Agents of Shield: Shadows recap -S2 Ep.1

Well that was definitely a way to kick off a new season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and if the rest of Season 2 is anywhere near as good as the premiere episode “Shadows,” “Arrow” may have some tight competition for best comic book based TV show this year.

For viewers who stopped watching early on during the rough stages of the show last fall, but kept hearing all the positive buzz after the “Captain America: The Winter Solider” tie-in and decided to give it another shot, the show must seem dramatically different — entirely for the better.

Agents of SHIELDBut first, we take a bit of a flashback to 1945 to watch Agent Carter (Hayley Atwell), Dum Dum Dugan (Neal McDonough), Jim Morita (Kenneth Choi) lead an assault on a HYDRA base. The HYDRA leader Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond) had plans on using one of The Red Skull’s weapons, but Carter and company capture him and seal the box to keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

Fast forward a few decades and Coulson (Clark Gregg) is no longer preoccupied with what happened to him after being killed by Loki and is now running the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. with a steely focus that would make his mentor Nick Fury proud.

Skye (Chloe Bennet) isn’t acting like a 90s hacker chick and is instead an actually credible bad-a$$ field agent joining the primary strike team of May (Ming-Na Wen) and Trip (B.J. Britt). But with loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. members scattered around the globe, Coulson has had to call on his old ally Hartley (Lucy Lawless) and her mercenary partners Idaho (Wilmer Calderon) and Hunter (Nick Blood) to aid in missions. Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. does have some support in tech whiz Mack (Henry Simmons) and security head Billy Koenig (Patton Oswalt).

MING-NA WEN, LUCY LAWLESS, NICK BLOOD, WILMER CALDERON, HENRY SIMMONS, CHLOE BENNET, PATTON OSWALTFitz (Ian De Caestecker) is still recovering from the brain damage suffered in last season’s finale and progressing slowly on repairing the ship’s cloaking device, but thankfully Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is there to lend an encouraging word. Shifting Fitz from an awkward, nerdy genius to a frustrated, easily angered genius proves a fascinating change of direction that seems ripe for material as we await the return of the old Fitz especially after the twist at that end of the episode (more on that later).

The team is close to plugging another S.H.I.E.L.D. leak when Carl Creel (Brian Patrick Wade) shows up and proceeds to lay a proper Absorbing Man(!) beating on them and make off with the intel. With no good leads on Creel, Coulson is forced to talk to Ward, the HYDRA traitor on his team — or more specifically make Skye talk to him. There’s some tension between Skye and Coulson now, but neither address it yet. Another good switch as now Skye isn’t being treated like the favorite student.

S.H.I.E.L.D. - Absorbing ManWard has had it rough in S.H.I.E.L.D. prison and has the attempted suicide marks to prove it, but Skye isn’t biting — she just wants information on Creel. Brett Dalton has found a solid mysterious edge to give Ward and while he’s playing nice, he’s made Ward complex enough that like Skye, we know not to trust much of anything he says now even after he mentions Skye’s father.

Creel’s HYDRA bosses send him off to engage Gen. Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) leading to a full on Absorbing Man fight with S.H.I.E.L.D. complete with ball and chain. The show’s budget must have been pumped up a bit as there’s no shying away from using Creel’s powers fully and it looks exactly like the character from the comic and not a stripped down version for the sake of TV.

S.H.I.E.L.D. - Coulson, Hartley and MayCoulson is using his full bag of tricks and outwits Talbot into gaining access to the army base where the Red Skull’s weapon is being held. Fortunately, Hartley grabs it before Creel, but the weapon begins decaying her hand prompting Idaho and Hunter to abort the rest of Coulson’s mission in order to save her. Hartley is prepared to lose the hand to save her life and just as Hunter finishes slicing warrior princess limb, Creel crashes into the car – killing Hartley and Idaho, leaving Hunter feigning death so he won’t be taken out too.

May, Tripp and Skye finish the true task – getting possession of one of the captured Quinjets. Turns out Fitz has gone “Sixth Sense” on us as Simmons left months ago to help him focus, but Coulson reveals her absence has only made him worse to the point where he’s talking to himself and essentially worthless. Show of hands of everyone who saw that one coming. Put ’em down, you’re lying.

The final sequence played out much more like a movie than a TV show and this is the advantage “S.H.I.E.L.D.” has over the rest of the competition. It’s tied to a movie universe and can call on any character to help remind viewers this is part of a much larger world.

In the post-credit scene, a HYDRA agent delivers the Skull’s weapon to his boss, the mysteriously still alive Daniel Whitehall, a character whose appearance leads further credence to my thought that “Captain America 3” will indeed be covering the latest Secret Wars comic storyline.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - season 2 cast pic

This was one of the better 44-minutes of the series so far and opens up a whole slew of questions. We’ve got a long season to go, but this kick-off certainly looks to pick up on the momentum from the back half of the first season and if that remains the case, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” will definitely be living up to its full potential this season.



  • keith

    i enjoyed it.
    The good- Creel. very well done and most folks think so. He may have not even be shown as powerful as he should be but im not going to complain. I even glad they slip in his signature ball and chain for a minute. This creel is slick not a goon like the comics and dangerous(apparently a lot of the women folk were oohh and ahhh over him? they like criminals I see).

    The more serious tone, May still looks great, no more kid sister skye ( here is too her magic cpu staying locked up).

    Tripp, glad he is here and his good nature gives me enough of the light stuff. Henry simmons. a tech wiz who looks like he can fight and shoot a gun.. and well its nice for some relatable brothers to view as apart of the “good guys” I would get random post on their site about redeeming ward and shipping tripp? (whatever)

    Ward- a wwwaaaay more interesting character as a sick deluded obsessive creep. He was too boring and hated his own comparison to black widow. He has a complex.

    Hope for no more evil deathloks running around. creel works so much better and he is well known criminal. they better not try to soften him up at all.

    I think hunter is a better replacement(and actor.. accent i guess) for ward.

    Poor fitz.. I miss jemma as i started crushing on her more than sky (except for the obvious reasons lol)

    Overall if they leave the cheese and hokey speeches and mushy crap alone, and keep moving forward if they are allowed(depends on the movies) then we can have a nice show. Looking at the team they had briefly in this episode, i so wish they didnt screw up 3/4 of season on that unbelievable setup with 3 tech/cpu people and coulson and ward in the field. They seem more of a real spy organization than ever. Something is still off, but I am letting my expectations go since last season bland taste need to still be forgotten. Also i dont want to ever see flowers again.. never..

  • I was really impressed with it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it as well.

    I guess with crazy Fitz we may still see a lot of Simmons.

    I agree with you that the team feels more well-rounded and less tech-y. I’m a bit annoyed that Hunter got a spot on the teaser poster and our boy Tripp got left out, but I’ll manage I suppose…

  • keith

    Agreed… soapbox time.. i guess they had to fool the people who fawning and just couldnt go on without the possiblity of skyeward. blah blah. and uggh. Its amazing if the ladies fight for you, you have a fan for life. Or they just like screwing with people after reading the comments( i would too if i was a creator). Hopefully it will be cool for people of color to be put on the tv show posters and its no problem. I came across a sick comment on a post about who could play apocaylpse. Some said they wish Michael clark Duncan was around to get a shot. One dude basically said he could do the voice but he doesnt seem cerebal enough to do it. It saw MCD as a average intelligence brute!!!??? im like WTF??? why i have a hard time calling myself a “fanboy” or even a “geek”. im just a brother who likes a well done story.

  • keith

    oh random.. im challenging you jeff… your city is getting this movie early. I need and I want and I DEMAND a review of since we or I am touching on this slightly and with all of the miserable news of the summer. This could be this generations school daze ever so slightly. I know you busy, but i would really respect your expertise on a movie that may get a lot emotions from humor to all out hate. the google is showing that I believe. You should post this trailer.

  • I think they like Dalton and this character switch allows him to some more depth. We don’t need Ward redeemed though. Happy to have him as the Hannibal of SHIELD.

    Lots of people could play Apocalypse. He needs the booming voice, but doesn’t need to be some mental genius. Not sure what to make of the MCD comment though.

  • I’m curious about this one so I’ll try to crank out that review for you when it screens here.

  • I’m very curious to see where this season is headed. It must have been torture for them last season to sit on the Captain America spoiler while everyone complained about the show’s direction. I like how you called Ward the Hannibal of SHIELD. I could get behind that. I have no desire to see him redeemed or whatever. I like him dark and broody and untrustworthy.

  • I wonder if the writers felt like they were spinning their wheels until then or if they were relieved to have something to focus on thanks to WS.

    Thanks. The suicide attempts really helped make him a bit more unhinged too.

  • Really a great episode to kick off the second season. I’m one of the few that liked the show from the start, but I can’t argue that it got a lot better towards the end of the first season and it’s continuing the trend already. And while the twist with Fitz is something that’s been done in many different shows, I never expected it to show up here.

  • I liked it but found the focus on Skye to be a bit annoying. They figured out the best way to utilize her eventually and I like how her character has developed now. Yeah, the Fitz twist was nice and unexpected. Looking forward to where they go this season.

  • Pingback: TV Recap: Agents of SHIELD – Ep. 2 – “Heavy is the Head” – #AgentsOfSHIELD | Jeffrey K. Lyles' Movie Files()

  • Pingback: ‘Agents of SHIELD’ recap – S2,Ep.14 – Love in the Time of Hydra #AgentsOfSHIELD | Jeffrey Lyles Movie Files()