By the Corsair's Closet's Liz Carlie, the 'Mad Woman with a Box'
SPOILERGUARD: Do not read the following if you have not yet seen Marvel’s Agents OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Episode 1.4, “Eye Spy.” You have been warned.
With episode four of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., titled ‘Eye Spy,’ I think there can be little question left as to whether or not this show, and its characters, can stand on their own. Now having grown more familiar with the team’s new faces, the great stories and unique personalities are really merging to make the show even more engaging. This week, the episode veered away from heavy Marvel content, but to great effect in the end. It’s reassuring to see the show can produce its own great original story content, given that this week it was announced the series has been picked up for a full 22 episode run. Overall, this was another step upwards in the show’s overall quality, but the best part about it was the fact that we got yet another glimpse of the enigma that is Phil Coulson.
The show opens with one of the most unique heists I’ve ever seen, so unique I didn’t even realize it was a heist until the word was uttered: a strange parade of suited figures in red masks carrying briefcases handcuffed to their wrists entered a Stockholm subway, followed by a woman with a strange habit of closing her eyes at inopportune moments. Lights go out on the train, a scuffle ensues, and when the cops arrive? Our masked men are down, with one sporting a severed hand…shy a briefcase.
Someone is stealing diamonds, and Coulson hand picks the investigation with the belief that a face from his past is responsible. After fishing Skye out of her surrogate van with a grim report on her weapons skills from her SO, Ward, he gets her help in launching the investigation and identifying the culprit. Enter Akela Amador, an agent trained personally by Phil Coulson seven years prior. Believed to be dead, she now appears to be working for the bad guys until the group discovers she’s in possession of an optical implant with x-ray capabilities, a camera to track her every move, and a text feed to send her commands. She’s not freelancing: she’s being held prisoner.
After the team of Ward and Skye have been sent to complete her next mission with the help of a handy pair of spyglasses that have hijacked Amador’s camera feed, we find out that she lost her sight in the attack that was believed to have taken her life. In a heart to heart with Coulson, she reveals that the group who saved her and restored her sight also stole her life. She has a handler, who communicates through the text feed, and with a little help from Coulson as well as some deductive reasoning, a profile is patched together.
While Ward does his best to bromance his way through a security snafu on site, Coulson and May track down the handler by using the message feed to pinpoint his location. Following Melinda’s cues, Coulson locates Amador’s handler, only to find that he’s as much a prisoner as she was. As Coulson approaches, we see the man’s own kill switch activate as he crumbles in a heap the moment he is discovered. This leads me to believe we’ve seen another leg of the Centipede referenced in the pilot, or perhaps something even more sinister.
The show ended with a cozy little chat in the Bus’s on board SUV between Coulson and Skye, where he climbs in rather than speaking through the open window. In his own way, Coulson is developing into a rather unique father figure for Skye and the rest of the team, which wasn’t something I expected. At the start, I saw more of a Humans Only Avengers forming in this show, but Joss seems to have brought his familial touch to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While he’s very dry and plays things close to the vest, I see a lot of passion in Coulson. Once again, I have to stop and sing the praises of Clark Gregg’s nuanced performance. And while I’m pretty sure Amador is a one-and-done character of the week, I do hope I’m wrong. Pascale Armand gave a great performance, and I’d love to see what else her character might be able to contribute to the team if she is granted the opportunity, perhaps with a pardon and an occasional guest appearance.
This may be my favorite episode of the series so far, and we have a whole season left to answer all the questions being asked. Was the tech used in Amador’s implant alien, or merely as sophisticated as Fitz said it was? And what about the alien equation Ward got a look at after his failed attempt to endear himself to the security guard? Does the dead handler, a former MI6 agent, have a larger story attached to his capture and demise? And these are just questions from this one episode!
There were some great moments in Eye Spy this week. My favorites were the bathroom “solution” in the tech van, Ward’s moment of helplessness when ordered to seduce a male security guard, and Melinda May’s dry humor when she informally booted Coulson out of the cockpit of the Bus. What were some of your favorite moments and lines, Agents? Talk it out in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter to let me know!
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The Corsair’s Closet features Elizabeth Carlie as the Mad Woman With A Box and Kristine Cherry as the Time Siren. The pair co-host SCIFI.radio’s wacky and high-energy Doctor Who-themed cosplay show in which they get their geek on by squeeing about Doctor Who, cosplay, pop culture, and fan creativity.
The Corsair’s Closet airs with a new episode each Wednesday at 4PM, and repeats Friday at 5PM.