Welcome back, Agents of Shield!
And it’s a welcome return, indeed. This week’s episode attempted to tackle a lot of story lines, and it succeeds on almost every front. “Bouncing Back” works to put S.H.I.E.L.D. back on top (for once), lining up the Secret Warriors and showing us some insight into the greater plans of Malick and the new, evil, undead Ward.
The first half of the episode focused primarily on the agents looking into some weapons stolen from the police. After Mack is kidnapped, we find out that the thief is actually Slingshot (or Yoyo) and is attempting to stop the corrupt cops in the area. Henry Simmons got some great moments as Mack this episode, and his mixed-language conversation with Natalia Cordova-Buckley’s Slingshot was an intelligent approach to a stale trope in television.
Bobbi and Hunter didn’t fare as well in the writing department this time around, however. Not only were the top two action stars of the show put out of commission too quickly (which, in a way, was an effective statement to the powers of “Medusa Eyes”), but their banter has never really found its rhythm as well as other aspects of the show has. That being said, Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi is always a strong presence on screen.
The second half of the episode focused more on the rescuing of Bobbi and Hunter from Hydra. This was our first real look at what the Secret Warriors could be, and it was a thrill. Daisy and Slingshot fought well together, with Slingshot stealing the weapons from enemies, leaving them open to Daisy’s powers. Joey stole the show, however, when he melted Medusa Eyes’ glasses, blinding him. If Shield can continue to play off this team aspect, the show will be much better off.
Coulson floated through the B plot this week, seeking out Malick by any means necessary, including the life of Werner von Strucker. His meeting with President Ellis (Cameo: William Sadler) set an intense tone at the top of the episode for Coulson, and this remained throughout the night. Some quick discussion between Coulson and May at the end of the episode, during which May inducts him into the Cavalry, points to deep-seated instability within Coulson stemming from the murder of Rosaline last year. This will, without a doubt, play a larger role in the episodes to come.
This was a darker episode for an already darker season of an already darker show. It fits well within the structure of the new show’s set-up. That being said, I was pleased to hear, just as I feared the episode was too dark, the sound of elevator music over the phone Coulson held. It was a perfect way to keep Shield accessible without losing momentum with throwaway lines and puns.
Fitz and Simmons took a backseat this week, but their final interaction was a breath of fresh air in a heavy episode. Ian de Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge both offered exceptional performances last year, and it’s easy to believe we’ll see more of the same here, especially as Fitz struggles with the death of Will.
Finally, and perhaps most impressively, we got our first scenes of Ward as Hive. Brett Dalton has always done a terrific job of navigating an ever-changing character, and that is no different here. His Hive is creepy, brooding, and terrifyingly withdrawn. This weakness builds to a threatening final moment when he reaches out for Malick’s accomplice.
So how will Hive’s powers be portrayed on Shield? How will they continue to explore the dynamics of the Secret Warriors? How is Coulson going to deal with the return of Adrian Pasdar as Glenn Talbot? Stick with me and we’ll explore another episode of Agents of Shield next week!
Thoughts? Tweet at me: @LoganASchultz
Marvel’s Agents of Shield airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC