So, here we are again, back for another week of Agents of Shield, and this one was a doozy.
Adrian Pasdar rejoined the cast this week as the new head of the ATCU, which Coulson and Shield now work directly with and oversee. While I can’t get over Talbot’s ridiculous haircut (and, in a funny moment of self-awareness, neither can Lincoln), he was a welcome addition this week as we got to see a more personal side of his character and had the pleasure of watching him turn on Coulson in an effective twist. The banter between Talbot and Coulson fit well and was never overwhelming, but by the episode’s end, it appeared as though differences would finally be put aside between the two.
Part of what makes Shield unique (and all of the Marvel TV shows, for that matter), is their ability to keep the rest of the MCU grounded. You won’t see a symposium at the center of a Marvel film, but it’s always interesting to see a realistic and political approach to the effect of superpowered people on the world. Shield approaches this well, offering up true discussion about the reality of Inhumans on the world, both in the symposium and at the homebase with the discovery of a vaccine, while not shying away from the action. This balance is where Shield should spend more of their time.
Speaking of a vaccine, Creel, the material-morphing anti-Inhuman, had some cool moments this week, particularly when he transformed into a mable man and broke Coulson and Talbot out of their cell. While Creel and Talbot both ended up on the right side by the end of the hour, Shield did a nice job of keeping us on our toes with them, both with our previous experiences of them and with the team’s consistent and believable distrust of them. This believability is important to the show’s formula, and it’s not always successful. But when the show lets its talented cast do their job, it typically works well.
Daisy and Lincoln got into it this week (literally?) as they argued over the choice of being Inhuman. After Fitz and Simmons (who have NOT had enough screen time this spring) discover a vaccine to terrigenesis with Lincoln in Creel’s blood, the discussion arrises as to whether going through terrigenesis should be a choice or if it’s a birthright. While the two eventually talk through their different perspectives, discussion of Inhumans as a choice or a disease pervaded the episode. It was the deepest Shield has gone with the discussion in a long time, and I think it was important. It gave weight and real depth to what it means to be Inhuman and live in this fictional world, and it makes Shield as a show wholly stronger.
So why then, in an episode with great action sequences and the potential for real human discussion, must the entire thing be undermined by Daisy’s annoying need to get some? Both Chloe Bennet and Luke Mitchell are better actors than what their scenes were degraded to. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a good romance in a TV show, and I get that it’s been a while since Daisy got some, but come on! While both of their major scenes began well enough, by the end the writing had deteriorated to bad flirting and aggressive raunchiness. It felt almost disrespectful to Daisy and the character Bennet has developed over two-and-a-half seasons. I’m still on board with their relationship, but I sure hope the writers are setting us up for something with it.
Our other human characters May, Bobbi, and Hunter all had nice moments infiltrating the symposium. The action sequences were solid, Hunter stole some scenes with his perpetually accessible grouchiness, and May finally got to do what May does best. I’d be more than happy to take more episodes that group those three together on missions.
Finally, I simply can’t get over Brett Dalton’s approach to Hive. Every time we see him (and we see more and more of him each week), he gives off an overwhelming sense of evil and consistently induces fear. The final scene of him rising from his sacrificial ceremony with a restored body was striking and plain impressive (although I don’t envy Dalton for filming that covered in all of that liquid). There’s little question that Hive will be an extremely serious problem for the Shield team in the weeks to come.
Join me next week for another review of Marvel’s Agents of Shield, and be sure to jump over to the CW and join me for weekly reviews of The Flash as well! Have thoughts? Tweet at me: @LoganASchultz.
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