Credit: ABC

I spy with my little eye… a television show that is really coming together.

I’m not saying that the first three episodes of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were awful — far from it.  They were light, and fun, and of course featured an attractive cast of super-spies, which never hurts. But they didn’t live up to the hype surrounding a show that carries the weight of a multi-billion dollar film franchise on its shoulders, as well as the Joss Whedon name which has now become synonymous with superbly witty banter, engrossing season-long story arcs, and the creation of weird, lovable, ad hoc families from an unlikely group of misfits.

Tonight’s episode, “Eye-Spy”, was a definitive step in the right direction. It took Ming-Na’s character, Melinda May, and paired her off very effectively with Clark Gregg’s beloved Agent Coulson. It focused on a fun yet complicated “monster” of the week, and gave its young agents some great, truly funny material to work with. (“Did you never learn the thing where girl parts and boy parts are different?” was particularly hilarious. Way to improve, Skye.)

Plus, it slyly re-introduced a mystery from the Avengers film that is pretty bone-chilling intriguing — what, exactly, happened to Agent Coulson during his resurrection? We’ve known for a few weeks now that Coulson has been kept in the dark regarding some of the major details, but it took an old friend of his to really hammer in the point that what was done to him just might have been severely f**ked up, to the point where it altered much of his personality.

Finally, “Eye-Spy” introduced a very real, very dangerous, very technologically advanced enemy for S.H.I.E.L.D. that has definite season-long story arc potential, which was sorely lacking in the first few episodes. But more on those jerks later. Let’s dig in!

The Mission

Credit: ABC

What a brilliant cold open, am I right? First I just need to say that if Stockholm’s subway lines are really that clean and beautiful, I’m getting the hell out of New York, finding myself a pale, blond, Swedish Skarsgard-ian demi-god, and green-carding myself into a blissful, urine-smell-free oblivion.

That is, as long as those creepy, red-masked dudes that reminded me of the Observers from Fringe aren’t there, because I didn’t like them, not one bit. Though apparently the Stockholm crowd was cool with it. If those guys showed up on the F train during my morning commute, I’m jump the hell out and join the mole people.

But apparently, they weren’t the bad guys. A woman who essentially looked like this got on the subway with them, and quickly established herself as this week’s bad guy when she closed her eyes, turned off the car’s lights, cut off the hand of one of the red-masked dudes in question, and stole his briefcase. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the briefcases were freaking handcuffed to their arms. Calm down, Sweden!)

MEANWHILE, Up on the Bus…

The gang was just having a gay old time. Fitz and Simmons were designing a powerful new weapon for Ward, Melinda was putting Coulson in his place, and Skye was… eh, hanging out by herself, being sort of creepy.

I don’t know what they were planning on doing during that time (Nothing? Do they just fly around in circles and hang out until someone calls them?), because Coulson quickly barged in with news on the heist in Sweden. Apparently, those red-masked creepers were actually military men who had been hired by one of the largest gem brokers in the world; then sent out on 25 different routes with 55 different briefcases to protect the blinged-out contents of only one.

Somehow, that very one had been identified — and the woman behind the theft had located the jewels with her freaking eyes closed. Skye thought that it was some sort of ESP, but a quick hashtag #OMGCrazySwedenTrainRobbery, #Insane, #Follow4Follow Instagram search brought up a photo containing the shifty-eyed woman from the cold open, and Coulson knew her. Oh, he knew her alright.

Credit: ABC

Back on the bus, Coulson confessed to Melinda that he pretty much knew that it had been this woman, Akela Amador, all along. “There are only a few women in the world who could pull off something so impossible,” he said. “Since you’re on the bus, I thought it had to be her.” That's... sweet. Right?

You see, this Amador woman had been one of Coulson’s protégés back in the day — back before death-by-Loki turned him into the lovable teddy bear we all know and love today. “She didn’t play well with others,” he continued. “Found little value in teamwork. I thought I could instill those qualities in her, so I pushed her. Maybe too hard.”

Oh, I see. So this is a guilt mission. We then flashed to a hotel room in Belarus, where Amador handed over the diamonds to a nervous-looking suit who had clearly never done this sort of thing before. The jewels were worth 30 million dollars, and now, the suit was responsible for using that cash to get them access to “all of the levels.” Whatever that means.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. guys (minus May, who stayed in the Bus) followed Amador to Belarus, where we quickly learned that Ward doesn’t know what a “short bus” is. “Next time I decide what we call ourselves,” Coulson quipped. Heh.

Coulson and Ward went to interrogate some sweet old lady regarding Amador’s whereabouts, but unfortunately, Amador found the perpetually helpless Skye, Fitz, and Simmons first. She drove head-first into the Short Bus, which frightened but thankfully did not injure our heroes.

Luckily, since Skye is the great genius of our time, she had managed to hack into Amador’s feed (or something, I never understand half of the jargon on this show and don’t feel that it is frequently necessary) before the attack. They turned the cameras around on Amador, and this is the part where you should stop eating if you’re doing so WHICH NOBODY TOLD ME. Amador stabbed herself in the eye with a freaking needle, and the horrified S.H.I.E.L.D. team realized that she is a living, breathing, ever-watching, ever-waiting camera. (“You’re a robot, can you do that?” Skye said to Ward. You guys, their flirting is getting out. Of. Control.)

May and Coulson had a major disagreement over next steps — the hard-ass May thought that, former S.H.I.E.L.D. or no former S.H.I.E.L.D., Amador was a threat, and threats are made to be eliminated. But Coulson had loads of residual guilt over failing her as a leader, and wanted to take her in and save her. Ultimately, because Coulson stupidly gave May first watch for the night, May won. Once she zeroed in on Amador’s exact location she snuck out of The Bus to take matters into her own hands, which should get her detention at the very least.

Credit: ABC

While May ran off to do her thing, the rest of the gang picked up on a shocking new development — basically, that Amador wasn’t the bad guy, here. She wrote “Can I sleep?” on a piece of paper, indicating that someone was watching her, and that this someone does not fully appreciate the value of a full eight hours of shut-eye. Even more insane was that someone wrote back, and that Amador saw it via her eye-camera thingy. (ASIDE: Is this what Google Glass is going to be like?)

Coulson ran off to Amador’s rescue; realizing that May would likely kill this “innocent” woman if he did not intervene. In Amador’s hotel room, the caught-off-guard Amador told May that she couldn’t look her in the eye. “Once they see you, only one of us gets to walk out of here,” she explained. “They built in a fail-safe. Either I kill you, or they kill me.” So basically, the camera doesn't have sound. Got it.

This death threat clearly didn’t faze May, who seemed to want Amador out of the picture at all costs. May didn’t realize that Amador has night-vision, and the very skilled, Coulson-trained agent nearly killed May after smashing out the lights before Coulson arrived just in time to intervene.

Back on the bus (again), Amador apologized to Coulson for screwing up her mission and therefore her life. Her mysterious, yet-unknown captors had blinded her, kept her in a copper mine (?) for four years, then put this weird camera thingy in her eye that now controlled every aspect of her being. If she disobeyed any order, like using Spenda instead of real sugar, they sent out horrifically painful,Harrison Bergeron-esque brain-zaps to keep her in line. Not a fun lifestyle; that’s for sure.

Once again, Skye used her hacker skillz to somehow transfer Amador’s eye-camera into a pair of glasses, which were now being sported (handsomely, I must add) by Ward. So Ward used his Google Glass(es) to act out Amador’s next mission, and he had to make damn well sure he didn’t look at Skye — or in a mirror, or at his feet, or any part of his body that was remotely white or manly — so that the people watching him wouldn’t realize it was not Amador this time around.

Credit: ABC

Ward continued to receive messages from the Watchers, while Skye communicated with him via earpiece. He did what the Watchers wanted — which was gaining access into a room and looking at a strange pattern on a board — but he also managed to trigger an alarm, and look at himself in the frigging mirror. Way to go, guy.

Thankfully, Agents Fitz and Simmons — who were still on the bus — managed to cut out Amador’s eye-thingy, and therefore her connection to the Watchers, before they were able to enable the fail-safe and kill her. The next step, of course, was to figure out who these Watchers were and what exactly they wanted, but that part didn’t go so well.

Coulson located the dude who was sending Amador her messages easily enough — because Coulson is just good like that — but as soon as Coulson approached the man and said “I’m with S.H.I.E.L.D.”, whoever was above him killed him on the spot. So basically, this whole thing goes pretty far up, and the people behind it are more than willing to kill to achieve their endgame. As for the $30 million pattern Ward showed them, there’s a chance it might be alien — but this new development will have to wait, because that’s all she wrote for tonight.

Epilogue

When all was said and done, Coulson promised Amador that he’d make sure she got a fair trial, because, like, he knows a guy who knows a guy. This act of selflessness seemed to freak Amador out, which is why she asked May, “What did they DO to him?”

Damn. Coulson must have been really unpleasant before we first met him in the Iron Man movies. I sure as heck don’t know what they did to him, and May doesn’t appear to either — but maybe, now, she’ll try to find out? Now that is a mystery worth solving, and I would love to see May on the case.  

What did you think of “Eye-Spy”, spy kids? Are you getting more and more hooked on S.H.I.E.L.D. as the weeks go by, or do you need something more to keep your interest? Are you intrigued by this possible new villain? Let us know in the comments!