Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Ep 1 (TV Show Review)

Marvel’s first all-out attempt at television took off last year with ABC’s Agents of SHIELD, a spin-off of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and featuring prominent characters like Agent Coulson, Maria Hill and Nick Fury among others. While the latter two only had the occasional cameo at best, Coulso was the star of the show and his resurrection from the dead (as seen in Avengers) was an important plotline for the first season, among others. The show had a rocky start and a shakyprogress track but in the final few episodes, it showed strong signs of coming together and ended on a decent enough high, I guess.

Last night, the second season of the show debuted, and the season premiere had an uphill battle to fight. The revelation in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that SHIELD had been infiltrated by HYDRA and that many SHIELD agents were in reality HYDRA agents was something that the show had been hobbled by until that point since the stories never really gained any momentum and the show had to wait for the movie’s release before things could go forward. And now, we see that Director Coulson and his team have been hard at work rebuilding SHIELD since the disappearances of Maria Hill and Nick Fury, and that HYDRA is now an even bigger threat than before. It was a solid premiere, much better than the one for season one, and I find myself quite excited about the show once again.

So, here we are finally. Agents of SHIELD Season 2. It has been a long road getting here, one that has been made tolerable by various announcements this summer, such as the ones that Lucy Lawless and Adrienne Palicki had been cast in various roles as SHIELD agents. There are many other new castings of course, but these two promised me the most excitement since I’m a fan of both actresses and their addition to a show like this could only mean good things.

In fact, Lucy Lawless gets started right off the bad in the new season premiere as Isabelle Hartley, a mercenary with a small team who has agreed to work with Coulson and SHIELD. Her character is rather straightforward and seems to lack nuance in this opening episode, but Lucy herself plays the character with aplomb. Her dialogue delivery, her interactions with her team and with the main cast, everything was spot-on for me. There was kind of a dumb moment for her towards the end of the episode, when she did something rather inexplicable and foolish (jury is kind of out on that one), but for the most part, I liked her. The fact that she isn’t even a straight up SHIELD agent (another thing I’m confused about since it is mentioned several times that she is undercover or has worked undercover before, and I can’t tell if she actually is an Agent or just an associate) added to the whole potential of the character with respect to the fact that Coulson is low on allies and needs everyone that he can get, no matter what.

The episode deals with lots of different things. We have Skye as a bona fide SHIELD agent now, doing missions alongside May, who has taken over as hew new mentor, following Ward’s treachery and incarceration last season. We have Coulson global-hopping in his hunt for allies. We have Ward rotting in a cell for his crimes, his only value being his information of HYDRA protocols. We have SHIELD’s quest to find resources, more so than before. We have Fitz’s efforts to fix some of the tech that Coulson’s SHIELD still has, but unable to do so because he suffered too much towards the end of the previous season and his intelligence and creativity is slowly leaving him.

And on top of all of that, Agents of SHIELD Season 2 starts off with a right bang as we get to see a teaser of none other than Marvel’s next live-action offering, Agent Carter. In a scene set at a Nazi base in 1944, we meet a HYDRA officer as he prepares to evacuate the base, but interrupted by SSR Agent Carter and the Howling Commandos. In a neat bit of cross-referencing, one of the objects discovered by the good guys is marked by SSR 084, meaning that said object is the first ever 0-8-4 picked up by proto-SHIELD. If viewers remember, the second episode last season was titled the same, and Skye herself is another one, with a rather mysterious background that we got teased with in the second half of the season.

So yeah, showrunners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen have certainly not pulled any punches here. Just getting to see Haley Atwell in a cameo with Lucy Lawless as a kickass mercenary, and the matured team itself was enough to excite me and keep me interested in the episode.

As you might imagine given the opening I’ve described above, Coulson sends May, Triplett, Skye, Hartley and her team on an op to recover this particular 0-8-4 from where it is being held by the United States Army, under General Glenn Talbot’s direction. When SHIELD went belly-up last season, Talbot was brought in to clean house and he has been mercilessly engaging and confiscating all SHIELD assets since. And he is certainly no friend to Coulson’s team or the new SHIELD, which is something that comes into play in the second half of the episode in a really, really cool way.

Agents of SHIELD Cast 0002

Thing is, Clark Gregg and Adrian Pasdar bouncing off of each other is like one of the coolest moments on the show, especially when they get to meet in person. That was like an “oh crap” moment, and it made my day, watching the two of them have a great verbal argument over their respective priorities and objectives.

Another cool thing I liked in this episode was that Skye has changed her look and that she is a full-on Agent now, trained and all. It is a huge step-up for the character from last season and hopefully this means that we get to see her kick some ass good and proper this season. She was often a bore previously, but now I’m seeing her really come together and Chloe Bennett seems to be performing much better as well, which is great n all counts.

I could go on and on about the episode, talking about all the positives and what not. It all boils down to something quite basic: this was a great season premiere. I had high expectations and they were met quite handsomely, so there’s no reason for me to complain. The editing of the episode, and the pacing as well, felt a bit choppy at times, and I’m not quite certain whether I liked the ending or not, but this was a great episode nonetheless and it also introduced an interesting villain, or rather, two of them.

Let’s see what next week brings!

Agents of SHIELD Season 1 reviews can be found here. I’ve reviewed every episode so far.

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Posted on September 24, 2014, in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Review Central, TV Show Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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