Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is the not so little show that could. A show which couldn’t have been any worse than its first ten or so episodes but fought back and actually became pretty damn good.
This is a review of part 2 of season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, so if you’re interested in a review of part 1 of season 2 then click this link.
There will be spoilers for Agents of SHIELD season 2 within this review.
I have to start by saying that I’m very impressed by how Agents of SHIELD has been able to string together so many different story strands, with most of which feeling properly fleshed out and well done. In this half season alone there were five different big antagonists (Cal, Hydra, Ward, Jiaying and other SHIELD), none of whom felt forced.
Calvin Zabo is one of the best and most relatable villains I’ve seen on TV in quite some time (Kyle MacLachlan was outstanding). Yes he is a bit off his head, but when you delve deeper into his backstory you realise that there is a real reason for it all. Cal’s story is a tragic one, losing a daughter and a wife and becoming mentally unstable because of it. Having his life twisted by his wife for her own means and being unable to be a part of either of their lives despite wanting nothing else. All he really wanted to be was a family man, and nobody really wanted him, it was sad. His ending is an even more tragic one, having his memory wiped and not even recognising the daughter who he had desperately searched for the last twenty years.
The Inhumans storyline was very interesting; as we got to see their special retreat (…) full of likeminded folks all hanging about showing off their nifty powers. Raina had an unfortunate development…which also led to her being able to see the future but ultimately it led to a knife being thrust firmly into her, the worst sort of future. The development of Jiaying as a mentor figure, to Skye’s mother and finally to the biggest antagonist of the season was cleverly done. There was always something mysterious about her, however my assumption was that it was because of her leadership and age, rather than the fact that she was a bit nuts (probably why her and Cal were so suited) and wanted to kill all the non-Inhumans. It was pretty great to see Cal kill her in the end as she showed no love towards her own daughter when it came down to it, something which she had obviously held over him to do her will for many years.
We then also had the continual bad guy Ward along for the ride, who after chilling with Agent 33 for a while, got back into the bad guy fold by double teaming with Coulson to infiltrate Hydra. They’ve done a really good job with Ward as the seasons have progressed, because initially he was the very definition of what was wrong with the series, he was bland and meh, now he is the opposite. We got the best of Ward here, him infiltrating, showing the slightest glimpse that he may have changed, only to slam that door firmly shut and go back to his shity ways. The trap he set up involving Bobbi was classic Ward, hurting you by hurting others, and then his killing of May only to end up realising that he had actually shot Agent 33 by accident was pretty great, seeing the smarmy git end up on the receiving end of his own hubris, ironic really.
For me a show like Agents of Shield is made and broken by how strong the antagonists are. As the audience you need to feel like there is a sense of danger, otherwise it’s ‘LOLSHIELDWINS!’ all the time and it becomes predictable and samey. Things like Trip’s death in the first half of the season, Coulson getting his hand cut off and Bobbi getting shot are all important parts in making the main characters feel vulnerable in what is a dangerous job and it makes for a better show too, yes we know they will ultimately win but there needs to be that element of doubt, and great bad guys give exactly that.
The acting is generally pretty good, all the main characters are very likeable (especially Hunter and Fitz, they’re the bestest!). I think the introduction of Hunter, Bobbi and Mack has really helped the show because each does something different but all are very cool characters. Honestly Agents of SHIELD has some of the most badass women on TV in Bobbi, May and Skye (with her cool new powers), which is really nice to see, I mean half the time Fitz is the damsel in distress.
Looking forward the writers have really set up the next season really well, we have the fallout from the crystals plane, Ward on his revenge tour in the memory of Agent 33, Coulson setting up the Secret Warriors with Skye, May off on holiday and best of all Simmons being absorbed by the Monolith in a great final scene. You really have to hand it to them, the writers aren’t satisfied with just one story arc, and that is very laudable.
Agents of SHIELD is a really good show, yes it isn’t the best thing out there but for network TV it has to be one of the best shows currently being produced. Every episode runs fluently and despite having a 22 episode season of 45 minute episodes, it never feels like any drag and there is very little filler. The multiple storylines and consistent production of believable and threatening bad guys is in my opinion what makes Agents of SHILED a good show, put that together with a nice cast and really likeable characters that each have distinguishable characteristics and you have a show which should be doing a hell of a lot better in the ratings. Hopefully as things go forward it begins to pull in the ratings which the show deserves.
So what did you think of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD season 2? Are you glad that Fitz has recovered from his ailments? Are you wondering how Ward can be such a meany yet still be so dreamy? How will Coulson get on without his hand (not his wanking one at least)? Then leave a comment and share those thoughts!