Very much a continuation of the pilot – with a fun cameo from one of the Marvel Universe movie stars at the end (you can pretty much guess which one it’s going to be, bearing in mind the nature of the show) – this sees the team forced into a situation where they need to bond to an extent or lose their lives.
Joss Whedon’s influence is less evident in this episode – the smart lines are considerably reduced, and the direction is slightly less flamboyant – which starts to distinguish it a little more from the movie universe. This isn’t a superhero tale; it’s more about what we were led to believe the series would tackle – the elements behind the scenes which are left once the superheroes have finished their work. There are, of course, multiple references to the Marvel universe – HYDRA, Tony Stark, Captain America and Thor’s hammer all are name checked as appropriate.
There’s still plenty of action, with more for Clark Gregg to do as Coulson, and a few details starting to emerge about Ming-Na’s character. A lot more work, though, needs to be done to distinguish Fitz and Simmons – as yet, their lines seem pretty interchangeable – even if we’re starting to get to know a bit more about Skye and Ward.
Some of the foreshadowing is as subtle as a blow from the Hulk, but this does seem to trying to carve out its own niche – and for the moment, worth persevering with.
Verdict: We still need clearer character delineation but this is an entertaining hour. 7/10