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|Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||David Straiton|
|Featured music||Bear McCreary|
|Original air date||October 1, 2013|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|List of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes|
"0-8-4" is the second episode of the American television series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It originally aired on ABC on October 1, 2013. The episode was written by Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon, and Jeffrey Bell, and directed by David Straiton. According to Nielsen Media Research, "0-8-4" was watched by 8.66 million viewers in its original airing.
Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), the episode features Clark Gregg as protagonist Phil Coulson, an agent of the fictional intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D., and his team of agents, played by regular cast members Ming-Na Wen, Brett Dalton, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge, as they travel to Peru to investigate an object of unknown origins.
Picking up immediately after "Pilot", "0-8-4" sees Skye (Chloe Bennet) accepts Coulson's (Clark Gregg) offer to join his team, and though the other agents have doubts, Coulson realizes that Skye can serve as a consultant because she does not think like an agent. The team goes to Peru to investigate a reported "0-8-4", which is a S.H.I.E.L.D. designation for "an object of unknown origin". They find the object within an ancient Incan temple, before being confronted by Peruvian soldiers lead by Camilla Reyes (Leonor Varela), who used to work with Coulson. They are all attacked by rebels, but the agents and soldiers manage to escape with the object.
Aboard the Bus, Reyes and her soldiers double-cross the agents in an attempt to take the object. The agents manage to band together and use the 0-8-4 to defeat the soldiers, before taking it to a S.H.I.E.L.D. base where it is sent by rocket to the sun.1 Skye meanwhile confirms her allegiance to the hacktivist group Rising Tide via text.
Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role of Nick Fury from the Marvel Cinematic Universe films Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Marvel's The Avengers. The episode reveals that the titular weapon is powered by the Tesseract, the macguffin of Captain America: The First Avenger and Marvel's The Avengers. It is stated that the last object of unknown origin that S.H.I.E.L.D. encountered was "a hammer", referring to the weapon Mjolnir, which Coulson discovered during the events of Thor. Also, Coulson refers to Skye as a consultant, which S.H.I.E.L.D. classified Tony Stark as during Iron Man 2, Marvel's The Avengers, and the Marvel One-Shot, The Consultant.
In June 2013, Samuel L. Jackson expressed interest in appearing in the show as S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, his role from the films, which lead to his cameo appearance at the end of this episode. Executive producer Jeph Loeb said "There were obviously a number of places that we thought Nick Fury would have a big impact on the show, but the more we talked about it, [the more we wanted] to get him in very early, so that it would kind of christen the show, legitimize it in its own way." In the week leading up to the episode airing, Marvel revealed that Leonor Varela and Carlos Leal would also guest star as Camilla Reyes and an archaeologist, respectively, while Anthony Dilio and Celestin Cornielle receive co-starring credit.
Composer Bear McCreary had a larger orchestra to work with on "0-8-4" than he did with "Pilot", allowing him to compose a much more "traditional and, at times, grandiose" score; however he also opted to expand his synthesizer use to be "beefier and more aggressive". The South American setting also allowed an ethnic component to enter the score, with frequent McCreary collaborators M.B. Gordy and Chris Bleth playing tribal-sounding drums and ethnic woodwinds, respectively. Guitarist Ed Trybek also recorded for the episode, playing multiple South American guitars, including timple and charango, as well as more traditional guitars.
For the titular Tesseract-powered weapon, McCreary opted not to reuse Alan Silvestri's Tesseract theme from Captain America: The First Avenger and Marvel's The Avengers, instead composing his own motif that consisted of an "ominous melodic line ... to suggest that this device is incredibly dangerous, and indeed, just one piece of a larger Tesseract puzzle." Additionally, he composed a new theme for the agents as a team, introduced at the end of the episode. "Our heroes have, momentarily, set aside their bickering and completed their first successful mission together ... This melody represents the emotional bond between the team. It has a different function than the Main Theme, which works best when underscoring triumph or tragedy. That really wouldn’t work with a scene this intimate."
"0-8-4" was first aired in the United States on ABC on October 1, 2013. It received a 3.3/10 percent share among adults between the ages of 18 and 49, meaning that it was seen by 3.3 percent of all households, and 10 percent of all of those watching television at the time of the broadcast. It was watched by 8.66 million viewers. The Canadian broadcast on the same day gained 2.7 million viewers, the highest for that day and the third highest for the week. The United Kingdom premiere on October 4, 2013 had 3.7 million viewers and in Australia, the October 2, 2013 premiere had 2.8 million viewers, including 1.3 million timeshifted viewers.
MTV.com gave a positive review, saying "If tonight's installment is any indication, the cast will soon be able to support their own weight, make Coulson proud, and audiences sit up and pay attention", and comparing it positively to Tarzan, Beastmaster, and Mutant X. Terri Schwartz of Zap2it also gave a particularly positive review, praising both the connections to the films, including Jackson's cameo, and the internal development of the show, namely that of the character Skye and the team as a whole. Dan Casey of Nerdist called "0-8-4" "a strong second episode, [which] managed to course-correct from some of the missteps of the pilot". He praised the "solid mix of action, character development, and humor" and concluded that the episode was "genuinely enjoyable television".
Oliver Sava of A.V. Club called the episode "an adequate hour of action-adventure television, but the first 59 minutes are missing the spark of the final post-credits scene", seeing room for improvement for all the cast members, and concluding that the show falls "somewhere between Firefly and Dollhouse on the spectrum of Whedon TV influences". Marc Bernardin of The Hollywood Reporter praised the scale of the episode, describing it as coming "out of the gate like a blockbuster", but criticized its ambitions, asking "Shouldn't this show be, well, nuttier? ... Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. needs to unhinge itself, but good, and not just be a procedural." He also singled out Skye and May as being unfocused and underdeveloped, respectively, as characters, and he felt the Jackson cameo "gave the whole thing a charge that, in truth, it didn't really earn." Graeme Virtue, of The Guardian, called Gregg "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s greatest asset", and found the Jackson cameo to be a "thrill", but found "plot-wise, things perhaps still feel a little inconsequential".
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