Caution: This review contains spoilers.
Last night’s episode brought Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) team to Peru with the 0-8-4 code: to investigate a puzzling artifact and determine whether it’s a threat. What was the last 0-8-4? Thor’s hammer. Yet another reminder for viewers to check out “Thor: The Dark World” on November 8th.
While the agents have been assembled into a team, they have yet to hone in on their teamwork skills. Coulson thinks Skye (Chloe Bennet) will be useful for her hacking skills, but she spent most of the episode feeling out of place. Indeed, her loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D. is still very much up in the air, given how passionate she was about the Rising Tide in the premiere. Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) is still morose about having a team when he’s used to flying solo. We also find that Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) hates her nickname, “The Calvalry,” and she always ends up in combat situations despite her preference “to drive the bus.” Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) both lack fighting skills and the ability to simplify their scientific terminology for the benefit of everyone else. However, Coulson has a lot of faith in the crew and says, “They only need time.”
The team visits an Incan archaeological site, where they examine a small silver device in a cave. According Fitz and Simmons, the device predates the temple by a millennium. However, they are interrupted by Peruvian forces led by Comandante Camila Reyes (Leonor Varela), who turns out to be a former acquaintance (and flame) of Coulson. A band of rebels breaks up the party, forcing the team to take the unstable device back to the plane. Reyes and her team join the Agents on board as well.
Once on board, we find out the device is a Tesseract fuel cell, which should immediately call to mind HYDRA’s plan for world domination (Captain America). It’s a joy to find all of references from the Marvel Universe. Anyway, the device can be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. That’s when Comandante Reyes and her men spring into action and commandeer the S.H.I.E.L.D. plane.
Unfortunately, the hijacking does not come as a surprise because Reyes is so obviously trying to revisit the past with Coulson. One would think a veteran like him would see through it right away. However, the incident provides an opportunity for the rest of the team to pull together. They blow a hole through the plane, which leaves Coulson hanging on for dear life for a bit.
Undoubtedly, the best part of the episode is the cameo by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), who is not pleased with the extent of the damage. He is particularly baleful when he says the plane “had a bar … a really nice one.” It seems Fury has a special place in his heart for the plane, much like Coulson’s attachment to his car, Lola. “Agents” should continue bringing in the major film characters because fans will continue to find it exciting. Overall, the episode was not as strong as the premiere, even when you consider Fury’s appearance. Both mind-blowing action and originality are important to keep viewers coming back for more; that’s what has given the Marvel movies so much appeal for audiences.
New episodes of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” air Tuesday evenings on ABC at 8|7c.