Here it is folks! The second half of the third season of a show that nobody thought would make it beyond its rough and sometimes eye-rolling first season – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you’re one of those who have remained loyal, you know that the show has gotten a lot better since it was first spawned and the last 10 episodes were some of the best. Now we’re back and things may be bad for team S.H.I.E.L.D. After a trip to an alternate world (courtesy of an unstable gateway), the crew has brought back a nasty villain. Worse still, that villain is wearing a suit made out of dead Grant Ward. How powerful will the new baddie prove to be? Let’s check out ‘Bouncing Back’ and see what Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has to offer.
We begin this week in Bogotá, Columbia. The police are moving some guns around, but an Inhuman shows up, smacks them around a bit and then steals all their booty. So it’s Team S.H.I.E.L.D. to the rescue, trying to figure out what happened and which Inhuman power was responsible.
When they finally do run into the guilty party, it turns out she’s a really, really, really fast lady named Elena. Unfortunately, Mack finds her first and he’s just no match. She knocks him out and takes him prisoner. While the rest of the team tries to find their missing companion, Mack and Elena have a brief conversation. It seems as if she’s not the criminal she appears to be.
Then in comes Skye and pals to the rescue. Elena is hauled off to a S.H.I.E.L.D. containment unit and, after a little bit of interrogation, the truth comes out. The police in town are corrupt and Elena and her cousin were fighting back. Bobbi and Hunter go to track down the cousin, but the police find him as well. And these police are armed with an Inhuman that spits some sort of paralyzing beam out of his eyes. Next thing you know, the two highly trained agents take their turn to play prisoner.
Once Elena finds out what S.H.I.E.L.D. is really about, she’s onboard to help them take down the police and Mr. Eyes. They raid the local compound, beat some regular Joes around and even manage to capture the new baddie. Unfortunately, HYDRA shows up at the last minute and snatches him away to be part of their own Inhuman ass-kicking team.
On the Coulson side of the story, things are going a bit better. The President of the Good Old U.S. of A is back on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s side. He doesn’t want to make them publically official yet (due to all the crap that went down in Winter Soldier), but he will support S.H.I.E.L.D. as a black ops team working in conjunction with the ATCU.
While this is good news, Coulson is focused on one thing and one thing only – finding Gideon Malick and shutting him down. Desperate for a lead, he hooks the Von Strucker kid, Werner, up to the mind-fuck machine and probes his memories. Eventually they trace his past movements and Coulson sets out. He finds only a phone waiting for him, but it does give S.H.I.E.L.D.’s leader and Malick some time to chit-chat. Coulson is coming for Malick and lets him know it.
Over at HYDRA HQ, Malick is trying to put things back in order. He lost most of his Inhuman squad, so he has to rebuild. What’s more, he has to deal with his new buddy, the Grant-Monster. The creature is in serious bad shape from everything it’s been through, but it is getting stronger. And it seems as if Malick may be having some doubts about keeping the uber-powerful nightmare beast lurking in HYDRA’s midst.
In the end, Elena decides to stay in Columbia, although Skye sets up a plan to keep some sort of running Internet Inhuman team going, whereby people with powers can stay where they will, but everyone is willing to back each other up when needed. And then there’s a bit of squishy and mostly irrelevant relationship stuff at the end as well.
All-in-all, it was a pretty strong start for the second half of season 3. We got some story development, a bit of character development and, of course, a few super-powered brawls. And it was all done at the exceptional pacing that S.H.I.E.L.D. is becoming known for. I’m really enjoying Coulson’s new hard-edged personality. The character has come a long way from the 2-dimensional incarnation of him that we saw in season 1. And Clark Gregg is really killing it. In fact, most of the actors have bonded with their characters so well that the show has moved up a notch on the quality scale.
I also like the way the show is addressing the fact that Inhumans are pretty much everywhere at this point. After the tainted fish fiasco, it’s to be expected that a fairly significant amount of the world population is going to start experiencing some unique changes. Some of them become freedom fighters, others use their powers for evil, but wherever there is a struggle for power, you’re likely to see them show up. It adds some edge to the show and guarantees that we’ll get a chance to see most of our favorite Marvel characters show up at one time or another.
As far as the bad stuff goes, the only glaring issue I had was when HYDRA snatched Mr. Eyes right out from the middle of a half-dozen S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, including several with powers. They just stood there like they had no idea what was going on, not even trying a little bit to stop the baddies from stealing away their prize. That’s some pretty lame S.H.I.E.L.D. training there folks. And some pretty lazy writing.
Also, I hate Skye’s new haircut. Yeah, it’s a nit-picky thing to say, but it looks ridiculous.
Next week, ‘The Inside Man’ has HYDRA recruiting and training up more Inhumans to fill the ranks. And, naturally, they send some of them after S.H.I.E.L.D. Expect some super-powered showdowns during these 45 minutes. Check out the trailer for that one below.