TV Review - Agents of Shield: Season 2

Ming-Na Wen (left) and Clark Gregg
in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
The first season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started rather weak. With the exception of Angel, which was a spin-off, this series began very much like all other Joss Whedon TV shows. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was aided from the beginning with more engaging and interesting characters who were engaging and interesting from day one. Because of the nature of it being a spy series, the show set a trap for itself of which took a while for it to dig itself out.

In Season 1, the show only kicked off in the episode, which played after the theatrical release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Marvel Studios planned for the plot of the TV show to be affected by the plot of the movie. It was brilliant, but it dragged the show for half a season. For this second season, the show continues to use the movie as a springboard.

In the Season 2 premiere, Agent Peggy Carter, played by Hayley Atwell, leads a mission against Hydra, the evil Nazi-like organization that S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to fight. Her mission is set in Austria 1945. She's assisted by Dugan, played by Neal McDonough, and Morita, played by Kenneth Choi. All of whom are from Captain America: The First Avenger. This Agent Carter mission serves two purposes. The first is to set up the spin-off simply called Agent Carter and the other purpose is to establish the macguffin for this season or at least for the initial run of fall episodes.

In addition to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the plot of this show was also affected last year by the plot of the film Thor: The Dark World. The character of Thor and related characters are technically alien beings, and last year alien artifacts or alien technology were revealed to have been deposited on Earth. The artifact in question for this run of episodes is the Obelisk. The Obelisk has a lot of power. Some of it is deadly, which makes it desirable to bad guys like those from Hydra, including Dr. Daniel Whitehall, played by Reed Diamond.

Clark Gregg reprises his role as Agent Phil Coulson who since the presumed death of Nick Fury has become the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., but also since Hydra invaded S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson hasn't had much of an organization to direct. He's spent the intervening time trying to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D., which includes recruiting new members or agents.

Ming-Na Wen plays Agent Melinda May, his right hand and highly-trained, martial artist. Chloe Bennet plays Skye, a computer hacker-turned-field agent. Iain De Caestecker plays Leo Fitz, a brilliant researcher and inventor. Elizabeth Henstridge plays Jemma Simmons, a scientist-turned-field agent.

May is trying to keep an eye on Coulson who since his return from Tahiti has been exhibiting strange signs, possibly deleterious signs. Skye has to face her complicated relationship with Grant Ward, played by Brett Dalton. Ward went from field agent to prisoner for betraying S.H.I.E.L.D. for Hydra. Meanwhile, Fitz is suffering from brain damage as a result of an attack by Ward. He's also suffering from heart-break having Simmons gone from his life.

Among the new recruits include Antoine Triplett, played by B.J. Britt, a field agent who partners with Skye on occasion. There's also Mac, played by Henry Simmons, a mechanic who normally doesn't go out on missions. He repairs and doles out equipment and vehicles. Finally, Lance Hunter, played by Nick Blood, also joins the team as a British, former mercenary who used to work only for money.

Coulson and his agents are trying to find the Obelisk and other alien artifacts before Hydra, so Hydra can't use those artifacts to dominate or take-over the world, which is what they always want. Hydra has money, power and technology to help them combat anything, but sometimes Hydra has supernatural beings on its side. Last season, Hydra had Mike Peterson aka Deathlok. This season, it has a round robin of villains from various Marvel comics.

The first of which was Carl Creel, played by Brian Patrick Wade. Creel is in actuality the Absorbing Man from the Thor comics. In Episode 3, there was Donnie, played by Dylan Minnett. Donnie aka Blizzard is a villain or is from the rogues gallery from the Iron Man comics. In the example of Donnie, he's brainwashed by Hydra.

The show has become a very good adventure series. The action scenes are surprisingly well done. Episode 4 featured a lengthy and well-choreographed fight scene between May and a Hydra agent in disguise, which is just as good as her fight scene last season with Ward. This follows a pretty wicked car crash in the Season 2 premiere as well as some pretty cool, special effects in Episode 2 with Creel and in Episode 3 with Donnie.

The series also has fun with Adrian Pasdar who plays General Talbot. His scenes with Coulson are a delight. It's really in these scenes when head writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharden can really provide the witty dialogue in its most tongue-in-cheek form, but the series is fun now all around.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-LV.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Tuesdays at 9PM on ABC.


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