Chan, a street magician in Hong Kong is getting heckled for some lame tricks. He spots an attractive woman in a flowered dress, then wows the crowd with a quickly summoned fire-ball. He brings the girl home, she tells him he’s special, then abducts him.
Agent Ward is evaluating Skye’s critical thinking skills through a wicked game of Battleship. They play cute, and riff on classic 80’s commercials. Coulson is restless, and Agent May is trying to get him to spar and loosen up. The team gets a message that Chan is missing, and things get interesting.
Turns out SHIELD has an Index that they use to keep tabs on people who have developed powers. Stop using your powers, and SHIELD leaves you alone. Start using them, like Chan has, and your SHIELD case worker is probably going to pay you a visit and remind you of the Power Protocols. Since Chan has been using his Pyrokinetic abilities in his act, his case worked stopped by and noticed he was missing.
Also, Rising Tide, Skye’s hacktivist group, has been hacking SHIELD’s database. Skye is in a bit of trouble here, so she promises to track down the party responsible for the leak.
This is great: SHIELD is into some murky stuff, doing a lot of things that you know the Agents don’t necessarily agree with. Simmons jokes about body probes and blanches when Coulson doesn’t discount that as a SHIELD sanctioned tactic. Chan thinks he has been abducted by SHIELD, so you get the feeling that those that know about SHIELD have every reason to be paranoid.
The mystery lady in the flowered dress offers to help Chan increase his powers, become something great. She asks if Chan has ever heard of Steven Rogers, Chan hasn’t; but Captain America? That’s a whole other story. She tells Chan he will be known by the name Scorch (another Marvel Universe character).
Skye? Oh, Skye. She might really be a bad, bad person. Or, she might be really good at sexpionage. Needless to say, she gets herself into some serious trouble and strains her relationship with Coulson. It’s also good to know that Coulson hasn’t been naively trusting Skye, and actually puts a tail on her when she’s not with the team.
Chan gets an injection that makes his powers much stronger, he can summon fountains of flame and hurl pretty sizeable fireballs. I should also mention that the people that abducted Chan were wearing shiny radiation suits. Please, PLEASE let this be AIM. I would seriously lose my mind if AIM ends up being the counter-force to SHIELD. Seriously, Joss. I will wash you damned car. Make it AIM. Give me my army of Gimps in yellow (even metallic gold is okay) bee-keeper suits. Whatever this group is, they are ruthless, and using previously established tech to attain their goals.
Agents of SHIELD is continuing to build momentum. The team is feeling more and more like a real team, Coulson is a flat out stud, the Rising Tide actually has some pretty nifty tricks, and the nefarious bad-guy (whatever it is) is becoming a really fun mystery. Everything with the Superhero Index, the Powers Protocol, and the mysterious Girl in the Flowered Dress was great. Agent May is really menacing at times (she kicks SO MUCH ASS), and I’m pretty sure Skye is much, MUCH more than she appears. The finale is pretty epic, with the whole team kicking some ass together.
Anything not to like? Simmons is still pretty useless, and Fitz might be so, too, but is too damned cute for me to care. Ward is getting a little less stiff, but the show really belongs to Coulson, Skye, and May. I also really liked Agent Qwan, and was really hoping to see more of him… but that hope got burned out of existence.