With the recent announcement that season three of Marvel’s Agents of Shield is going to be entitled Secret Warriors, I figured it would be a good time to finally finish up my assessment of season two. Yeah, I know, I’m about a month and a half late here. I did one for season three of Arrow right after it wrapped up, but I need a little more time for this one because there was a lot more to hash out in my mind. My recaps/reviews are not for uninitiated (thank you Bane), so if you need further insight into backstories……sorry folks, gotta get that elsewhere. My quick assessment of season two is that it was better than season one but I’d still much rather watch Arrow or Flash.
A quick sum up of season two would be that it started off with Agent Coulson and the crew he had together at the end of season one trying to find more loyal SHIELD agents and get SHIELD proper working again to stop what remained of Hydra. The two groups were racing to get hold of a strange device called the Diviner. At midseason the Diviner was revealed to be a disperser of the Terrigen mist of Marvel lore, which empowers people with the Inhuman gene and kills people who don’t have it. The mist gave Skye (Chloe Bennett) earthquake causing powers and turned the double dealing Raina into a scary looking spike covered person. The rest of the season was basically a contest between Coulson’s group and another SHIELD faction to bring Skye in. Coulson wanted her alive of course while the other group didn’t.
What worked for me
- Better acting – A major drag on season one for me was the acting of both Bennett and Brett Dalton as Agent Ward. Dalton got better when Ward did a heel turn (good guy turning bad for those unfamiliar with the term), but the first two thirds of the season where he was playing a straight laced good guy were downright painful for me at times. I realize it was a setup for what they’re doing now but sheesh. Anyhow, Dalton is way better as a full on bad guy. Bennett was also better; she’s a major focal point of the show but it at least seemed to me like her screen time was used in more of a way that didn’t make you think she was a pretty face with limited acting skills.
- More Marvel stuff – The first season was barely recognizable as any kind of Marvel related until the Captain America movie tie-in episode. Other than a one episode appearance from Lady Sif (from the Thor movies) and a setup for Deathlok there was barely anything from any existing Marvel characters. No I wasn’t expecting the Avengers (Joss Whedon told us that off the top even though a lot of people didn’t listen), but we got almost nothing. Season two did a lot to remedy that. The Absorbing Man, Mockingbird, the Terrigen Mist, references to the Inhumans, Skye being revealed as Daisy (Quake) Johnson…this season felt a lot more like an actual Marvel story.
- The movie tie-in – Last season was a slow march to Captain America: The Winter Soldier; the pinned the entire season to the twist and turn of SHIELD that took place in the movie. This time they didn’t do that. The episode before Age of Ultron was connected, and the movie was referenced in the episode after, but that was pretty much it. This season carried on as it’s on thing and not a seven month appetizer for a film. Here’s to hoping season three goes the same way.
What didn’t work
- The “Real SHIELD” – OK, Edward James Olmos getting his Captain Adama on is always a good thing. But other than that, I could have done without this. Olmos and a goup of agents, including some who had been helping Coulson’s group, emerge to take Skye into custody after her powers emerge, and square off with Coulson’s group who just wants to help their friend manage her abilities. The problem for me was that with SHIELD still in shambles and Coulson barely back on decent terms with the government how did another SHIELD group get enough resources together to do all that they did? The only real purpose of this, it seems, was to give Skye/Daisy a reason to lose trust in her friends. It was a weird and confusing plot device to me.
- No “Wow” factor – When I have Flash, Arrow, and this on my DVR I always watch Agents last. Last season I watched it more out of a feeling of obligation to show support so these shows can keep getting made, and this season it was because it was a decent enough show to watch when I was at home and the DVR had run out of other stuff. I rarely if ever watched it live because It just doesn’t excite me much. They will never be able to go all out because they can’t do anything that would have major repercussions on the movie universe so you get a bunch of small bore stuff. Yes the Inhuman thing is a big deal but that movie isn’t coming until 2019 so they have to somehow drag out what happened in 2014/15 until then. Is this show going to even be on in 2019?
What comes next
The Secret Warriors tagline has already been dropped of course. It won’t be a total page to screen retelling as we know but there will be some similarities I’m sure. There’s a lot that can be adapted even without having full access to the Marvel character roster. And there will likely some kind of tie-in to Captain America: Civil War which comes in May. I’ll be back watching, although it may find itself running fourth behind Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl once that starts in the fall.