Out of the Shadows: Season Two Premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

By Taylor Whittemore

Season two of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. began in a way nobody expected – a flashback to the origins of S.H.I.E.L.D. by showing a scene between Hydra agents and Peggy Carter. It maintained this element of surprise throughout the episode. Though the general location has stayed the same, the Bus on which Coulson and his team lives, the dynamic of the show has shifted due to the months that passed between the finale of season one and the premiere of season two. The episode Shadows aired on September 23rd, 2014, at 7:00pm.

Though the fans were excited to discover where the plot was going in the new season, especially because this is the primary way Marvel will be setting up for The Avengers: The Age of Ultron because it is currently the next Marvel film to be released, there was quite a lot of emphasis placed upon the state of the characters from the previous season. This includes Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Melinda May (Ming Na Wen), Skye (Chloe Bennett), Grant Ward (Brett Dalton), Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker). At the conclusion of the finale, the audience had just discovered that Phil Coulson had been appointed director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Grant Ward was taken into custody, Jemma Simmons had successfully escaped from the pod underwater whereas Leo Fitz, though alive, was likely suffering from some kind of aftereffects, and Skye was settling into her new position as an agent. The first episode addresses all of the characters, but it left quite a lot to be questioned regardless.

However, Marvel greatly expanded upon this cast for the next season, introducing a variety of actors and characters that would draw the audience’s interest. Among them are Lucy Lawless as Isabelle ‘Izzy’ Hartley, Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse – also known as Mockingbird, Nick Blood as Lance Hunter, Brian Patrick Wade as Carl Creel – also known as Crusher Creel and the Absorbing Man, Henry Simmons as Alphonso ‘Mac’ Mackenzie, and Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter. Though these characters all have shown immense potential within the show, the rate at which the majority of them were introduced in the premier was rather confusing to the audience. The first episode did not really allow viewers to understand the place of these people among the team and how they fit into S.H.I.E.L.D. beyond a line or two explanation.

Because the episode takes place so long after the finale, it is reasonable that the plot would also be very different. This episode focuses around a popular comic book character, the Absorbing Man, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s conflict with the United States government. It also introduced a new mystical object, called the Obelisk, which appears to be of vast importance to the upcoming season. Furthermore, it gives the audience hints as to what occurred over the time gap between episodes. Though it does not have the same fast-paced plot as Beginning of the End, it does a good job with setting up various possibilities to pursue throughout the season.

The following portion will contain spoilers, so if you have not seen the episode and do not wish to spoil Shadows for yourself, I would recommend skipping it. There is one moment that strongly echoes the plot regarding Coulson’s revival, and that would be the brief glimpse of the Kree shown while Peggy and the Howling Commandoes are sifting through the materials Hydra had in possession. Whether this alludes to more Kree involvement in the second season or a more thorough explanation for the occurrences in the first season is unclear. Furthermore, though fans spent all summer speculating about the potential medical effects of oxygen deprivation, everybody assumed Simmons would be by Fitz’s side throughout all of it; nobody expected that he would be coping with it without her. It was a cruel twist.

Danielle Freeman, a senior who watches the show, said, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has rapidly progressed since its pilot episode. Once the bond between the viewer and the characters has formed, it’s hard to not get overly attached to them, especially when your favorite couple (Fitzsimmons) is compromised.”

In conclusion, the newest season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is extremely different from the other season, as shown by the new direction of the plot and the introduction of unseen characters, but it gives the show quite a bit of room to grow. The character development is evident, but it is rather unfortunate from a viewer’s perspective that we were unable to observe how it occurred and what events shaped the characters. Hopefully the show will reveal more of what happened over those few months as it progresses, as well as continuing to answer questions created with the last season and generated in the new one.

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