Much of the appeal of the episode came from focusing on three strong elements:
- Guest star David Conrad as a charming Maltese millionaire who anchored a plot that focused less on uninteresting action and more on, you know, plot.
- Clark Gregg operating as a field agent with a proportional bump in screen time, and demonstrating in his showdown with Dr Hall that S.H.I.E.L.D. aren’t intended to be unambiguous, unquestioned good guys (thank god).
- Chloe Bennet proving that she can hold her own and look damn good running in a red dress (“……..Boobs?”) … even if her will-they-won’t-they relationship with Mr Bland (Grant Ward) has everyone hoping they won’t (and ignoring that the whole fashion-model-as-“hacktivist” bit is somewhat unconvincing).
The episode had its flaws – that terrible piece of special effects when Dr Hall met his (apparently temporary?) end, the mediocre “Are we there yet?” joke that took all the air out of an otherwise engaging opening sequence – but enough charm and momentum that I was happy to look the other way.