HAIL HYDR… screw it, for everyone that watched the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AOS), then you know it was a bit of a roller-coaster with a lot of highs and a lot of lows. Fortunately for the most part it was able to end on a high and had a pretty nice cliffhanger setting up some interesting storylines for this upcoming season. With this premiere we were able to get a bit of that and some things I did not think I’d see. So let’s get on with it shall we?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has one thing going for it and that is that the story writes itself in essence because of it’s connection to the Marvel cinematic universe and that’s what a lot of people were hoping for when it started. Not necessarily mirror it exactly but be an extension of it in some form. This season is inevitably going to focus on the narrative given to us by the fallout following Captain America: Winter Soldier and later the end of its first season of AOS. What it did not expect to see is how much darker the series has become and that bodes well for this season and hopefully the rest of the cinematic universe. The fun summer blockbuster movies are great but the tone has to change in some aspect or you risk becoming linear, repetitive, and a little stale. With the depth of the story revolving around finding the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. members whilst avoiding HYDRA and the US Government has made for some tense and memorable moments this season.
It touches on most of the other things that we know more about as well in the series, from Skye’s parents to Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) dealing with current mental state and even what was up with that blue alien near the end of the first season. All of that won’t be explained in one episode understandably so, but it good way to start the season off revealing a little more every week.
Character change for Skye (Chloe Bennet) from season one to now is probably one of the bright spots thus far. Her attitude is much more job and team oriented and seems apart of the team as she’s also more in the field and the “mary-sue” qualities of her character were toned down to an extent. Included in that is a much clearer direction for the team and as new characters such as the Absorbing Man (Victor Creed) and Bobbi Morse under her codename: Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) make their appearances, it seems they will have regular assets and adversaries to further anchor the direction for S.H.I.E.L.D. and the show as a whole.
Budget also seems to be bigger on the show as CGI is used more and of even greater quality. The moment you see Absorbing Man’s first encounter with S.H.I.E.L.D. you can see the improvements in the CGI area which were already solid in the first season.
There are only a couple of real drawbacks to the premiere that are of note to me which I hope don’t continue as the season isn’t even to it’s midway mark yet. The first is the angle used for the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Ward (Brett Dalton). I get that his character is essential being part of HYDRA and having integral knowledge of said organization, but it seems that coming from the scenes he has with Skye and then his escape could mean that there may be some sort of redemption arc on the way to which I hope there is not. His actions at the end of the first season really did make a redemption seem impossible. Judging by the end of the most recent episode, it still seems unlikely but I’m still a bit leery.
The other is the issue of agent Tripplett (B.J. Britt). When he was introduced near the end of the season to essentially replace Ward, he was a likable character with usefulness to the group and just overall a better fit to me. Now it just seems like he’s there and doesn’t seem distinguishable from either the new crop of agents or the older ones. You can be a bad character by having no real character at all and I feel as though that is the risk they are running with him. Again, hopefully these are just early season jitters, but it’s just a feeling. and I’m usually wrong about these things anyway so it could just be more about nothing.
Verdict: It’s a good start to the season and it has me more than interested to see where this all ends up. I don’t know how much it will affect the rest of the cinematic universe, but whether it does or does not won’t matter as long as this season maintains the tone it has now and continues to get better.
Season two of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gets a 4/5
+ Better direction and progressive story
+ Skye’s development
+ Better CGI
– Agent Tripplet’s character
– Potential Ward redemption arc
Marvel’s: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs 9PM Easter/10PM Central on ABC.