'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' S3E1: The Laws of Nature

★ ★ ★ ★

The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. felt less like a spin-off and more like a companion series to the Marvel movies, whose storylines drove the tv show (such as the Hydra twist). It wasn’t until the inhumans were introduced that S.H.I.E.L.D. actually began to feel like its own independent series: it had a purpose and an intriguing storyline based around Marvel characters that weren’t too well known to majority of public (who are much more familiar with the mutants that Disney/Marvel doesn’t have the rights to). Now that the Inhumans have been introduced, their world mapped out, and Daisy (no longer Skye) has her task force prepared for whatever comes their way, S.H.I.E.L.D. has gone back to its procedural ways and, because of that, is having issues with its latest transformation.

After the fish oil pill crisis (we’re all laughing), Terrigen Mist has been dispersed across the globe after being spilled in the ocean — which is causing random inhumans to spring up. If you remember back to season 2, the entire reason why Terrigen Mist was such a big deal to many of the inhumans was because it was not a right, it was earned. Jiaying often denied others the chance to transform if she deemed them unready. So there are now endless possibilities of new inhumans springing up who are both good and bad. I’m sure we’ll also see some really cool powers as the season progresses, too. Now that Jiaying is out of the picture, Daisy has quickly become the motherly figure inhumans need after their often difficult transitions. We got to meet an Inhuman with an explosive entrance (he has the ability to melt metals). Despite his cool power and progressive role in the series, his impact isn’t as strong as it should have been.

AgentsofSHIELD S3

And that’s the problem with the newest episode of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Even with the shadowy organization (A.I.M.?) and the mysterious big blue guy, a lot of the episode falls flat trying to introduce the changes that have happened over the time jump. While we’re at a point where things are exciting for S.H.I.E.L.D., a lot of what's changed hasn't been entirely addressed, but we, the audience, are just supposed to sit back and accept it all. The best of all of the time jump storylines, though, is Fitz/Simmons’s monolith adventures. Rather than doing season 1-style case studies, Fitz is on a desperate search for information on Simmons’s location and livelihood that’s extremely interesting to watch. While the writers ditched his brain damage storyline (worked when done right, but they instead had him take a backseat most of season 2), Fitz is now a much darker, rasher version of his original character. The breakdown he had towards the end of the episode was easily the best part of the whole thing. Likewise, Simmons’ story — which also appeared at the end — is extremely exciting, especially given the fact that she is on an unknown alien planet. At the moment, that story is so unpredictable, that it's the one I'm most looking forward to watching play out.

Fitz’s scroll and blackhole eureka moment was funny just due to the sheer Buffy-ness of an ancient artifact giving you the information you need on some mysterious object.

Now that May, Simmons, and Ward are all gone, their absences are strongly felt. Without them, the majority of those who remain, and who weren’t too developed before, are being thrust into the spotlight. While that's a good thing at times, it's stretching the very little material they had to begin with; potential that was never before explored. (That Mockingbird spin-off should be pretty great… right…?) Coulson feels far more flat without May there to dig up his pre-Tahiti self, and since he’s surrounded by new people, they don’t know him well enough to bring him out of that leadership personality he has.

But back to the Inhumans! I think it’s a little sad that they’ve already ditched the mutations (like Rayna’s) which happen to those exposed to the Terrigen Mist. What I mean to say is that the only characters with secondary mutations we have seen so far were antagonists with viewpoints different from the main heroes. Without a hero or two with secondary mutations, the whole self-acceptance theme that’s so popular in Marvel is lost. It was a fascinating part of Rayna’s transformation that added miles of depth to her once-dull character, so hopefully it’ll spring up again soon.

Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally not as fractured, S.H.I.E.L.D. is setting up Civil War by not only pitting S.H.I.E.L.D. against this new government organization, but also Daisy’s new team against other Inhumans — most likely Lincoln, who’ll see the "gift" as a "curse." Either way, the coming conflicts will probably be one of the most interesting part of the season. Even more so will be Simmons’ storyline as we navigate this new alien world along with her, and finding out just how Fitz gets her back. (Anyone else wonder if Simmons will come back with powers? I hope she comes back with powers. It will be interesting to see how she takes it given the fact she was abruptly against supers in season 2.)

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