Warning! Major Spoilers!
People who have been following my TV coverage for a while on All Comic may remember that I was actually covering Agents of SHIELD’s second half of the season for the site, however, shortly before the game changing events of Turn, Turn, Turn, I stopped doing so, mainly due to my lack of interest in the direction and the characters. I gave up on the show and as a result, was turned off watching it altogether, which I’ve done with very few shows in the past (as I normally end up saving them for later). However, when the aforementioned episode hit, and the praise from practically all corners surfaced, I began thinking whether I’d made a mistake or not, and decided to go back and play catchup. And I am so, so glad that I did – because it really impressed, and that’s a trend that thankfully seems to have continued into the next season judging by Shadows at least.
The episode started with the surprising flashback to 1945 and the end of the First War, with Peggy Carter (just in time for her new show, hitting during the time period when Agents of SHIELD is off air), and the Howling Commandos busting the last Hydra Base that they know and coming across a deadly weapon that Hydra are attempting to relocate. It was an excellent way to kick-start the series and double my interest in checking out the new show. Then, we jumped forward to the present where we found the team of Skye (who has surprisingly, become less annoying over the series break), May and Triplett (who are both awesome, and always have been) overseeing an exchange involving Lucy Lawless’ character Izzy Hartley, who is working undercover and attempting to get information from a Shield Agent who may or may not be Hydra. And then, when they think everything’s going down well, to make matters even more exciting, none other than the Absorbing Man shows up, a character who I’m only familiar with in the Lego Marvel Superheroes video game, and things get a lot more interesting as the show delivers an excellent premiere that’s everything a Marvel fan could have wanted.
This episode featured several Easter eggs that fans of the comics will love. Beyond appearances of the Howling Commandos (straight from The First Avenger) and the Absorbing Man, There’s even a Marvel UK character showing up, in the form of Lance Hunter (played by Nick Blood) as part of Hartley’s team. So there’s plenty of treats for fans to look out for over the course of the series.
We quickly got caught up with the rest of the team following this. Coulson is now the Director of SHIELD (or what’s left of it), Ward’s locked in a containment cell, trapped and isolated from human contact, Fitz is in a broken state following the events of the finale and is struggling to adapt with memory problems and has trouble grasping reality. This was made even worse by the departure of Simmons at the episode’s end, and combined with the Absorbing Man’s attack at the end of the episode showed that the show really has gone a lot darker than any of us could have expected it to when it first aired, and whilst it’s not quite the levels of Hannibal or Walking Dead dark, it is certainly a very different beast from when it aired.
The plot itself is handled well and the action is constantly entertaining. There are some great scenes and there are some good efforts put in to make a consistent improvement on where last season went wrong, with Skye being a more tolerable character being one of the mentions here and now it seems to have dropped its case of the week formula, which is always a good thing. Whilst it was a shame to only see Lucy Lawless stick around for the pilot with her character seemingly being killed, there’s no doubt interesting things on the horizon for Agents of SHIELD.
This is one of the strongest returning episodes of a show that I’ve watched this week, and in a week that’s already seen the return of shows like Person of Interest, The Blacklist and Sleepy Hollow, the very fact that Agents of SHIELD can go toe-to-toe with them in terms of quality just shows how good it is now. The characters are more fascinating, diverse and interesting, much like the plot itself. And the very fact that this show will air on the same day as not only the aforementioned Person of Interest, but also the upcoming Flash and Supernatural series from the CW, should make Tuesdays very exciting indeed when it comes to television.
Did you enjoy Agents of SHIELD’s return, or were you left feeling disappointed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.