The Ninjabot

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Premiere – “Shadows”

Posted on September 23, 2014 at 9:00 pm by Amanda Andonian

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After such a faltering first season, I’d sort of given up on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Although I kept watching, each new episode made me lose more and more faith in the possibility of it becoming a truly great show. So understand fully that when I say that the season 2 premiere, “Shadows,” completely rights the ship, I am coming from a place of super low expectations.

Instead of the normally stilted dialog and terribly transparent premises, we have an action-packed episode with much higher stakes and a former S.H.I.E.L.D. team on the run. Coulson and the gang are back and better than ever, completely willing to go the extra mile in order to accomplish their mission. They’re on the side of right, but they’re not afraid to bust in a few heads in order to do it. Grey areas are always the most interesting places to dwell! It’s obvious that Coulson is struggling with how to achieve their goals, too. While he clearly wrestles with the decision to put it all on the line in order to gain some small headway, he’s also become a much stronger and more hardened leader, making the tough calls even if it might mean losing the only people he can trust. High stakes at their highest!

If you haven’t watched the episode, it’s definitely well worth your time. Skye’s character got a major overhaul, there are tons of new and fascinating players, and of course fun action. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think you will too. Lucy Lawless makes for an awesome guest star roo, so there’s really no reason why you’d want to miss out.

Spoilers Ahead!

The premiere starts off by giving us a sneak peek at what the upcoming ABC show, Agent Carter, might be like. We go back in time to the aftermath of WWII to see Agent Carter and the boys recovering artifacts to be protected by the Strategic Scientific Reserve, which would later become S.H.I.E.L.D. It was brief, but it definitely got me interested in Agent Carter, and I’m now looking forward to seeing it when it premieres in January.

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Flash forward to present day where May, Skye, and a bunch of newbies are trying to recover the artifact, but their party is crashed by a mysterious dude who seems to be bullet proof. We quickly find out that he actually has the ability to absorb the molecular structure of any substance he touches, which the story uses to great effect. This guy isn’t just touching metal and becoming impervious to bullets. He’s also using his ability to blend into the background unseen, give himself an advantage over his attackers, and basically turn himself into a living weapon. I especially appreciated how the show snuck in little details about his ability, such as the fact that his body has to eventually revert back to its fleshy state. It definitely made for a particularly gross scene in the lab when Fitz tries to examine a piece of metal that broke off the guy during battle.

Getting back to the newbies, Lucy Lawless guest stars as Izzy Hartley, a mercenary who’s helping Coulson and his team get their feet back under them after the dissolution of S.H.I.E.L.D. She and her cohorts were terrific additions to the cast, and I’m sad that they probably won’t be becoming series regulars, or at least recurring characters. Spoiler alert: the molecularly absorbent guy kills her and one of her guys. The other one seemed to make it out of the encounter alive, though, so maybe he’ll be back! I hope so, because I was really enjoying the addition of several new and super hot actors to the cast.

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My only real issue with the episode is how they handled Fitz’s brain damage. At first, I thought it was written well enough; although he’s suffering from memory loss and having difficulty communicating, with a great deal of help from Simmons, he’s still able to function close enough to normal. Yes, he’s super irritable and mean to Simmons, but it’s out of frustration over the fact that he can’t think as easily as he used to. I really liked the scenes between them because Simmons is so positive and supportive in the face of his negativity, showing how well these characters complement each other. Their relationship is my favorite part of the show, and I enjoyed seeing them work together much the same as they always have despite Fitz’s trauma. Unfortunately, the show then reveals that Simmons isn’t actually there. Fitz is hallucinating her, and all of his dialog with her is actually him talking to himself. We don’t really know for sure what the real Simmons thinks and feels about Fitz’s newfound disability.

First of all, I have a really hard time believing that Simmons would just abandon him like that. He was willing to die in order to save her life, and I just don’t believe that she would leave when he’s obviously struggling with getting back to his old self. The writers try to explain it away with Coulson saying that Simmons believed her presence was only hindering Fitz’s recovery, but that’s a terrible explanation. Anyone would have (or should have) been able to tell Simmons that her presence is the only thing that could keep him together. The only way I’d be able to buy her departure is if she later admits that she left out of guilt over Fitz’s sacrifice for her. I could understand how that would be a lot to deal with.

Overall, this was a great premiere for the second season. The writing has vastly improved, Skye is way less annoying, and the stakes are much easier to believe in. They’re probably going to go back to the “monster of the week” formula in ensuing weeks, but I think that the pressure that Coulson and co. are under is enough to make things far more interesting than they were when S.H.I.E.L.D. was still up and running.

What did you think of the premiere? Tell us in the comments!

“Shadows” – A

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 2 Episode 1, “Shadows,” aired on ABC September 23rd, 2014.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

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