Maybe it took all of five minutes to get excited about the return of Agents of SHIELD after a wait that felt longer than usual. The thirst for new entertaining content will do that, but at least it gave me time to go back and finish reviewing the episodes I hadn’t recapped from the first season. The New Deal finds the team in 1931 New York complete with a sweet old school title treatment. Nice touch.
The Chronicroms are on the loose stealing faces in an ill-fitting attempt to blend in. It’s hard not to shake the Matrix agents feel of the Chronicroms with their stilted speech patterns and semi-indestructible nature. They’re a formidable opponent — maybe too formidable? — but they lack the emotion to be really great villains so I’m hoping this season introduces another main foe by the midway point.
It was interesting watching LMD Couldson acclimate to what took place since his last data update during the Framework season. Yeah, it’s a cheat code way to keep Coulson around, but we really couldn’t have a season without him. I did appreciate the continuity dating back to season 1 with Coulson disappointment in being brought back to life and LMD Coulson having that same mindset. And now the team has two superheroes on the squad with LMD Coulson and Daisy…or three if you count May’s general kick a$$ skills.
SHIELD is already more concerned with time travel than basically any episode of Legends of Tomorrow. I was very impressed how New Deal didn’t shy away from the reality of how a black man would be treated in the 1930s. It wasn’t just one character who came close to getting a Mack-sized fist upside their heads either painting a far more realistic take than Jax’s stop at the diner on Legends. Daisy also wasn’t exempt from sexist comments about not being home with her husband. It’s a good thing those issues were from the distant past, huh?
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Having Patton Oswalt return to play Ernest Koenig was a nice touch and having him be a racist showed that the bloodline evolved over the years.
Jemma offers Elena some new arms to replace her cybernetic ones. While I appreciate Elena wanting to keep things authentic this was a smart move and letting Elena take time to consider keeping her old ones felt perfectly in character. The transformation of Simmons from Season 1 to Jemma of Season 7 is a little jarring. Of the cast, Fitz and Simmons definitely matured the most making them far more interesting and better characters.
One of the more pleasant developments from last season was Mack emerging as the leader of SHIELD. A black leader is still uncommon in this genre and I love that every episode doesn’t feature another character circumventing his authority. Mack isn’t a token leader and has the respect of his crew.
Initially it seemed like the Chronicroms were gunning to take out FDR thereby preventing him from creating SHIELD’s predecessors, the SSR. Instead, they’re gunning for Freddy (Darren Barnet)…whose last name just so happens to be Malick. Yep, this is Gideon Malick’s daddy. Thankfully, Deke resisted the urge to drop the “come with me if you want to live” line when rescuing Freddy.
Since Gideon was so linked with Hydra, he played a vital role in SHIELD as well. This strategy seems a little backwards and almost an unnecessary fake-out, but this first part of the season looks to pick up an old Heroes theme — save Hydra, save the SHIELD. So far we’re off to a great start for SHIELD’s final season.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: ABC