There are spoilers in this review, duh.

Agents of SHIELD is in the midst of a very good second season, far better than the first, and it’s interesting to see how they are using it to begin things for the rest of the MCU. The Inhumans are introduced, and this episode seems to have implications for the eventual Civil War. The problem is that I can’t read their intentions/tone as well as I’d like. The flashbacks were a delight, harkening back to the immediate aftermath of Captain America 2, but this time from the point of view of the other SHIELD agents who were right in the middle of the action. The question is whether or not we’re supposed to see them as the good guys or the bad guys, or if this show is saying there’s a mixture of both happening. I can’t tell yet, and it’s making me iffy on how I feel the storyline is being executed. But there’s still time, so it hasn’t all worked out. In any case! Previously on Agents of SHIELD: Skye gained super powers. The Inhumans have not been named exactly, but their backstory as Kree experiments gone wrong is established now. Simmons is studying Skye and has concerning views on super powered people, leading her and Fitz to fall out. Coulson put Skye in a safehouse, fearing her safety at the moment. Hunter found out that Bobbi and Mack are part of a second SHIELD division who think that Fury and Coulson shouldn’t be in charge anymore. They are specifically critical/suspicious of Coulson’s actions since taking over. Hunter escaped from their clutches and now the two of them have to go back into our SHIELD team.

First off, in the flashbacks we see the other SHIELD team and how they all got together. Lucy Lawless makes a guest appearance as her super badass (and now dead) character Hartley. It’s in the midst of the HYDRA/SHIELD show down, and they’re trying to destroy the helicarrier from the inside out. Bobbi’s orders are to destroy it, so she attempts to get everyone else off the ship, and tells Hartley to bring Hunter in. But the entire group decides instead not to destroy it, but to retake it and restart SHIELD, this time the right way. Bobbi stands out as such a great character here, and her actress Adrianne Palicki should be given a lot of credit for her portrayal. She was ready to follow orders and die for it, but then she rallied everyone together to fight for the cause. It explains why she in particular is so strong on this side, because she helped create it. Gonzales – Edward James Olmos’ character – was injured but agreed in the end to face overwhelming odds against them. He was the highest ranking person at the moment, so I think that’s why he’s the current leader. It was harrowing and fascinating to watch this group of people push aside grief to get the job done, and then feel that wave of inspirational bravery. So in the flashbacks at lease, this team is clearly who we need to be rooting for.


Not so much in the current time. Bobbi and Mack infiltrate the group, but it isn’t that long before they figure out something’s amiss with these two. The current team try to deal with their traitors, with Simmons managing to get the drop on Bobbi. She’s come a long way and she is much better at lying now. Mack and Fitz face off, but then the other SHIELD team attacks and takes everyone hostage. Gonzales speaks with Coulson and points out how untrustworthy he’s been lately. Mostly since he got the alien blood and started having hallucinations, and led them all to the Inhuman lair. I’ll be honest, I agree with him here. From an outside perspective, Coulson’s made a lot of questionable decisions, and people would have reason to doubt his actions. However, Coulson is right that the better way to do it would talk to him directly. Bobbi and Mack have been with them, and they know that they’re not bad people. They might not agree with Coulson, but I don’t think they have reason to suspect he wouldn’t be willing to listen or at least consider banding together with the other group. Simmons and Fitz are currently in custody, but May managed to escape, because she’s a badass. She comes back in time to save Coulson and then send him off, willingly giving herself over to protect Simmons and Fitz from the inside. See, the way May’s “rescue” was staged, it just feels like we’re supposed to see this other team as villains, but I don’t think they really are. We see sympathetic flashbacks, and they all want the same thing, so it’s weird to not be sure who we’re supporting. I can’t say I suppose our team more than theirs. Hmmm.

Anyway, Skye has been staying in Bruce Banner’s former safehouse. Ha! That was a fun reveal. She meets other Inhuman teleporter Gordon. He stops by for a chat. I love this character, this is the most we’ve seen him talk on screen, and he’s charming. He tells Skye he wants to help her, and I wonder if he knows his former mentor was her mother. My guess is yes. So it’s personal for him. He points out that the reaction of her team to her has been fear and mistrust, and that he can bring her to people who understand. When the other SHIELD team attacks, she uses her powers for the first time in defense. It’s pretty impressive and gives a shock wave at Bobbi and another agent. The agent gets stabbed though, and Skye’s horrified at her violence, so she asks Gordon to save her. He pops by and boom, they’re gone. Coulson meets with Hunter at the end, and they need to make plans to “rescue” their team. Seriously though, I’m not sure how I feel. Do they need to be rescued? I guess they do, but at the same time, these SHIELD people don’t seem like the enemy. I can’t tell what the show is trying to make me feel about them, but I don’t like it. I think this is a set up for the Civil War in a way, since they’re disagreeing on what should be done with super powered people for certain. Eventually in Civil War superhumans will be required to register with the government and work for them, and this team seems like they might support that, thinking they’re too dangerous to be left on their own. I just hope that Olmos’ character doesn’t turn out to be HYDRA or someone evil, because that would simplify this situation way too much. It’s more complicated and ambiguous in the moment, which I like, but having one of them be evil would destroy their points that are completely valid. I’m iffy on this episode, but the storyline isn’t over yet, so more is coming.


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