14th Nov2014

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×01: Shadows’ Review

by ApolloXL5

Written by Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen | Directed by Vincent Misiano

AOS-absorbing-man

PLOT:

General Talbot continues to hunt down both SHIELD, while Director Coulson attempts to rebuild the secret organisation. But that is put on hold as an powerful object is rediscovered, and another powerful adversary is unleashed by HYDRA.

VERDICT:

After the strong second half to what was generally seen as a not so good first season of the Marvel TV show, the heat is on for Agents of Shield to capitalise on the shot of adrenaline it has been given in the form of the ‘Hydra Uprising’ story (courtesy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier). And from what I saw in this opening episode of season two, I am hopeful that the show will continue to improve on that.

The opening scene helped make the show feel like it was becoming even more like the small-scale version of the Cinematic Universe that Marvel hoped it would have been at the very start, what with Hydra-Nazis vs. Agent Carter and the Howling Commandos (though the battle was really, very short). I can definitely say that I am looking forward to seeing where their take the post-Word War Two Agent’s own show when it airs in January.

But just like the Marvel movies during Phase One, this season looks like it might be focusing on another alien MacGuffin (this time called ‘the Obelisk’). Also the scene introduced us to Reinhardt/Daniel Whitehall (who in the comics is HYDRA’s ‘Commander Kraken’ and appears to be set up as a major antagonist this season), but I could not help but feel a sense of deja vu when seeing his scenes (both the flashback and his modern day appearance at the episode’s end). Perhaps it’s because I saw a similar story play out during the Eighth season of Supernatural (the adequately titled ‘Everybody hates Hitler, which was a very good episode).

But anyhow, when we get back to the modern day, Coulson’s newly rebooted Shield are still active and attempting to hunt down the last remnants of Hydra, all the while trying to stay ahead of General Talbot and his troops. I for one really enjoyed the scene between the two Leaders (both Clark Gregg and Adrian Pasdar were very good in my opinion), as well the scene between Skye and Ward (I highly doubt that the latter will ever go back to being good, and that is a good thing) which had a tense atmosphere and two actors display good chemistry with each other.

This episode also introduced us to some new characters in the form of Isabelle Hartley, Lance Hunter, Idaho and Mack Mackenzie (who is the only comic book character out of the new-comers to Shield). But we don’t get to warm to them in the 40 mins of run time, because apart from Hunter and Mack. The other two are killed at the episode’s end (which is a shame, because I like Lucy Lawless) while the rest of the original characters are fine despite facing heavy resistance while successfully stealing a Quinjet.

Now I understand the need to give the show a sense of urgency and sell us the idea that any character can die, but since Agents of Shield did not show the same guts during the first season (Fritz really should have snuffed it during that season’s finale, as he is the only weak-character that I can see), we simply cannot believe that any of the main heroes will never make it home alive from a mission (Joss Whedon did a better job of having this sense of urgency with his older shows, prime example being Angel).

Now onto this episode’s super-powered threat, which took the form of Carl ‘Crusher’ Creel or as he is known in the comics…‘the Absorbing Man‘. This guy made a really good impression during his debut episode in my opinion (far more so than we got with Deathlok during his entire appearance last season) and he was involved in all the biggest set-pieces like the one in the park and then the car-crash at the episode’s end. I for one look forward to seeing what they do with him in the next episode.

**** 4/5

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