Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1.04 – Eye Spy

We’re in Stockholm, where the Red Man Group are handcuffed to briefcases, wearing incongruous flat caps which don’t match their power suits, and taking the subway.

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Because this is Television Europe, people don’t think there is anything strange about this and try to dance with them. I’m from Actual Europe and I think: weirdos.

A young woman waits for them to pass her and then follows them, but not before closing her eyes, and it’s not because one of them smells really good.

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As the Red Men get on the train, no-one looks at them sideways and makes a run for the doors. Whoever wrote this has spent no time in Europe at all.

As the train pulls away, the young woman eyes up the Red Men and then smashes the emergency alarm which makes everything go black (I’m guessing it cuts the power in case of fire?). When the train pulls into the next station, the Red Men are dead and one of them has had his hand severed to get the handcuff off, which… ew. The woman opens the blood-spattered (ew!) briefcase and oooh! Diamonds! And then she disappears!

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*sigh* Melinda May *sigh*. Coulson thinks he might learn to fly. He asks Melinda May what she likes most about flying. She says ‘solitude’. I giggle. He leaves. She smiles. I melt.

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FitzSimmons are working on a knockout drop weapon that fires multiple shots ‘in case you miss’ as Simmons puts it ‘or have multiple assailants!’ when Ward gives her a Look. Nice recovery there. Fitz calls it the Night Night pistol and Ward says they’re not calling it that. Quite right, Ward. Anyone who’s spent any time on TV Tropes knows that this is called a Chekhov’s Gun (yes, that is a link to TV Tropes. No, I’m not sorry. OK, I’m a little bit sorry).

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(This screencap included because it pleases me when the actor’s name comes up in the credits while the actor is on the screen).

And then this exchange, presented without comment:

Coulson: You seen Skye?
Ward: Not since weapons training.
Coulson: She stopped saying ‘bang’ when she pulls the trigger?
Ward: Mostly. Now if she can just learn the difference between the safety release and the magazine release, we’ll be making real progress.

Just when I didn’t think I could love her more. And then she calls Coulson ‘Phil’! And when he objects she changes it to ‘AC’! She’s hiding out in the SUV because she misses her van (awww) and Coulson wants her to help figure out how the diamonds were stolen.

Back at the subway station in Sweden with Coulson, Skye and Melinda May and I am having a fangirl flailing moment because this episode is directed by Roxann Dawson! Otherwise known as Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres from Star Trek: Voyager! I LOVE Torres!!

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Coulson tells them that the Red Man Group were a security measure: only one briefcase contained the diamonds but the thief knew exactly which one. There have been other heists, totalling $30 million. They have a description which matches the woman from the intro (obvi) and she apparently did it all with her eyes closed although how they know this is… not very obvious to me. Anyone? Skye thinks she has ESP which is completely reasonable considering aliens and portals but Coulson and Melinda May aren’t convinced.

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Oh dear, Melinda May’s ‘sceptical face’ is a bit out of focus there, isn’t it?

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That’s better.

But more usefully, Skye finds that she has lots of lovely signal on her phone and that phone signal + weird people on the tube = Instagram!

Back on the bus, Coulson remarks that their job gets easier every year because of people uploading photos.

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Melinda May says she can run facial recognition but no need, because Coulson has found the thief. She’s A Killer. Well, duh. (Not really, her name’s Akela Amador; ‘Amador’ is a mediaeval name that means ‘one who loves’… so she’s a lover AND a killer. Clever). And Coulson knows this because he trained her. But not very well, apparently. Akela was presumed killed on an assignment seven years earlier. Oh, and this isn’t an official SHIELD operation, Coulson’s doing this himself because as he tells Melinda May “only a few women in the world who could pull off something so impossible. Since you were on the bus I thought it had to be her” #love. Ward’s found Akela in Belarus but Coulson doesn’t want SHIELD to know about it yet. Melinda May doesn’t look too pleased about that.

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Gah!

Then Coulson tells Skye that he pushed Akela too hard to be a team player, and that he feels responsible for her actions. Skye tells him to stop being an idiot (well, not in so many words. But that’s the general gist).

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Back with Akela, meeting someone who wants the diamonds but who is not one of the people Ward had identified as possible fences because he says he’s never done this before. The diamonds are disguised as golf balls – this is very clever because (fun fact!) diamonds are radiolucent, which means they are invisible to airport x-ray scanners – which dissolve when water is poured on them. Akela gets a key card in return which ‘will access all the levels as promised’. For $30 million in diamonds? What the hell does it open?

The team – minus Melinda May (boo!) – are on a field trip! Everyone is very excited. Well, Simmons is excited because a Nobel Prize winner was born nearby. Some gibberish follows.

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She just has the best smile :-D.

The van is called ‘Short Bus’. Coulson is sensitive about this. Awww, it’s OK, Coulson, I’m short too. Ward and Coulson (who does, now that I come to notice it, only come up to Ward’s nose) leave the other three in the van with strict instructions to maintain radio silence unless it’s an emergency, which Skye breaks almost immediately because it was a really long drive and they’re all nervous (FitzSimmons are nodding encouragingly to this) and they all need to pee. Ward tells them there’s a container in the foodbox (I hope there is not also food in there, because ew) which turns out to be a water bottle and then Skye says… *hyperventilates*… she says… (genuinely, am laughing almost too hard to type):

“Did you never learn the thing where boy parts and girl parts are different? And our parts aren’t penises?”

DY.ING!!!!

Coulson and Ward ask a woman at a hotel whether she’s seen Akela, to which she replies that Akela is her angel because she told her that she had cancer. And with Akela’s gift, she’s sure Akela knows they’re coming. This turns out to be more true than she knows, because Skye has managed to clean up the encrypted broadcast they’re monitoring (I didn’t quite get where this is coming from) and it’s… their van. Oh dear. Akela is using another van as a battering ram to knock them over as Skye, true to form, presses the magazine release instead of the safety release rendering her gun useless and then says ‘bang?’ in the cutest way you ever heard. And then the van goes over.

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As they troop back onto the bus Melinda May is giving them her best ‘disappointed in you. I could have done SO much better than that’ face, like so:

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and Ward tells Coulson that the team is rattled and it will probably take a while for them to get their focus back. Then Skye blows this theory completely out of the water by popping her head round the door and saying that she thinks she can hack into the encrypted signal if they just give her an hour. Hah! Ye of little faith, Ward.

When she does, they realise that the camera is inside Akela’s eye and that it switches to backscatter when she closes her eyes – at which point Skye says to Ward “you’re a robot, can you do that?”. (She is getting all the best lines this episode!). FitzSimmons say it’s genius and far more advanced than anything they’ve ever seen because of the way it connects to the brain.

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And also that it’s really gross.

Then ooh! Coulson and Melinda May are knocking heads (not literally) because Coulson wants to bring her in and Melinda May wants to take her out. I can see where both of them are coming from – but then they see that Akela is being controlled through the eye and Coulson is even more determined to rescue her. He says that sooner or later she’ll look at something that will give away where she is; Melinda May says she’ll take the first watch and amazingly, Coulson agrees. I see no way this plan could possibly go wrong.

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Aaaand how about that? Fitz is asleep and Melinda May’s done a runner. Akela looked at a room service receipt and now she has Melinda May in her hotel room.

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Somehow this seems to be a bad thing, but I can’t quite… anyway, Akela tells her that there’s no audio, but there is a failsafe in her eye and that if she doesn’t kill Melinda May, she’ll be killed herself. Then they fight – send help! – and Akela breaks the lamp to give herself an advantage (because she can see in the dark, and all) but before she can use it, Coulson and the Chekhov’s Gun arrive and knock her out.

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How to stop yourself from saying ‘bang’ when you pull trigger: keep your mouth closed.

When she wakes up she’s on the bus and Coulson tells her that they’ve got Ward in some really dorky camera glasses pretending to be her and that the people controlling her won’t know the difference. When he promises that they can’t see her and then she looks at him, her face 😦

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because she hasn’t seen a friendly face in years and she didn’t dare to look at him because she thought they would kill her or make her kill him if they knew he was there 😦 :-(. She tells Coulson that she screwed up a bit on the mission and got everyone killed. Poor Akela :-(.

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Stop that!

Ward and Skye are where Akela is supposed to be and it looks like a research facility. And Ward is ticklish!

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Akela tells Coulson that she was held prisoner, blind in one eye, for four years after she was captured, and then some people rescued her but she doesn’t know who they were. They put the implant in her eye but she didn’t realise at first, until she started getting instructions. The instructions come from someone called ‘the Englishman’ – she knows this because he uses English versions of ‘elevator’ and ‘trunk’ and between them they work out that he’s middle-aged because he uses outdated terms like ‘disk drive’ (this is ridic, by the way. I’m late thirties, just about to be early forties and I haven’t said ‘disk drive’ in years. Also he wouldn’t call it a ‘flash drive’ anyway because we call them ‘memory sticks’) and that he has fat fingers because he makes a lot of mistakes typing, which is also ridic, going by the amount of red wiggly lines on my screen and the very-not-fatness of my hands. But never mind.

Ward’s breaking into the research facility which is a LOT nicer on the inside and Skye reminds him not to look as he swipes the card because he has ‘man hands’. I’d say having WHITE HANDS is probably going to be more of a giveaway, myself.

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This has been a Bone Structure Appreciation Screencap.

Meanwhile, Coulson and Melinda May are tracking the controller’s position via his messages and Simmons has to remove the killswitch from Akela’s eye which, as you can tell, she is THRILLED about:

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She has to inject a local anaesthetic into Akela’s eye because she needs her to be conscious but she can’t (understandably) bring herself to do it and Akela helps her by guiding her hand OMG THIS CHICK IS HARDCORE PLEASE TELL ME SHE’S COMING BACK!!!

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Fitz expresses what I think we’re all feeling.

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Exactly.

Ward has nearly reached his target, there’s just one guard between him and success. Only problem? The instructions say he has to seduce the guard. Which is daft. But funny. Heh. Ward panics for a moment and then says ‘I’m just going to knock him out’ and Skye tells him he’s going to have to bromance him. But oh no! This will involve people skills! Ward panics a little bit more but he gives it a shot, bless him.

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I think he might actually BE Clark Kent, you know.

So, the people skills don’t do the trick (in fairness, he would probably be better off talking to the wall) so he has to knock the guy out anyway. The room contains two pod people at what look like electronic typewriters (surely not?) and a lot of blackboards with weird diagrams on them that look like an alien ship’s readout display (ooh! Maybe that’s what they are!).

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But these are the target, apparently, given the rather worrying message on the screen. And then because the guard is unconscious and can’t put his password into the computer before it sets off an alarm, Ward has to make a run for it. In the process he accidentally looks in a mirror so the Englishman knows he’s not Akela and activates the killswitch – but FitzSimmons cut the wires just in the nick of time! YAY!! (although not so yay for Akela, who now only has one eye again, but is probably still having a better day than she did yesterday). (And how adorable was Fitz being completely green in the face and then Simmons saying ‘Fitz’ in a really stern voice and then Fitz pulling himself together and being totally fine after that because he actually has some Science to do to take his mind off throwing up. Love!).

Coulson finds the Englishman:

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but he too has a killswitch and with one flash of a SHIELD badge, he’s toast. Bummer.

Coulson tells Akela – who is rocking a plughole strainer as an eyepatch – that he was a former MI6 agent and she remarks that he was just as trapped as she was.

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And they have no idea who was really behind it – but that’s the least of Akela’s problems right now because some very heavily-armed people have turned up to take her away. Coulson says he’ll testify at her trial. And then Melinda May turns up and I hope this is not the last time we see this:

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Who do I have to give s/xing favours to in order to make this happen? Akela asks Melinda May what happened to Coulson and when Melinda May tells her about the being-dead thing, she says ‘but what did they do to him?’. Melinda May is mystified.

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What did Akela see when she still had her eye, hmmm?

Then a pointless but cute scene in the SUV, with Coulson and Skye being cute:

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I SAID STOP THAT!

And Akela, in a better cage than the one at the bottom of a copper mine, prepares for her first good night’s sleep in years:

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Sigh.

After the credits, Fitz and Ward are playing cards and Skye is helping Fitz to cheat using the X-ray glasses, except when she reminds him that she’ll be able to see not only Ward’s cards but also Fitz without any clothes, Fitz bails and Skye…

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NO Skye! You’re NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT!! I think she was impressed though. But STILL NOT ALLOWED!!

Fin!

 

Screencaps by kissthemgoodbye.net.

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18 comments

  1. I have to disagree with you Alicia – I’m actually living in Stockholm and (almost) no one here would do much more than take an extra look at the Red Men and perhaps a photo and then get on with what-ever they were doing!

    As for the subway train they are all boarding it’s the real deal but all scenes from inside the train are fake (if you look closely you’ll see that the shape of the doors and the windows are all wrong) as well as the platform supposedly at station “Kungsträdgården” (that by the way is the next stop from where they were all boarding the train) but yes, your phone would have full bars at the station/stations. Another annoying thing to me is that the Red Men and Amador all are marching across Sergels Torg (Sergel’s Square) away from the entrance to subway station “T-Centralen” where they are seen boarding the subway train although they are arriving down at the platform the correct way and boarding the train at the actual platform.

    Enough nagging as these are matters totally out of your/our control!

    Just love your recap – it’s amazing! Thank you! .-)
    I giggled at exactly the lines you picked out and had almost the same questions/doubts in regards of the story line/details but all considered it was not hard to ignore them as the total was great.

    1. How did I not know you’re in Stockholm??? I would have asked in the recap if it was true to life! Oh well, at least I know now :-).

      It must be a paranoid British thing, then :-). If someone got on a tube like that we would think ‘masked and handcuffed to briefcases? That’ll be bombs then’ and leg it out of the doors…

      I love your venting! I will have to visit Stockholm for comparison purposes *makes mental note*.

      Aww, thanks :-). I loved this episode, I love how throwaway funny this show is. Even when I was getting the screencaps I kept giggling thinking about the part of the show I was watching :-D.

      1. Hard to know something that has never been mentioned before! We’ll leave that mind reading thing to S.H.E.I.L.D. 😉
        If you ever really makes it to Stockholm try to let me know in advance so I can give you some local tips of what to do and see.

        1. LOL!

          I will, thank you :-). One day!

      2. heymomo · · Reply

        If a bunch of red masked people got on the subway here, I’d think flash mob or performance art. And EVERYONE would be taking pics with their cell phones. Sadly though, they’d have to wait until they were out of the underground to post them… no cell service on our subway.

  2. I LOVED this episode!!!

    1. But I am hating WordPress right now because for some reason I did not get an email notification for this recap? I was actually about to email you & ask about it when I opened my WP reader and saw it! 😡

      1. That’s weird! Koala wordpress.

  3. “Television Europe!” Yes this is so true. Regardless of it’s actual truth (per KarinA, which I find fascinating) this is how Americans view the northern/western European countries: weird, weird, weird and nobody blinks an eye.

    LOVED, LOVED LOOOOOVED Fitz & Simmons in this ep, very certainly their best one yet for my money although I’m with you, not sure exactly how they zeroed in on her “signal” but assuming it’s in a throwaway line delivered at 59385 KPH in an unintelligible accent I usually just nod along with whatever it is they happen to be saying. They were gems this ep, start to finish.

    OK, so “short bus” is an Americanism… It’s not a height thing. See the second definition: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=short%20bus

    I want it to be a thing every episode where Skye has to explain the difference between boys and girls to people. That “our parts aren’t penises” line SLAYED me. Also loved Skye’s “bang?” That was too cute. And I’ll say it here just so I don’t end on a sour note, NOOOOO you can not look at people naked without their permission, BAD BAD BAD!!

    Excellent recap and good choice of screencaps too, “AC” was totally adorable in that end scene in the van with Skye! Their relationship is great. And Coulson’s scenes with MM are just so top notch. She is just such an important character in terms of balance on this show. And even Ward grew on me a little bit, too, so all in all, this ep: Excellence.

    1. I loved this episode too and ACA with you that Alicia’s recap is excellent including the BEST choice of screen caps.

      I didn’t know about the term ‘short bus’ so thanks for the heads up.

      I love Skye more and more each week. The scene in the van was gold. As I said on last week’s recap, she’s relatable and I love seeing how she deals with SHIELD-type situations given that she’s not of the MM mould.

      I liked Akela too and I hope she comes back!

      LOLed at your recap of the ‘Englishman’ bit. Well, he could have been Australian as we use the same version of English. And we’d say memory stick or USB not flash drive. The ever-so-slightly ageist assumption was amusing too. My typing fingers aren’t as quick as my thought processes so I also create lots of red squiggly lines and my fingers too are of the not-so-fat variety.

      Loved FitzSimmons again this week. When they leave the comfort of their ‘lab’ to go on field trips, they are even more adorable.

      1. It’s not easy choosing screencaps, this show is so beautifully made that they ALL look great unless they’re blurry in the action bits (which is the reason there’s no cap for the Akela/Melinda May fight scene and I REALLY wanted one!).

        I hope so much that Akela comes back. There’s just so much they could do with her character and her relationships with the others, and I think they could add another character or two without it upsetting the balance. Not yet, obvi, but maybe towards the end of the season.

    2. “assuming it’s in a throwaway line delivered at 59385 KPH in an unintelligible accent”

      LOL, I bet it was!

      ‘Short Bus’, I’d never heard that before. That’s a bit… off, isn’t it?

      Ward’s growing on me, too. And I love the way Melinda May just doesn’t give a sh/t. All the others defer to Coulson – even Ward – but she doesn’t, she barely sees him as her superior, it’s more like she’s doing him a massive favour (which she is, I suppose). And when he said ‘about earlier’ and she just told him to go in a ‘you don’t have to apologise’ kind of way, I thought: wow, she has some cheek because not only was she completely wrong about Akela but she then disobeyed orders and went AWOL to try and resolve it the way SHE wanted and ended up having to be rescued! And she managed to completely get away with it! She’s awesome :-).

      1. Yes, “short bus” is a VERY politically incorrect turn of phrase. It has terrible terrible connotations but when used basically is meant to imply “you are being stupid.”

        I saw that Coulson/May exchange a little differently, I guess. My impression when she said she would take first watch was that what they’d just learned (that Amador was being controlled, that she needed permission to sleep) changed May’s view on this from someone who had to be taken out to someone who needed rescue. I thought she totally 180’d. When she went to Amador’s hotel room, it was to get first-hand intel, something that would have been too dangerous for any of the others to do. Though, she did kind of goad Amador into looking at her, when a nice conversation with eyes averted would have been just fine (works in period romances, right?). Anyway. There’s no telling HOW that Amador/May fight would have ended since Coulson showed up right away — I mean, if the Englishman didn’t push the “Delete” button (which, OH PLEASE you can not enter computer commands with the DEL key! 😆 ) when Amador started fighting with May, or immediately after she was hit with the Night-Night gun, she was probably safe for a little while. Anyway, the fact that they WERE able to intercept the signal at the same time they knocked Amador out is what saved her. Anyway. I thought Coulson was going to THANK May, at that moment, but looking back on it now I’m not sure what exactly he’s thanking her FOR, and she was saying he didn’t need to Thank her (again, for what, who knows).

        1. “(which, OH PLEASE you can not enter computer commands with the DEL key! 😆 )”

          LOL! I didn’t think of that but it’s so true!

          I’m not sure WHAT Melinda May’s intentions were now! You’re right, she did do a 180 because she was friendly to Akela at the end. Maybe, even knowing that Akela wasn’t a bad guy, she still thought she was too dangerous to involve the rest of the team, and that Coulson couldn’t be relied on to be impartial about it – that he would put Akela ahead of the team even more now that he knew she was being coerced.

          1. Yes, that is a good interpretation of their interaction! Makes sense to me.

  4. heymomo · · Reply

    Loved this episode too! FitzSimmons was so good, love them out of the lab.
    Skye!! Best lines this ep. She can talk about penises and the lack of them all she wants.

    Short bus means the same here as it does in the US.

    Phil! AC! Love it.

  5. heymomo · · Reply

    “but what did they DO to him?”
    AHA!! More evidence!! I would love to know what AC looked like in the backsplatter image. Or was it a personality difference that Akela saw?

  6. So I didn’t even know this show was going to be on TV until a post on The Champ Box right before the Pilot aired. I’ve been watching and it’s taken me a while to warm up to the show, probably because I’ve never seen any other Marvel movies. Anyway, this episode finally hooked me in; I’m really getting a feel for the characters and some of the dialogue cracks me up. So I’m officially watching 1 more television show, although many of the references are still foreign to me. I might have to go watch one of those Marvel movies now…

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