This week’s episode, “Eye Spy,” starts strangely with 30 men in red masks, with briefcases chained to their arms, boarding a train in Stockholm, Behind them, a woman in a hoodie closes her eyes, then attacks the men. She takes one of the briefcases, the hard way, and finds it has 30 million dollars in diamonds. How did she know?
The S.H.I.E.L.D. crew, with help from Instagram, identify the woman as Akela Amador (Pascale Armand), an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who supposedly died in battle. She was also trained by Coulson, who wants to find her before S.H.I.E.L.D. does. At first, the crew wonders why she’d go bad after being a good agent. They later find out she has an artificial eye that gives her x-ray vision… and orders from someone. As Akela tells Agent May when they meet in a hotel room, “Either I kill you, or they kill me.” That leads to a very good fight between the two, and Akela nearly has the drop on May until Coulson arrives with a tranquilizer gun to knock her out. The scene with Coulson and Akela is great because she shows remorse for what she did. Her artificial eye has a kill switch if she fails in her mission, and she doesn’t know who she’s working for.
Through some technological wizardry, Skye and Ward “take over” for Akela, and they head to a research center in Belarus to get something. Skye and Ward are apparently being groomed as two loners who make a better team, and it works here. The funniest part is when Ward is told by the “handler” to seduce a guard. He gets around that, and finds out the “handler” wanted a formula that may involve some alien technology. Once Coulson finds the person who was giving Akela orders, he is killed instantly by his boss… whoever that may be.
Meanwhile, Fitz and Simmons try to remove the artificial eye from Akela, and it includes seeing the eye attached to the nerve. It’s not pretty, but they do it.
So, Akela is sent to S.H.I.E.L.D. jail, but she is assured she’ll get a fair trial. However, she tells May that there’s something different about Coulson. May doesn’t understand, but it’s another clue that Coulson isn’t the man he was. The producers, and even Clark Gregg, have said the show will eventually say how Coulson recovered from his injuries during the Battle for New York.
After four shows, the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew is coming together, and Skye is becoming like part of the team. That’s why in the epilogue, she and Fitz try to use the tech to cheat at poker with Ward. There’s also a funny scene where Skye asks Ward where they can- uh- go to the restroom.
It’s also a partial loss. The “bad guys” got what they wanted, and we don’t know who they are. It looks like it’ll be part of the rest of the season. It brings up a big issue: Skye is in the S.H.I.E.L.D. crew, and she told the Rising Tide. Does she have any idea who they are? Could she wind up being the next Akela, and find herself as her roommate in a cell somewhere? That’s less likely because Skye’s with S.H.I.E.L.D. now, and will work hard to prove that will always be the case no matter how the Tide responds to that.
Some kind of betrayal has been part of the last three episodes. A female police officer double-crossed Coulson in Peru to get an unusual weapon, a kidnapped doctor betrays the industrialist that “kidnapped” him to make sure no one winds up with a gravity generator, and an ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent betrays her former boss for a new eye but winds up under the constant threat of death. It may be betrayal, but the reasons aren’t always black and white.
That’s why Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is becoming more interesting. Thanks to a full 22-episode order, fans can look forward to missions that may get more dangerous, backstories about the agents, and maybe the identity of the Big Bad.
Ratings Report: SHIELD beat the premiere of The Biggest Loser, but suffered a slight drop over last week, to 7.681 million viewers. It continues to add more viewers through DVR and online sources. Next week will be a new episode, but the show will take a break on the 29th to prepare for sweeps.