'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' S3E11: Bouncing Back

★ ★ ★ ★

As cliche as any flash-forward is, it’s hard not to wince seeing "three months from now" spring up on screen. But this flash-forward is anything but cliche. There’s no misunderstanding, no fake-out. Instead, we’re treated to the aftermath of a space mission gone wrong and a clue to the deceased: a cross floating beside a body.

"Bouncing Back" focused a ton on, well … bouncing back. FitzSimmons, Coulson, and HiveWard are still reeling from their experiences on Maveth. Agents doesn’t waste a beat thrusting them and S.H.I.E.L.D. back into the action with a case involving a whole new Inhuman named Elena Rodriguez, otherwise known as Yo-Yo. Better known as Slingshot in "Secret Warriors," Elena has the ability to travel with superhuman speed and return to her original location in the time it takes for her heart to beat. The explanation in the episode is a little difficult to grasp at first, and questioning the extent of her abilities would seem to be a normal question, but the way in which she shows off her ability (like when she’s in the cage) is cool enough to excuse any questions about what she is capable of.

Agents of SHIELD: S3E11

One of the more interesting Inhumans so far, Elena embraced her powers and began using them to change her community for the better. So rather than have an episode revolving around yet again training an Inhuman struggling with their terrigenesis, it skips ahead to someone who already has hero potential. Elena’s conversations with Mac about inhumanity being God’s gift didn’t just put the characters in perspective, but gave a societal view of them in general. After seeing a cross floating around in space, these talks of faith add an aura of mystery to whoever will die on the doomed space journey. Hopefully we’ll get to see more of Yo-Yo by the time the battle against Hive begins.

While Yo-Yo grew into her role immediately, the same can’t be said for Joey Gutierrez (Juan Pablo Raba), who needed time to learn how to use his powers without inadvertently killing people. Now in control of his powers, Joey has finally made use of himself on the missions. Agents is also trying to find a place for Lincoln, who actually got the opportunity to be used for his medical skills, and helped with the "interrogation" of Werner von Strucker. Lincoln had the chance to face moral questions that will probably drive his character off the edge eventually. But for now, he’s relegated to being Daisy’s forced boyfriend and occasional handyman. (Wait. Is Lincoln basically Leo from Charmed?)

After having to deal with Rosalind’s death, Coulson is still on the warpath. His methods are becoming increasingly dangerous and while Coulson has the president’s support, it’s unclear how much more his teammates will able to take. Warner’s scene was especially brutal and every "please kill me" made it more and more discomforting for anyone who wasn’t Coulson.

FitzSimmons went back to their cute antics despite the fact that they had that brutal death looming over their heads. While Fitz is ashamed that he wasn’t able to save Will, Simmons is understanding enough to know that it wasn’t his fault and that he shouldn’t feel entirely bad for it. So the two … start over. Entirely. Seems like fans of the couple will have to put up with their friendship for a little while longer. Though Will’s death may have pointed them toward a more romantic subplot, Agents addressed it with a realism a lot of shows ignore.

While things may not be working out for Agents’ favorite pair, Hunter and Bobbi had a pretty rough time themselves when they got turned into living statues by a new Inhuman. The police subplot had a realism that reminds viewers of other issues besides Hydra that expands the MCU in little but significant ways that flesh out this universe for anyone watching the series. It adds a lot to Yo-Yo’s mission to keep everyone she knows safe from corrupt cops, which will more than likely tie into the Civil War storyline coming up.

It’s not entirely clear just how intertwined Agents will be with Civil War, but viewers know that it can be either of two things: barely seen, like with Age of Ultron, or a massive part of the conflict, like with Winter Solider. But judging by how important Civil War is in comic history to Inhumans, it should be a more involving storyline.

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