A year ago, I never could have imagined saying this: Agents of SHIELD is genre fiction done right.
Last year, the show floundered, frustrated fans, and occasionally dangled fascinating plots that never went anywhere. It’s obvious in retrospect that Agents of SHIELD was spinning its wheels waiting for Captain America: Winter Soldier to be released, so it could catch up with that movie’s happenings. (Spoiler alert on the movie.)
With SHIELD officially disbanded, Nick Fury ostensibly dead, and Hydra returned as a modern villain, everything changes, the stakes are high, and a veil of secrecy is placed over the agency. All of this is for the better. Let’s just set aside the fact that the Marvel Industrial Complex ruined Season 1 of this show and see what it has currently wrought.
It’s wrought goodness! And excitement! There’s a noirish quality to the paranoia—anyone could be Hydra—and the action is amped up. In two episodes so far, we’ve had a shoot-out, a tense heist-gone-wrong sequence, and a breakneck motorcycle chase. The series is introducing more superpowers in the form of Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man, as well as more Marvel technology (the Quinjet), while still staying grounded. New characters are bringing new life to the team. Fitz has a brain injury that makes him more tragic, more interesting, and much less goofy. Skye’s “I am the focus of everything” bullshit is dialed back—she’s just one more character. There’s a genuine sense of not knowing what will happen next.
I’m not motivated to write this up for you every week, but we’ll continue to check in from time to time. Meanwhile, this one is recommended for being everything that Gotham is not.