After a long mid-season break, and the run of season two of Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD finally returns. After the surprises at the end of the showdown with Hydra, the team has to see if they can “Bounce Back.” They scored some victories, but took some losses, but the Terrigen-mutated Inhumans don’t care as more of them manifest.
Just like Arrow earlier this season, Agents of SHIELD gives us a flash-forward, three months from now. Whatever happened looks ugly, as we see some kind of ship in near Earth orbit. There are SHIELD insignias, and a necklace that shows up later in this very episode. The ship looks like it’s in horrible shape, and something ugly happened there.
Back in the present, there’s something weird happening in Columbia. Some soldiers and/or police get attacked (it’s a mixed group). Their weapons disappear in the battle, as does the cargo in their van. They don’t give us a real clear view of what happened, but it’s pretty clear that some sort of superhuman powers are involved. Since Marvel Studios can’t use “mutant” since that term is tied up with the X-Men rights over at Fox, their default powered person these days is an Inhuman.
The team spends a lot of this episode split. Coulson is up first. He and May visit the site of Roz’s death. It’s not just a grim reminder; Coulson has a special meeting with someone he doesn’t want back at his base. President Ellis (same character and actor that were in Iron Man 3, nice continuity nod) shows up to talk about SHIELD’s status. Officially, SHIELD isn’t around any more, but the President is aware they are handling the Inhumans situation. The President won’t officially acknowledge SHIELD, but in this private meeting, he asks Coulson to keep doing what he’s doing. May is there as backup. Actually, May gets very little to do this episode, now that I think about it. When Coulson presses about Malik, the President says that Malik is too well-connected for even him to go after.
Most of the team goes to Colombia after they catch word of the strange theft. Mac, Bobbie, Daisy, and Hunter investigate the scene of the crime and find some promising leads. One of those leads finds Mac, and he gets taken. Hunter talks about taking one of the contaminated fish oil pills in hopes of getting powers of his own.
Eventually, the team finds the people who have Mac and, after a lot of misunderstanding, they end up joining forces. They new “enhanced” (another term for powered people in the Cinematic Marvel Universe) is Yo Yo, sort of a speedster. In the comics, she’s Puerto Rican instead of Colombian, but this is pretty close. Little is as it seems in Colombia, including with the thieves and the police.
After a lot of double-crosses and chaos, they decide on a new status quo for Daisy’s “Secret Warriors” the team Daisy seems to be making negative progress in establishing. Hydra also gets involved and manages to secure a new asset for themselves. SHIELD gets a “We’ll call if we need you, and vice versa” sort of deal, which I suspect will come for the season finale. Hydra does have a few cool toys they use in this episode.
Coulson goes after Malik this episode. He makes some really questionable choices. Coulson has a tendency to get almost Ahab-like obsessed, and he does it again here. He uses some gadgets from earlier in the series, as well as a new and different application of someone’s powers. It gets dark and ugly, but he manages to do at least some damage to Malik. Malik is busy dealing with the souvenir he ended up with from Maveth, which also has some ugly surprises along the way, but some brilliant effects.
While all this happens, and May skulks in the background, Fitz and Simmons are working on new projects. Fitz has a new project for Coulson that should make a few things easier on him. Simmons has been wrestling with the aftermath of Will’s death. They finally talk about their long-ignored emotions, and I’m looking forward to seeing where they end up on that front. The episode ends with Coulson learning who the new head of the ATCU is, an appointee that President Ellis suggested as someone to work with, and Coulson gets a subtle but great compliment from May.
What I liked: The team has come together after the foolishness of the “two SHIELDs” nonsense. I like that they’re all working together again. Hunter’s desire for powers in this new world makes a lot of sense. Hydra’s new toys are cool. Malik’s new ally, for lack of a better word, is disturbing and potentially very powerful.
What I didn’t: I get that the battle staves are Mockingbird’s trademark weapon, but using them when confronted by guys with guns doesn’t make a lot of sense. They’re not as versatile as Cap’s shield, for example. May got almost no screen time this episode. They really need to let Daisy make more progress on establishing her new team. It seems like they keep teasing her with that, and nothing happens.
Overall, it was a good episode. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5 for the show. We may get to see more in this corner of the Marvel Universe soon, with the possible return of Agent Carter (still undecided) and the allegedly approved “Marvel’s Most Wanted” which would focus on Bobbie and Hunter.