Agents of Shield debuted last season with a whole lot of hype, but soon proved to be quite the disappointment with dwindling ratings every passing week. I gave up on the show’s standalone format three episodes in, but finally got caught up this summer after hearing how much the show had improved (after the infamous Ward/Hydra twist). I’m happy to report that I soon found myself pleasantly surprised by the show’s creative resurgence. But can this momentum be sustained into Shield’s sophomore season?
The greatest thing Shadows has going for it is a tangible sense of urgency with the introduction of Creel the Absorbing Man. A good action show needs a worthy and menacing adversary, and he definitely fills those shoes. The CGI was on-point with his various transformations, and that final car stunt was a shocking and powerful moment to bookend the episode was. In addition, I enjoyed the reveal of an ageless Whitehall (whom we were introduced to in the teaser) getting his hands on the mysterious Obelisk. It definitely feels like this season is going to be a carefully-plotted arc, and that certainly has me optimistic.
Ward was a highlight last year, so I’m thrilled the show’s producers have decided to keep the character around. Having him interact with Skye through a jail-cell was very Alias season two-esque, and made for quite the compelling scene. I do wonder if the writers plan on giving Ward some sort of redemptive arc which would be an interesting way to go. And is it so wrong that I’m still sort of rooting for him and Skye as a couple?
Since this a Whedon show, the premiere makes a great little character revelation with the Fitz twist at the end. Although it should have been obvious to me, Fitz imagining Simmons by his side all throughout was a stroke of genius that proved very impactful. I have a feeling this is going to be a standout year for both Fitz and Simmons, and the two have most certainly earned it.
However, I’m unsure why Lucy Lawless was cast for such a minor role. Unless she returns thanks to some bizarre after-effect from holding the Obelisk, it feels like a waste of star-power to cast Xena in a one-episode guest-starring turn. Still Lawless was good in her brief appearance, showcasing badass resolve when she ordered her hand to get cut-off. It would do the show good to be a bit more gritty and ruthless.
Bits & Fitz
– Nice nod to the upcoming Agent Carter miniseries with Hayley Atwell making an appearance in the episode’s opening scene.
– Ward exhibiting suicidal behavior was a cool creepy touch.
– The team’s true objective turning out to be the jet was an exciting moment. Less exciting was the cheesy slow motion.
– Coulson’s “We have to take risks” speech felt very meta – like the writers were consciously telling viewers that they plan on really shaking up the status quo this year. Let’s hope so.
Ward: I started running at the walls.
Skye: You should have run faster.
Fitz: It doesn’t mean that they have to treat me like…
Simmons: Like what Fitz?
Fitz: Treat me like I’m gonna break.
A solid return for Shield. Here’s hoping the show can continue to drive last year’s momentum and produce the groundbreaking season it deserves.