Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits a new team member as the 084 remains the most popular ticket in town.
Let’s bitch it out…
After introducing several new characters in the S2 premiere last week and then killing off half at the end of the hour, it’s no big surprise that episode two spends the majority of its time latching on to the two remaining. ‘Heavy Is The Head’ could basically be retitled “New AoS intros” as we spend a substantial amount of time bringing new guns Hunter (Nick Blood) and, to a lesser extent, Mac (Henry Simmons), into the fold.
This episode could easily be considered the second half of the premiere (in fact ABC and Marvel would have been better off promoting it as such). The action begins right where we left off last week as the hunt for Creel (Brian Patrick Wade) and the 084 galvanizes the crew and drives much of the action. Thankfully this puts the focus on Hunter and his quest for revenge, which makes ‘Heavy Is The Head’ feel more character-driven than it actually is. This is good because if there was one thing that Agents of SHIELD struggled with last year, it was the length of time it took to make us care about the agents themselves. And so although the whole love affair with dead Agent Hartley (Lucy Lawless) felt a little heavy-handed (and, if we’re being honest, kinda out of the blue given their interactions last week), making Hunter the center of the episode still works for me because at least now we have a better idea of who he is and why he has signed up to join the team.
Aside from that, the episode continues to lay the foundation for things to come by unspooling a few mysteries around the 084. I was quite pleased to see the Flower Girl herself, Raina (Ruth Negga) return to cause havoc (Caveat: I like the character; many others seem not to). I quite like that she’s working for a third party because now there are two organizations actively looking to thwart our heroes, which essentially multiplies the number of stories that Agents of SHIELD can tell. At this point it’s still early enough in the season that I’m not annoyed that we’re piling on the questions and mysterious objects without any answers in sight. If we get several more episodes like this to help renew the characters and set-up narrative arcs for S2, I would be a happy TV viewer.
- While I like the work that’s being done to integrate Hunter into the show, I do have to wonder why the same hasn’t been done for BJ Britt’s Tripp? Seriously, what is this guy’s role on the show and why can’t the writers find something (anything!) for him to do?
- Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) is still struggling to communicate with anyone other than his Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) hallucination. Thankfully Mac is there to help him sort out the pieces of his fractured mind, in what proves to be a surprisingly effective partnership.
- While packing up Hartley’s belongings, Skye (Chloe Bennet) finds a picture of the deceased woman’s sister Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki). Something tells me we meet her shortly…
- Skye suspects that Coulson (Clark Gregg) is keeping something from her and she’s right: he and May (Ming-Na Wen) have been charting his “episodes” – in which he draws alien symbols all over the wall like a naughty child (like he did in the S1 finale) – for some time. There’s potential here, but we’ve been burned by Coulson/alien teases before, so let’s hope the Agents of SHIELD writers have a better handle on how to dole out their reveals this season.
- In the coda, Coulson makes a deal with Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) to back off in exchange for delivering presents like Creel. Talbot refuses, thereby ensuring that this new iteration of SHIELD remains the “dark” underdogs…and that there’s an asshole character stalking the fringes of any given episode. Yay?
- Finally, Kyle MacLachlan appears briefly as Raina’s mysterious benefactor and Skye’s father. I will admit that I had completely forgotten that he was joining the show, but it’s good to see a recognizable face digging into a genre role.
- Coulson (when Skye tells him to relax with yoga): “I tried it, but I’m really not flexible.”
- Coulson (asking why Raina broke up with Hydra): “Why? Bad dental plan?
- Raina: “World domination? That’s so 1945.”
- Coulson (taking stock of his SHIELD resources): “I’m lucky that we still have our George Foreman grill.”
Your turn: did this episode redeem last week’s “meh” offering? Are you excited for Hunter to join the team? Did you enjoy seeing Fitz get on with someone other than fictitious Simmons? Did you miss Raina? Will the Coulson reveal be handled better this year than last year? And how long before Mockingbird turns up? Sound off below.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 9pm EST on ABC