will probably be that way too. Once we know the characters better, we'll be able to enjoy these early episodes in a different way.

Also, I agree with Rachel about Fitz's Kung Fu line. That was good. It reminded me about how in Stargate: SG-1, their scientist character really did start learning to fire a gun and working out in the gym after awhile. Sooner or later, it makes sense to start learning Kung Fu.
I live in Portland. It's definitely not Tahiti. ;)
Agreeing with bonzob in that it feels: "dull, flat, cheap, pandering, generic." Taking a note from upthread, I would be delighted to have Ward appear shirtless because that at least might infuse something of interest (beyond Coulson). Seems like a sign of desperation if they have to bring in Fury for the quip of the week and hope that ain't so. Will continue watching but really hopes this picks up in tone, writing, plots, acting... well the stuff that makes you want to watch.
The show's adversity to serialisation doesn't seem to make sense in a 2013 landscape, which is ironic given Whedon's history with WB/Fox execs. They need to jump into a heavy and well-written mytharc episode soon or the fandom and the casual viewership will lose faith. Put meat on the bones of the Coulson story; give people a reason to tune in every week.

I am sure this show will come together and be great, but if it doesn't get the average io9 commenter and/or TV viewer on board it will die a death before we get to enjoy much of that. To have wide appeal appeal now, it seems you have to Think Cable and eschew all the populist rules of 90s network TV.
Haha, good one GreatMuppetyOdin!

Also interesting to read this theory: "Slingshot" may not really be shooting artifacts into the sun, but secretly sending them up to the orbiting S.W.O.R.D. base instead.

It certainly wouldn't be surprising to see this weapon come back to haunt us when we start seeing the dark side of Shield.

I really enjoyed the episode. I get lots of the problems people have mentioned (e.g., too on-the-nose with the family-building), but they seemed very minor to me. Definitely warming up to Skye & her secret agenda, and Melinda May is all kinds of awesome.

However, I seem to be the only person that kind of likes Ward (even with his shirt on). I like that he's a competent, serious, stick-in-the-mud who looks down on everyone else but looks up to Melinda May. He amuses me.
I like Ward too:-)
Yeah, not so on board with this episode or the show yet.

Will say, though, that as soon as Coulson said "it's a magical place" I formulated a raging theory about Doctor Strange's involvement. We know a Strange movie is on the cards and Marvel loves sowing those seeds.
Broadly speaking I thought the episode worked well, and the characters are beginning to settle in. I think this has the potential to work as a mainstream show (ratings wise) and still deliver a lot of what we love about Whedon shows. It's all about entertainment, and the humour worked quite well for me. The sizeable budget brings some scope and good action and vis effects.

[ edited by Toivo on 2013-10-03 02:00 ]
I found nothing of Joss in this episode. He didn't write or direct it. Maurissa, Jed and Jeffrey Bell's writing is not at all encouraging. I really, really liked the Pilot. But this one seems too "I wanna be like CSI." In the Pilot, at least they were in the city. In the second episode, I wanted to know even more about the characters. Because this just focused on the mission in Peru, which was honestly the most boring thing about it.
Agents of SHIELD is fun, mainstream and populist. It was always going to be that way. Why some people were expecting something else, I don't know.

I love fun just as much as the next guy. I wasn't expecting it to be Buffy/Angel/Firefly straight out of the gate, but I was expecting the writing and directing to be a lot better then it has been. I don't need the character's and "family" dynamic within the team to be working either, not at episode 2, but the actual plot of this episode was very cliched and hammy. The shoot-out/fight choreography at the beginning wasn't that good either.

This show is meant, according to the PTB's, to be a predominately procedural show and this is the level of story we are getting so far?

I still see the potential in this show and believe they can/will produce something better, but like others have said, if it wasn't Joss I would have been out after this episode.

[ edited by Kaan on 2013-10-03 05:07 ]
I loved greatmuppetyodin's theory, though perhaps it makes better theory than fiction?
Does anyone remember the last 5 minutes of the first episode of Buffy? It's basically Giles explaining that there aren't just vampires in Sunnydale, but many other magical threats. Oh my, we could be having all kinds of adventures!

It was a cheesy start that filled the requirement of telling the audience what was coming. So even Buffy wasn't what we think of as Buffy "straight out of the gate."

There was good stuff in this episode. Let's just enjoy what was there while the rest falls into place.
Well, I loved it. Throughly enjoyed it with my wife & two of our best friends. We already made a weekly get-together out of it. Sure, there's some predictable stuff here and there. Sure, characters might not show too much depth or appeal after a couple of episodes. But everything's getting together in a way we like, it's a ride to fully enjoy (or as they said in the pilot, in reference to Thor's original comic book title: a 'Journey into Mystery').
It's all great stuff to me, I'm a big fan of the show already, and I know and trust that we've merely seen a bit of the surface.

And I do agree with all the comparisons to other Joss shows. In my experience: Buffy's whole first season was fun, but certainly not the greatest thing and did not give any indication to how great the series could be. Angel started off better but had 3-seasons of Buffy history behind it, and additionally it began more as a monster-of-the-week kind of show. Dollhouse took some getting used to, especially due to the lack of humour. Even Firefly didn't have the most exciting episodes to begin with and not all characters clicked right away - that show mostly got its instant appeal from the unique sci-fi/western setting.
And I would include all of them in the list of my favourite shows ever.

[ edited by Valentijn on 2013-10-03 09:18 ]
I honestly think this is one of the better second episodes of a Whedon show. These shows tend to take a while to figure out what they are and find their stride, and I don't expect everything to fall into place right away.
Witch wasn't this good. Lonely Hearts definitely wasn't this good. The Target wasn't bad, but it certainly didn't establish the characters better than this. The Train Job may have been better, but that's easy to say in retrospect.
It's way too early to say whether this will work in the long run. Personally I think it's off to a good start. Of course I hope it'll get weirder, but so far it's pretty fun, and that's a good foundation to build on.
@HerbSaunders "And does anyone else think Coulson sounds like an imprinted Doll? Any time the verbal cue Tahiti is given, he responds: "It's a magical place.""

^Oh definitely! "Tahiti" will end up being this show's "attic" and this is totally a "Did I fall asleep?" -"For a little while" or better yet "would you like a treatment?" thing that's going on here.

The references/roots/callbacks/shoutouts to previous Joss Shows are every strong with this show. As someone pointed out in the Pilot discussion: Mae seems like a post-Serenity Zoe, for example. Other things: the "bus" is clearly this show's Serenity, although not as cool by a long shot and more for practical reasons, I assume than narrative needs. Ward has that whole Angel vibe going with his expert-Fighterness and always super-serious demeanor. Skye is a blend of Buffy and Faith (minus the punching and kicking) with her goofyness alongside some feisty quick wittedness.

And I for one actually really like Fitz-Simmons. They're like brother and sister but they clearly aren't related which makes their dynamic pretty cool to me.

Also, I like how the gender split is actually exactly equal.

Males: Ward [dark, combat type], Coulson [jokey clever getting-himself-into-trouble-type], Fitz [geeky funny brainiac], [Guest Cast] Ron Glass' character
Females: Sky [jokey clever getting-herself-into-trouble-type], Mae [dark, combat type], Simmons [geeky funny brainiac], [Guest Cast] Maria Hill

That's my impression so far. Can't wait to find out what Tahiti is. I bet we'll go there in the mid-season or season-finale and Coulson is gonna find out, leading into the rest of the season or season two. Stuff is gonna be dark and twisted and you know it! All we need is Olivia Williams sitting in an office in Tahiti offering Coulson some tea.
It was all a bit A-Team really and not in a good way. All a bit formulaic and worthy of a Saturday afternoon/early evening show for younger people. Hoping for better in the upcoming episodes.
The other uh, "questionable" line from Jim's review/tirade;
"Fitz and Simmons, the techdogs who were a curiosity last ep, are a rampant irritation this time around with their unintelligible accents."
Also known as "English" and "Scottish". Yep. Can't have those non-American accents on a TV show can we, Jim?

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-10-03 22:55 ]
It was formulaic, for sure, but as several have noted they are swinging for the mass appeal fences. If they can suck in an audience and keep them, then they can probably start to get a little more subversive. But it's a big budget mainstream action adventure show. I used to love them as a kid, and now my 10 year old daughter and I can sit down and watch such a show together, now with kick-ass female characters! I'm just fine with what they're doing so far, and enjoy the many callbacks to other Whedon product. Yes, The Bus is the new Boat. The team won't get along until it has to and days will be saved. Witty banter will abound (have you ever tried to sit through NCIS or one of those other humorless, drab procedurals? Even if we are literally and figuratively getting Whedon Lite on a regular basis it's so much better than so many other hourlongs in the dialogue department so far). Not earth shattering, not the third to last episode of Breaking Bad, not lots of things. But fun, and promising.
Racist old f*snip*...

We play the ball here. Not the man. Do remember that in future.

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-10-03 22:37 ]
Erase away then, please. I'll speak less mind in the future, even though I feel no need to respect a man who clearly doesn't respect others.
This isn't meant in a confrontational way. I just find it odd where it is entirely relevant to do so. The entire first two reviews we have are clearly (ironic word non pun) coloured by his personal at-least-casual racism. It's been plenty noted, and it's as relevant to point at the source because that's where the agenda comes from. Which is really what is being remarked on.

...There's a nuance here I'm grasping at but failing miserably at clarifying. I hope this at least makes a little sense.

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-10-03 22:45 ]

[ edited by apollo11 on 2013-10-03 22:48 ]
There's a lot more than nuance distinguishing constructive criticism from what you wrote. If you can't tell the difference or respond to an admin warning with grace, then this probably isn't the right community for you. You have some time off to think about it.

ETA: The review in question did have some stuff I thought was racist and xenophobic. At times like these I think of Jay Smooth's thoughts on how to discuss racism.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2013-10-04 01:58 ]
We're calling out the "black leather pimp coat" & not the "hotspur Latina grointugger"?! Revolting.
Yep, those were equally bad and unnecessary to the review, I felt. As was the accent comment. I think the thread could easily become people just rebutting that review, and I think it's more attention than the review deserves, to be honest.

Aside from a fondness for Scottish accents in general, I do like that the show seems to be deliberately making Fitz a little bit of an ongoing Star Trek reference.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2013-10-04 03:50 ]
Having seen the episode, I enjoyed it. The team building was cheesy as was the CGI but I like the characters, the dialogue makes me smile and I'm speculating about what happens next. Which I haven't done for a show in ages. Reckon Agent Ward is a super-soldier of sorts.
That was really enjoyable, and the last scene may have pushed it above the pilot for me. It's definitely off to a better start than any of Joss' shows bar Firefly. I would also buy the hell out of a monthly Melinda May comic book. :-)
Correction of previous statement:
I can't find any confirmation of the previous rumor that Scarlet Witch is a cellist. However, it has been confirmed that Kate Bishop is in fact a cellist.
I just rewatched this to see if I missed anything before the new episode, and I think Coulson has his crew keeping tabs on Skye. When Skye is boarding the Bus on the way to her bunk, Simmons passes her a water bottle, which Skye later drinks, and Fitz's hand lingers on the door to Skye's bunk, as if he's placing something. Given how extensive SHIELD's technology is, I'm thinking they slipped her some kind of tracking device in the water, and planted some camera/monitoring device at her bunk door. It's either some great foreshadowing on the writers' part, or some crazy paranoia on mine.

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