Last year, when Agents of SHIELD wrapped up its first season, I opened up the question of “What is worth it”? The first half of season 1 was tumultuous at best, while the second half more than compensated. Now, it’s time to ask the same question about Season 2. Is it worth a watch?
In short, yes.
The long version is… well… longer. To look at Agents of SHIELD Season 2, I am going to break it into sections based on the storylines. I’ll be looking at
- SHIELD vs SHIELD
- Pappa Hyde
- Team Members
Looking at these five, I think we can touch on everything that needs said. Oh, and spoiler alert. This is intended for those who have seen the show. For those who haven’t, refer to the short version of this article: It’s worth it. Watch it.
Arguably the introduction story, Whitehall was set up to be the villain of the season in true Clairvoyant Fashion. He was reminiscent of Baron Zemo in his orgins in World War 2. It was during his storyline that the show experienced its most cheesy storylines. There was a lot of emphasis on brainwashing that, in the end, proved very unnecessary. While the Whitehall story did provide a nice Hydra-vs-SHIELD story, it was eventually overshadowed and forgotten. I think the best point of the Whitehall story was the shock many viewers felt when the primary villain was shot down in the mid-season finale.
Whitehall was not a bad story. It proved to be a wonderful set-up to the Inhuman story that followed. But on it’s own, season 2 was wise to keep the Whitehall story as only a partial-season story.
Season 2 will be seen as the Inhuman Season in retrospect. From the Earth-shaking mid-season finale, THE Marvel news was that the Inhumans had entered the MCU. This species, originating early in the first volume of the Fantastic Four, were not scheduled to grace the screen until a few years from now. As we rapidly got introduced to this species, we learned of Skye’s mother’s survival, several new awesome characters, and a glance into what will be coming in the MCU.
Despite an awesome introduction and high marks throughout the second half the season, I felt that the villainization of Skye’s mom was too fast, unfortunately dragging down the Inhuman storyline with it. While the idea of a SHIELD-Inhuman war was a good one, it was too fast, almost impulsive. It could have been better done, but the Inhumans still deserve their place as the season’s focus.
SHIELD v SHIELD
The SHIELD vs. SHIELD storyline was a weak point in the season. What began as a plan that two characters had in the first half of season 1 eventually turned into the confusing cliffhanger of “the Real SHIELD”. No one really knew what to think of it, even after it was explained that a faction of SHIELD survived and continued onward. It only succeeded in putting Coulson on the run, which is often where we find Coulson.
I don’t think it was a bad idea, I think the SHIELD v SHIELD storyline could have been executed much better.
In the end, it’s legacy is the reestablishment of a world security council, which is another step closer to the SHIELD we used to know.
It’s hard to remember that Ward began this season as a prisoner in SHIELD’s basement. Ward escaped, killed his brother, got shot by his former love interest, got a new love interest, rejoined the old team briefly, lost his love interest, and declared himself the new leader of Hydra. Wow. Personally, if the next season does feature Hydra led by Ward, then I am all on board. Ward has long been my favorite character. His turn in season 1 was one of the gutsiest moves SHIELD made, and it has been worth it.
This season, Ward mostly acted as supplementary, featured as accessories to other storylines. It could be said that he went through all this change in the background, which is really where Ward works best in the first place. If anything, he has been set up morei n this season than anything else. I look forward to seeing where that set-up takes us.
The character that many thought would be the chief villain of part 2 of season 2, Skye’s father dominated only a couple episodes. His story was mostly supplementary to the Inhuman story, which in the end worked to his benefit. The character that was going to be cheesy ended up becoming a sympathetic villain. As Skye gave him a second chance, we did too as an audience. I am glad I did. I loved his character.
Of course, we should talk about his transformation. I was not a fan of his final “Mr. Hyde” appearance. I should have expected less on a TV budget, but I ended up underwhelmed by the appearance of Mr. Hyde.
I enjoyed where the character ended. It’s possible to bring him back, but for now it’s a fitting ending for him.
The team itself went through changes this season. From Fitz’s mental damage to the inclusion of a couple new guys, we are past the days of the Magnificent Six of season 1.
I thought that Hunter was the best addition to the team, as a funny, likeable character. The show could use more characters that inspire genuine feelings.
I am glad that Fitz’s fumbling is now over. If I’m honest, I was never that big of a fan of that take with the character. I understood it’s purpose, but it forfeited the humor and heart that he and Simmons shared throughout season 1. With a sandwich, however, this compatibility was reestablished at the end of season 2.
Of course, we have the big death. Trip, formerly on the team of the Clairvoyant, suffered a hard death this season. A couple of my friends called him their favorite character. Now, he is their favorite martyr. It was another gutsy move that I appreciated. Rest in peace, Trip.
She was the character that I thought would be the primary villain of all Agents of SHIELD. Flowers found out “What will I become?” this season. If anything, Raina was underused this season. She had a lot of potential, especially in light of future-telling abilities, but she was reduced to a fortune-teller who eventually sacrificed herself for her enemy. I was underwhelmed with her death. Flowers will be missed.
As a whole, it wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty darn good. There was plenty of set-up for Season 2, which was beautifully done, but for now only time will tell.