Agent Coulson and crew are back in action after a mid-season hiatus and there’s a ton going on! Coulson is seriously pissed after Rosalind’s murder at the sniper-y hands or Ward and is out for blood in classic witty and demure Coulson fashion. Ward, who is now possessed by some evil alien from his trip to Maveth, the planet on which Simmons was trapped in the first half of the season, is under the protection of hydra leader Malick until he returns to full power.
Coulson is desperate to exact revenge and uses a mind probe to extract information on Malick from Strucker. He is totally obsessed with this goal and May struggles to keep him in check. Her own plot line is not really addressed in this episode, but will be in upcoming episodes. Here she is reaffirming her devotion to Coulson by tempering his rage and keeping him from crossing any lines he may later regret, though the dangerous mind probe of Strucker to extract Malick’s location comes dangerously close to crossing that line. Lincoln reluctantly intervenes at the request of the others during the process to stabilize Stucker in a dangerous use of his electric power. It’s interesting to see Coulson take Rosalind’s death so hard. All of his nested personal defenses seem to have gone down around her as he let himself feel for her, and now they are all back up, making him colder, but still humorous in his smirky way. He is still devoted to SHIELD and to his crew, but he is damaged, both in body (his hand has now been replaced with a fully functional prosthetic like Luke Skywalker) and mind.
Simmons is still dealing with the trauma of her return to Earth and with Fitz’s revelation of undying love and their subsequent kiss. Their relationship is now tense at the SHIELD base, and she finally confronts him with their feelings. Though their relationship is expertly pulled off by the actors appealing nerdy, spastic and idiosyncratic mannerisms, I feel like this whole “I love you but we are friends and coworkers and we can never be together” is getting a little played out. I feel like that relationship is starting to define them more than their own independent strengths. They need to either get together or stay friends so they can move forward with their own journeys and character grown.
The main event of this episode, which happens in Colombia, (ooo que rico!) is where we get to meet the latest Inhuman, Yoyo, AKA Slingshot, a speedster with a heartbeat time limit on her her powers. She is playing the hero, trying to destroy weapons from corrupt Colombian police, when the SHIELD crew finds her. Daisy and Bobbie are eager to help her, while the others are more reserved. Lincoln is also distrustful. Frankly I find Bobbie and MacKenzie superfluous in this show because they already have Coulson and May. I think they are interesting together but would work better in a different show because Coulson and May’s relationship is so similar and so much better. Daisy is great at trying to recruit new Inhumans , along with Gutierrez and Mackenzie Is able to eventually recruit Yoyo as a backup SHIELD agent. Gutierrez leaves the main cast to be called upon if necessary as well (a good thing too because the main cast is already big enough as it is!). Indeed that seems to be the new plan: to have a core group of SHIELD Inhumans and then have an emergency response team of Inhumans to call upon around the world. They call this the Secret Warriors project. However, that seems to by Hydra’s plan as well, as they snatch up the Inhuman in the Colombian police force with paralysis powers out of SHIELD’s grasp for their own nefarious ends.
This season is displaying many strengths: intricate plot lines with good twists, character growth and development (although I feel they could have less filler and move things along more efficiently and meaningfully, as they do on Flash, where every episode advances each main character’s growth, instead of focusing on one or two at time, although with such a big cast on SHIELD, I understand how that could be difficult) and displaying a lot of diversity in the cast by adding strong male and female characters from many different back grounds and places. The only weaknesses this season are that with so much going on, it’s hard to make room for everything each episode, and over the course of some weeks some plot threads become less salient than others. I also feel that the pairings of certain characters’ and their relationships are unevenly balanced. Bobbie and Mackenzie and Hunter wax and wane as an interesting trio, oscillating between action packed and humorous to kind of boring. Fitz and Simmons can be compelling one week and too melodramatic the next. May seems to cycle in and out of prominence as the plot requires. The only consistently interesting characters I find are Coulson, Daisy and Ward, who pique the viewer’s interest by staying unpredictable and multidimensional, well, at least more so than the others. But mid-season, it seems that even these three have their missions set in their minds. Coulson’s out for blood, Daisy is building the team, and Ward is now a possessed alien hungry for power. I’m hoping that these motivations don’t make them too single minded and lessen their depth, but I’m optimistic for and an exciting remainder of the season.
And with Captain America Civil War coming up at the end of May, who knows how the writers might tie in events leading up to that film and what events from the film will affect the show! As we saw from Captain America Winter Soldier and last season’s fallout, this is a definite probability, and may be the most exciting part of the entire season, as the movie release may coincide with the season finale! Plan on it being quite Marvel-ous!