TV REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Eye Spy

A blast from Coulson's past appears to be behind a spate of heists across the world, but he's not convinced that everything is as it seems.

SHIELD could hardly be described within the horror genre with its glossy visuals and comedy thriller sensibilities, but there were several aspects of Eye Spy that I found quite chilling, particularly the central plotline of a hijacked person. Not to mention any scene in which an eye was injected or operated on. I was with Fitz. The cold open with the red masks and the drone-like behaviour of the security agents was bad enough, but then we were introduced to who looked to be their target but was in fact their assailant, Akela Amador (Pascale Armand). Another mission, another personal connection to Coulson, it turns out that Amador was a former protege of the deadpan super spy. A former SHIELD agent who seems to have initially gone rogue, it turned out Amador was actually being controlled with an ocular impact complete with killswitch if she went off mission. 

There was some great misdirection as Skye makes the not illogical leap to Amador perhaps developing superpowers like precognition. Although May is quick to jump in and say there is no scientific basis, I can't help but think that we will have psychic abilities before this season is out. In this case though, it was entirely technological. That thought of not only being controlled but of having someone watch your every move was really quite terrifying. Then again, as Coulson so wryly observes, we're in a society where we all surveil ourselves. It was a humourous aside within the episode, but the parallels are clear; we're making sure people can see our every move. It's not a big step from there for someone to be doing this for us. 

The central narrative was perhaps the strongest we've seen so far, building around the central mystery of just what has happened to Amador. It may have been simple, but there was enough misdirection around what she was doing or how she was doing it. It also seems to be part of the ongoing secret antagonist that we don't seem to know about yet; could it be the Rising Tide? Far from wrapping up neatly, the reveal that her handler was also being controlled in a similar fashion could have been an anti-climax, but it managed to feel much bigger than that, developing the mystery further. There is also the intriguing final moment with Amador as she questions what has happened to Coulson; she notices that he behaves differently, reminding us all that we still don't know how Coulson came back. Well, apart from resting in Tahiti; it's a magical place.

The connection between Coulson and Amador led to some decent emotional beats, particularly the verbal scrap between May and Coulson as she calls him out on his personal connection to the case. I really love that although everyone is working together much better as a team, there is still conflict and tension there, particularly between the 'Mum' and 'Dad' of the group. Skye's relationship with Coulson is also developing nicely as the comparison is made with Amador. Everyone seems to have settled into the humourous aspect of the show too, the dialogue mining natural humour out of the characters rather than trying to force them into signposted one-liners. I particularly enjoyed Ward's response to the 'seduce him' command. Even he managed to be more interesting this week, given things to do other than reprimand Skye. Though of course that happened. The lack of clunky Marvel references has also ensured that the dialogue flows much better when characters aren't having to shout 'Captain America!' to connect it all back.

Another improvement on the previous episode, SHIELD continues its run with an intriguing tale of hijacked people and questions of autonomy. It's building well and I find myself actually looking forward to the next instalment. Let's hope it keeps going in an upward direction.

- Becky

You can read Becky's review of the previous episode here.

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