AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 2 Premiere Review
The new Fall TV Season continues with the Season 2 Premiere of MARVEL’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D (AoS). With a slow start in Season 1 (My Review here) but a drastic shift in material near the end thanks to a feature film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, AoS’s Season 2 Premiere brings the punches expected from a show with the Whedon name attached to it. Much like Whedon’s other TV ventures, this show doesn’t shy away from completely changing up characters and the over all status quo of the show with its premiere.
First of all, Season 2 is very important, because there are no feature films between now and the release of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON next summer to save the show this time. So any further Universe building or set up for the AVENGERS sequel, will be done on AoS. Second, but most impactful, is the announced debut of an AGENT CARTER TV Series, starring Hayley Atwell from the first CAPTAIN AMERICA movie. Since she appears in the Premiere, it seems more than likely that her appearance in AoS will be used as a backdoor launch for the spin-off.
With all these stakes and pressure, how does the Season 2 Premiere hold up? Surprisingly, not too bad. Things were left kind of unsure in the Season 1 Finale with the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., but obviously the show can’t be called AGENTS OF … SOMETHING. So Coulson is now the Director who’s been globetrotting in order to find more recruits for their now defunct organization, while on orders from May to not return to field duty, given that the long term effects of his ‘resurrection’ after being infused with an Alien serum, are still unpredictable. The episode opens with a H.Y.D.R.A. base getting raided by Agent Carter & some of the Howling Commandos from CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER in 1945. It’s a flashback sequence that shows Carter’s dilemma of trying to find a place to store all the advanced H.Y.D.R.A. tech, and wondering who will be responsible for safeguarding them. It seems like Carter is hinting at a need of an organization that will become S.H.I.E.L.D. The scene is brief, but I wonder if this will be a running subplot through at least the 1st half of this Season. Thanks to CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, we already know that Agent Carter was a founding member of S.H.I.E.L.D., so we might get to see how that comes about through flashbacks in AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., until picking up the story in her own Series.
Back to present day, Coulson has hired a mercenary team led by a former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent played by Lucy Lawless, to aid our original team of Skye, May & Tripp try to get more weapons, resources and help to fight back against H.Y.D.R.A. During one of these missions, a really bad piece of technology falls into the hands of another ‘gifted’ asset, someone with the power of absorbing any substance he touches, who is working for a German H.Y.D.R.A. Agent seen as the in-charge during the flashback with Agent Carter in he beginning of the episode. The more ominous thing about it is that the man hasn’t aged a day since 1945, creating more mystery as to who he is and why he needs that artifact.
The most notable changes in status quo of this Season is the imprisonment of Brett Dalton’s Ward who, after repeated suicide attempts, is now apparently a changed man wanting to help Skye and Coulson. What his true intentions are remain to be seen. Skye on the other hand has been trained by May to become a full on field Agent, but the mystery of her origins is still undetermined, with Ward holding the answers in his evil mind. And in the saddest of changes, it seems Fitz has gone of the deep end after his traumatic experience with underwater pressure, to the point where he’s hallucinating Simmons, even though she’s not longer part of the team, something that isn’t revealed until the end of the Episode.
Sadness, action, higher stakes, bigger enemies, a deeper history and being the ultimate underdogs are all the things that AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. has going for itself this season. While not a bad Premiere, the show needs to push more boundaries in exchange for witty banter to maintain its interest level and bring about the high intensity that the show desperately needs. The show’s shift to a darker a slightly more ominous tone helps, but instead of dragging out the procedural format to reveal bits and pieces, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. really needs to make the content relevant to Marvel fans and the general TV audiences to survive Season 2.