“Eye Spy” is the strongest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. so far. It’s not without its problems, but it largely succeeds by avoiding the pitfalls that earlier episodes had recklessly tumbled into. The ensemble’s dynamic may not be all there yet, but that’s not necessarily a problem when the players are separated. The humour doesn’t always land, but for the most part this is a relatively serious episode of television. The action scenes have failed by pushing at the limitations of the show’s budget; “Eye Spy” has engaging action sequences thanks to clever writing that works within those limitations (combining an unknown agenda with the added tension of Mr Bland needing to be careful where he looked).
I wasn’t expecting a good episode after the disappointing, cliché-ridden introduction which thankfully proved misleading. The platoon of red-masked uniformed men evoked Anonymous and made me think we were due for a Rising Tide plot, and then diamond theft out of nowhere led me to believe we would be treated to an unimaginative heist plot. Instead we got an episode that was thoughtful, propulsive and introduced a mysterious villain at the same time. It’s not fantastic, but it’s better than I’d expected.