|Ian Hart as Franklin Hall|
After a spectacular effects-heavy start, The Asset settled down nicely into an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does James Bond (or maybe Chuck) story that saw Skye infiltrating the island home of an evil-Tony Stark - Ian Quinn (David Conrad).
Business tycoon Quinn had kidnapped Dr Franklin Hall (Ian Hart), the world's leading expert on the rare element "gravitonium", to help him finish his gravity-controlling superweapon.
We may still be waiting for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to show us an actual costumed superhero or supervillain, but at least in The Asset - once you've seen the final stinger - we got the origin story of a supervillain.
In Marvel comic lore Dr Hall is the villain Graviton, so let's hope later this season (which has now been extended to a full 22 episode run) we actually get to see Graviton doing his thing.
This episode was largely about Skye - our POV character in the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. - and there was a half-hearted attempt to make us question her loyalty to the team when she apparently betrayed them to Quinn. But her possible duplicity had already been handled better at the end of 0-8-4 when we saw her texting her hacktivist comrades in Rising Tide.
I like the idea of focussing on a single member of the team in a story as there was a moment, quite early on, when they were all standing around the site of Hall's kidnapping and you couldn't help but think: what are they all doing there?
While the Pilot did an excellent job of setting the scene and getting the team together, The Asset is the strongest episode so far because it felt more comfortable in its own skin and really cut back on the references to the Marvel movies (which as I've said before only serve to highlight the absence of A-list superheroes from the show).
Here's hoping the show has overcome its shaky - although strong - start and it'll be plain sailing from here as the show's producers feel free to capitalise on the mighty Marvel brand.
When you are selling a show on the strength of the Marvel name that brings with it an obligation to show us (rather than just tell us about) the Marvel Universe - which means to me one thing: costumes!
Otherwise it's like setting a show in Hogwarts but not showing anyone casting spells or playing Quidditch.
Even Smallville eventually had characters in comic book-inspired costumes and that's when it felt more like a comic book show and less like a '80s throwback generic freak-on-the-week sci-fi show.