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 1.3, “The Asset.” You have been warned.
With the third episode of Marvel’s Agents OF S.H.I.E.L.D., this fledgling TV show is proving to be more than just an extension of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This week with The Asset, the show is slowly forming its own solid footprint in this ever-expanding fictional world. A solid pilot reeled audiences in, an action adventure second episode showed that the series can hold its own amongst its feature film contemporaries, and this week proved that it has the potential to make a name on its own merit by showcasing two key players and developing them more as characters that are not only capable of thrilling heroics, but are people who can depend on each other, and more importantly, people that we as an audience can come to care about.
With Skye now an official S.H.I.E.L.D. trainee, focusing her efforts on becoming a field agent, the team is called in to investigate a big rig accident: in truth, the transport of an asset, one Dr. Franklin Hall, gone awry when the convoy became the stars of an impromptu aerial show. The source of flying trucks? A small device powered by an element so rare it’s mythical, going by the name of gravitonium. This element not only adds to the growing list of smile-worthy Marvel fictional element names, but has the power to change the rules of gravity and…well, make cars fly.
The charisma, grace, and pure talent of Clark Gregg in the role of Phil Coulson can’t be stressed or lauded nearly enough. Just as he was the source of dry wit and staunch faith in his team last week, so this week he is the voice of reason and the root of why this show will have more than enough time and opportunity to find its feet. Just as his faith in his team pulled together what might have been a slightly cliché ‘united against a common enemy’ moment, this week he was the one pushing Ward to open up in an effort to connect with Skye and improve their superior/subordinate relationship. An internet movement helped bring Gregg back in this role, but there’s no question: this is the role he was born to play. The ultimate success of this show will be due, in no small part, to the lynchpin that is Phil Coulson.
Another highlight? The red herring that was Ian Quinn, the nefarious abductor of the good Dr. Hall. I will admit, I somewhat expected to see Hall end up sympathetic to his former colleague, presented with a chance to make his research a reality. Hall, who you may recognize as Professor Quirrell from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, as the villain, however? I expected him to want to stay once Coulson arrived, to continue his research. I never anticipated the fact that he might be there to bury his own creation. The exchange with Coulson was fantastic, as was the fun they had playing with gravity a la Inception.
The episode wrapped up nicely for me: Skye finds her ‘defining moment,’ we get more hints to tell us there’s something going on with Coulson beneath the surface, and as the episode closes with a shot on the gravitonium mass Dr. Hall fell into and a hand emerging, exposing the true nature of The Asset as an episode. This wasn’t just another mission. This was an origin story.
And it looks like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could, potentially, be facing its first supervillain.
There was lots to love about this episode: more glimpses of Stark Industries-style holographic interfaces, Coulson’s chagrin about the loss of his Captain America card collection, and Melinda Mae’s desire to return to combat. What were your favorite parts of the episode? Leave a comment to let me know, or hit me up on Twitter to share your thoughts.
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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 Krypton 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.