Agents of SHIELD: Twists of Character


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Genre: Action/Superhero


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 on break for the winter.

I’ve Watched: All of part 1, season 3.

Verdict: Mostly very good.

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As ever, Agents of SHIELD just keeps moving and changing, instead of always trying to keep to the same status quo. And this goes for character evolution as well, from the mainstays to the new arrivals. In particular, Rosalind proves to be an interesting member of the cast this season. She’s the head of the new organization to butt heads with Coulson’s SHIELD, and immediately at odds with our protagonists.

But then, every new piece of information about her necessitates some reassessment of her character. It’s actually pretty cool, how we’re kept guessing about her, without overplaying the dynamic.

[Spoilers follow.]

Her idea of a solution to the explosive influx of Inhumans, and the reasons behind it, turn out to be different than might be expected. And the assertion that she’s well on her way to figuring out how to reverse the process the Inhumans experience when the Terrigen changes things as well. If her process involved obtaining consent before putting people in the equivalent of a medically induced coma, with the promise that she’d be able to fix what had been done to them shortly–well, it’s easy to imagine many of the people involuntarily changed by the Terrigen compound agreeing to that. Even being relieved by the option.

Of course, Rosalind doesn’t ask for anyone’s permission or consent. And honestly, most in her position couldn’t pay attention to these new powered humans as people first without experiencing backlash from her own people, at the least. However, an alliance between her and Coulson opened up several possibilities which were later erased. Because neither she nor Coulson were giving the Inhumans they found much of a choice in how to progress from there. That was partly because they couldn’t. Working together could have instead allowed them to present at least one choice to the people whose lives were being upended, and I wondered how these characters would react to that possibility.

The show ultimately didn’t go that way, which is probably for the best. But the plotline kept us guessing about Rosalind’s character for a while. And that actually made for a nice dynamic.

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In contrast to that, I’m really not sure about this whole Lash reveal.

For one, the initial dynamic between May and Andrew was reminiscent of Skye and Ward. It made sense in the latter case based on where the characters were, and worked out well. But doing this again, and this time putting May in the position of being at the mercy of a violent romantic interest…meh. Not to mention taking the one scholarly and empathic black character, and turning him into a serial killer. I’m not entirely surely framing it from a “but he can’t control himself” standpoint doesn’t make it worse.

And I don’t really get it character-wise, either. Perhaps there was some kind of lead-up that showed how Andrew, of all people, would develop such an extremist philosophy. But we didn’t get to see it. In this case, the show went for the surprise factor over the believability factor, and I don’t know, guys. This just really isn’t working for me.

On another note, even I’m starting to get onboard the FitzSimmons train, and I’ve never been particularly attached to it. Fitz is just so…he’s become such an ideal person. He’s just such a good guy, and so genuinely respectful and caring. It’s not about posturing or competing, it’s about doing what’s actually best for the person he’s in love with. How can I not want him to be happy? And yeah, it’s easy to see how that attitude, that absolute respect, would pull Simmons in, especially when we already know there’s an attraction there.

Still liking Mack, Bobbi, and Hunter. And seeing a totally new side to Mack. Also seeing a new side of Lincoln–cool so far, but let’s see where it goes when we actually get more focus on his character.

And then Ward…well, plenty of people probably saw that coming. Ward could only play his kind of role on the show for a limited time before it became too much. And it was a perfect opportunity to get rid of Ward while getting to keep Brett Dalton on the show. Of course this is what we were coming to.

So, I still very much enjoy this show. It’s one of my favorites on television right now. I don’t have a positive reaction to everything that it does, but my reactions do tend to be mostly positive overall.

2 thoughts on “Agents of SHIELD: Twists of Character

  1. theo promes

    I’ve been watching agents of shield since early in season one, and I agree with almost all your impressions. I was somewhat alienated (pun intended) by the whole Lash thing as well, it just doesn’t really make sense that someone like Andrew who was depicted incredibly empathic and non-judgemental would suddenly decide that serial murder is a great solution to the inhuman integration issue. And the whole transformation-induced change of personality thing seems pretty thin.
    Personally, my guess was that the actor is leaving the show, so they’re getting some character development for May out of it, but I don’t really follow background stuff like that tbh, its just a thought. I did not really get a Ward-esque vibe from of the whole thing though, May is just way too badass, when she was kidnapped I had more of a feeling that she was waiting to see wtf was going on with Andrew because she doesn’t *want* to go all cavalry on him and beat him to death with the radiator or whatever he chained her to. Unlike Skye with Ward, she never came across as helpless, so I didn’t mind that particular dynamic.
    I *love* the whole Bobbi-Hunter dynamic, and have been pretty much since they showed up – Bobbi in general is just so awesome, she is very powerful without the icy scaryness that May tends to radiate, I like May a lot as well but Bobbi is decidedly more human. Also really pretty without the show actually going the all-too-common “pretty agent eye-candy using her looks to be a spy” route at all, which is a big plus imo.
    Skye/Daisy is in a bit of a weird spot this season I think, her parent’s story Arc was brilliant, but now she kind of spends her screen time being an agent and I miss the free-spirited out-of-the-box thing a bit. Well, season’s not over yet.
    I think you are very spot-on with your assessment of how they got rid of ward but kept the actor on the show, and I think he did a brilliant job so far so I approve, the only thing I found a bit weird was how they turned the haunting ancient evil murderdeathgod into something rather rational and “new villain”-y… suddenly being all devious and evil but human-ish instead of that insane sandstorm that makes people go crazy and murder each other for inscrutable reasons. I understand *why* they did it, and I’m sure its going to be a fun new enemy, but I liked the original thing better – the devastating force of nature was something else than whatever Ward now is, and I feel like it lost its scary factor in becoming human, because it is not incomprehensible anymore.


    1. It’d be nice if an actor leaving the show was treated as just, ‘hey, Andrew no longer agrees with what SHIELD is doing and is leaving for moral differences’ or something basic like that. A normal everyday thing, instead of, ‘this character needs to die now’.

      Yeah, my problem with May and Andrew isn’t so much because she was completely helpless, it’s that the show chose her moment of emotional vulnerability to coincide with being chained up by her boyfriend. And then, there was the suddenly violent love interest–everything about it just felt wrong, for both characters. But of course, that’s a very emotional response on my part, and it’s going to come off differently for everyone.

      I also kind of miss loose-cannon-Skye/Daisy, though I guess she had to stably fit into the team at some point. Still, she’s got her moments of questioning authority and breaking rules. I think it’s gradually being treated as less of a big deal.

      I’m reserving judgement on said murderdeathgod until we see him do more. Though I was kind of thrown off at him suddenly being on earth. How did he even get there?


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