By Miguel Asistio |
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s TV outing which is connected to their slate of cinematic properties, returned recently with its second season. The star of the show, Agent Phil Coulson, a prominent figure in bringing The Avengers together back in 2012, is back and is now the director of his beloved Strategic Homeland Intervention Espionage and Logistics Division. While the first season saw the reason for his resurrection explained and expanded, the end of that season gave us as much questions as there were answers. The organization he had fought his first and second lives for has been dismantled and destroyed. But still, Coulson and his team march on the second season with only a handful of resources yet with a lot of heart.
S.H.I.E.L.D. is no longer the superpower it used to be, being crippled by their arch-nemesis HYDRA during Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and like a pebble thrown into the sea, it started a ripple effect which affected Coulson and his team. The rebuilding process is slow, but they’re getting there. Skye (Chloe Bennet) is no longer just a hacker but is now trained to go out on the field on missions with the team, while Agent Triplett (BJ Britt) now becomes a show regular, injecting not only another valuable resource on the field but also some humor the show could do well with. There are some fresh faces aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. train to help fight for their cause, in the form of mechanic Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie (Henry Simmons) who tries to help Leo Fitz overcome his trauma from what happened in the previous season, and Hartley, a new recruit who enlists the help of two mercenaries, Idaho (Wilmer Cordova) and Lance Hunter.
More threats come in the form of Glenn Talbot, a U.S. government official who sees Coulson nothing more than a vigilante. But still, HYDRA remains the biggest thorn in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s side, employing villains such as the Absorbing Man and the Blizzard, which for those familiar with the source material the TV series draws from will be quite pleased. These two villains make their debuts already fully-formed and much like their comic book counterparts, unlike the dragging narrative of last season brought upon the would-be Deathlok that was sometimes painful to watch.
Within these three episodes, there were some misses, namely the under-utilization of Skye and Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), who were mainly in the focus last season. However, their taking in the back seat could be a blessing in disguise, as the two most under-utilized characters of Season 1 are given some ample time in the forefront. As Fitz struggles with his unfortunate predicament, his best friend Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) leaves for greener pastures, and it comes with a new mission that she has to partake in on her own. These two were inseparable the past season, but breaking off these two characters breathed new life into their personas and otherwise created some longing and fondness for their would-be lovable yet growing stale act.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s outing so far has been solid, with many mysteries on top of even more mysteries, but hopefully the questions won’t greatly outnumber the answers. In the past, the show has haphazardly revealed some answers to these mysteries after an extremely slow build and as a result, they became underwhelming and the gravity that these answers had suffered (the truth about “Tahiti” for example). Hopefully, the show doesn’t fumble this season and becomes more engaging when treating these crucial plot points with the utmost frailty and importance. It’s a bit of a hit-and-miss combination with the execution within the past three episodes, but there is hope in the show gaining some ground as time goes on.
When it comes to the action, however, S.H.I.E.L.D. still delivers satisfyingly, and even more so with the powers of the Absorbing Man and the Blizzard on full display. The depiction of these villains was handled with some care, leaving an impression that one may actually want to root for them due to how their powers look. If that reason sounds superficial, then through and through S.H.I.E.L.D. will be the team to root for. With some new faces, new dynamics and new enemies, they may have been destroyed from the inside out, but here they are still standing with a second season, and still the good guys.
Director Phil Coulson – Coulson is now building the organization from the ground up, and although he doesn’t participate in much action himself, he is still a delight to watch.
Jemma Simmons – She wasn’t given much to work with during the first season, but here Elizabeth Henstridge shines in her new role which completely changes the dynamic of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a unit. God help the girl, she really does need all the help she can get.
Leo Fitz – Fitz is still shaken and affected from what happened to him last season, and even though it hampers the character, it actually does wonders for his characterization, as he is fleshed out more than he ever was during the first season.
Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) – Coulson deems him the “wild card”, and rightfully so. He’s a new addition to S.H.I.E.L.D., and no one will ever know what he’d do next.
Carl Creel (Brian Patrick Wade) – The Absorbing Man comes to life during the first and second episodes, and it’s a very accurate portrayal.
General Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) – A real thorn in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s side, General Glenn Talbot is a hardened man of war who plays the cliche role of government official against the protagonists, but Adrian Pasdar plays the role in a very likeable way.
Skye – Sad to say, that even though she was the focus of last season, Skye had been relegated this time around and is somewhat just a lingering presence to say the least.
Grant Ward (Brett Dalton) – Grant Ward is still here, though he’s not doing much given the situation he put himself in. Though still featured prominently, he sticks out like a sore thumb most of the time during his recent appearances.
Isabelle Hartley (Lucy Lawless) – The actress who is best known for having played Xena the Warrior Princess and her talents can’t help but be seen as merely wasted, having been appeared merely to advance the plot.