TV Recap: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ‘0-8-4’

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Plot: An 0-8-4 (object of unknown origin) has been discovered in Peru and it is up to Agent Phil Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team of expert S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to recover it. During the mission, Coulson’s past comes back in the form of Comandante Camilla Reyes (Leonor Varela) which causes some unforeseen consequences. Meanwhile, Agent Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) is having trouble working in a team and Skye (Chloe Bennet) is having difficulty finding her place.

Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Foreman
Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Foreman

When the premiere episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. concluded, we saw Coulson and Skye racing off after hearing that an 0-8-4 was spotted. No information was given at all as to what an 0-8-4 actually was, we just knew we had to come back next week to find out. As it turns out, 0-8-4 is S.H.I.E.L.D. code for an object of unknown origin. Coulson himself explains that we have already seen this type of code in the form of Thor’s hammer Mjolnir which crashed in New Mexico. It’s this exact type of mystery and the events following the discovery of this 0-8-4 that makes this second episode of S.H.I.E.L.D. so entertaining.

One of the dominant themes of the current Marvel films is the discovery of unknown objects that change the world forever. The arrival of Thor’s hammer following Iron Man 2 and in Thor, the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger, and anything belonging to the Chitauri in The Avengers are perfect examples of this. “0-8-4” (the actual title of this episode) is all about this mystery. The object the team discovers is revealed by Agent Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) to be fueled by Tesseract technology and containing volatile gamma rays. This makes the device more dangerous than a nuclear bomb, and it’s even in compact form! It also means that if it falls into the wrong hands, everyone in the world is threatened. Watching the team try to figure out what this device does and attempting to bring it to a secret S.H.I.E.L.D. facility was great as it lead to conflicts both within and outside this budding group.

Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Foreman
Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Foreman

It’s to be expected that since this is only the second episode, there are still plenty of kinks to iron out within the group. All of that came to light tonight once Reyes shows up and the team is still investigating the device. Fitz, knowing full well how dangerous the device is, doesn’t believe it should be moved but Ward wants to evacuate once rebels attack the temple. This causes him to grab the device very recklessly and try to keep non-combat trained agents alive. Obviously everyone gets out alive, but they’re all pissed off for their own reasons. Ward believes he can operate on his own, both Fitz and Agent Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) think Ward could have killed them all, Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) is upset she had to see combat, and Skye just doesn’t understand how she can fit within the group. I don’t understand how May didn’t expect to experience combat while being on this team, but everything else made sense.

Speaking of Skye, her role as the “black sheep” in the group was blatantly obvious tonight as she bumbled around the mission trying to find her place. I understand that this is her first time actually working with S.H.I.E.L.D., but I was caught off guard by how useless she was after her being so important last week. I mean, last week they were able to catch Michael Peterson (J. August Richards) with her help. She was even brought onto the team because she is an expert hacker. Tonight’s episode saw her do absolutely none of that. She ended up saving the team by inflating a raft and plugging the self-inflicted hole in the plane, but that was because of reading the safety manual and not hacking ability. This whole episode just made her feel like one big dead weight, and I wasn’t a huge fan of that. I know she can be a lot more useful. Also, apparently she still has a desire to stay connected with Rising Tide, which is bound to lead to some interesting conflicts.

The team building conflict against Reyes on the plane was a lot of fun to watch, albeit not being that unexpected. It was almost a guarantee that Reyes would be a problem the moment her and her soldiers came onto the plane. As Coulson himself said though, she gave the team an enemy to rally against, and rally against her they did! Her appearance in Peru was incredibly action packed and the fight on the plane was the same amount of intensity. It was especially cool to watch Fitz utilize the device to give him and his team access to where Coulson was being held captive by blowing a hole in the plane to change cabin pressure. Apparently the jet’s doors are pressure controlled which I don’t exactly understand the purpose of but it was still awesome. May kicked ass in proper form and Fitz-Simmons was able to hold their own too. This is when Skye became useful and used the inflatable raft.

Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Foreman
Photo Credit: ABC/Richard Foreman

True to Marvel form, there was even an after credits (sort of) sequence at the end of this episode. Just like in the movies! This time, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) himself dropped by to berate Coulson about the damaged plane and to express his distaste with Skye’s involvement on the team. He views her as a risk in the same manner Ward did early in the episode. I’m not begging for any of the movie characters to appear on this show, but it was still fun to see Fury in classic badass form.

Tonight’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continued the awesome in “0-8-4” by bringing in mysterious technology and putting this new team through the wringer. Each member had their own personal issues but all were resolved near the end of the episode. Skye however was surprisingly useless tonight despite her potential for greatness which definitely caught me a bit off guard. There was also a lot less humor tonight than last week, and I missed the laughs. I’m happy the team has found a way to work together though and it was really cool seeing Fury make a brief cameo. Plus, the door is open now to have the team interact with dangerous new technology that has possible alien origins, which is outstanding. They really jumped into this show head first and that can only lead to good things for the viewer.

Rating: 8.5/10