Ever since it premiered last fall, loyal reader, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a disappointment to most viewers. Chiefly I believe it’s because of the big difference between the hype of a weekly connection to the Marvel cinematic universe in comparison to what a TV show can deliver.
The first half of the season was slow going to say the least as Agent Coulson’s little team seemed pretty irrelevant in the big picture. Other than a throwaway line here and there name-checking Tony Stark or Nick Fury, the show didn’t really seem to have any stakes and two of its central characters, super operative Ward and audience-surrogate newcomer Skye, were so bland they never really caught on. The only bright spots were the very likeable Coulson and the cute tech team of Fitz/Simmons. A big ongoing plot concerning the hows and whys of Coulson’s return to life after being killed by Loki in The Avengers was not progressing nearly as satisfactorily as it should have.
The series picked up a bit of steam in January as that mystery got mostly solved with a satisfyingly gruesome explanation that also opened up a bigger plot and raised the shadow of secrets within S.H.I.E.L.D. itself going all the way to Fury. However, it still spent a few episodes spinning its wheels. Bill Paxton was brought on board as a guest star and carried with him a good agent camaraderie with Coulson.
Up to that point, I was following the show mostly out of curiosity about where it was going to go. It was on my watching list but at the back. I was more interested in watching Arrow instead.
But then, Captain America: The Winter Soldier hit theatres and brought an explosive twist with real repercussions for S.H.I.E.L.D. on both screens. Indeed, it almost seemed like the TV show was deliberately holding back so it could instantly kick into it thanks to the HYDRA plot. Now Coulson’s team is on the run and has to deal with the remnants of the once-mighty organization, double-agents, dozens of villains freed and dangerous technology in the wrong hands. It also now has a true villain we can enjoy (whose identity I won’t reveal). Most of all the show now has a purpose and a sense of high stakes and urgency.
For the first time since it began, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has now shot to the front of my weekly watch list. If you want to jump back on board, you can safely skip to episode 9 of this season and catch up from there. If you like a good comic book show with an emphasis on mystery and plot rather than straight-up superheroics, it’s a very good choice as of now.