The good news, folks, is that Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is a ratings behemoth. It drew in enough viewers in the pilot to divide in two and make two hit shows. So, at least for now, the show is on solid ground.
Which is great, since as I said last week, the show seems to be struggling to find an identity of its own. The whole “secret government agency in charge of dealing with the weird and dangerous” trope has been done so many times and in so many ways it has a leg cramp.
Episode two kicks off right where episode one left off—with the mystery of the oh-eight-four in need of investigating and Skye moving onto the Bus. The Bus is their super cool airplane/headquarters/laboratory/bunkhouse. And it’s headed to Peru.
Neither Agent Ward nor Agent May are excited about having Skye joining up. They bring up little issues like the fact that she was working with their nemeses and she has absolutely no super spy skills whatsoever. Coulson listens patiently and then tells them to suck it up—in the nice, Phil Coulson sort of way.
Once in Peru, our merry band of misfits roll off into a jungle that doesn’t really look like a South American jungle but at least it doesn’t look like a Vancouver forest—like every CW show on the air today.
Naturally, they are headed to an ancient temple, because all mysterious artifacts in South America are located in these old ruins and not in, say, an abandoned Ikea.
Our resident nerds, Fitz and Simmons, are very excited. At this point there’s barely any reason to differentiate between them since their personalities and even skill sets seem to blur together. Anyway, they murmur excited nerd babble while Ward looks grim and concerned and Skye (and everyone, including the audience) wonders what she is even doing there.
The first complication shows up in the form of the Peruvian police. But it’s totes cool because Coulson and the woman in charge of the coppers, Camilla Reyes, are total besties. They bond over previous missions while Fitzsimmons babble gobbledygook that makes no real sense. It was something about the artifact having been in the temple for fifteen hundred years but the technology in it is from all these different eras, including maybe the future? I really couldn’t follow.
Then, suddenly, danger! From out of the jungle leaps a host of well-washed, well-fed resistance fighters. And I kid you not, I heard the A-Team theme in my head when they popped out. That just can’t be a good sign.
Ward tells the nerds to pack up the artifact and Fitz protests. His Scottish accent gets thicker as he gets more excited until all I heard was, “Ye canna touch the dilithium crystals withou’ risking a full warp inversion Captain!”
Ward runs out of patience and stuffs the artifact into a backpack while Fitzsimmons squawk incoherently. Then everyone piles into the S.H.I.E.L.Dmobile and races for the Bus. The rebels politely allow them to board the plane and leave instead of lobbing grenades through the open cargo door which stays open for like an hour.
It takes about five seconds to realize that Reyes and her policemen don’t intend to behave themselves. I mean, there is a super powerful artifact up for the taking. And if they’re really feeling like misbehaving, they might disable the smoke detectors in the lavatory!
Skye wants everyone to get along so she has a sit-down with Ward and tries to make nice. He surprises me by actually responding like a person. So it’s a nice little scene, and far less disturbing than the one transpiring in Coulson’s office.
Reyes throws herself at him. Like, she does everything but flash her ta-tas. Coulson seems to be as horrified as I am. But because he is Coulson, he also sees right through her charade. Thank goodness.
“Ward knows you have to get Mays for this to work.”
Ha! Take that you little artifact-stealing, Coulson-fake-seducing, duplicitous harpy!