Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for its third season! Before we jump into the season premiere lets quickly re-cap the events of the Season 2 finale…Bobbi Morse was seriously injured in a booby trap left by Agent Ward who has escaped. Coulson’s left arm begins to turn to rock after touching one of the Terrigen crystals forcing Mack to cut the arm off at the elbow. The remaining crystals fall into the ocean and begin to seep into the water and sea-life. Simmons is sucked into the alien monolith, completely disappearing and Agent May has completely gone off the grid. Ok…so is everyone up to speed?
We jump right into the action, meeting Jose Gutierrez, who has the power to melt objects in close proximity. Unable to control his powers, he is creating chaos on the streets as he is pursued by a black ops unit trying to apprehend him. Mack, Hunter, and Daisy reach him first and whisk him away to a S.H.I.E.L.D. plane. We learn that new several Inhumans have gained powers after digesting fish oil pills contaminated by the Terrigen mist.
The mysterious new black ops unit is led by a woman who calls herself Rosalind. Coulson discovers that she has worked for several government agencies under various aliases. On their base we see the bodies of several of these new Inhumans who have had their chests blasted out. Roz’s team and Coulson’s finally meet, each thinking the other side is responsible for killing the Inhumans. Daisy and Mack seek Lincoln’s (who is working at a hospital) aid in helping Jose control his powers. The trio comes under attack by a monstrous beast (known as Lash in the comics) that is capable of manipulating from his palms. It is clearly the one responsible for killing the new Inhumans. In the wake of these new Inhumans, the President (William Sadler reprising his role from Iron Man III) announces a new group called the ACTU, to deal with the threat.
Meanwhile, Fitz has become obsessed with trying to find out what happened to Simmons even after Coulson implores him that it is time to say his goodbyes to his friend. In the final segment, we see Simmons…alive although not well…running and hiding from some nameless pursuer on an alien world. Oh! And Coulson has a new, cybernetic arm. Is it Deathlok technology?
Well…for all those that have lamented the fact that there hasn’t been enough “super-powery” stuff on the show I give you the Season 3 premiere…Daisy/Quake made use of her earthquake powers several times; Lincoln was firing off energy blasts; Lash is using his own energy powers to blast out walls; and we got a guy melting anything within a few meters of him. If you want comic book action it doesn’t get more tantalizing than characters tossing around energy and quake blasts. The inclusion of Lash continues the show’s use of minor characters from the comics who would not show up in the cinematic films but still remind us that this is the Marvel Universe.
Rosalind and ACTU should make for interesting antagonists with Hydra going dark, at least for now. There’s a different feel to their group than the rival group of S.H.I.E.L.D. that we saw last season. The fact that they are backed by the President himself heightens their profile.
I loved the solo adventure that Fitz undertook to save Simmons as well as his helplessness at the end. It’s great to see the clear-thinking Fitz back and even getting a chance to do a bit of action. Daisy/Skye has been a polarizing character throughout the first two season, but we are clearly seeing the character come into her own as a more decisive, take-charge member of the team. And she’s obviously gained much greater control of her powers since the end of Season 2.
This show’s premiere episodes have always been strong. Their major obstacle has been maintaining and building on the momentum. There are enough elements in the show now that they no longer need to rely on gratuitous mentions of the Avengers and what not. Although there were mentions of the incidents in New York, London, and Pym Labs…just to remind us that it’s all connected. No developments with Ward or May but this was already a packed premiere.