Hey, did you know that there’s only one more episode to go before Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. goes away until March? Crazy, right? While that seems like kind of a crazy long break, we’ll have Agent Carter to tide us over—and what’s more, the big-picture structure of this season is kind of really working so far. These first nine episodes of season 2 seem to function as a prelude of sorts to the 13 that’ll come in the spring—kind of like two seasons in one.
Hello there! How did everyone fare on their week away from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Hopefully you returned refreshed and well-rested, because this week’s episode is not easing back into things. But before we dive in, a point of order: Thanks to AoS’s tightly packed plotting as of late, we’re going to break down tonight’s episodes into discrete chunks—otherwise we’d be hopping back and forth between scenes every other sentence, and that’s not fun to read.
It’s official, folks: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has stepped up its game in just about every conceivable way. I’ve mentioned this a little bit in just about every recap thus far, because I want to make sure those who are just checking in to get a read on the show’s pulse knows for sure: AoS is now entertaining in its own right, whether or not you care about comic books or the MCU as a whole. And if you do, it’s great at hitting those notes as well.
Five weeks in, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to build momentum. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about the show, here’s where I’m finally letting apprehension give way to excitement: AoS is going somewhere, and it looks fun and dark and far more interesting than ever before. Also, if there’s any truth to the prevailing theories out there, stuff is gonna get cray. We’ll talk about that some more in a bit. Let’s talk about this episode first, since that’s why we’re all here.
There’s been a label that’s been applied to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. since its earliest days, even before it premiered. It’s a label that’s also a name: Whedon.
Calling AoS a Whedon show has been a blessing and a curse—it helped at the start, getting people excited, but it also set expectations really high. But AoS was an entirely different animal, and I’d argue that the comparison wasn’t really fair. But if I were forced to make it, I’d say the Whedon show that’s reflected most in AoS is Angel.
Well, you guys called it.
“Making Friends and Influencing People” catches us up with Jemma Simmons, who sat out the first two episodes (give or take a HeadSimmons). The promos for this week’s episode played up the fact that she had defected for Hydra, and while that would’ve been interesting, the show went for the obvious choice and—well, let’s not skip over the beginning, because damn.
Now that is more like it.
The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was a case study in missed opportunities. For a show that has the fact that it’s set in the same universe as some of the most popular movies on the planet as a selling point, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was ridiculously stingy with its comic book references. It appeared that being closely tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe was going to be more of a hindrance than a help—a list of things the show couldn’t use as opposed to a wealth of toys with which they could play.
This is the episode I’ve been most impatiently waiting for, not the pilot. The first episode, directed by Joss Whedon, is a big-budget (Actual Paris! Actual jumbo jet!) introduction to the series. This episode is the real test to how the show will hold up on its own. Is it really going to be ”blue skies from here on out?” Let’s dig deep and find out.
As a fan of Marvel comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), I’ve been impatiently awaiting this series. I’ve also shielded (heh) myself from any potential teases or spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to fully experience the show with only my own ridiculous expectations — rather than everyone’s — to cloud my judgment. (After writing this, I can finally read and appreciate the full Joss Whedon interview.)
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