It’s not much of a stretch to say that season 1 of Agents of Shield was…uneven. It was a great premise to be sure, especially when it was revealed that Coulson was indeed alive. What happened afterwards though was frankly uneven. Some episodes were great, tapping into the MCU in the best ways possible. Other episodes just felt like they dragged on forever. Add to that questionable stories for the cast and you get a season that could’ve went very badly if not for the saving grace that was Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
With season 2 though of Agents of Shield, it’s clear they’re doing their best to stand on their own two feet this go round.
WARNING!!!!: Major Spoilers Ahead! You have been warned!
“Shadows” did its very best to show us this new line of thinking. From the very epic Peggy Carter/Howling Commandoes entrance, to the infiltration scene at the end, Agents of Shield proved this isn’t the team that we left when season 1 ended.
I liked a lot of the resolutions to the questions we had in regards to the finale. What happened to Fitz? He’s not well, at all. I was really worried when I saw pictures of Fitz upright and seemingly ok, but it’s clear he’s not. Not only is he not the genius he used to be, his brain just can’t keep up. Add to that, the stunning reveal that he was imagining Simmons next to him? And you get a heartbreaking storyline for a character that honestly needed to change.
Where’s Ward? Locked up in a vault to be used as a information hub. The scene with him and Skye was very tense, and kind of shocking as we find out Ward tried to kill himself multiple times. It’ll be very fun to see what Ward does, and how much they go to him in the future. Also, that cut away line about him knowing Skye’s father? Nice.
How’s Coulson? Well…this one was the only question that didn’t get fully answered. We get that he’s trying to bring SHIELD back up from the rock its now under, and he’s traveling the world trying to get new recruits and everything. Which is fine, but it doesn’t answer how he’s doing mentally in regards to the drawings both him and Garrett did last season. Oh well, timing is everything in this case.
But the biggest question of all was easily, “How much of Hydra is still out there?”. This could’ve been handled many ways, but the computer screen pinging to life, showing just how many Hydra agents were still out there was awesome. In that one scene, we honestly have enough story to go multiple seasons if they choose to stick to this route.
On to the episode itself. At it’s core, “Shadows” was about an 0-8-4 from the past, allegedly the first 0-8-4, and the arrival of one Carl Creel. Oh yeah, the Absorbing Man is here!
The effects for the Absorbing Man were easily the highlight for the episode. It could’ve been done very cheaply, and used sparingly. Instead we got full use of the powers, in multiple forms, including an amazing glass transformation. Oh, and is that him with a wrecking ball?
An interesting part of “Shadows” was the inclusion of several new members of the Agents team. Including one Lucy Lawless as Izzy, an old friend of Coulson. Having Lawless on the show is awesome! Having her apparently die at the end of this episode…not so much. To be clear, she made her mark before “the end”, but for a show that wants to make an impact, it would’ve nice to keep her around longer.
A return to the show that was also interesting was the return of Brigadier General Talbot, who was just as patriotic and condescending as the last time we met him. It’s interesting how steadfast he is in his beliefs, and how much he’s willing to risk in order to take Coulson down. His presence adds another threat to the team, and one that’ll hopefully be explored more in the future.
The only problem I had with this episode was the “reveal” that the mission to rob the army base wasn’t just about the 0-8-4, but also to steal a Quinjet. True, it did lead to the reveal about Fitz-Simmons, but on the other hand it just felt lackluster. I’ll get over it, but after all the secrecy and looks between Skye and May it just seemed like a letdown.
In the end, “Shadows” delivered many tantalizing storylines that hopefully grow and continue to be epic as the season progresses. Getting off to a great start is important, but sustaining the momentum is just as important. Let’s hope Agents of Shield can do that.
4.5 out of 5 Nerds