Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Eye Spy (1×04)
Synopsis: When the robber in several international diamond heists is discovered to be Coulson’s old protégé, the team races to catch her and find out who is behind her strange new abilities.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff!
The episode opens in Sweden with a group of masked men holding briefcases making their way to the subway. They’re followed by a mysterious woman who seems to only be listening to her iPod. However, when the train begins to move, she closes her eyes, kills the lights in the car, kills the men, and makes out with one of the briefcases (which is filled with diamonds) before the train even makes it to the next station. Damn, that would be kind of awesome if it wasn’t straight up terrifying.
Back on the Bus, Coulson catches wind of the incident and volunteers the team for the mission. Yep, that’s right, Phil Coulson doesn’t wait. He asks. He takes May and Skye to the crime scene to get a better look at what happened. The two agents use plain old detective work while Skye notices how heavily documented the men in red masks were on social media networks. I know AoS isn’t the first show to solve a mystery using social media, but it makes me happy when shows do that. It’s so true to life. It also makes me wonder how well documented the Battle of New York was on social media.
With further digging, the team finds out who the robber is: Akela Amadour, Coulson’s former protégé. She was believed to be dead for several years after a mission, but now she’s alive and with mysterious powers. The team tries to track her down while she’s in the middle of an exchange, but lose her after she nearly takes out the tech team after they find her vision on a local channel.
Yep. That’s right. Her vision.
It turns out that she’s been given a robot eye with backscatter capabilities, which is how she’s been able to commit the heists with her eyes closed and there’s some sort of readout that’s giving her assignments. Which means she’s not in control of what she does. Coulson wants to bring her in and help her, but May believes that with the eye and her field knowledge, she’s a living weapon that needs to be taken out. She manages to nearly do it to when she sneaks away during the watch shift of Akela-Vision in the most awesome fight scene I have ever watched on the show, but Coulson swoops in and tranquilizes Amadour before she can kill May or May can kill her.
On the Bus, the team manages to hijack the feed from Amadour’s eye and feed it through a pair of glasses they put on Ward so he can carry out the mission. I’m not usually attracted to Ward, but damn, does he look good in some glasses. And he’s ticklish too, as Skye figures out.
Amadour, now temporarily without the vision that has hounded her for years, tells Coulson that she was blinded and imprisoned on the mission that was believed to have killed her for several years. She was rescued by a team she thought was S.H.I.E.L.D. and they implanted the eye in her. At first, she was relieved, but was soon given missions that forced her to do illegal things with the threat of the mysterious force behind the eye ready to pull a killswitch at any given moment. Coulson orders FitzSimmons to take out the eye while Ward is on the mission pretending to be Amadour so they can track her handler. Not going to lie, the whole thing is pretty gross, but FitzSimmons feel the same about that. It’s the little things like two characters being squicked out by having to remove a robot eye before it explodes that make me love this show.
Ward makes it through the facility and is ordered to pull a Honeypot (read: seduce for information) on a security guard via the glasses. My inner Archer fan wanted to yell at Ward and just suck it up, but you can’t always get the gay Russian Honeypot. Ward tries to “bromance” the guy, but then knocks him out when that fails. Oh Ward and your craptastic people skills.
He gets into the room and finds a blackboard with some strange set of drawings that look like a schematic. Possibly alien. The readout says the mission is accomplished, but Ward is screwed because knocking out the guard makes it hard for him to leave without the security guard’s alarm going off. Way to go, Ward. Way to go. He makes a run for it, shooting guns and getting Skye to come rescue his ass outside the factory.
Meanwhile, using context clues and tracking the signal, May and Coulson manage to find Amadour’s handler, but a killswitch is pulled on him before Coulson can question him. Which means that Amadour was just part of a vicious cycle set forth by some mystery group.
Amadour is released into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody. Coulson promises her a fair trial, but she’s relieved that she’s finally free of the force that was controlling her. As Coulson walks away, Amadour asks May what S.H.I.E.L.D. did to him after he died, much to May’s confusion. Well, there goes my theory that May knows what is wrong with Coulson, but it’s good to know that not everyone thinks Coulson is perfectly fine after the Loki stabbing.
While not a perfect episode, ‘Eye Spy’ is probably the best episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. It’s a clever plot that stands well on it’s own while managing to deepen the mystery of what’s causing all these incidents the team is investigating and what’s up with Phil Coulson. Plus, there are plenty of funny character moments, like the pee bottle and Fitz bailing on cheating at poker because he doesn’t want Skye to see him naked in the glasses backscatter. It also really feels like the team is becoming a strange little family of sorts. Which will probably be ruined sooner than you think.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: Girl in the Flower Dress (1×05)
Synopsis: When a super powered street performer under S.H.I.E.L.D. watch is kidnapped and it’s discovered that The Rising Tide is behind the information leak that lead to his kidnapping, Skye’s loyalty is called into question. More questions are raised about the group behind The Centipede.
In the next episode, in fact!
The strange thing about this episode is that the main plot isn’t even the one about the team. It’s the one about the titular Girl in the Flower Dress.
A street magician named Chan Ho Lin is watched by a woman named Raina (Ruth Negga). She says there is something special about him and Chan invites her back to his apartment. He then reveals more about himself. Because unlike GOB Bluth, who just coats everyone in lighter fluid, Chan is a pyrokinetic under S.H.I.E.L.D. watch for using his powers. Well, he broke the first rule of the Magicians Alliance for revealing that secret to a potential lay, but whatever. Raina assures him that his desires to be something more will be fulfilled, then proceeds to kidnap him with some men in flame retardant suits. Well, this is going to end well…
On the Bus, Skye and Ward bond over Battleship while May offers to take Coulson on a few rounds like the old days. Is it bad I kind of ship it in that weird way I also ship Mako Mori and Raleigh Becket? In that I kind of want them to make out, but also would be content with them being Forever Bros. It’s strange. Anyway, they get an alert from S.H.I.E.L.D. about Chan’s disappearance and his supervising agent informs them that while they can’t get a lock on where he disappeared to, they have tracked down The Rising Tide as the ones who leaked his information. Skye assures them that she wasn’t the one to do it and even tracks down the Rising Tide hacker who did it: a ruggedly handsome hacker named Miles who lives in Austin. The team goes to find Miles, but he manages to escape them back to his place, where Skye is waiting for him. She berates him for letting himself get tracked and that she only gave him a heads up to make sure he knew S.H.I.E.L.D. was onto him, but he’s not listening. He’s distracted by Skye and the two of them soon get distracted by sex. Man, I wish a ruggedly handsome hacker in flannel would distract me like that, but I digress…
Miles tries to get Skye to stay since it’s been a while since they’ve seen each other, but Skye has to head back and begins furiously looking for her top in hopes that she can return before the team catches her. Which seems entirely possible until she opens the door to the next room and May is standing there, holding it. This is probably my favorite detail of the episode because Coulson reveals later that he sent May to tail her. Which means that May probably heard some of the sex happening, but waited until Skye was trying to get back to reveal herself. Melinda May: She’ll be sneaky and authoritative, but she’ll at least let you finish before she lays the smack down. How considerate.
The team obviously feels betrayed and take both Miles and Skye into custody. Miles and Skye argue about The Rising Tide vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. and how Skye is betraying her ideals by working for S.H.I.E.L.D. Which is when Ward and Coulson pick the moment to reveal that Miles was paid by the woman in the flower dress to reveal Chan’s whereabouts, which is a big no no in the beliefs of the Rising Tide. Oh, how the betrayal continues to stack.
So back to the Girl in the Flower Dress.
When Chan comes to, Raina is waiting for him and promises him that he can become something more with the help of her people, using Captain America as an example of how powers and a name can turn you into something more. Well, I’ll admit, it’s a dirty trick, but it would probably work on me. Chan agrees and he’s taken to a lab where he’s injected with a serum that makes his powers heighten. Raina remarks on this as she looks over his results later, and it’s revealed that she’s working with the doctor who created the Centipede in the first episode. (The team will realize this later when Miles said that the woman who paid him works with a nature conservatory specializing in centipedes.) While Chan’s powers are impressive, they’re more interested in him for the fact his powers cancel out the combustion aspect of Extremis. Which, you know, Tony Stark figured out how to neutralize while hungover in Sweden in 2000. I’ll never get over that bit of dramatic irony.
Still, with an ability to cancel out Extremis, the doctor and Raina decide to drain Chan of his blood platelets since that’s what they really need. Of course, this naturally pisses Chan off since it also takes away his ability to not be burned by his powers and he’s been betrayed on his promises of glory, but more on that in a second.
The team races to figure out Chan’s whereabouts and to prevent what happened in LA from happening in Hong Kong. The team arrives too late to prevent Chan’s blood from being taken, but they are ready to try a rescue when the strike team is caught. Coulson tries to demand a security override, but Chan escapes his bonds, injects himself with Extremis and hulks out on the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. May tries to talk him down and Coulson tries to tranquilize him, but to no avail. Thanks to Skye and Ward, they’re able to override the security system, but Chan escapes and kills the doctor. With no other choice, Coulson and May overload Chan with Extremis and get Miles to help them redirect the blast caused by his body to the roof. Ward reveals that Skye managed to get some files, which might help them on the future hunt for Centipede.
Back on the Bus, Coulson releases Miles, but lets him know that S.H.I.E.L.D. will be tracking him with a bracelet he’s been given and that they sure as hell aren’t carting his rugged ass back home. Miles and Skye have a breakup of sorts, and Coulson orders Skye to his office. There, he demands to know what secrets she’s still keeping from them, which is where her real secret is revealed: Skye hasn’t joined S.H.I.E.L.D. to double cross them for The Rising Tide. She’s joined to find her parents. In all of the information she has about her missing parents, the most she has is a letter from her orphanage redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D. Phil says that maybe he can help, but that Skye probably won’t like what she finds. I found it interesting that the two were starting to develop a father-daughter relationship, but now that seems in jeopardy with Skye being put on probation as well. Will she betray the team again or is she good to her word now?
The last two minutes like any good MCU entry raises the biggest question of them all. Raina visits a man in jail and informs him of the progress made in the Centipede project and that they’re on to phase 2. The man asks why she is there, and Raina asks him to touch base with “The Clairvoyant” to get some insight into the third phase of the project. The man says that “The Clairvoyant” doesn’t like to be touched, but Raina tells him that they all have to do things that they don’t like to keep the project moving.
This moment here could be supremely confusing, but from the way the man remarks on Raina’s red flower dress, it makes me have a theory that this season is basically setting up for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. There’s no hint of The Clairvoyant’s gender, but it makes me wonder if this is how Team Whedon will be ushering in the Scarlet Witch. Clairvoyance? Check. A creepy guy’s affinity for red? Check.
Okay, it’s not much to go on right now, but how brilliant would it be if Wanda is introduced in the next film as someone S.H.I.E.L.D. found from the Centipede investigation? Plus, since we can’t refer to Mutants in the MCU until Fox lays down their guns and surrenders to Marvel, it would kind of make sense for Wanda to be a science experiment.
I could be wrong though. It could be Doctor Strange or some alien character for all I know. I just really hope it’s Wanda. Especially with confirmation that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will tie back to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which will in turn set up Age of Ultron.
‘Girl In The Flower Dress’ is one of those episodes that raises more questions than it answers. Which is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a perfectly solid episode that keeps the plot moving. I just know I’m going to be frustrated if the next few episodes are one-shots.