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SEASON PREMIERE REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×01 “Shadows”

After waiting several months, the moment is finally here: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back! After the last season ended on a bleak cliffhanger, fans were stuck impatiently waiting to hear about the now-defunct S.H.I.E.L.D. and its agents. Thankfully, Season 2’s premiere was well worth the wait, and it looks like we’re in store for a great ride this year. (spoilers ahead!)

The first three minutes of the episode were enough to make any Marvel fan squeal in delight: immediately, we’re flashed back to the end of WW2, right after Captain America disappeared. We’re treated to a quick cameo by Agent Carter and Howling Commandos Dum Dum Dugan and Jim Morita as they infiltrate a HYDRA compound and seize a mysterious silver object. This was a refreshing spin on the series and obviously a small dose of the upcoming Agent Carter series that is set to come out in January 2015.

The episode then flashes back to the present, and there is a brief recap of what’s going on in a post-S.H.I.E.L.D. world. Our favorite agents are back, now allied with a team of mercenaries led by Lucy Lawless. It becomes clear that they’re working together to eliminate all traces of HYDRA left remaining after they took over S.H.I.E.L.D. Lawless was fantastic in her role, and hopefully she stays on throughout the season, although, this may be difficult seeing as she is a supporting character on another popular show, Parks and Recreation, which is due to return in a few weeks.

One of the most exciting parts of the episode was the introduction of Carl Creel aka Absorbing Man. Season 1 had its fair share of guest stars from the films, including Maria Hill, Nick Fury, and Sif of Asgard. With the introduction of Absorbing Man, it makes you wonder if we’ll see more of the films’ characters making guest appearances in the future (possibly Loki since he’s partially responsible for granting Absorbing Man his powers in the comics).

The appearance of this villain also helped remind us that we’re watching a show that’s grounded in the universe of the Avengers. It’s not just a show about spies and espionage; there are superheroes and supervillains out in the world. That’s what a lot of the fans want to see. Many tuned into this show for the superhero qualities. Season 1 hit that mark with its episodes focused on Deathlok and Lorelei. This season has potential to be a hit if it keeps up the pace with Absorbing Man.

The silver object from the beginning flashback makes another appearance later on in the episode as another 0-8-4 (object of unknown origins). The end of the episode leaves on yet another cliffhanger where the 0-8-4 is stolen by Absorbing Man. This opens up the obvious question regarding the nature and purpose of the silver object. Could it be a fragment of the Tesseract? Could it be another disguised Infinity Gem, though, this seems unlikely since it appears that Marvel Studios is trying to keep the Infinity Gem storyline strictly to the films.

The weaker parts of the episode revolve around the Playground, the hidden base for the remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. We learn that Fitz suffered brain damage after the events of last season’s finale and now has trouble focusing on his research while occasionally losing his train of thought mid-sentence. There is also a big twist that is revealed about Simmons towards the end of the episode, but I won’t spoil it here. It appears that this was done to add a little more depth to Fitz’s character, and while it offers the chance to open up a secondary storyline, it ultimately falls flat. We already have enough on our plate wondering about Coulson’s past, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s status, the silver object, etc. We don’t need to worry about Fitz and Simmons right now. Their purpose on the show was always questionable to me, and it appears that the writers are trying to give them more substance, even though we’re 23 episodes into the series. I wouldn’t mind if they just phased out the characters completely, but it seems unlikely that that will happen anytime soon. Oh, and I know I’m the minority on this, but I am not a fan of Patton Oswalt‘s character(s). They seem more annoying than funny.

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Another weak point of the episode involved Skye. The whole first season had a secondary plot regarding Skye’s parents. Now it’s the second season, and we hardly know anything more about her parents than we do since the pilot. Yet every episode reveals a little bit more about her backstory with her family. In this episode, a familiar face returns and hints at knowing information about Skye’s parents, but of course, we’re left dangling with another frustrating loose end, just like all the other times.

Overall, the episode was a great start to the season. It fits in nicely with the storyline following Season 1. Hopefully, the rest of the season keeps up this pace and we see more action to come in the following episodes. At the same time, I’m praying for a quick resolution to Skye’s backstory, which is only slowing the show down at this point.

Final Grade: A-

+ The beginning flashback featuring Agent Carter and the Howling Commandos was the highlight of the episode.

+ Lucy Lawless did an outstanding job in her performance.

+ Absorbing Man was a great addition to the episode (it was nice seeing his trademark ball and chain as well).

 

– I don’t care much for Skye’s parent situation.

– I’m not a fan of Fitz, Simmons, or Agent(s) Koenig.

– I felt like there could’ve been a little more action.

Extra thoughts:

– In 2015, we’re going to be graced with an Agent Carter television series and a Daredevil Netflix series. Is it possible we will see a crossover with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

 

What did you think of the season premiere? Was it worth the wait? Or are you just going to go back and keep watching Captain America: The Winter Soldier over and over until Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out? Sound off and let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!