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TV Review: Marvel’s Agents of Shield: Bouncing Back (A Second Take)

NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEY, HENRY SIMMONSOn Tuesday, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned from it’s mid season hiatus with the episode’s appropriate namesake we are introduced to more Inhumans, namely Yo-Yo Rodriguez AKA Slingshot from the secret warriors title and another I assume to be Gorgon from the same comic series.  The episode is marked by a meeting between director Coulson the US President following the recent bout between Hydra and SHIELD. The meeting clears up SHIELDS official status or lack thereof. While the President feels its too soon to bring SHIELD back in an official capacity following the events of the Winter Soldier, he recognizes the necessity of SHIELD’s mission and gives Coulson his blessing albeit unofficially. While the ATCU will serve as the public face of the governmental response to the Inhuman crisis, they will be taking their orders unofficially from SHIELD.

AoS as a series as come a long way finding its place within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as I have mentioned before it has succeeded in the task of adding to the rich tapestry of the MCU while carving out it’s own place and standing on its own. The introduction of the Secret Wars team/property is smart one, as it maintains both of these accomplishments.  Those with an ear to the ground may have caught wind of the alleged rivalry between Marvel Studios and Marvel TV, with the former hesitant to give creative/ jurisdiction or headway to the latter where storytelling is concerned. This is particularly the case with the Inhumans property. However this is resolved the impact should be minimal. Secret Warriors as a property has always centered on secrecy and fighting those invisible (yet nevertheless epic) espionage conflicts.  The team in the comics were identified not only for the powers but for the fact that few others knew about them. As a group running parallel to the Avengers it makes perfect sense for Marvel TV to embrace their ambit.  First they have free reign introduce any original character they wish as we have already seen with Joey as well as Lincoln and second, not all members of the SW team need to be Inhuman. Whatever path the producers choose there is plenty of space in the field to tell a story that does not step on too many toes. AoS has now provided a very good opportunity for cross media story telling that could dovetail into the MCU proper. While AoS and has itself benefitted from the story of the larger MCU whether the reverse will actually happen remains to be seen. An interesting article about this can be found here.

NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEYThe Inhumans are becoming a high profile issue at least in this corner of the MCU, and I am really curious how this will play into the whole upcoming Civil War (if at all). At the very least we’ve seen that they have become a very strategic macguffin that both SHIELD and HYDRA are scrambling for. This made me ponder Luke’s revelation that Terrigenesis outcomes are not random and that some intelligent natural design is at work to maintain  some sort of equibrilium. This reminded me of the Red Queen Hypothesis.  Coulson gave some thoughts as to this equilibrium was being played out with both shield and hydra inhuman recruitments. This is an interesting point to consider given the symbiotic nature of Hydra and SHIELD both in the MCU and Comic Canon. This also gives a nod to the Inhuman series that has long established that terrigenesis serves the long term needs of the Inhuman community, how this will play out in the MCU with all the various factions remain to be seen but I am excited all the same to see it.

I must give full credit to the writers of the show for navigating a politically contentious mandate (studio wise) while structuring a story that stands on the legs of both the general MCU, as well classic comic stories.  This episode represents are marked improvement from those of   pre-midseason  The mythos of Hydra has been established and the organization reinvigorated with shield’s place on the other hand cemented in the world.

Final Thoughts
Mack and Yo-Yo overcoming their language barrier was a nice touch.
The encounter on a whole seemed to warm Mack up a bit, where his prior xenophobia was concerned.

Coulson’s frequent negotiation of SHIELD’s status presents a striking parallel that that which the producers of AoS seem required to do given the current studio politics. If this has been used as deliberate inspiration for the story, I must give kudos to the producer/writers.