– Spoiler Review –
After Agents of SHIELD shrugged off it’s freshman season woes in the ever increasingly well-done second season, my hopes and expectations were high for the Season Three premiere, “Laws of Nature.” From the first shot of
Skye Daisy kicking butt to the gasp inducing after-credits sequence, Agents of SHIELD has a very promising start for the new season.
(Before I begin, please note I won’t be reviewing every episode of the season as I just don’t have that type of time anymore, especially with my coverage of Star Wars material only getting busier.
Instead, I’ll be reviewing the premiere, the mid-season/winter break episode, and the season finale I’ve stopped reviewing the show, but I’m still watching! However, with that all being said. I think this is a great time to mention we have an open writing call still in effect! If you feel like you’d like to write about the third season of AoS, please see the link for details on how to contact me)
Season 3 opens with a new and unwilling Inhuman, Joey, discovering his ability to melt metal after taking some fish oil pills contaminated by the Terrigen released into the ocean at the end of S2. Bumbling around, Joey finds himself under attack from a black ops team but is quickly and rather spectacularly rescued by a SHIELD team led by Daisy. Coulson and most of the team attempt to uncover the identity of the mysterious woman giving the orders to the black ops group, while Daisy finds herself having to call in an old friend to help with their new Inhuman, and Fitz is on a personal mission of his own. Each storyline had its fair share of twists and surprises, making the hour an enjoyable one to watch and follow, even if some of the smaller surprises were too easily telegraphed (tracking Rosalind to the subway being a trap, the intel Fitz receives not being helpful).
The moment Daisy appeared on screen after helping Joey in her new getup and hairdo looking badass, I knew we were going to be in for a good time. Chloe Bennet has really come into her own on this show, coming a long way from her performance and appearance in S1, and it only gets better this season. She’s confidant, a leader, and helpful presence to the team and new Inhumans, making me continue to wish and hope she’ll be headlining the Inhumans film later in the MCU. She does her best during the episode to help Joey with the transition into his new lifestyle but ends up calling in an audible by tracking down Lincoln, who helped her when she first arrived at her mom’s safe haven. Obviously Jaiying’s more sinister nature left a mark on Lincoln, so he’s currently living the quiet life as a doctor (of course) who wants nothing to do with the Inhumans anymore. As one would suspect, his plans go up in smoke when the villainous, campy, creepy, and powerful Lash shows up. This mysterious new creature gets away, but judging by his strength he could be quite the obstacle for Daisy, the team, and any new Inhumans.
Meanwhile, Fitz is out in Morocco chasing down a lead about intel on the Monolith (which is what they are calling the extremely mysterious Kree statue hiding in the SHIELD basement which swallowed Simmons in the S2 finale) and he’s back to 100%, having regained his full mental facilities after suffering from the brain injury issues all of S2 (which was weird to see that suddenly gone, but it allows his character to do more now). His confidence and bargaining with the man holding the intel was entertainingly well played by Ian De Caestecker and seeing him as a loose cannon throws in some interesting developments for the character for the rest of the season. After a heartfelt talk with Coulson, who uses his own issues with a fake arm to help tell Fitz why he must let Simmons go, Fitz takes a shotgun to the locks on the Monolith and takes his anger out on the stubbornly unmoving stone. Which leads us to the exciting after-credits sequence regarding none other than….Simmons!
Fitz theorized the Monolith could basically be a transportation device of sorts, bending space and time, and it turns out he was more right than the ancient scroll he procured: Simmons is alive, if not all too well, and stranded on some distant planet! Um, holy mother of moons this an extremely exciting development! There are tons of questions that come from her appearance, the least of which is where exactly she is? Is she running away from something/someone/or some place? How did she get those cuts and her clothes torn? Here’s hoping we spend more time than just after credits sequences with her in the rest of the season because her part is almost more interesting the rest of the show combined. I’m happy they didn’t stretch out her disappearance for a big chunk of the season and instead immediately covered it in the premiere.
The investigation into the mysterious woman uncovers how she’s gone by multiple identities over the years, bouncing in and out of all the branches and agencies in several governments. For the show’s purposes, the name she goes by at the moment is Rosalind (Constance Zimmer) and she’s quite the character. Zimmer does a good job of playing the ice queen type, but there seems to be a lot more under Rosalind’s surface, as her righteousness nature suggests. She also functions as a great foil to the always seemingly knowledgeable Coulson, with their meeting on the subway train being thoroughly entertaining as they try to gather information about one another. The ending of “Laws of Nature” seems to imply she’s either working for or with the President of the US at the moment to track down the Inhumans popping up, but there’s a hint she might be his boss/the person she works for might be pulling his strings. I’ll be most interested in learning who she really is and who she really works for/with as the season plays out, and whether or not she’ll team up with Coulson now that they know they have a common enemy in Lash.
Some of the expositional dialogue, used to catch us up on developments since the credits rolled on S2, felt out of place or unnecessary for the characters to tell each other. I felt like Daisy would’ve known most of what Coulson tells her when we see them together for the first time after bringing in Joey, and likewise with other characters. But it’s a minor, minor thing, with enough of the dialogue staying somewhere in between funny and serious, but never campy. However, Lash came off as very campy with regards to his looks and beastly mentality, reminding me of a villain from Big Bad Battleborgs or the Power Rangers back in the 90’s. OKAY, not that campy, but he came off pretty silly in the episode, despite his obvious strength. Actually, it might not be fair to put all the blame on Lash, as the fight choreography of Daisy and Lincoln standing and holding their arms out doesn’t excite or make things any less 90’s feeling, so here’s hoping that’ll change as the season goes on.
Here are a few other things:
- Got to love Mac’s line about combining a shotgun and an ax!
- There’s a nice little Ant-Man reference in Coulson’s talk with Fitz.
- Relegating May’s lack of appearance to a throwaway line was disappointing, but having whatever she’s up to on-screen probably would’ve made an already busy episode too busy.
- Was it just me or did Hunter not say who he was going after? I’m going to assume it’s Ward, as it’s the only option that makes sense.
- They must have gotten another raise in the budget because the special effects were solid across the board, whereas even in S2’s improved graphics you could tell when certain effects got more money behind them then others.
- The writing team handled Joey being gay exceptionally well, making it just a character trait and not his defining characteristic. On top of that, they used his experience with coming out to help him come to terms with being Inhuman, which kind of says a lot about our society if those two things could be similar.
- AoS has been doing what the rest of the MCU has failed to and that’s have female characters who are equal to or better than the male characters and it’s exciting to watch, especially as the show turns Daisy into the big hero. On that regard, while May was offhandedly revealed to be M.I.A., Bobbi took over for Simmons (and Fitz) in the lab and her relationship with Hunter is way more complicated than will they/won’t they stuff, continuing to make her a complex and strong individual.
It’s not a perfect start, but the potential stories to be told over AoS‘s third season makes me very hopeful for what’s to come, especially with a powerful leading lady in Daisy and the whole Simmons lost on a planet thing. But let’s just hope that the bigger this show gets in scope, it doesn’t forget about the cast which makes up the core of it’s strengths. I’ll be back with my thoughts on how it’s doing by the mid-season break!
+ Simmons’ reveal
+ “Good” Bad guys
+ Consistently solid special effects
– Campy Lash
– Expositional dialogue
MARVEL’S AGENTS OF SHIELD REVIEWS:
Season Two: 2.1 Shadows | 2.2 Heavy is the Head | 2.3 Making Friends and Influencing People | 2.4 Face My Enemy | 2.5 A Hen in the Wolf House | 2.6 A Fractured House | 2.7 The Writing on the Wall | 2.8 The Things We Bury | 2.9 …Ye Who Enter Here | 2.10 What They Become | 2.11 Aftershocks | 2.12 Who You Really Are | 2.13 One of Us | 2.14 Love in the Time of Hydra | 2.15 One Door Closes | 2.16 Afterlife | 2.17 Melinda | 2.18 The Frenemy of My Enemy | 2.19 The Dirty Half Dozen | 2.20/21 Scars
MARVEL’S AGENT CARTER REVIEWS:
Season One: 1.1 This is Not the End/1.2 Bridge and Tunnel | 1.3 Time and Tide | 1.4 The Blitzkrieg Button | 1.5 The Iron Ceiling | 1.6 A Sin to Err | 1.7 SNAFU | 1.8 Valediction