TV Review: “Agents of SHIELD” Episode 3 – “The Asset”

Written by Alex Bowman October 09, 2013

I have to be completely honest when I say that I have absolutely zero faith in the future of television shows adapted from comic books. In my opinion, “Arrow” is a terrible attempt at trying to darken a snarky and light-hearted comic book character that is supposed to be the DC equivalent of Iron Man, not broody McEyeshadow. Comic-to-TV adaptations may be drowning, but “Agents of SHIELD” continues to soar above the rest with a brand new episode that keeps on improving with each exciting moment.

This week’s episode deals with the team having to go to Malta in order to rescue a kidnapped SHIELD scientist, Canadian Franklin Hall, who is in the custody of his past acquaintance and possible new bad guy of the show, Ian Quinn. The team must rely on the questionable skills and know-how of the rookie, Skye, who up to this point is still in the shadows concerning her allegiances.

I am really impressed with how “Agents of SHIELD” just keeps getting better with each new episode. The writing for this one is really great because we are presented with a character-based episode revolving around Skye who is focal point for the group. She is the outsider who has been brought in and seems to be gaining the trust of her fellow team mates. However, it has been established that she is communicating with mystery figures behind the scenes. This adds a really good holy-shit-no-she-didn’t moment during the climax when she looks like she has sold out the team to the enemy. Yet, this is a really great way to both keep us as the audience interested and to give Skye more of a personality besides just being the comic relief. Skye wants to be a field agent so she has to earn it and use more than her hacking and snappy repartee in order to gain the approval of her fellow agents. She is also getting more screen time with Ward which could lead to a potential romance but that is pretty obvious up to this point.

The stunt work in this particular episode is also pretty fun. The climax consists of Agent Coulson having to talk down a confused and angry Hall (who is the one behind the kidnapping plot) all the while stuck to the ceiling. Gravity is turned upside down in this episode (SCIENCE) and the entire segment feels like an homage to “Inception” where the characters have to interact and fight all the while spinning around a room where the laws of physics are turned upside down. It is a nice blend of practical and CGI effects that really captures your attention and keeps you rooting for Coulson to pull through.

Despite this being a really strong episode in the series, I would be lying if I said it was without some certain flaws. I find it to be hilariously stupid that SHIELD feels the need to have their insignia plastered on water bottles (what are they, G.I. Joe?) It was also a tad annoying that Agent May didn’t really do anything in this episode; it has already been established that May is a competent field agent and a pretty good ass-kicker. At the end of the episode she even talks with Coulson about wanting more hands-on work which felt like a fourth wall jab at the show’s writers for not giving Ming-na Wen anything to do in this episode. Other than that, I think this was another strong episode with some solid dialogue, great action and great character studies. Also, the truth behind Coulson’s time spent in “Tahiti” is not quite clear yet but that also adds a lot of subtle intrigue to the show. Again, Coulson is the reason we keep coming back and we want to know what happened to him in this so-called magical place.

“Agents of SHIELD” hits another successful home-run with an episode that keeps a brilliant pace going with a plethora of memorable jokes, great action scenes involving impressive practical and CGI effects, and great hints that make us as the viewer want to tune in for the next episode to find out more about what is going on. One has to wonder though, does this mean that Col. Nick Fury allows money to be spent on trying to design custom labels for their water bottles?

My Rating: 8/10

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