“Eye-Spy” is the first episode of Agents of SHIELD that truly feels like a Marvel comic. From the opening sequence without any dialogue, to the classic Marvel motif of the misunderstood adversary, this was a story that fit right into the house that Jack and Stan built. The opening was paced so well that it felt like watching a Steve Epting or Butch Guice page come to life.
The episode centered on Akela Amandor, a former SHIELD agent and protégé of Coulson’s who has gone rogue and is taking missions from a shadowy organization that is controlling her through an implanted cybernetic eye-ball. First off, connecting Amandor to Coulson gave the whole thing gravitas and gave a little peak into Coulson’s past, something Marvel loyalists have been clamoring for. It gives his Agents and fans the feeling that Coulson is a man that would move heaven and Earth for his team, a man who lives by the same creed as his idol, Captain America. More importantly, the introduction of cybernetic implants and implantable A.I. opens whole new doors for future exploration? Machine Man? Misty Knight? Deathlok? All these characters now have a bridge into Marvel’s cinematic world. Although this may be stretching the issue, perhaps even Ultron himself. Not so strange when one thinks about the fact that the man prepping Avengers: Age of Ultron is the showrunner of Agents of SHIELD.
This was also the first episode that each Agent got to shine in their own way. May got to go one on one with Amandor in a battle between the two most dangerous female Agents not named Natasha. Fitz and Simmons got to use their skill sets to remove the offending eye from Amandor’s skull, Skye got to be behind the scenes girl while Ward got to play infiltrator. The humor was there as well without being intrusive as Ward stepped into Amandor’s shoes to fool her puppet master into thinking Ward was Amandor. All he had to do was not look at himself in a mirror and the manipulator would think he was seeing everything through Amandor’s eyes instead of the glasses Fitz and Simmon’s made for Ward. All went well until Ward was given the orders to seduce a burly Russian guard. Funny, but not forced or extraneous.
The show’s weak link is still Skye. She plays the point of view character but her quippy nature makes her a bit annoying. They are trying to make her the Buffy/Kitty Pryde, but the fact remains May, Ward, and Coulson are all way more interesting than Skye, and while seeing these larger-than-life Agents through inexperienced eyes gives them a well-earned sense of coolness, it would just help if the character doing the observations was a bit more likable.
The show set up an intriguing mystery about who was the controlling force behind the eye, a reveal that could set up the inclusion of any number of established villains, but fans will just have to wait and bask in the glow of an episode of SHIELD that felt like a true SHIELD story. It went beyond the super power of the week and introduced a nuanced conflict that affected more than one player.