Agents of S-Period-H-Period-I-Period-E-Period-L-Period-D-Period is back, and it’s time to get secretive, warrior-esque and inhuman all up in your Wednesday mornings. Join me every week as we chronicle the latest season of SHIELD, which has received such previous rave reviews from myself as, “Entertaining!”, “Inconsistent!”, and “Okay, fine, Brian, I’ll write about SHIELD for the site for you.”
But in all seriousness: while Marvel is clearly not banking too much on this show anymore, one can only hope that now they’ve opened the Inhuman Pandora Box we might be able to get something easier to recommend to all my friends who still don’t believe me that the last half of Season 1 and the first half of Season 2 was totally watchable. Are the Not-Mutants the cure for what ails Marvel’s worst TV show?*
(*It’s tough when you compare it to Agent Carter, Daredevil and the trailer for Jessica Jones.)
Let’s find out.
1. My Name’s Daisy, I’m Here for Your Protection
Okay, so we start off with the wild rescue of Joey Guttierrez, our program’s assumed latest Red Shirt, as he runs through the streets hunted by a nefarious shadow agency only to be rescued by Not-Skye-Anymore Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, aka the only member of the Secret Warriors currently on the program. While the show does make a coy reference to 5 others out there (outside of Quake and Fury, there were 5 members to the team), we get an idea of how the new SHIELD operates.
And to be honest, it’s kinda weird. Guttierrez comes around by the end of the episode, but imagine a not-quite-government agency grabs you in a street, tosses you into Wonka’s Space Elevator, tells you you’re never going to live your life again and locks you up in a white room with a TV you can watch if you’re bored. It’s kind of odd. Daisy does play the part well, and I like that Mack refers to her as “the muscle” (Henry Simmons is gargantuan, isn’t he?), but SHIELD doesn’t seem like safe haven so much as it does non-sanctioned alien police force.
We’ll get to ACTU in a minute.
2. A Team Still in Slight Disarray
As we start to get the lay of the land, the team isn’t really in great shape, are they? Mack and Daisy are doing alright as the only team members who get to do anything, but Coulson is on his third hand, Bobby can’t go into the field, and Lance is just biding time until he can go on Ward Hunt 2015. The relationships seem okay, if strained, and no one seems to be totally honest with each other anymore — not to mention that May is just, you know, not here. Oh, and Fitz is basically a basket case, crying in front of the overweight version of 2001’s central figure, the Monolith.
But it could be worse. You could be Jemma Simmons, stuck on some weird alien planet. It’ll be interesting to see what the plan is there, as that’s a perfect opportunity to bring the Kree into this show and give us some pay-off for the alien body we had in Season 1.
3. Wow, Rosalind “Roz” Price is on Agents of SHIELD Now?
First of all: it took me a bit to get that Roz on SHIELD is the same Roz as the one from Jason Aaron’s “Thor” run. Wow. They got her on TV fast, huh? That’s kinda cool.
Roz, not a member of SHIELD, is the leader of the ATCU, a new government sanctioned alien police organization that is for some reason not SWORD. I’m not sure why SWORD and Abigail Brand aren’t on the show to be honest; I like Roz in “Thor”, but there’s nothing particularly nerdy or fun about an organization that sounds like a sneeze when you read it phonetically. I guess SHIELD v. ACTU could be interesting over the course of the season, but no guarantees there.
4. Inhuman Party Bonanza
Speaking of characters being rushed from the comics into the media — Lash, am I right? I mean, looks like Lash. Acts like Lash. Marvel isn’t going to bring out any of the “proper” Inhumans until their film in 2019 so I guess it’s probably a bit much to ask to see Karnak, but it feels weird to see Lash on screen before seeing, I don’t know, Black Bolt? Medusa? Hell, Lockjaw even!Continued below
Still, for what it’s worth, I do like that Lash looks like Lash. This brings me to my ultimate thought about the show:
5. So Is This It? Is This Finally a Comic Book Show?
Lets think about what comic book TV shows mean these days: The Flash. Supergirl. Characters that do extraordinary inhuman things (pun intended) without fear of it being goofy or not translating to a television audience vs. a comic book audience. Heck, even Gotham is getting a bit weird with their villains, and one Arrow embraced its identity it went nutso with the comic book references.
Now SHIELD has Inhumans running loose who push CGI out of their hands, a mad porcupine for a villain, and lead character is trapped on an alien planet. No one is quite in a costume yet (sorry, costume department, but putting Chloe Bennet and Adrianne Palicki in leather digs doesn’t quite cut it), but if Lash can walk around without his shirt on and people are more concerned about his actions over his obnoxiously out there pecks, then I kind of have hope for the overall direction. I can’t emphasize enough that I think SHIELD has missed all of the relevant opportunities to do something unique with its premise as a portion of the Marvel Universe because no other property will reference the Inhumans until the 2019 film — guaranteed — but if SHIELD can at least abandon all pretensions and just run wild with the concept there could be value in that.
So the premiere was decent, if not something I’m over enthusiastic about. I remain precarious about allowing myself to be wooed too much again, but if the CW has taught me anything it’s that putting on a red jumpsuit and being excited about running fast is amazing; SHIELD can try and be realistic all it wants, but as long as it embraces its Inhuman presence this season could be a lot of fun to watch.