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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1×03 “The Asset”

Written by Scott Swartz

That was much better. I mean in terms of what I expect in terms of this show personally “The Asset” was more along the spectrum of what I would hope an episode would look like. It had the appropriate mix of all the genres: sci-fi, spy drama, action, each part intermingled appropriately and led to a satisfying conclusion. What really made this episode stand above its predecessors was its willingness to not rely so heavily on the aspects of the MCU in developing its plot. Also the use of tags, much like in the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe works well as a setup for future episodes. “The Asset” is the show I was hoping for when I tuned in last week, it is what I hope this series comes to rely on as its go to format. even with some bumps in the road. So let’s dive in.

Like I said, the format of this episode is what helps to make it shine, there are no real tie backs to the MCU, it manages to flush out the characters a little bit more, and the villains were interesting. This format of having Skye be the member of the team that can be inserted into any situation did not do well in the team building episode, but seeing her ability to use subterfuge was really well played. Whedon shows (and I use the term broadly now to include both brothers, Joss and Jed)  have always had a good idea of when to just let the bad guy talk and chew scenery. Whether it be Grant’s talk to Skye about freedom or Hall’s to Coulson about doing the wrong thing for the greater good, the characters are given a chance to not be one-dimensional villains. It was especially inventive to have the mix of Hall’s exposition with the room’s gravity constantly changing. Although it was not a subtle cue to the idea that Hall had switched sides, it really helped elevate the scene as a whole. Hall was such a fun and unique villain that I really am happy to see that he will be sticking around in one form or another.

Another factor that helped elevate the episode was how the MacGuffin device was not really tied back to any known form of the MCU. Yes, Gravitanium and Professor Hall may be known to those who understand comic book minutia, but to the larger audience these are new concepts on the whole. Sure the idea of gravity fluctuation is a common sci-fi trope but adding the element of Graviton gives a completely new spin to where this world can go. Not only did this device provide a bunch of cool visual aspects to the episode, but also helped to solidify Coulson’s view of S.H.I.E.L.D. and what it means to him to work for them. His belief that locking up the Gravitanium in a place where no one would be able to get it was a solid way to honor the principles of a fallen comrade, plus it is probably not the best idea to launch a gravity altering material into the sun.

If there’s been one constant on the show so far is that the action is always top-notch, with both the opening truck hijacking scene and Ward and Coulson’s raid on the island being true standouts. What separates these scenes from say Arrow’s  are the use of sunlight and daytime as proper staging. Both scenes could’ve easily been done during nighttime shoots in order to heighten the sense of suspense, but by choosing to film them in the day it offers a whole other type of color palette for the director to play with. My only real complaint that I think of was that nearly half the team did little to nothing during the show. Obviously not all the characters are going to get those big moments every week, but it was still rather odd to see them basically reduced to space fillers/exposition for a large part of the episode.

Overall a fine episode.

 

Final Grade B

 

+Solid plotting

+Great action

+Beginning to create their own universe

 

-Characters left to do nothing

-Typical sci-fi trope

 

Extra thoughts

 

-Fitz and I have a similar problem with making innuendoes at the wrong time. Also pretty sure Fitz should talk to HR about sexual harassment maybe.

-Yes Ward it’s exactly like the Old West.

-Graviton was really not high on my wanted Marvel Villains list. Come on Serpent Society, you’re just ridiculous enough for this show.

About the author

Scott Swartz