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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. left audiences with a hell of a cliffhanger when the show took its winter break.  After kicking some Hydra ass, the mid-season finale finally revealed Skye’s new powers and in the final moments, even gave audiences their first glimpse of an Inhuman.  In the months since then, audiences have had more Flash, more Arrow, and the entire run of Marvel’s other network series, Agent Carter.  In other words, the competition has been FIERCE since the agents went on vacation. So, did the return of AoS live up to its potential and manage to keep pace with the several other comic book series’ out there? Somehow, someway, yes, it certainly did. Spoilers follow.

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After the events of the mid-season finale, audiences were treated to the new forms that Raina and Skye have now taken on thanks to their Terrigenesis (metamorphosis). While Skye’s changes do lie a bit beneath the surface, Raina’s new appearance is more than a bit jarring.  The team managed to find Skye among the rubble that was left behind after the earthquake she caused with her new abilities.  While the temple was completely crushed, somehow, Skye managed to escape unharmed, leading her right into quarantine while the team tries to figure out if she is still the same person she was before. While Simmons (who is now prejudice against people like Skye and Raina) is conducting her tests on Skye, Coulson has found a new reason to hate Hydra, now that Tripp is gone, taking much of the humor of the show with him. Coulson uses this new motivation as the perfect opportunity to stop Hydra in its tracks while they are scrambling to find a new head to replace Whitehall. In the midst of all of this action and drama, audiences were also treated to wonderful flashback of Skye’s mother as she comforts a young Inhuman, Gordon.  If this seems like a lot to stuff into an hour of television, it’s because it really was a lot, which leads to really the only major issue with last night’s episode.

Anytime showrunners try to stuff as many subplots as possible into a single episode, the episode loses a bit of substance.  Any one of the many plots running through the episode would have been wonderful to focus on, just on their own! Instead, some of the more interesting aspects of the series, such as Gordon, were introduced almost in passing.  Yes, audiences can be certain that Gordon will have a bigger part to play in the story, especially after that spectacular getaway. However, whether he is good/bad/indifferent is still to be discovered.  Much of AoS has been a slow burn and swaying from that groundwork is probably not in the cards but a bit more Gordon couldn’t have been a bad thing.  By the way, anyone else wondering if Gordon is actually Uatu?

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Still, even with the barely touched plotpoints and with the teases of things to come, it was still one of the stronger episodes of the series so far. It was an episode that was used to set up the rest of the season and taken as such, it was very successful.  Those plotpoints will likely lead to bigger stories through the season and will be very interesting to see played out to completion.  For instance, Fitz has now officially deceived Simmons in order to protect Skye, now that Simmons feels that people beings like Skye are a plague.  Considering how damaged their relationship is already, I would assume that this lie will eventually break the Fitz/Simmons relationship even further, perhaps beyond the point of reconciliation.  Oh, and how about Bobbi and Mack?? Are they working for Hydra? Fury? Someone else entirely?

Many people gave up on AoS during its freshman year.  The series took this group of extraordinary agents and instead of pitting them against real threats, much of the first season was spent just basking in the fact that Marvel somehow got a S.H.I.E.L.D. show on television.  As a matter of fact, the first season bordered on boring many times, simply because the series had to play it safe until the big Hydra reveal in Captain America: Winter Soldier.  Once it was revealed that S.H.I.E.L.D. was basically Hydra in disguise, however, the show has been firing on all cylinders and has shattered our lowered expectations.  Is the series as good as The Flash? No, but the same could be said about any comic book property television series that isn’t The Flash.  Instead, AoS has taken on its own form and is finally giving fans exactly what they have been asking for since the series started.  Considering the fact that Avengers: Age of Ultron will once again change the playing field in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, let’s hope that AoS will continue to please through its second season, which, coincidentally, will be ending right around the time Age of UItron hits theaters.

What did you think of last night’s episode?  Do you have any theories on who Gordon may actually be?

Category: reviews, TV

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