Last season of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, seemed to be a major disappointment for most. Though once the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier caught up with the series, those who were still watching noted a marked improvement. With seemingly more ambitious plans for its 2nd season, how did it all stack up? Here are our impressions of the season’s first episode.
Kat Taylor – Writer
Summed in a phrase, I would call that premiere “not bad.” In fact, I would even go so far as to call it “pretty good.” I’ve been burned by this show too much in the past to jump up and down with optimism for the future, but except for Coulson’s far too heavy-handed and on-the-nose exposition speech at the end, that was a nicely made episode.
There was a lot more confidence going into it, which was great. I felt like our illustrious showrunners have a somewhat better handle on setup and where they want to go with things – and doling out of catch up information was done well, for the most part. The episode was just exciting enough and moved at just enough of a brisk pace that I even enjoyed it somewhat more than I expected to. Plus, a few clues and easter eggs were doled out in just the right way so as to generate interest towards things yet to come.
The Ward-Skye was a bit of a drag, but I’ve found that just to be their dynamic in general. Both characters were sold so poorly last season, and their romance even less convincingly so. I get its value – they can use her to interrogate him, and it keeps him nearby everyone else (and on the show). Plus, so long as they keep up the vaguely sociopathic vibe, it should work – I don’t want him redeemed; I like him more off-kilter and kinda scary evil. I just wish we didn’t have to endure more Ward-Skye to experience it.
The twist about Simmons was actually pretty cool, though I do have a few reservations. It was a great Sixth Sense ah-ha moment to realize that only Fitz was seen talking to her throughout the episode. And for probably the first time ever, I do genuinely feel for his character. Where are they going to go with this? Oddly enough, I actually have confidence the writers have a plan here. At the same time, I struggle with the idea that Simmons would abandon everything to do with Coulson’s team and SHIELD because of it, and actually wish we could’ve seen that departure (and events leading up to it) so that we could fully understand it ourselves.
Wish we could’ve gotten Lucy Lawless longer for an episode, but as soon as she found the item, I figured she’d probably die before episode’s end. Also, Reed Diamond (yet another Whedon-alum) has a definite Sebastian-Shaw-in-First-Class vibe going on.
Tyson Gifford – Editor in Chief
The episode began with a great sequence that showcased Agent Carter and 2 of the Howling Commandos. It was great to see them again, and might just give us an idea of what to expect in Carter’s own show, which will be placed between the 2 halves of SHIELD‘s second season. It also introduced us to Reed Diamond’s (Franklin and Bash, Dollhouse) Nazi/Hydra agent, who looks to be playing a bigger part later.
We were then introduced to some of Coulson’s new crew, mostly made up of mercenaries, and including Lucy lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica). This new group would be pitted against an adapted character from the comics, Carl Creel, the Absorbing Man. Creel’s presence boosted the comic book nature of the series up a bit. The effects to display his ability were nice, and his action scenes were believable.
Returning for the second season, was Heroes‘ Adrian Pasdar as Hulk antagonist Brigadier General Glenn Talbot, who has taken a strong, and irrational, stance on SHIELD’s former agents, essentially worsening the problem.
Back at SHIELD HQ, we had 2 interesting dynamics at play. Skye and Ward have come to a, sort of, Clarice/Hannibal relationship, with the dangerous imprisoned Ward offering help to Skye, by way of information. Ward appears to be making an attempt at redemption, but there is a creepy vibe to his “kindness” that will hopefully come into play. Meanwhile, Fitz had a multi-layered reveal that I found very interesting. First we see him zoned out as Simmons tries to get his attention, which we find out was just him intently working. I was relieved to see that he seemed OK, though his occasional struggles tugged at my heart. Later it is revealed to us that he is even less OK than we had thought. Simmons wasn’t there, it was all in his head, and he wasn’t making any progress in his scientific role. I am interested in seeing where this goes, be it a deus ex machina solution, or an even more tragic outcome.I think it is likely that we will get a flashback episode that covers some of the events between the first and second seasons.
I enjoyed seeing the problems that SHIELD faced finding loyal agents, while losing their mercenaries. I wonder if these mercenaries will play a larger role than we might think after the events of the episode. Lucy Lawless’ casting was a big deal at Comic Con. The appearance at the beginning of the episode with Peggy Carter was exciting to see, but disappointing as something that seems only relevant to the first episode. I am holding out hope that we will have more scenes involving Carter and the Howling Comandoes that might set up some continuity between Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter. Perhaps the scene primarily served to introduce us to Reed Diamond’s character who we saw again at the end of the episode, still young, in the present.
I enjoyed the second season premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, and only hope that things come together and become more interesting as it develops.
What did you think of the second season premiere of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD? Tell us in our comments, and stay tuned to TVEnthusiast for more coverage of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the upcoming Marvel’s Agent Carter, and all of your favorite shows.