Agents of SHIELD has a later time slot and had a way too early break, but this season has revealed a more focused and confident approach from the writers. They’re not trying to sell fans on the show or any one particular character and AOS is all the better for it. Uprising continued the show’s recent hot streak even with the absence of an actual Ghost Rider appearance.
Initially it appeared that the Watch Dogs were going to be a middling threat SHIELD would quickly be rid of in a couple of episodes. Instead, they look poised to be big players this season. Their charade of being an Inhumans terrorist cell triggering blackouts across the world was pretty clever. Though they really need to find a better spot for their bad guy identifying tattoos.
Director Magnus Martens did some really great work this episode particularly with the blackout scenes. I really liked the dynamics of the field team of Coulson, Mack, Fitz and Yo Yo. That unit covers a variety of personalities and skills without anyone being redundant. Adding May to that squad wouldn’t be a problem either.
Yo-Yo got some much needed attention even if her ungrateful friend ridiculously thought being shot was better than her bridesmaid being an Inhuman.
If SHIELD is suffering from anything, it’s the awkward attempts to cast Inhumans as the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of mutants. This isn’t a fault of the show so much as the overall direction of Marvel Comics. It doesn’t work there and it doesn’t work that well in the context of the show either.
In a post Chitauri invasion, HYDRA operating in SHIELD and robot armies terrorizing a nation and raising it into the sky, a few random normal looking people with abilities doesn’t seem that big a deal. And it seems like overkill to have both the Inhuman Registration Act and the Sokovia Accords. It also hurts the show that Inhumans so far haven’t even been mentioned in the movies making their threat level seem minimal.
Spider-Man: Homecoming could do a lot of good on the TV end with a few references to SHIELD, the Inhumans and the events in Hell’s Kitchen and Harlem. The payoff of the senator (Parminder Nagra) warning of the Inhuman threat being in league with the Watch Dogs thanks to her brother dying during the Terragenesis process lacked some punch.
SHIELD has never handled shades of grey characters well. Pretty much every time someone goes against Coulson and company they end up being evil so this was more of the same. It should work, but there was no surprise.
Thankfully the whole May sees ghoulish versions of everyone subplot ended quickly. May is too interesting and complex a character to sideline for an extended portion of the season seeing visions.
I wish Simmons had more to do though. Now that she and Fitz are together it feels like the writers don’t have any plans for her besides being Jeffrey Mace’s mouthpiece. Holden has the better tech and he’s crafted his first Life Model Decoy. By the way, what’s the over/under on how quickly Aida goes all Ex Machina on Holden?
Daisy didn’t do a lot this episode besides help Robbie fend off some looters. This felt more like a check-in that wasn’t necessary. We can go a week without a Daisy sighting especially if the rest of the episode delivers this strongly.
The subtle resentment festering with Coulson over Mace being the public face of SHIELD should prove interesting to keep an eye on through the season. I really hope the writers don’t decide to make Mace a villain just because of his position. If he needs to get written out at some point so Coulson can reclaim his old job, just have Mace become a superhero and lead the Secret Warriors.
Uprising was another very good episode. SHIELD’s Season 4 has been rolling. With the teaser of SHIELD capturing Ghost Rider, things are apparently going to heat up (sorry) even further.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Jennifer Clausen/ABC