We get a different type of episode this week. Does the series hold up with the shift in style? (I’ll be taking over the reviews for the rest of this season, and possibly beyond. As I watch via iTunes, all reviews will be about a day after broadcast.)

Cast and Crew Information

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson
Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
Chloe Bennet as Skye
Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
Pascale Armand as Akela Amador
Dominic Burgess as the Englishman

Written by Jeffrey Bell
Directed by Roxann Dawson (Voyager fans: yes, that Roxann Dawson.)

Availability Information

This episode is available via iTunes (US, CAN)

Premise

An impossible series of crimes is proven possible by its execution, drawing the attention of Agent Coulson and his team. This also turns into a chance for redemption.

High Point

“Let me.”

Low Point

Mirrors wouldn’t be my greatest concern, the significant difference in height would be. Add in the shift to and from backscatter without closing the eyelid

The Review

This is an original take for the series, shifting gears somewhat and giving us less action and more Mission: Impossible. It’s an extremely welcome tone, and one well suited to a team of secret agents who aren’t all trained for combat. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects were minimal, but effective. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story was very well crafted. In the past few years, I’ve realized that I’m primarily drawn to stories that are carefully structured, such as detective series. This is a prime example. Nothing feels out of place, everything contributes to the whole, and we see enough pieces of the big picture to keep is interested in future weeks without being distracted from this week. It’s all here, and it’s all exactly where it needs to be in the script. The parallel action is convincingly timed to be parallel, the reveals come in the right sequence and in the right time, and we get a very nice showcase of no less than three characters in our cast. Even the poker scene adds levity, moves things forward, and confirms the existence of tech that can be a huge piece of one puzzle better recognized by viewers than by the characters at this point. I give it 6 out of 6.

The acting is strong. Our primary guest star’s arc plays out nicely, the chemistry between Dalton’s Ward and Bennet’s Skye is believable, De Caestecker’s Fitz and Henstridge’s Simmons are still a great team, and Gregg is adding nice depth to Coulson. I confess I wasn’t a huge fan of Coulson in the films, mainly because I saw no need to create a character when Jasper Sitwell would have worked so well for that role in Iron Man, but I’ve been really warming to “him” in this series. The only member of the ensemble that I’m not totally on board with yet is Wen’s May, but that may just be because we know so little about her at this point. I’m interested in the mystery more than the character in the middle of it, but that may change in time. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is great. Location shooting is a challenge, particularly when your location is meant to be on a completely different continent, but they’ve done a great job here. Granted, I’m pretty sure I saw the same warehouse in an episode of MacGyver I watched a few weeks ago, but that’s hard to avoid with location shooting in a well filmed town. The editing is great, and Bear McCreary manages to evoke the same emotions as Lalo Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible theme with an entirely different melody. The camera work was well designed, although I still think they should have compensated for the effect listed in the Low Point. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was great. I’m all for big action on a decompressing plane, but our adversary was compellingly written and acted, and the unique resolution was so well excuted that I will easily opt for this instead. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, we’ve got a strong entry in a series, which seems to be rapidly finding its footing, particularly compared to the first seasons of most series. My hopes get higher for the series as a whole each week, and so will my standards. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Eye-Spy receives 36 out of 42.