Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Review “Shadows”

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 2 Episode 1 Shadows (1)

A lot has happened in the world of superhero TV shows since season one of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD came to a close back in May. Marvel has officially ordered and cast their Agent Carter spin-off, and they’ve continued to cast and produce their Daredevil series over on Netflix. Marvel’s biggest competition though is coming from their rival DC, as they are bringing five different TV shows to the small screen this season. They’ve got Constantine over at NBC, Gotham premiering last night on FOX, and The Flash and iZombie joining Arrow over on CW. There’s more competition now than ever, so there’s much more pressure for Agents of SHIELD to deliver. Last year people were just comparing it to Arrow, but now it’s got competition on all sides! Thankfully the season got off to a great start tonight with “Shadows”, as we get a good indication of what type of tone the show will take this season.

The episode began fittingly with a flashback to Agent Carter storming a Hydra installation with Howling Commandos Dum Dum Duggans and Jim Morita. While Neal McDonough and Kenneth Choi haven’t been confirmed for the spin-off show yet, it’s a good bet they’ll at least show up a few times. While this first scene may have been a little jarring for those who don’t know that Hayley Atwell and Agent Carter will be getting her own show, it was still a good reminder of the whole “SHIELD vs. Hydra” thing, and it introduced us to this Obelisk doohickey.

The founding members of SHIELD made for a fun little opening, but they weren’t the only new characters we were introduced to tonight. You’ve got Brian Patrick Wade playing Carl Creel aka “The Absorbing Man”, Lucy Lawless playing ex-SHIELD agent turned mercenary Isabelle Hartley, and a couple other dudes in her mercenary team with varying degrees of facial hair and accents that I didn’t bother to look up. That doesn’t even include all of the returning guest stars, like Patton Oswalt’s Billy Koenig, Adrian Pasdar’s Glenn Talbot, and others. There’s almost too many new characters that it’s tough to catch up with the old characters! We barely got anything from May, Skye, and Coulson, but we did get a few good scenes with the others.

The biggest question mark for me was Ward, who I was really hoping wasn’t going to be turned soft and try to re-join SHIELD. Thankfully that definitely wasn’t the case here. He’s turned into a creepily soft-spoken and suicidal wreck that insists on only talking to Skye, and we heard that he actually knows something about Skye’s father! We know that Kyle Machlachlan plays Skye’s dad, so I can’t wait until we get to meet him!

Fitz is also not doing too well, having suffered some serious brain damage from almost drowning. It was heartbreaking to see him so scatterbrained and constantly searching for the right words, but it just killed me to find out that he was imagining Simmons being there all along! I really hope the real Simmons comes back soon, and that Fitz gets back into fighting shape! This was yet another incredibly dark turn for a character that used to be a frequent source of comic relief.

The mystery of whether or not Patton Oswalt’s new character Billy Koenig is actually just an identical twin of the Eric Koenig that died last season was glossed over pretty quickly. It was really just a bit of throwaway dialogue between the flirting Skye and Triplett, who seemed to have grown a little closer since the end of last season. I assume this will be addressed shortly, but that’s certainly at the bottom of the priority list of which mysteries I want solved.

If this episode is any indication, there seems to be a very different tone to this season. Everything seems much darker, with Ward and Fitz’ characters changes being the biggest indicators, but the whole team seems to be running much more guerilla style then they were last year. There’s no fancy equipment or tech, and no unlimited budget or personnel. I’m really excited to see what they do with these limitations, and I thought this episode was a great start to the season!

What did you think of this episode? Sound off in the comments section below.

Random Thoughts:

– What do you guys think was in the box that Duggans opened at the Hydra base? It looked kinda like a blue body, like maybe that it was related to that Project TAHITI monster that Coulson found?

– It’s kind of funny seeing Adrian Pasdar playing Talbot, and then cutting to a commercial of Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, where he provides the voice for Iron Man.

– I have to admit I was a little concerned at first that this episode would be more of the same ol’, same ol’ with the minor Marvel villain showing up and the team tracking down an “0-8-4”, but it looks like both The Absorbing Man and the Obelisk will stick around for a while yet.