Let me just get this out of my system now: I’m looking forward to this season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Why? Because the show had a flawed first season, often inspiring ire from fans and haters alike. That leads me to assume it’ll learn from its mistakes? Well a fan can only hope. That being said, it’s hard to deny that the latter half of season 1 (if you stuck with the program) was noticeably far better than the former. What I’m not looking forward to? Typing out “S.H.I.E.L.D.” with all its capitals and punctuations every time I write a review. Alas. Geek blogger problems.
The team has been shaken up. Ward is under lockdown – a known HYDRA associate. Coulson is busy gathering troops to refit S.H.I.E.L.D.’s numbers. Skye still doesn’t know who her daddy is. Fitz is suffering from brain damage. And General Talbot is trying his best to seize everything S.H.I.E.L.D. related to bring the organization down. But we’ve got a few newbies to add to the crew. Well, new faces anyway. From the looks of it they’ve been on board with S.H.I.E.L.D. for some time, but are only just making their TV debut. Lucy Lawless’ character being the head honcho of the new recruits, named Agent Isabelle “Izzy” Hartley. Aside from her these new characters have yet to step up to the plate. But we’ll see how that develops.
I kept away from news of season 2 for the most part, so the revelation that Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) would be making a cameo at the start of this was a total surprise for me. Not only her, but several other Howling Commandos from the Captain America: The First Avenger film make an appearance. A welcome appearance I might add, as we find the true reason unidentified objects within the organization are titled 084’s – it was merely the numbering system at the time.
This throws us into the modern day as a private seller attempts to auction off this suitcase containing the mysterious artifact marked 084. This is also where Lawless and her team come in, along with Agents May and Skye. And unfortunately this is where we meet the antagonist to the episode (and perhaps the next few episodes). Crusher Creel has the unique and devastating ability to absorb the properties of anything he comes into physical contact with, making him a seemingly unsurmountable villain. In the comics he’s appropriately (but not very creatively) titled the Absorbing Man. How does one contain him? Well, he’s after this 084, and after a series of bad moves from multiple fronts he eventually does get his hands on it. But not before Agent Hartley does, to terrifying effect.
When she touches this strange artifact, her hand and arm begin to turn into a stone-like substance, effectively gorgonizing her into stiffness. Her only way of saving her own life is by severing the arm still clutching the artifact altogether – which unfortunately for her has to happen. Although we’re spared the gruesome visual, we got the painful point. This item is not to be messed with.
The real standout character for me is Fitz, the lovable tech who suffered brain damage after drowning at sea during last season’s finale. We learn that not only is his ability to conjure proper thought patterns and have conversations sorely stunted, he’s also seeing things – namely his dear friend Simmons. Throughout the episode we see her, but only by his side, until at last it’s revealed that she was never really there to begin with and he was having labored conversations with her in his mind. Her true whereabouts are as of yet unknown. But yeah, his plight is totally pulling on all the right strings with me. He was one of the best characters in the first season and I hope that pulls true a second time around.
Overall though, the episode wasn’t a strong opener, and wouldn’t even hold up against some of the big-hitter episodes of the first season. It was a bit of a disappointment in that respect. I’m not sure about this new catchphrase Coulson is throwing around either – “Go Dark”. But it’s set the season up well, along with the upcoming Agent Carter miniseries. Who knows, we may get more Agent Carter cameos in episodes to come. That would be very welcome. What did you think of the season opener? Did it hold up? Will you continue watching?