“You can’t be a storyteller and a speechwriter at the same time.”– Joss Whedon.
Well, Joss, you should tell that to your writers, ‘cause “The Asset” was speechy.
This is a much better episode than last week’s, mind you, but the show is still struggling to find it’s identity. This one was a little too ALIAS and that’s fine if that’s the direction they want to go in, but it seems like they haven’t made up their minds yet.
I’ve noticed that the Jed Whedon/Maurissa Tancharoen team rely too heavily on humor and, sometimes, it works (“Old West” joke, boobs), but there are other times where it really feels forced and not organic to the dialogue or characters. There were some nice (if not a bit chlichéd by now) little character moments with Skye and Ward. I’m still waiting for them to put a spin on it, though. Where’s my space cowboy? My hero cheerleader? My vampire PI? Whedon’s usually great at challenging character archetypes, but nothing we’ve seen so far in this series does that. Like all-business Coulson being a Captain America fanboy, have Fitz be a ladies man or something.
I feel this may have something to do with Marvel, Disney and ABC trying desperately to play it safe. With any luck, they’ll give the show some leeway to try to work in its own terms not long from now.
The last two episodes, I think, would’ve worked better if they’d swapped the order. Go with “The Asset” as episode 2 and have “0-8-4” as 3: Melinda May, after kicking butts last week, is suddenly benched… but at the end of this episode, she decides she wants to go into combat again. Made no sense.
David Conrad made for a good villain, I think. I always enjoy his work and it was certainly a step up from last week’s boring stereotyped Latin traitor. Kudos to everyone involved on the upside-down scene. It was something really cool to see that I personally haven’t seen done before and this is where Coulson really got to shine in this episode. I loved his scenes with Dr. Hall and, since I’ve never been a huge Marvel comics fan, I wasn’t upset about the changed origin, but I can see how it could piss off some hardcore fans. It’s very Smallvillian in the sense that everything is tied somehow to the main protagonist(s).
The tag at the very end was cool and, from what I hear, they’re going to add one every week in true Marvel fashion.
I’m looking forward to next week’s episode, since it was written by Jeffrey Bell (one of my fave ANGEL writers). Fingers crossed for a good one.
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