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October 15 2013

(SPOILER) Discuss tonight's episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The fourth episode is titled "Eye Spy" and was written by Jeffrey Bell.

Directed by Star Trek, well technically Enterprise [scratch that], Voyager, alum Roxann Dawson.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2013-10-16 00:37 ]
Skye and Fitz and Simmons? Hilarity.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-10-16 01:43 ]
I liked the more serious tone in this one
Up until tonight, I liked the show. After tonight, I can feel the love building. That was really good.
Well, the best part of the whole hour might have been the ATT commercial right before the end. And yes, that little girl is indeed the cutest in the world. Or winning the contest. "Kindergarten!" Ha ha!

So, I have a decision to make. I either have to watch this as a comic book, with all the constraints of comics, or let myself be bothered by too much consideration of the real. Case in point: so, you want to hide a diamond shipment, I am not sure the most effective way to do so is to dress 30 people in masks and send them all in different directions, when you know that there is a master thief out there, and by denoting those people with their masks you immediately identify them as involved. Why not just send them as themselves? Much harder to track.

And again, how many tropes can we have in one show? "I trained her," "They have a kill switch in me," "I'll take the first watch," etc. And music that lets you know how to feel. And somehow, Ward was able to find his way to the car immediately even though Sky had no idea where he was. That was the easiest break-in to a high security operation as I have ever seen, and no one was in any hallway ever. Good job, security!

But I mean, this has its pleasures. You just cannot think too deeply. If you do, it does not add up. FS is still way too deus ex machina. Is there nothing they can't do? At 28 or whatever they are masters of robotics, cybernetics, biology, medicine, nanotechnology and 14 other disciplines that take lifetimes to master. But they are cute, even if I have to turn on close captioning to hear them. And Ward is still stiff. Reminds me a lot of Cyclops, for some reason.

But, but. Still fun, just not deep.
The squeam factor was big. Don't hold the eyeball like that, Fitz. Auuugh. And yes, I did like the darker tone in this one.
Obviously the "hide the diamonds" plan was cunningly devised by someone who has seen "The Thomas Crown Affair" WAY too many times.
Flawed or not, this flowed better than any other episode so far. It's a good show, but not a great show, yet.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2013-10-16 02:25 ]
Oh, yeah- the needle size for injections in the eye is nowhere near the size of that horse needle they used in the episode. Ghat had to be a 7-gauge needle when normally you would use something like around 25 or so. Just saying... Very good for drama, though! :-)
I think Iliked last week's episode slightly better. Skye's conversations with Coulson were repetitive and odd.

But I did like the stiory idea of the roboeye, especially that the agent couldn't look at anyone. Grant is also growing on me.

In the first FitzSimmons scene with nightlight, I had trouble deciphering the dialogue. However, I could follow the conversation at the operation. I think overall the sound was better.

So this ep was more of a mixed bag for me. But I'm engaged and will continue. I hope we get some more hints of mythology behind the season.
I get the sense that whatever shadowy organization that was controlling Amador will become the Big Bad we've been waiting for. There are certainly other candidates (e.g. the Project Centipede faction from the pilot, or Graviton from the previous episode), but this one just feels more sinister, more organized, and more like a season-long (or maybe even series-long) villain.
I was a bit lukewarm on episodes two and three, but really enjoyed "Eye Spy". It was well-written and well-directed. Its edgier tone gives me faith that Agents of SHIELD will find its footing. Hopefully we'll really find out what Skye's been up to in the next episode.
Still a very standard episode, it would have been more suspenseful if we had the feeling that our main characters were actually at risk.
Hoping to see the team spread around, instead of sticking so much around/inside the bus.
The imagery from the teaser sequence with the guys in mask, was cool, but I expected a lot more from that sequence.
But whoever was controlling all these former agents to do those deeds, that was an extremely intriguing thing.

Cute final tag scene, but it just keeps reminding how much better that run time would be used with a proper opening credit sequence.
Alt Title: Penis is the joke.
Having her handler also under surveillance...clever. That, and the alien stuff on the chalkboard gives me hope that some of this stuff will come back in a big way later on this season.
Skye's conversations with Coulson were repetitive and odd.

Yes those conversations were odd. Those two have always been slightly hokey with the bonding between them but it did feel like she meant it in previous episodes. In this one it felt like she was just sucking up and covering up what she is up to. But not in a "ooo subterfuge" way. It just all felt very forced and kind of annoying. Unlike Skye intercting with anyone else.
Couldn't the monitors see his arms, hands? Silly silliness.
It caught my attention with the men in masks, but this time it held it with the guest actress, who I hope will return. Enjoyed this one most of all so far and it gives me hope.
The music that played in Skye's van (1st time) is a clip directly from Jed and Maurissa's 'A History of Forgotten Things.' I don't remember which song, but it stuck out to me, and I thought it was kind of cool.
This one had a Nikita-ish vibe to it that I liked with all the kill chip stuff and mysterious conspiracy. The show's not as good as Nikita though, but I'm enjoying it. The Whedoney dialog is a lot of fun and I really like Sky and Melinda. Whedon shows always have great female characters
Methinks this episode is a promise of bigger things to come. I'm very interested to know what that equation was. Enjoyable episode overall. "SEDUCE HIM" was the best; I loved Grant's strained, high-pitched, "Help!" =D
I didn't hear the J-Mo song. Can someone be more specific on where it is in the episode?
I noticed that too, wasabi17. Specifically, Bad Son at around 5 minutes into the episode.

[ edited by Yurchel on 2013-10-16 04:43 ]
I hated where he string bet at the end. We should be past some of the dodgiest television idioms by now. That is perhaps the strangest thing about this show: it's very genre unsavvy. How can a Whedon-branded show have watched so little television?
Far and away my favorite episode of Jew Mouse so far. One of it's greatest strengths for me was the relative lack of cheesiness and of extremely heavy-handed avengers references (although that one last week where Coulson says something like "I already saw plenty of action with THE AVENGERS," was so bad it was funny). But it also had really cool tone and more excitement and suspense than we've seen so far. I'd be happy if they manage to maintain this level of quality, and delighted if they can improve upon it, which I'm sure they could do with such a wealth of character still to explore.
It seems the simplest, if perhaps less polite way to pronounce JWMAoS (for Joss Whedon's Marvel's Agents of Shield). I apologize, if it is offensive.

I'd like also to clarify that it's in no way meant as a commentary on Disney.
It is offensive, so I wouldn't use it here again.

But back to episode discussion, having watched only the first three minutes I am excited for this episode.
I felt really meh'd on with this one. I didn't feel like anything interesting happened. First off episode for me. Also, with the central humanism established for Coulson, the episode offered no editorial weight to the extra death at the end, that came as a direct result of Coulson's public approach, which really rubbed me as an unfortunate lack of editorial attention.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2013-10-16 08:06 ]
Really strong opening, same as last weeks episode, but it quickly went all down hill from there.

The writing is still so weak. There was absolutely no tension during the break-in sequence. The fight scenes are so bad. What is going on? I mean, Buffy's most hokeyiest fight scenes were better than what we are getting from this show. And that was 10+ years ago. Also the comedy felt disjointed and out of place.

Ward, even though he is still really bland, is fast becoming my favourite character. He seems to be the only one there who actually gives a toss about his job.

Skye was awful this episode, which is a shame because I haven't minded her in previous eps. All her scenes with Coulson were just weird and felt completely forced. They haven't done a good job of showing us why exactly she is a part of the team. What does she bring? Seriously, does S.H.I.E.L.D. not already have someone within the organization that knows about Instagram? Someone with field training maybe?

S1 Willow + Deus ex machina = FitzSimmons. Again, why do these operatives of S.H.I.EL.D. have no field training? And if they have no field training why are they allowed off the Bus? It makes no sense.

May was really interesting to me in the pilot, but since has grown so tiresome. She says she wants to be there and then acts like she doesn't. She has reservations about the way Coulson is handling the mission behind the backs of H.Q. but then goes off on her own behind Coulson's back to stop the rogue agent. Just makes no sense.
Favorite episode so far. I liked the seriousness and dark feel of the episode. I bet AIM is behind this!

But what did S.H.I.E.L.D. do to Coulson?! I'm changing my vote from close to LMD or at least some robotics/mechanics involved since Akela wouldn't see the difference in a clone. ;____; I hope for some robotics.

I love how May is so protective of Coulson. Now she also has another hint that there's something off about him.

And the idea that Coulson was tougher before is a nice addition to his character development. Coulson isn't stupid. I wonder how long it will take him to find out what S.H.I.E.L.D. did to him.

In my head cannon when all is revealed he's gonna shrug and say he figured it out a while back and there was really no point in making a fuss about it.
Just finished watching the episode. I'm happy to say I think they really upped the game in this one. It's a dark story (as dark as an 8 pm show can be in its fourth episode), really tight, moves quickly but not in a confusing way, and we finally get a sense that things left hanging from the episode will come back. I don't need major character evolution yet when we're still so early in the series, I want the players established, but we're still seing bits and pieces of anybody's traits and foibles. Ward's spy cred, Skye's need for belonging and a father figure, Fitz's insecurities, May's attachment to Coulson. I gotta say the only complaint I have is that the set didn't look like Belarus at all, but if that's the worst thing, I can definitely manage :)
I'm a bit disappointed this wasn't the Melinda centric episode I thought it would be after the previews (if only I could help myself and avoid spoilery things...). I hope we haven't seen the last of Amador and also that this is one of many episodes directed by Roxann Dawson.

Ward is growing on me and I guess we need someone like him since everybody else is quirk personified or/and with a big secret (though there was that one line about his family history in the pilot and the brother thing, so he might have one too).

They might be trying a bit too hard with the Skye&Coulson dynamic so maybe there is a big betrayal coming up in the future. Crossing fingers, because I'd definitely prefer for Skye's loyalties to be divided for a longer while than just three episodes after all.
I liked it. A lot. But I hope the big bad in this episode is linked in some way with the one in the pilot, because they seem to be introducing a lot of secret plots and organizations.
Enjoyed last nights episode.The eye surgery freaked me out though.
This episode was a big improvement. The writing is still nothing to write home about and the plot was mostly forgettable but it was nowhere near as cheesy and this was the first time I found the characters actually likeable.

I’m not sure where exactly this Coulson/Skye bond seemed to come from as it was almost non-existent the past few eps (and barley in 1.01 unless you count the finale scene?) but I’ll take what I can get at this point. Although, judging by the promo for next week it does seem like they’ve fast-tracked their relationship just so Coulson can feel more betrayed by Skye “doublecrossing” them. And they weren’t exactly subtle about paralleling her with the former SHIELD agent either (her name escapes me right now).

I actually laughed in this ep. When Skye and FitzSimmons called Ward to ask about a bathroom break I thought that was genuinely funny and the cast all had good chemistry. And Ward being ticklish was kind of… endearing. Bravo Jeffrey Bell for actually making me like Ward instead of finding him as dull as a plank of wood. He suited the glasses too and what can I say? He fills those t-shirts out well.

I have to agree that the fight scenes are really rather lame. They feel incredibly wooden.

The slightly darker tone worked well. The opening scene was great though I don’t think the episode lived up to its promise. Nevertheless, this episode did feel more grounded and I did feel that Bell did a good job expanding on the group dynamic and making these people feel more human and not like a bunch of witty caricatures. Coulson showed more emotion this episode which also warmed him to me and I liked Skye referring to Coulson and Melinda as “mummy and daddy” of the Bus.

I have to agree with The One True b/x! that it was a missed opportunity having Coulson barely react at all to the Handler dying as a result of Coulson approaching him. That seemed odd and clashed with the rest of the episode.

So overall this was a much more positive experience for me. I still think I would have dropped the show by now had Whedon’s name not been attached to it but this is the first episode where I could actually envision myself liking these characters.
A proper episode, with a beter flow, darker tones while still remaining light somehow, more emotional involvement, more backstory, no awkward moments. Keep it up.

Also, I've got this weird feeling, what if Skye is actually related to Coulson, like maybe a lovechild he never knew about, and her mother gave her away for adoption and he just recently found out. It would make the "mom and dad fighting " line even better. I mean I know it's cheesy but it would explain why he likes her so much.

[ edited by Boto on 2013-10-16 12:34 ]
That was GOOD. I've been enjoying the show so far...but this episode took it up a notch, I think. Pascale Armand was brilliant. I actually liked Skye in this one! Her and FitzSimmons in the van was some good comedy. And a bit of natural-seeming interaction/flirtation between Skye and Ward.

An excellent step forward!
I meant to comment on the fight scene. In the maybe 10-14 or so seconds they devoted to it, there were something like 15 screen cuts, and as a result I never got any sense of what was going on. It was terrible. They should be able to film a far more realistic fight than what they are showing. Also, I was troubled by Ward killing two guards, guys who were simply doing their jobs at a high-security operation that Ward had broken in to. Those guys had families, you know? And same for the Handler fellow. You know, guys, if there is one person with an eye implant, there could be, like, 2 or more? You guys are super spies and could not consider this?
I'm not sure you can expect super spies to assume that all bad guys are actually good guys with an eye implant, just because they met one.
I liked this episode more than the last one, partially thanks to it being more serious/mature and less cheesy/childish. Also, the "Nikita Fury" :) character was more interesting and better acted than last week's Dr. Hall. But it was all still pretty average with lots of cliché.

I have to say, that I'm really not a fan of the hero-ish music by Bear McReary. It's distracting and all the pathos makes the show feel even more generic than it really is. It's especially annoying during the emotional scenes.

The way they used... or didn't use... the guys with the masks was also very disappointing. It looked so cool on the set photos, but it turned out to be just a gimmick, that didn't have any significance whatsoever.
I liked this quite a bit more than the last one :). Fitz-Simmons should've been a single character as the names cheekily suggest.
I agree that in an action show, they really need to stop substituting cuts and edits for fight choreography. A really good fight scene needs to flow, not jump. I don't know if Brett Dalton has any previous experience with action roles. I know Ming-Na Wen does.

The show's directors should watch a few episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess to see how it's done.
Or they should watch Man on the Street. It had the best fight scenes I have ever seen on TV.
Best episode so far. Loved it.
ragondux, nope, they should have assumed that other people had eye implants, whether for good or bad. Once you have technology, it tends to get used. A man died as a result of their failure to consider this.
Always interesting to get fan reaction - while most seemed to think this was a step in the right direction, to me this episode gets a solid - meh. This coming from someone who generally liked everything leading to this

I guess I didn't find the whole robot eyeball very compelling, and I thought the comedy didn't fit the characters. I get that as operatives they're fish out of water, but their not idiots, so some of the van/surgery yuks rang false.

I do like the hints about a big bad out there - this far in I'm kind of "I get it, I'm with you, let's move along now shall we?" mode. In comic vernacular we've had a series of stand alone issues, I'm ready for the mini-series

Lastly - it hit me that what this series lacks is a "true" lead. Buffy had Buffy, Angel had Angel, and Firefly was clearly Mal. Not sure Coulson - and I love the character - is designed as someone who can carry this ... every ensemble has a lead dog, and I don't know if a middle aged / middle mgmt spy chief is the right guy for that
One thing i found fascinating is how much better the "you should have stayed in bed" from the clip we saw the other day works with the commercial break.
Really cool and surreal opening. Then, ZZZZZZZZZ....
I'm not saying it was illogical for the handler to have an implant. But he had tried to kill the woman, he was escaping, they weren't sure who he was, and they had no particular reason to believe he was a good guy. I can't picture them night-night-gunning every fat englishman in the plaza.

It seemed to me that the only reason the woman received a special treatement is because of her history with Coulson. I'm not expecting SHIELD to be extra-careful with everyone, especially if they've shown intent to kill. It's enough for me that Coulson prefers to talk first and shoot later. Of course, YMMV.

[ edited by Ragondux on 2013-10-16 14:47 ]
"He suited the glasses too"

I was waiting for a Clark Kent joke.
@TallMichaelJ: I think Coulson is a fine lead, but maybe the big difference here is that everyone is doubting him and questioning his choices. Buffy was chosen, Angel always was the boss, and Mal had Zoe to show the audience that for some reason he was trustworthy.

I think after a few episodes, they're going to trust Coulson more, and the audience will follow. Then there will be a big reveal about Tahiti, and everything is going to fall apart.
I liked it. It's solidified now as a show I look forward to and am committed to.
I like Ward more each week, I love Melinda. I enjoy Fitz and Simmons and I really liked the guest star this week. She was good. I didn't notice the fight scenes were bad, but I didn't notice they were good either. I LOVED the fight scenes in Buffy. They were always enjoyable/artistic to watch.
I find the music somehow distracting. Not sure why but I NOTICE it on a regular basis, and not in a good way. Something jarring there.
Skye is definitely a Faith-ish character, but I already like her better than Faith. But she's still a bit of a mystery, I don't have "Faith" in her yet. Heh. Sorry.
Coulson is fine, I don't love him the way others do, but I like him. Although I am convinced he's a robot. I like the Skye being a love child idea.
For those who read Serenity: A Shepherd's tale, did anyone get a sense of deja vu?
I checked, and as far as I can find out, diamond couriers don't go out wearing half-masks. (It's such an odd business that I checked beforehand, since perhaps they've started doing it recently.) So, if you're going to have an opening premise like that, and if you're going to show the ordinary bystanders not reacting, as if this is something they see all the time, you need to start with a realistic one. Plenty of tiem to "bring in the strange" once you've set the premise.
The bystanders didn't react because there was a street festival going on where you would expect to see people in odd costumes, maybe a flash mob.

I'm pretty sure the notion of an army of masked couriers was just a comic-booky thing invented for this episode.
I don't know how I missed that, Simon.

With Nick Fury, Akela Amador and Shepherd Book, I'm now waiting for people to complain about black characters missing eyeballs.
Ragondux, strangely enough, I actually have personal experience of that being true.
Oh, yeah, let's talk about that robot eyeball. So, how did that work exactly? In order for a human to be able to perceive the world images must be projected onto the back of the eye, where the Optic nerve would then convert the light images into electronic impulses that are then sent to the brain for interpretation in the visual cortex. Meaning that how did this technology work since removing an eyeball would necessarily sever the Optic nerve, making it impossible for anyone to then be able to transmit that receptor information? Oh, I know, this is adanced technology. But then, how the hell could FS remove it? This should be incredibly well beyond their abilities, except they always know exactly what the story needs them to know...

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2013-10-16 16:44 ]
Removing something is nowhere near as hard as inventing it.

I've known plenty of guys who could change an oil filter, even though they couldn't come close to making one from scratch.
I'm not sure I understood correctly, but I believe that:
- the bad guys did not remove the eyeball, it was her real eyeball, with an implant inside
- FZ didn't know how to remove the implant cleanly, and they didn't have time, so they had to remove the eyeball and cut the optic nerve

The bionic eyeball sure was advanced enough to be science fiction, but it's not like scientists haven't been working on visual prosthesis since the 80s. It's a lot more believable than the centipede thing, the tesseract-based weapon, or gravitons. Or Lola. Or Skye breaking RSA.

[ edited by Ragondux on 2013-10-16 16:59 ]
I think RSA was broken in RL. Though maybe not by a single hacker with a laptop.
RSA hasn't been broken, but the math behind the algorithm is looking weaker. In any case, when it falls, it will be because of mathematicians, not because of a hacker in a van.

It doesn't matter, though. I decided to believe that Skye just found a weakness in their implementation, and that non computer-savvy people like Coulson translated that to "breaking RSA" :)
The writing was imo better crafted. That is the story flowed well and without the hiccups (imo) of eps 2 & 3.
RSA (the company behind RSA) actually told people a week before SHIELD started airing not to use RSA for encryption, as they believe it may have been broken by the NSA.

Just watched the episode on Hulu, I enjoyed it. And the act breaks were pretty great. I laughed at one. The only note I had was the same as b!X -- Coulson should have reacted more to the dead MI6 guy.
So back to one of my personal peeves:

Evil Villain Ep 1: black man
Evil Villian Ep 2: Latino woman
Evil Villain Ep 3: well, two white guys (one origin story)
Evil Villain Ep 4: black woman
Evil Villain Ep 5 (coming): Asian man

I just find this off, but I know I am alone on this one.
Simon: I got déjà vu not just from A Shepherd's Tale, but also from Dollhouse's "True Believer." There's that great and striking image of the drill being lowered into Echo's eye. Amador, Fury, Book, Echo, and let's not forget Xander: what is it with the Whedonverse and eyes?

As for how the show is progressing: I've been enjoying it, but do we know when Joss is writing another episode? After a season opener he often pens a tremendous script around episode 6 or 7, e.g. "Lie to Me", "Family", and "Once More, with Feeling" in Buffy, "Man on the Street" in Dollhouse, and "Our Mrs. Reynolds" in Firefly. I'm hoping that around that point (after the break on the 29th for the rerun of the Pilot) the season kicks into high gear.

[ edited by Bishop on 2013-10-16 19:28 ]
@Dana, you're not alone, it bugs me too, and I'm a white guy. Actually it's bugged me ever since I realized that the main cast was entirely white. That's pretty crappy - and unusual! - for a TV show in 2013.

Edit/important correction: I realize Melinda isn't "white" of course. I appear to have had a problem with my brain being missing. Still, no main-cast black or hispanic good guys is an issue.

[ edited by sab39 on 2013-10-16 19:26 ]
A black actor in a main role would be good, but maybe it's worth pointing out that the two black villains were actually fine people, and not evil. While Mike's case is debatable, I don't see any problem with Amador, and I don't see how she is more of a villain than the unnamed english handler.

On the other hand, imagine if the roles had been reversed, and if the englishman had allowed his handler to be identified by describing his writing as typical of a black person. Scandal!
I like that they're casting actors of color in the guest roles. I count this a a good thing. The "villains" have mostly been someone the core characters have a past positive connection to OR someone with a complicated situation where "villain" doesn't really apply to them. Another good thing. Finally, "black" and "British" aren't equivalent ways of categorizing people. Race and nationality are different things. There are distinct and telling differences between American and British vocabulary use.
This word confused me when the eyeball turned out to have x-ray tech:

I have to give Bear McReary credit this episode. His music fit well with the whole "espionage in old Soviet" theme, and frankly I felt like was watching a good spy movie.

I have never really been a fan of the spy genre. From the superheroic tales like Mission Impossible or 007 to the more serious (?) versions of John Le Carre, it always strikes me as hokey. My disbelief is not suspended. The little things I do know about espionage is that it is not cool and it would make poor entertainment without beeing beefed up with fiction. Not a lot of people read documentaries about spies, AFAIK.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. exists in another world and my disbelief is more easily suspended. Agent Coulson was killed by Loki, so I can easily understand that someone would have the tech to remotely control someone via an implanted eye, and so and so forth. The premise of the episode was solid and the episode was well produced.

The acting was my cup of tea. Nicknames like Fitzy and AC were used, and Skye seemed a little nervous that Mommy and Daddy were going to get a divorce, and who hasn't been there? Maybe that's just me.

I like to watch a show where people are in peril, but still have fun on their job. Where people's level of incompetence doesn't immediately get them fired, but they are given chances to learn. Yes I am looking at the characters without field training.

I enjoy Coulson's fatherly approach to team leading. It seems like his second chance at life is being used to create a family he probably would never be able to have outside the job.

It seems a bit odd that Nick Fury would allow something so sentimental to be done on the job, but maybe he feels like owes AC a break. After all, AC's probable death saved the world.

So, for me, the fact that Agent Coulson hasn't chosen a crack team of elite soldiers is what is extraordinarily fascinating about this show and makes it different from all other shows around. All other shows that may be similar seem to immediately have the best of the best working together.

This show is good already, and has tons of potential. Character building, story arcs, all the stuff that Joss does well, can be done well with this show.

And with all the talk about ESP, I'm starting to wonder if they aren't foreshadowing some "magic" after all, maybe even some Scarlet Witch conncetion.
In my head cannon when all is revealed he's gonna shrug and say he figured it out a while back and there was really no point in making a fuss about it.

My thoughts exactly!

It's a dark story (as dark as an 8 pm show can be in its fourth episode)...

Eh... imo it could be a LOT darker - and better served by it, too (last I checked Arrow is on at 8pm...)

For those who read Serenity: A Shepherd's tale, did anyone get a sense of deja vu?

Actually I'm surprised that I didn't (think I was distracted by the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Interceptors scenario parallels.)

- the bad guys did not remove the eyeball, it was her real eyeball, with an implant inside

If memory serves she lost her natural eye in the mission gone wrong, then was "supplied" with a replacement...

Imo if you're overly bothered by the general lack of plausibility in the show so far, I'm inclined to say that you're probably watching the wrong show...

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2013-10-16 20:41 ]
Really, the "villain" in ep. 1 is Centipede, the face of which was a white lady. And the villain in ep. 4 is whoever was controlling Amador, the face of which is a chubby white dude.

Not that I wouldn't totally welcome more black/Hispanic characters on the hero side. More Ron Glass would be a great start!

[ edited by swanjun on 2013-10-16 20:40 ]
I thought the robot eyeball thing was genius. The worst prison ever is one's own body. Creepy.
And listing all the guest characters as villians isn't actually accurate. The point of the show is that everyone matters and sometimes things aren't what they seem. So I'm chalking it up to diverse guest casting of non typical "baddies" that are actually just people making choices that the team has to deal with, sometimes to save, sometimes to stop.
I was fine with the diamond couriers seeming like a festival falsh mob. I mean, would you see a bunch of masked men walking around looking conspicuous and think they had millions in diamonds on them? It looked cool and it was out of the box thinking to transport jewels and it guaranteed that none of the men guarding the jewels could be recognized by outside observers. It should have worked. If they weren't dealing with a bionic Agent.
I honestly don't pay attention to the music much, so it doesn't distract or enhance for me much. But I wish I could hear "grr argh" at the end of each episode.
I'm waiting to like Ward. Because I still don't.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2013-10-16 20:47 ]
I really liked the pilot, felt "meh" about the subsequent 2, and LOVED this one. For me it had a very Torchwood feel to it: the guys in masks (like in Miracle Day), the eyeball (reminds me of the Eye-5 contacts used throughout the Torchwood series)- I really expected our rogue agent to speak in a British or Welsh accent!

I am liking the Ward/Skye interaction a lot. We're starting to get some background on the team, but I need more. We know virtually nothing about FS & very little about Melinda.

[ edited by VisionGirl on 2013-10-16 20:46 ]

[ edited by VisionGirl on 2013-10-16 20:47 ]
This was probably my favorite so far. Didn't have the high points of the pilot, but was overall more consistent and very much showed me a way forward for the series. The actors are getting the hang of the dialogue, and their chemistry is greatly improved. Really starting to see things gelling.

Looking forward to that early-to-mid-season curveball episode.
Regarding Casting. I suspect that Fitz-Simmons was the best chance to place an AA or Latino in the cast. When the current two actors read together magic happened and that plan if it ever existed had to be scrapped.
Also, Grant and May: KISS KISS KISS.
I watched again. I now think AoS it too fundamentally flawed to ever work. I agree with all Dana's objections, there's so much illogical stuff, the character of Skye especially, but I don't see any easy fix for this. Resonant, meaningful relationships between the characters could forgive almost any shortcuts in plotting, but for one thing I don't think the actors are good enough to hint at such depth in the time it would take the writers to repair the premise. I kind of hope this series gets cancelled so it doesn't hang around the Whedons' necks for too long. Will keep watching though, obv.
I watched again. I now think AoS it too fundamentally flawed to ever work.

I wouldn't go quite that far. There is something to be said for popcorn entertainment (what Marvel does best) of which imo MaoS is proving to be a prime example. Not necessarily a whole lot to say, though (and hence probably why I've never been much of a Marvel fan in general...)

But really, if you happen to like the kind of entertainment that Marvel produces (which recent box office history suggests is pretty likely) then I really can't think of a good reason why you wouldn't like this show (hence why I suspect it'll end up running for much longer than many people would believe.)

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2013-10-16 22:26 ]
Mhm, like the previous episodes, not exactly great, but good enough to keep me watching. I did enjoy the interaction between Skye and Coulson, in particular: "Like we were trapped in a van-shaped piñata." "That should never have happened." "S'okay. It wasn't nearly as terrible as watching mom and dad fight downstairs." "That shouldn't have happened either."

If that is not the sweetest matter-of-fact statement ever...

Let's talk about that robot eyeball. So, how did that work exactly?

The x-ray vision is of course pure sci-fi, but already today there exists working prototypes for implants that hook up a miniature camera to the optic nerve, restoring vision to the blind. The resolution is awful, but give it time...

RSA (the company behind RSA) actually told people a week before SHIELD started airing not to use RSA for encryption, as they believe it may have been broken by the NSA.

Not quite. As you note, RSA is both a company and the name of an algorithm. The RSA company has published a large number of other security-related algorithms, several of which has been broken (e.g. MD5 and RC4). More recently, documents released by Edward Snowden has suggested that the Dual_EC_DRBG algorithm had been intentionally designed by the NSA to be easily broken. That is not an algorithm designed by the RSA, but it was used in some RSA security software, hence the announcement. The RSA algorithm has not been broken, and is as strong as ever; however, a lot of software using the RSA algorithm has had defects over the years; it was recently revealed that NSA actively works to introduce errors into such software, to effectively break the RSA encryption, even if the algorithm itself is not broken.

Which brings me back on topic: It is far from unrealistic for a skilled hacker (such as Skye) to have broken an RSA implementation. Yay for realistic technobabble. ;-)
I actually thought this episode was much better than most those thus far. The flow was good, the unseen enemy was pretty compelling, I thought the mechanism of the electronic eye that they introduced was interesting and well handled. Great guest star, she did a fantastic job. We learned a bit more about May, and Coulson became a bit more interesting. The horribly imperialist tone of the previous episodes was (mostly) absent. We have a bit more storyline arc stuff coming through which is always welcome.

I still think that Fitz/Simmons could be a bit more interesting. Skye was tolerable in this episode. Whatever the agent guy's name is was fairly forgettable (not the actor's fault I think).
So back to one of my personal peeves:

Evil Villain Ep 1: black man
Evil Villian Ep 2: Latino woman
Evil Villain Ep 3: well, two white guys (one origin story)
Evil Villain Ep 4: black woman
Evil Villain Ep 5 (coming): Asian man

I just find this off, but I know I am alone on this one.

Dana5140 | October 16, 19:13 CET

I don't know, this feels like you're looking at this from a weirdly skewed angle. JAR's character in Ep1 wasn't a villain. The white doctor lady was, if anyone. Ep2, yes I'll give you that. Ep3 is also on-point. Ep4 also wasn't a black woman - if you go down that route it was black woman + white (British) man (actual villain is unknown). Haven't seen the Ep5 preview so can't comment on that. I feel you're looking for a pattern where there isn't one. You already have two (at least partially) Asian women on the cast. I don't see the need for a full-spectrum rainbow cast here. We got diversity and everything is pretty equal opportunity so far.

That said, still my favorite thing about this series is the small character stuff between Skye and everyone else and FitzSimmons when they're doing their stuff among themselves. Can't get enough of it. Skye has this casual, awkward and throwaway style of talking that I really like in her character. Also, the parents vs kids dynamic is really fitting and quite funny. I still hope the show gets a little darker soon. Doesn't have to be permanent but I can't wait until we're out of the baby shoes and stuff gets REAL.

As for weird plot/logic inconsistencies, it's really not a new thing to Whedon shows. There's always something a little weird. I've got no issues with it as long as it doesn't affect the character development negatively. After watching a lot of Doctor Who, I've learned to just take the goofy/odd stuff in and cherish the character interactions.

I feel a big problem here for "us" is that we come off of this big history with Whedon shows and overall amazingness that makes it hard to live through a shows's growing pains and wait until it has found its groove. I have this issue with a lot of new shows. Waiting a week and another week and another week for something to trickle out information and character bits is tiring. If you have a DVD set ready to go for your first experience, it's far easier to get past the warm-up phase. I think a good example is the much-disliked early third season of LOST where a part of the cast spends time in a fixed location for a handful of episodes. When that takes 1-2 months of real time, it's terrible. But on DVD, it's dealt with in an evening or Sunday afternoon marathon.

I bet once we look back on Season 1 of SHIELD, much of what we scratch our head at now will make way more sense or falls by the wayside and gets filed under "training wheels."
I feel a big problem here for "us" is that we come off of this big history with Whedon shows and overall amazingness that makes it hard to live through a shows's growing pains and wait until it has found its groove.

As far as I know there is only a single Whedon show currently in existence about which a sizable population - even here - would dare to argue wasn't subject to its own share of early growing pains.

I have this issue with a lot of new shows.

So do I - it's a major factor in the way I make quality judgments of what I'm watching...

Waiting a week and another week and another week for something to trickle out information and character bits is tiring. If you have a DVD set ready to go for your first experience, it's far easier to get past the warm-up phase.

...because it gives you the luxury of viewing the overall work more in the context of a film or extended novel. One of the hallmarks of good television is that it is able to entertain while existing in the confines of itself as a medium. If a tv show can't find a way to keep its viewers sufficiently engaged over the breaks that broadcast and production schedules dictate, then there are no bones about it - it's just not a very good show.
But really, if you happen to like the kind of entertainment that Marvel produces (which recent box office history suggests is pretty likely) then I really can't think of a good reason why you wouldn't like this show (hence why I suspect it'll end up running for much longer than many people would believe.)

As someone who LOVES the Marvel movies, I don't agree with this at all. Just about everything I like in Marvel movies is missing from this show: great action sequences, snappy writing, fantastic actors, and compelling characters. And if we want to get really basic, the biggest difference between the movies and MAoS is the lack of superheroes. Someone who enjoys people flying around and smashing things might find the procedural focus of this show dull.

I'm very meh on this show. I'm trying to enjoy it as fun and comic booky. But I keep coming back to the fact that the movies are so much better than this, and Marvel movies are now the standard by which I judge "fun and comic booky". I really, really want to like this show, but every week I find myself lowering my standards of what to expect, and every week I still find it lacking any sort of depth. It's not up to the standards I've come to expect from either Marvel or Joss, and ultimately I'm disappointed. Ah well, I'll keep watching because Joss.

[ edited by Dizzy on 2013-10-17 03:16 ]
You and I are in agreement. The only villain of color so far has been Reyes in episode 2. Mike was NOT a villain whatsoever. He was even called a superHERO by Coulson. Akela also wasn't a villain.
To my mind, the fact that people here question the plausibility of one thing or another in the show is an implied compliment. Evidently the show is sufficiently believable that we notice when it falls short of that. Otherwise, we'd all be picking out the few things that we found believable, and commenting about them instead, no?

BTW, I had two eye operations in the past month (successful ones, thank you) and there were no needles involved except for the one delivering a sedative to my arm. Anesthetic can very well be administered to the eyes via eyedrops. (Does the inside of the eye even have pain receptors?)

Anyway, I understood the horse-tranquilizer syringe in this episode as a mix of horror and dark comedy, and I doubt that the writers meant us to believe that they think eye surgery is really done that way.
I'm fuzzy on the details but... was Reyes really a villain or another agent working for her country's benefit? So to her that would make Coulson and company the villains. They did steal something from her country, after all. (Sure it was an alien object and not an ancient artifact, but still. If a meteor lands on my property it becomes mine.)
Gotta say I really enjoyed this one. We rewatched "Waiting in the Wings" during our #whedony Twitter chat on Monday, and I remember thinking that Joss let all the Angel characters be their weird, vulnerable selves and all the more loveable for it, and this episode let Grant and Skye be their weird, slightly damaged selves and that made it easier to love them. Now I want May, Fitz and especially Simmons to get more screen time to be weird and a little broken and adorable.

Also, I want the Big Bad to be another copy of Coulson secretly running Centipede and/or the Eye Spies as compartmentalized SHIELD operations and sporting an evil beard.

Most of all, I want them to do what they do, which is come up with better stuff than me.
I want to elaborate on what it is I think is better about the writing in this ep vs. #2 & #3. I was surprised when the episode ended. My feeling was "What ? Already ? Wow, that went fast!". For me that means I never thought it was dragging or wished that I had a FF button. For me that's way more important than any other thing.

It also seemed to me that there was more time spent on the team and less on the guests. That may have contributed to my feeling of this went quickly as generally I find the team more interesting.
"BTW, I had two eye operations in the past month (successful ones, thank you) and there were no needles involved except for the one delivering a sedative to my arm. Anesthetic can very well be administered to the eyes via eyedrops. (Does the inside of the eye even have pain receptors?)"

Oh, I just thought of the reason for the needle.

It's what they had on hand.

They weren't in a hospital. Simmons even said that she wasn't qualified to be doing surgery. So of course they didn't have anesthetic eye drops. They had to just use whatever was in the Bus' med locker.
Very pleased with the episode!

Character growth is coming along nicely. I laughted out loud at Skye's gun mishap despite it being telegraphed. That's what made it even more funny for me. Her "you're a machine" link to Grant was also very funny. Plus it wad nice seeing her interact with Fitz at the end.

Speaking of Fitz, finally! We have him interacting with people out of his scientific role. These are the places where character growth comes out of. The more we see Fitz and Simmons out of the lab, the more chances their characters can grow and deepen. That's why I liked them in the van, even if they are not qualified to be in the field.

Ward was great in this episode. His exasperation at people breaking protocol, his ticklishness, and his "help" moment. Ward has a tough role to play as the Serious Man, but they are loosening him up a bit. There's still more room for him to grow when they start dealing with his past.

May and Coulson continue to be excellent.

The reveal about the British handler and the diagrams on the blackboard were almost the "man on the street" moment for me. It showed how deep this shadow organization goes, combined with their adaption of alien technology. It's a sure bet that they are behind Centipede too, and I wouldn't be surprised if they had influence with the Rising Tide as well. There was another nod to Coulson's wrongness, May is going to start digging around where she shouldn't soon.

I thought the pace on a lot of the initial episodes was a bit rushed, but something else to keep in mind: MAoS had thirteen episodes to start, so they may have a storyline compressed to finish in thirteen episodes.

Other postes have already covered the race villain angle. MAoS has three female leads, and two Asian characters. They continue to have minority characters on the show in complex roles.
They have Hollywood pretty people in those roles. There are no African Americans in any starting role.
Except in this episode. And the next episode. And the first episode.
"Hollywood pretty people" speaks to a rather deeper problem in the world of television. If they'd cast average-looking people, I doubt the show would have been made at all (or it would have been taken away from them). So while I freely grant that Joss is in a bit of a hole when it comes to race, one cannot expect the Whedons to fix every problem of modern culture.

At least not after just the fourth episode. It'll take at least until the season finale.

(Personally I'm hoping that Amador comes back and joins the team permanently. We have precedent.)
As for the race thing, blaming that squarely on the Whedons seems unfair and without basis in fact. Other producers could be to blame, the television company, or it may just be that they actually chose the best actors for the parts, no racial discrimination intended. Maurissa Tancharoen sang a song lamenting the lack of Asians in the movies, so I think this is something they are aware of. Also, I think the idea that people of color have been villains in the show is faulty, those characters have been more complex than that.
I'm still not clicking with this show. The characters don't seem real to me. I don't hate it but it's no Buffy! And how would Skye know about mom and dad fighting? She was an orphan. Also, wouldn't they already have a great tech person in the team? Why do they need her at all? (Although she is gorgeous to look at I prefer Simmon's look).

BTW, my daughter commented that she though the Leverage team could have done a better job, lol.
Mom = Melinda
Dad = Coulson

She was commenting on how awkward it was for her to watch the argument that the two of them had just had. That's why Coulson responded with "That shouldn't have happened."

I loved that line. I've been thinking of those two as Mom and Dad from the moment the cast was announced.
They have Hollywood pretty people in those roles.

This make shock some people, but I have it on good word that "Hollywood pretty people" actually exist in real life...

And how would Skye know about mom and dad fighting? She was an orphan.

You forgot the "it didn't work out" foster-child part, which is what I assumed she was referring to at the time.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2013-10-18 03:18 ]
Pretty good. I think it's getting better. I also like Skye more and more. She is funny, charismatic, and likeable. By far the most best character, I think. And she's good at delivering her lines, even when the lines are kinda clunky. Coulson is the next best character, I think, although I'm really starting to wish he'd show some dark side, and that he would tone down the corny speeches about how he has faith in everybody and likes do what's right, etc., etc.

There were some very nice touches, e.g., the "seduce him" moment, and the moment where they see their own van through the rogue agent's eyes. These moments would have been significantly better though had they not been punctuated with trite, cutesy dialogue (Ward's squeaky plea for "help") or gratuitous expositional dialogue telling us the obvious ("what are we seeing?"; "us"). And I can really really do without cornball lines like, "I forgot how good you are" (this episode) and "yes, they're that good" (first episode).

Also, am I the only person who thinks Melinda is by far the weakest character? Everything she does seems designed to show us she's a hardened agent with a troubled past who does not mince words and has no patience for rookie silliness and sentiment (but deep down she really cares and there's some emotional fragility too!). Why work so hard to establish a character who's just a silly stereotype? I would like her to do something unexpected and interesting, something that shows how she differs from the stereotype.

Don't mean this to sound too negative. I enjoyed the episode and was entertained, and there were even moments where it really felt like a Whedon show. It did a lot of things right, and I think it's moving in the right direction. I would just like to see more darkness and suspense, some better characterization, and fewer dialogue gaffes. I think the show is entertaining though, and could eventually develop into something great. I look forward to seeing more fun episodes.

[ edited by Squishy on 2013-10-18 04:43 ]
I know what the comment meant. Duh. My point is that the analogy of mom and dad fighting is one that she would probably not relate to.
I thought this was the best episode to date. Distinct lack of cheese, good team moments, Ward and Skye shone and there was the start of a plot arc with that Skrull-like writing on the blackboard.

[ edited by viewingfigures on 2014-04-11 21:01 ]

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