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“Agents of SHIELD” Returns Strong

September 26, 2014

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Last season, Agents of SHIELD was a slow starter that only started living up to expectations after it’s Captain America tie-in. From then on, it raced toward the end of the season, revealing betrayals, secrets and lies while setting up several new mysteries for the second season and dismantling SHIELD itself. The second season starts off incredibly strong with a host of guest stars, new characters, and teases for the upcoming season.

The episode starts off with a flashback to WWII, where we get to see Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, who will have her own limited series this season. We also get introduced to a German villain, played by Whedonverse alum Reed Diamond. They set up the an important plot point for the episode while also giving us a peek into a possible future storyline for the season.

Back in the present, Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is now the director of SHIELD, which is comprised mostly of his team from last season: the ever resourceful Agent May (Ming-Na Wen), Skye (Chloe Bennet), who has become tougher since we last saw her, and the two tech geniuses, Fitz and Simmons (Iain de Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge, respectively). At the end of last season, Fitz had suffered serious brain damage from oxygen deprivation, and he is showing the signs prominently.

Joining them are Agent Triplett (BJ Britt), who joined the team after his superior officer turned out to by Hydra last season, and newcomer Henry Simmons as their mechanical whiz Mac. Coulson also decides to employ a team of mercenaries, led by former SHIELD agent Izzy Hartley (the amazing Lucy Lawless).

The team has to track down a deadly mysterious piece of tech before Hydra gets it, but there are, of course, obstacles. One in the form of an incredibly muscular villain from the comic world, Carl Creel (Brian Patrick Wade), who can change his skin to whatever substance he touches. Also keeping the team from their goal is the US Government in the form of Brigadier General Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar).

The episode sets up the tone of the season: small renegade force working outside the system to take down the greatest criminal organization in the world while rebuilding SHIELD without corruption. This is a great new premise for the show. The stakes are higher, the obstacles larger, and the missions bigger. This is the show that audiences wanted to see last season, and previews for upcoming episodes don’t show any signs of stopping.

There are also several ongoing storylines that will keep everyone intrigued as the team goes on their weekly missions. For one, traiter Ward (Brett Dalton) is locked up in the basement, and the only person he’ll speak to is Skye. Add to that the fact that he has information about her father, who will show up this season played by Kyle MacLachlan. Meanwhile, Fitz’s condition is worse than we first thought, talking to an imaginary Simmons, while the real Simmons is elsewhere doing who knows what. We still don’t know how Patton Oswalt‘s Billy Koenig is alive (or possibly a clone?) and there were many other boxes in the government warehouse that Hydra could still go after.

All in all, there’s a lot prepped for SHIELD’s second season and I cannot wait to watch it all unfold.

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