I didn’t know what to really expect going into season 2 of SHIELD. I mean, I am an avid TV watcher so I had some ideas, but as for the trajectory of the season in terms of plot I had no idea. Yes, I did imagine that we would be dealing with the fall out of Fitz’s accident, which we got. I imagined that there would be some more things dealing with Ward after his betrayal and incarceration. We got some of that too. And I was most excited to learn more about Skye’s father, this mysterious evil man who killed villages in China. And we got resolution to that. All of that said, the plot didn’t seem clear to me. They had some serious shit to deal with in regard to HYDRA being a threat. Add in the fact that they were teasing Inhumans already, I wasn’t sure where this season was going.
Now that I have the opportunity to look back on the season with the glorious aid of hindsight, it all makes perfect sense. The blending of both the HYDRA plot and the Inhumans plot worked excellently. We went from the team working avidly to stopping HYDRA with what little people they had left. it made sense after the events in the rest of the cinematic universe and what the show had dealt with. Out of any aspect of the MCU, Agents of SHIELD was most directly effected by the events in The Winter Soldier. It made sense that that would be the focus for the first half of the season. However, the seeds for the second half revolving around the Inhumans were so well laid that it transitioned into the second half of the season smoothly. HYDRA wanted to harness the power of the diviners which were an object of the Inhumans. Then once HYDRA was no longer an outstanding threat, they focused on the new threat.
The biggest difference in the show compared to last season was that the tone of the show shifted. I spoke about this in a post previously, but I strongly believe that this is a major contributor to the improved season. Last season was light and airy. It was trying to draw in an audience with fluffy fare as it waited to drop a game changer from the world. Unfortunately, that time lost biding time was not used effectively. The show started fun and friendly, much like the Marvel movies. It didn’t work and they thankfully had this big moment, the HYDRA reveal, for them to switch gears and go darker. Some would probably believe that their goal the entire time was to go dark, but I don’t believe that. I do believe that they were waiting for the HYDRA reveal to change things up, but I honestly believe that if the light and fluffy SHIELD worked, our delve into darkness would not have been permanent, but for a period until the issue could be resolved. That didn’t end up being the case. Their compelling switcheroo was highly effective and well praised and so that clenched it. SHIELD was going to go dark and it was going to stay dark. And from what I’ve seen on the show, it’s decided to actually go even darker. I love it. Don’t be fooled, it’s not as dark as Daredevil, but it’s no longer a light romp.
With the darker tone the show has really grown. It isn’t afraid to shy away from some really dark and trying topics. The one that strikes me the most was Ward’s storyline near the beginning of the season. After a foolish move to relocate Ward he got free and went after his family. We never explicitly saw what he did to them on screen, but we got information relayed and it was almost jarring. Ward became this dark temptation wandering through the world. Throughout the season he served as an antagonistic help to the team. His relationship with them is sick an twisted. He seems to hold a weird affection to them, but considering he could so easily off his family, that isn’t a reassurance for the team. Even still that does mean that he could be a helping hand to the team when necessary. He’s like that shady ally who will help you and stab you in the back. As such he’s one of the most interesting characters on the show even if he is no longer a constant force. You never know exactly what he will do next.
One of the things that did bother me about the season was the Kree writing. It was clarified and elaborated that what was happening to Coulson and the others was because of the Kree blood that was successfully introduced into their system. Because they were purely human, they suddenly had a link to the Kree that was compulsion rather than control. Skye who was injected with the same formula was completely unaffected by this change because she was an Inhuman who hadn’t yet been through the mist. It was an interesting element, however that seemed to get lost once the Inhumans were properly introduced. Maybe I missed an explanation, but I don’t see why the destruction of the underground city would have completely eliminated the effect it had on Coulson and the others. It just felt like that was something that got tossed to the side when more interesting things came to the forefront.
This season brought about the introduction of three new major characters, Bobbi Morse aka Mockingbird, Lance Hunter, and Mack. All three of them seemed a bit wobbly upon their first introductions. In fact, Mack didn’t seem to have a real role at all other than being the necessary support that Fitz needed. It was hard to see how he fit into the larger scope of things. Hunter and Bobbi added a new element to the show that I really enjoyed. The banter between the two of them was enigmatic as sometimes they were lovey and other times they were at each others throats. For a show that really boasts it’s family dynamic it felt fitting that we finally got the sort of romantic relationship thrown in there. That said, it is not something that feels out of place in the world they are in. That romance does nothing to diminish what each individual character has to bring to the show. Hunter is a sort of rogue element, similar to Ward, without the psychosis and a quite a bit more loyal. That said he fights dirty and that is interesting to watch on screen. Then there is Bobbi who is a force to be reckoned with. She is kickass and strong and her morals are something that adds an additional layer to her character.
Character is actually something that Agents of SHIELD has got so good at this coming season. One of my biggest issues with the first season of SHIELD was that Skye didn’t feel like a real person, but an idea. She was idealized. We were constantly told she was special, but we never saw why. That changed in this season. And no that’s not just because we found out why she was special, that didn’t come until later. Instead, from the first episode of the season they spent time grounding us in these characters. Skye became someone with motivations. She was someone with a past now and she very quickly felt like a real person. In fact, all the characters became more real and less archetypes filling a certain role to be checked off. The time spent building the characters was well used.
Now, I have to spend just a moment talking about Fitz. You all probably know by now that Fitz is one of my favorite characters. I absolutely adore him. He’s just so genuine and endearing that it was a real struggle to watch him early in this season. Fitz was reeling, trying to find his place and where he fit in. He felt like he couldn’t do anything and it really hurt. After seeing how great he was it really was hard for me. As the season progressed he grew more confident. He was doing things and doubting himself less and that was something I enjoyed. It was a slow process, but it happened. Fitz has now reached a point where he is confident in himself again, but he still has that same go for it attitude. He believes in people, but he is now more skeptical and willing to see their dark sides. Heck, he rebelled against the other SHIELD and worked for Coulson, putting his tricks to work. And his relationship with Jemma has finally healed. There’s still scarring, but it’s fixed. He’s progressed a lot as a character and I can’t wait to see where he goes in the future.
Where Agents of SHIELD May Go Next
I’ll keep this short because honestly I don’t quite know where I think the show will go next. I’ll likely spend all summer randomly pondering this question and forming a stronger hypothesis. As of now I believe the focus will be on three things. On one hand we have a new SHIELD. It’s been remade, broken down, and is being built back up. Last season was about SHIELD digging itself out of the rubble that was left behind due to HYDRA. This season will be about the actual rebuilding. They are more stable, they are able to grow again. It will be a resurgence for them and that will be an interesting avenue for them to follow. The next focus will be on the inhumans and the aftermath of the finale. We saw the terrigen crystals leaking out and it will inevitably be effecting many humans who by that shelved product. That will mean a lot of chaos and death. It will also mean more Inhumans who don’t know what’s happening to them. Considering there was mention of forming secret Inhuman teams to help within SHIELD that will likely be something we see recruiting for. I’m secretly hoping that also means that we will be seeing more Lincoln because I loved him. The final plot focus will likely be Ward’s ascension to head of HYDRA. It’s clear that Ward has no interest in really running HYDRA. As always, he just wants revenge, but HYDRA offers resources he could use. Whether he’ll keep it functioning as HYDRA or changes the name is yet to be clear, but I’m fairly sure that he’ll be around causing trouble with henchmen now too. Those are the three major plots I can see forming so far, but my guess is that similar to this season, new elements will be introduced early in the season that will then become important in the latter half of the season.
There’s also the human aspect of the show that I’ve come to love so much. I’m looking forward to see how Fitz and the team deal with Simmons disappearance. Heck, I’m just interested in finding out what actually happened to her. There will also be Coulson’s journey as the figurehead of SHIELD. No doubt he will struggle with his new physical limitations and being restricted from doing certain things he once did. I’m intrigued by how Mack will deal with SImmons disappearance as he’s in charge of all things Inhuman. Not even just that, but the impact the terrigen crystals have on the world and his new position. I’m excited to see Skye’s journey as her foray with her new ability is still in its infancy.
Did you enjoy this season of Agents of SHIELD? What are you looking forward to for next season?