“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” is finally hitting its stride. In its third episode, “The Asset,” the ABC-Marvel series was able to focus on developing its titular agents instead of solidifying its place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In this episode, it was Chloe Bennet‘s Skye who was put front and center. Skye’s role in Coulson’s SHIELD group was still uncertain in episode 2, “0-8-4” as she showed she was still an active member of Rising Tide, but in “The Asset” she came out and said how badly she wants to join SHIELD.
“The Asset” was about giving Skye a choice to join an organization instead of SHIELD, and she ultimately chose the crime-fighting team. After the episode’s villain, David Conrad as Ian Quinn, compared SHIELD to Big Brother, Skye quipped, “Maybe but he’s a nice Big Brother who stands up for his little brother when he’s eating a piece of cake he’s not supposed to … you know.” If Nick Fury needed his proof that Skye was on board with SHIELD, this was it.
Skye finally opened up a bit about who she is in “The Asset” as well. The audience finds out she is a high school dropout, and she also was a foster child who frequently switched between homes. No wonder she has trouble committing and also doesn’t trust government systems. Hopefully her dedication to SHIELD doesn’t backfire for her.
Beyond establishing Skye as a member of SHIELD (though she’s not official yet), “The Asset” introduced its first supervillain. Fans of Marvel comics know that the character Franklin Hall, who was played by Ian Hart in this episode, eventually becomes Graviton. “The Asset” was his origin story, as he tries to destroy a machine Quinn created that controls the element gravitonium by sacrificing himself, but ends up being kicked into the machine by Coulson so that it gets deactivated. As the final moment of “The Asset” reveals, Hall was beginning his transformation into Graviton after his molecules intermingled with the active gravitonium.
Will Hall/Graviton return later this season? Here’s hoping, because “Agents of SHIELD” could use a good supervillain. With Melinda May agreeing to join the combat team, this group is as well stacked as it’s going to be. The case of the week format has been working well thus far, but it’s about time for the series to introduce some more overarching themes, and Graviton would be one we’re willing to follow.