Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Is Back and Doing What it Does Best...Being Weird

Wednesday, 09 March 2016 - 11:13AM
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Wednesday, 09 March 2016 - 11:13AM
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Is Back and Doing What it Does Best...Being Weird
Last night's mid-season premiere gave us an episode so jam-packed full of content and promise that it managed to address almost everything on our list of things to look forward to this season. The episode ran the risk of being a little overstuffed, but instead it was a solid introduction to what we can expect from the second half of the season.   
 
After a brief flash forward, which well discuss later, the episode kicks off with a nice link back to the wider MCU when President Ellis and Coulson meet to discuss the "future" of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ellis suggests that, in the light of recent events S.H.I.E.L.D., should continue to serve as a sort of "black ops" alien task force that lives completely off the books, or as Coulson so eloquently puts it "We'll keep doing what we do, and you'll keep pretending we don't exist".  What might not suit Coulson as well is the Ellis's choice for the Chief of the ATCU, but we're sure that will be addressed as the rest of this season plays out.

Spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Bouncing Back' follow.

Having returned from Maveth at least semi-victorious, Coulson appears to have a renewed focus on saving the world, and naturally, it's shady Hydra mastermind Gideon Malick that's his first target. Using Von Strucker Jr., Coulson finds a way to contact Malick and put a trace on his phone. Although this was too early in the season to result in his capture, it was definitely a blow to Hydra since compromising their bases cost them millions in shutdown fees.
 
Agent Coulson is still clearly struggling the manner in which his battle with Ward ended, and as he has many times in the past, he turns to Agent May for a heart-to-heart on the consequences of taking a life. Both of them are now in the position of having done something that neither wanted to do in order to protect their team. As May says, Coulson has "joined the cavalry". Coulson might claim that he did the right thing, but this fact is tainted by the malicious intent with which his actions were performed. Matters will become even more complicated for Coulson when he learns what his actions have done to the man he killed on Maveth.

But, one man's mental loss is another man's strategic gain, and for the moment, zombie Ward aka Hive is Hydra's secret weapon, hunkering down in Malik's bunker chewing on raw meat and watching video footage of humanity's lowest moments. The emotional impact (and the lingering, ominous feeling of death) is much stronger with Hive wearing the face of a former friend and betrayer. Hive has possession of Ward's memories as well as his body, so that will no doubt be the cause of some added tension when he eventually faces off with the team. Brett Dalton has shown that he excels at playing the villain, and his debut as an Inhuman entity is no exception. As Hive struggles to regain his strength this week he initially seems about as threatening as a college student in the middle of finals week- pale, grey, exhausted, and curled up on the couch devoid of all energy.
 
 
But Dalton excels at creating such an unnerving and threatening atmosphere that, by the end of the episode, it's clear that Hive has the potential to be every bit threat we were hoping to see.
 
Meanwhile, new Inhumans are introduced on both sides. Hydra's new powered agent (aka "Medusa Eyes") has the ability to paralyze victims with a glance. His powers work best paired with the element of surprise, and now that S.H.I.E.L.D. has seen firsthand what he can do, hopefully they'll figure out a simple way avoid his gaze. This week's other new Inhuman has already honed her impressive powers by the time S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up, and we soon learn that she's going to make a valuable addition to the Secret Warriors. 

After a life changing fish taco, Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez ( known as Slingshot in the comics) developed the ability to speed as fast and far as she can in the time between heartbeats before ending up back where she started. Unlike so many other Inhumans, Elena feels that her powers give her the chance to make a difference, making her a perfect fit for the Secret Warriors, especially since Daisy's motto seems to be "we're here to help".

But Elena's impact isn't just a strategic one. After a rocky start and a significant language barrier, Mack and Elena are clearly starting to bond. This might well be a mere friendship in bloom, but we can't help but think a romance is on the cards. After all, it seems like nearly every character on the show gets a romantic subplot these days, why should Mac be left out? 
 
At the beginning of the episode, we see a flash-forward of the inside of a ship in orbit.  A necklace, which we eventually learn belongs to Elena is seen floating among the blood at zero gravity, but to say that the body accompanying the necklace in the ship is Elena would be somewhat presumptuous. This scene is more likely to be intentionally misleading, since we don't actually see the body's face. The next best guess would be Mac. While I'm really hoping this isn't the case, after seeing him bond with Elena and having a meaningful exchange about their faith, it's at least a possibility worth considering.
 
Speaking of romantic possibilities, Fitz and Simmons are already getting a fresh start. The two are fast friends and it only makes sense that they miss each other and have decided not to drag out the drama. Things might not be smooth sailing all the time, but it's nice to see the two moving forward again. Personally, I can't wait to see them doing what they do best....working together to solve mind-bogglingly complex science fiction conundrums.
 
 
Despite all this, the episode still wasn't done exploring the romantic side of life in a top secret black ops agency. The show still found time to explore Daisy and Lincoln's blossoming relationship, but between the cuteness of FitzSimmons and the comedy efforts of Lance and Bobbi, this Inhuman pairing seems somewhat humdrum, even after everything they've been through.
 
 "Bouncing Back" was a great return to the show, introducing new characters and beginning the process of healing the wounds left by the mid-season finale. The attempted explanation of Inhuman powers using evolutionary concepts was a nice touch, but we were already introduced to the concept of Inhuman powers as a way to further the evolution of the Cree, so a more in depth explanation wasn't really needed. In fact, further explaining Inhuman powers might have been one of those moments where a clear scientific explanation wasn't necessary *cough* midichlorians *cough*. Still, with that brief flash forward to space, it's clear the showrunners are traveling down a specific path with this Inhuman link to religion and evolution, let's just hope it's a path worth treading.
 
Next week promises the return of Absorbing Man, a more formidable Hive, and the possible repercussions of Talbot becoming the head of the ATCU.
 
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