S1: Agent Coulson is somehow mysteriously alive after dying during the Avengers crisis, and he’s putting together his own team now. It should be business as usual, but gradually the secrets within SHIELD catch up with Coulson, his team, and the entire organization.
S2: SHIELD is in tatters, with rival factions vying for power. As Coulson works to unite his SHIELD with another faction, a community of enhanced people (Inhumans) comes into play–and he and his new allies have vastly different ideas about how to handle them.
S3: Coulson has managed to put his organization back together as a covert force, and wants to establish a task force of people with powers led by Daisy, who can create vibrations. But the release of a compound into the environment is causing people to develop powers in violent and uncontrolled ways. Meanwhile, they also contend with another government group trying the handle the Inhuman situation in more violent ways, a reforming HYDRA led by an old ally who betrayed them, and an alien artifact that already did something–no one knows what–to one of their own.
Series: Third season is airing.
I’ve Watched: Up to episode 5 of season 3.
Verdict: Still great.
This is the third season, so I can’t talk about it without spoilers.
First off, let’s get a couple of things out of the way. 1) I will not believe a character is dead when we’ve seen no body. I know I erroneously thought Izzy was still alive, but I refuse to believe such a promising character with so much potential contribution to the story is gone without more knowledge. 2) The Jemma episode, which shows her surviving alone for three months, isn’t as good as I was hoping for. The lone survivor story doesn’t really seem to be the show’s strength. Agents of SHIELD is good at tackling lots of characters, and loads going on–but apparently not so good yet at zeroing in on one character and plotline.
Overall, however, I really do love how the characters keep changing and evolving from where they were, in a natural progression from what happens to them.
Fitz keeps getting emotionally wrecking storylines. His entire character journey is fantastic, and he’s come pretty far from who he was in season one. In season two, he was dealing with his limitations after his injury, and with developing his relationships with the people around him given where he is in life now. And in season three, those limitations are still present, but Fitz is dealing with completely different things–namely, trying to save his best friend from a mysterious artifact no one understands.
He’s been through a lot, but he’s more determined than ever. And he keeps getting these powerful scenes. In season two, it was when he confronted Ward. Now, it’s after he spends an entire episode trying to track down leads that might give him anything to help save Simmons. And when the frustration boils over, he goes to the room with the obelisk and walks up to it unprotected despite knowing what it can do, and then lets out all his emotions, practically daring the thing to do whatever it did to Simmons to him.
We also see just how different he is when he decides to screw the plan and take the high risk, high reward path, without warning anyone about his intentions. And we see that he’s become as strong and decent person when he tells Jemma, with determination and no apparent reluctance, that they’ll get back this person who’s come to mean something to her.
Simmons’ emotional well-being remained mysterious for a while, along with how she’s changed. This is another huge evolution of her character, though I’d been expecting it to go differently before the reveal of her time on the other planet. I’m a little confused about the dissonance between her extreme feelings of being unsafe when she’s back, and the apparent stability she had immediately before she came back. I’m also a little disappointed that her episode ended up being mostly about the men in her life, and I’m not excited about what it’s likely setting up (and I’m not even a FitzSimmons shipper). But we’ll see where it goes.
Skye, or Daisy, has come really far, albeit with a more gradual evolution of character than the leaps and bounds Fitz and Simmons tend to make. From a loner/rebel, to an agent, and now to a leader. Meanwhile, Coulson has been getting more controlling, more–as Andrew put it–desperate. And the two of them are starting to clash, though still respectfully, as they matter to each other. It’ll be interesting to see where that goes, especially given that Coulson treats Daisy more like a daughter than an agent.
Daisy and Mack are also forming an interesting partnership. Daisy fully wants to start a team of people like her, with powers, imagining them gaining something from finding a way to use their powers to help people. The way that she did. Mack is wary of people like her, not because he doesn’t think of them as people (anymore, anyway), but because he knows they can be dangerous to others whether they want to be or not. It’s a reasonable idea that sometimes causes him to overlook the needs of the Inhumans in favor of being cautious of what they might do. And yet, they have a kind of friendship and partnership that still feels tentative, but is growing.
Ward is just fun to watch now, and it’s great having an antagonist with so much history with our leads. And yes, he has finally settled into the antagonist role, after the show had teased us about who he was going to turn into for so long. It’s been a fun ride, but here we are.
Bobbi’s dealing with rehabilitation and taking some of the load off in the biochem department while Simmons is gone–the latter takes a bit of suspension of disbelief, given that science isn’t something that you can drop and then pick up again. Things change fast enough that you really need to keep up with it. But her character journey is as always interesting, especially given that she’s pretty well-versed on psychology and watching her frustration subtly play off her knowledge of what’s going on in her head is cool.
I also love meeting May’s family–her mother had a great cameo last season, and her father has a great one this season. I do love how he says that he isn’t expecting company, but he also isn’t afraid of the prospect, highlighting the way May’s life has shaped her differently than him. And I really enjoy Andrew getting more screentime. He’s both interesting in and of himself, and adds to the show.
The show has nice touches where it doesn’t completely sweep certain things under the rug, like the loss of Coulson’s hand–yeah, he gets a robotic hand and is initially dismissive of losing it because he’s wrapped up in something else. But then there’s scenes like the one where May pointed out he isn’t wearing a tie like usual, and he holds up his robot hand and says ‘still practicing.’ And his expression makes it clear that he lost something.
So, still very much enjoying this series.