Hoo boy, lots to talk about this week! I’m just gonna cue the episode up on Hulu and do my second re-watch while I type this up, in (probably vain) hope that I won’t miss anything big I meant to say…
Is the whole rigamarole with the red-masked soldiers really a good idea to protect your diamond shipment? I thought for a second that it might be a reasonable response to "someone with inside info is hitting our shipments", on the theory that giving them a few dozen visually-indistinguishable decoys would make finding the right guy tough to do. But if they really do have inside info, they’ll know which guy has the real briefcase and which route he’s assigned to (randomly-assigned or not, they gotta have records of that somewhere). Surely for the cost of that many trained personnel, rather than splitting them up so only one is guarding the real case and the rest are guarding empty briefcases, you could hire that many trained personnel and put them all in one big convoy to protect the one case. If someone with inside info knows your shipping schedule and such, give them one target too big and well-armed to hit with anything less than a full platoon. Even Romanoff, Coulson, or May can’t karate-kick 30 armed guys at once.
If May wants solitude, flying a big cargo plane designed for a pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer is not the way to do it. I’m pretty sure FAA rules would require a pilot and co-pilot for a plane of that type for safety regulation purposes.
The night-night pistol uses .45 caliber rounds? That won’t just knock you back, that’ll break bones and pulverize organs. Even with a light-ish projectile, shooting someone in the center forehead like Ward did to Mike Peterson in the pilot ep with a .45 caliber round is likely to be fatal. Maybe he’s using a lighter than normal propellant charge, too. But then you’re unlikely to get the "knock them back" stopping power Ward is asking for.
When we get around to compiling the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. drinking game, right after "Every time Coulson calls Tahiti a magical place, take a drink" is gonna be: "Whenever Ward teaches Skye a new combat skill early in an episode, take a sip. When she uses it later in the same episode, take a drink. If she uses it in ANY EPISODE AFTER THAT, finish the whole darn six-pack, because that’s likely never gonna happen." This particular once-an-episode brick-joke formula is getting old rather quickly.
Coulson clearly says that it was 55 men hired to wear the red masks, but the Hulu subtitles say 25 men. Same thing when Skye says "55 men in scary red masks" a few minutes later. Much later, Hulu subititles also mis-spells Spaseba/Spasebo, Russian for "thank you".
I find it interesting that telepathy isn’t known (hence ruling out no mutants in this world…yet)
Like Agent Sullivan said, Mutants and X-Men belong to Fox for the time being. Maybe Marvel/Disney can get the license back from them (their last few movies blew chunks) and then reboot the X-men franchise and let them crossover onto the show’s seventh season or something. Telepathy is a cheap enough power to film that they’ll probably run into some form of it eventually, even if it requires some sort of technobabble-heavy helmet to use.
I was amused by the little snark about how Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr are letting people surveil themselves.
So, let me get this straight: Akela and two other agents were supposedly killed doing a raid on "one of Vanchat’s Gulags". This Vanchat person is not only fairly nasty, but killed SHIELD agents. And he’s not only still running around, when Ward broke into his little fireplace vault in the pilot, he JUST stole the Chitauri neural link and left all his other goodies intact. Does Vanchat have Joker Immunity? Does SHIELD have such a bug up its butt about being the good guys that they let Vanchat keep on doing whatever nasty stuff he does, so long as it doesn’t involve alien or other supernormal tech/abilities, and if he kills a few of their agents on the rare occasion they cross paths, hey, just the cost of doing business? What part of "we look after our own" is that?
That said, Vanchat is a GREAT villain name. It’s pretty much Belgian bad Franco-Dutch for "Of the Cat", or at least that’s what it sounds like. I couldn’t find anything on this guy on Wiki or Google, so he may be another seasonal-arc bad guy alongside Graviton and Ian Quinn, but one not based on prior comics. Or was Quinn an original character as well?
Wait, well-behaved EU member Malta won’t work with SHIELD, to the extent that SHIELD personnel caught there can be legally shot on sight, but notoriously prickly dictatorial Belarus works with them just fine, and vice-versa?
What’s with the cliché creepy-whisper-noises someone-using-telepathy sound effects whenever Amador closed her eyes to use her x-ray vision? They that committed to the red herring that this was telepathy and not x-ray vision?
Is Amador gonna put that handful of diamonds back in fake-golf-ball-made-of-alka-seltzer form for the guy before he tries to sneak it past customs?
I was amused when Coulson does his "Amador is nothing like you" bit to Skye, when all of the descriptions were pretty much spot-on exactly like her. Especially when Skye claims that Amador’s (apparent) decision to turn to the dark side was "all on her" and not Coulson’s fault for trusting the wrong person. I’m looking forward to Coulson calling back to this when Skye inevitably betrays them later in the season.
I couldn’t find anything on an actual Zloda, Belarus…but there is a real Zhores Alferov, from nearby Vitebsk (which Simmons mispronounces, here’s someone saying it right). Who indeed is the father of heterostructure semiconductors and a Nobel laureate. He’s recently been campaigning against the erosion of the Russian Federation’s version of the wall of separation between Church and State ever since Putin started getting too cozy with the Russian Orthodox Church. So, a good guy in my book, even if he’s also a top member of what’s left of the Russian Communist Party.
Another nice callback to the Avengers movie, when Skye mentions how until recently, she’d have dumped ESP on the "aliens and portals are for crazy people" pile.
Loved the bathroom break bit. Go behind a bush, Skye, there’s plenty around. Is Skye being annoyed at men thinking she has male genitalia gonna become a running gag? Last week, a thug said she had real balls, this week, she asks Ward if he knows that girls in general don’t have penises.
So, when Skye wants to hack into something, she just tells her laptop which exploit-on-file to use? Is she just a Script Kiddie and not a real hacker? Or is this just Hollywood Hacking?
Ward and May both clearly want to take a hard line, even use deadly force, against Amador for just sort of trying to kill members of their team. So I repeat myself, why is Vanchat still breathing, after apparently succeeding in killing several SHIELD agents?
When Amador looks at her own eye, she can see through her own flesh and bone to see the bionic eye’s mounting screws and mechanical iris. When she looked at the hotel receptionist, she saw a tumor that needed treatment. When she looks at Melinda May during the fight, we get a very abstract view of her, much like the real-life airport backscatter scanners based on this same technology. If Melinda May was a robot or life-model-droid or whatever people seem to think Zombie!Coulson is, Amador couldn’t tell by looking at her and seeing gears instead of ribs or something. If May had a tumor, Amador couldn’t see it. A bit inconsistent.
So how does Coulson know about the Prox card and the 30 million bucks? That exchange happened before they hacked the feed, or does Amador keep detailed notes somewhere?
Who kept Amador in a cage at the bottom of a copper mine for four years? Was that one of Vanchat’s Gulags? One of Ian Quinn’s mines? And whose organized team "rescued" her and gave her the bionic eye?
Skye keeps doing TV-industry inside jokes. "Here’s my pitch…" about telepathy as a possible explanation for the heists. "It would suck to live like this, wondering if someone’s watching." Yes, Joss, it must suck to wonder if anyone’s watching your TV shows.
The stinger this week was nice humor and a bit more ship-teasing between Skye and Ward, rather than a cliffhanger. Nice change of pace. Anyone else get a Death Note "I’m gonna take a potato chip…and EAT IT!" vibe off of Fitz eating the pretzels?
All in all, a quite good episode, if a few odd plot holes here and there. I liked it.
Big Brother is ALWAYS Watching…