Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

agents-of-shield-oreientation

Okay, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially out of ideas. Tell me if this sounds familiar, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team wake to discover they’ve been transported to a mysterious new world and will spend several episodes (about half a season, maybe) trying to find their way home? Yeah, that was last season’s second-half arc. It’s always where this season begins with the team abducted and shot into the future awakening aboard a Kree prison ship and struggling (and failing) to discover how and why they ended up in their current predicament.

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agents-of-shield-worlds-end

It’s fitting that the end to an up-and-down season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would have it’s share of highs and lows as well. Connecting back the first-half of the season, the return of Ghost Rider gives Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team an easy out to destroy Aida (Mallory Jansen) and her creations. I certainly wasn’t clamoring for the character’s return, and I’m already sick and tired of the gimmick of Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) temporarily passing the Spirit of Vengeance to another host (this marks the second time the show has used this cheat this season). The episode wraps up the threat of Aida and her murderous rampage, but not the after-effects of a plan already put into action.

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agents-of-shield-all-the-madames-men

Life in the framework gets a bit easier for Daisy (Chloe Bennet) now that May (Ming-Na Wen) has turned her back on Hydra and used a Terrigen crystal to restore Quake’s powers. Despite Melinda not remembering the real world, her actions help bring the team closer together, although one member has fallen and another is still leading the enemy against them. It’s good to see Daisy and May on the same side again kicking some ass together, and Daisy has her own star moment quaking Aida (Mallory Jansen) through a sky-rise window, but the real stand-out here is Coulson (Clark Gregg) who steps up in a big way to fill the void left with the Patriot‘s death.

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agents-of-shield-what-if

Everything old is new again. Whether or not anyone wants it, whether or not the character ever worked, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to push Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). And guess what? He’s a traitor in any reality. In the show’s return from hiatus, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) wake up in the computer-reality of the Framework and begin searching for their friends who don’t realize the lives they are living are lies. Jemma wakes up having to dig her way out of her own grave. Daisy wakes up in Grant Ward’s bed. It’s hard to gauge which woman has a harder time assimilating to this brave new world.

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agents-of-shield-the-man-behind-the-shield

“The Man Behind the Shield” offers some context to why Anton Ivanov (Zach McGowan) has gone to all the trouble to create the Watchdogs and hunt Inhumans. Although racist, it seems Ivanov’s real problem isn’t with aliens or Inhumans but with the man he deems responsible for beginning the entire series of events (questionable logic at best) beginning with stealing alien tech from Russia years ago – Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Far from a true zealot, the episode downplays the villain as the show ends the episode moving the LMD storyline in a new direction.

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agents-of-shield-the-patriot

An assassination attempt on Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) leads to the Director, Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Mack (Henry Simmons) being cut-off by the rest of the team and hunted by former Hydra agents. The return of (a well-funded but even less impressive version of) Hydra feels like a bit of a step back for the show. However, the episodes does include one important twist which will shake up the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy and return Coulson to his rightful spot in calling the shots. As for Mace, even if his abilities were cooked-up in a lab, the man knows how to frame and sell a story. It doesn’t look like the public face of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going anywhere anytime soon.

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agents-of-shield-broken-promises

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. puts its Ghost Rider storyline behind as it moves forward with S.H.I.E.L.D. dealing with an out-of-control Aida (Mallory Jansen) who has replaced May (Ming-Na Wen) with an android, attacked and murdered agents, and invaded S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters to get its hands on the Darkhold. Things don’t go exactly as planned for the android, who faces Mack (Henry Simmons) and all his anti-robot wisdom (from years of sci-fi movies), but the episode’s closing scenes show this storyline is far from over (and the android isn’t the one behind the search for the Darkhold).

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agents-of-shield-the-laws-of-inferno-dynamics

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hits the halfway point of its season with “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics” which wraps up the extended arc featuring Ghost Rider with a final confrontation between S.H.I.E.L.D. and Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) and the increasingly powerful Eli Morrow (José Zúñiga). The dire situation does call for S.H.I.E.L.D. to put all its meta-human resources in the field, and while Daisy (Chloe Bennet), Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), and the Director (Jason O’Mara) each have a part to play, in the end it comes down to Coulson (Clark Gregg) buying Robbie enough time to end the situation. The episode also has a odd piece of fan service with a mention of Ghost Rider’s previous host, which doesn’t seem to track with S.H.I.E.L.D. not knowing (and not believing) the truth about how Robbie’s powers work for almost the entire season. While a nice nod to fans, the scene seems completely out of place (as does the team’s bitch session about their boss in the middle for prepping to save Los Angeles from nuclear destruction).

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agents-of-shield-deals-with-our-devils

Following the explosion in the lab, Coulson (Clark Gregg), Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), and Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) find themselves out of phase with our reality and presumed dead. “Deals with Our Devils” is an interesting episode as nearly every scene is shown twice, first from the perspective of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents working the case, and second from the ghostly pals trying to figure out how to make contact. In the end it’s the combination of two of the seasons new pieces, Aida (Mallory Jansen) and the Darkhold, which are put together to get Coulson and Fitz home. However, as we see in the epilogue, just because she’s and android doesn’t mean Aida will be immune to the book’s dark influences. Has the team created an even bigger threat?

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agents-of-shield-the-good-samaritan

After weeks “The Good Samaritan” finally reveals the origin story for how Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) became Ghost Rider. With a small cameo from the previous agent of vengeance (sorry, no Nic Cage) we witness Robbie make his deal with the Devil in mostly off-screen and completely underwhelming circumstances. It’s certainly not worth the wait. Just as disappointing is the episode’s twist make the ghostly scientist victims rather than the true evil behind the experiment (which raises all sorts of plot issues given their actions over the previous weeks). Adding to the tension is the new Director’s (Jason O’Mara) decision to try and bring Robbie and Daisy (Chloe Bennet) which puts him at odds with Coulson (Clark Gregg)… and the fate of the world.

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