This is a series that I was looking forward to for quite some time, and although the first episode didn't wow me as much as I hoped it would, it was still very entertaining, introducing the characters brilliantly, and overall being a great start for the series. I do however hope that it gets better over time though.
S.H.I.E.L.D. head to Peru to investigate a 0-8-4 event.
This was a very entertaining episode, and I personally preferred it ever so slightly over the pilot, with it being much better in certain areas. I'll start off by saying the best thing about this episode, and that was that it was extremely exciting. I found the last episode to be a bit slow at times, which is something that I couldn't complain about for this issue, as although there are some slower moments, most of the episode is at a quick and action packed pace, with the slower periods allowing time to for development. Where I personally felt this story lacked in was the plot, as although it was overall very interesting, it didn't seem too imaginative, with the action overtaking the plot. It did however have good character development throughout, with some brilliant interactions as well, and was overall a very enjoyable episode.
What is a 0-8-4? That would be answered very quickly, being the code for an object of unknown origin, much like Mjolnir was in Thor. Now it was that reference that I enjoyed most about this code, as it made me smile. When the codes meaning was revealed I was initially slightly disappointed, though I quickly became interested in the mystery of this unknown object. I also enjoyed how Fritz and Simmons reacted to this object, and loved how Ward kept asking them to, "speak English." I did however question whether it was realistic that a brand new team would go after such an item, but given the fact that all are apparently Level 7 Agents, as well as the fact that Phil Coulson is in charge makes it possible.
Whilst in Peru S.H.I.E.L.D. would be greeted by the army and eventually the rebels, with both of them at one point or another attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. I loved the suddenness of these appearances, and the excitement they added early on was very entertaining. I also loved the interaction that Coulson would have with the army's leader, Camilla Reyes, and I especially loved how it implied that these two characters had a prior relationship, without going into any details, thus leaving it as slightly mysterious. Besides the action between the army, the rebels, and S.H.I.E.L.D. at the 0-8-4 site there was yet more brilliant action scenes, as without going into any detail they were very dramatic and suspenseful, adding a lot of excitement as well.
This episode would also show some friction within Coulson's team, showing their different personalities clash. This would ultimately allow for a lot of character development, as although this showed the team to be slightly dysfunctional, it would also act as a learning curve for them, as they all are experience something new working in a team that makes them uncomfortable, so it's natural that they'd fall out. It is however how they improved on this throughout the episode, and how they got over these awkward situations, utilising each characters special skill sets to help them function as a team that made this such an interesting development point in my opinion, and I look forward to seeing them grow even more as a team throughout the season.
WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEAD!
There would also be a rather interesting cameo at the end of this episode, as although this spoiler was teased as a possibility I was very happy that it actually happened. Now if you don't know who the cameo was, and don't want to know you'll need to skip this paragraph as I'm about to talk about them. The cameo was of course Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury. I loved this as although Jackson teased that he'd love to have a cameo I was happy that he did, and the circumstances for it were amazing. It also was a nice reminder of his first appearance in the Iron Man post credit scene, having a very similar tone to it. I did however think that it was a little early for a cameo from Fury, though I'm not complaining as I'd rather early than not at all.
This was an extremely exciting episode, having plenty of action. It did however have a less imaginative plot line, but the brilliant pace, and character development made up for that. The episode also had some fantastic character interaction, and continued to give some amazing comic book references. Due to all this I'd highly recommend watching this episode, as even if you missed the pilot it's relatively easy to jump aboard now, though I would recommend watching the pilot as well if at all possible.