For thoughts on what this season of SHIELD could hold for this season, check out my thoughts written at the end of season 1.
With the changes to the dynamics of SHIELD coming stemming out of this spring’s Captain America: Winter Soldier, this season stands to have lots of changes and shifts.
This season opens with a scene setting up the Peggy Carter series. Springing out of the first Captain America movie and a one shot film on a DVD extra, this series is going to follow the work of Cap’s love interest, Agent Peggy Carter, as she alongside Iron Man’s dad Howard Stark create the task force designed to protect us from super enemies that becomes SHIELD.
This scene reminds us of the history of Hydra, SHIELD and previews the tone and characters of the launch of that show. It is fun seeing the Howling Commandos doing work alongside Carter and dropping the hints of what is to come, a stockpile of hidden away HYDRA devices that will show up in the current time.
Flash forward to current time, where we see a buy go bad and discover there are some new agents, most notably Lucy Lawless as Isabelle Hartly, a favorite of the science fiction and fantasy world, with roles from Xena Warrior Princess and Battlestar Galactica.
After a short scene between Coulson and Melinda May, we get to visit Fitz and Simmons, who we last saw after Fitz was in a coma, having sacrificed himself to make sure Simmons lived. Clearly, he has worked his way out of the coma but is having some trouble coming back to regular speed.
Together they discover the identity of the villain from the raid gone bad earlier. It turns out to be Marvel Universe’s Absorbing Man, aka Carl “Crusher” Creel, whose power is the ability for his body to take on the form of whatever he comes in contact with. It turns out Creel was listed as killed by the end of season one villain John Garrett.
Which means that Skye has to visit former SHIELD hero and boyfriend, Grant Ward, who reveals who Creel is and that he has been struggling with his incarceration, deep in the new SHIELD headquarters in Vault D. He gives the team the information they need to find Creel and leaves the dangling plot device of who Skye’s father is.
With Ward’s information, the team discovers that a deep Hydra network that runs deep and is now targeting General Glenn Talbot, who is targeting both former SHIELD and Hydra for elimination. After the team figures out that Talbot is the target, they manage to stop Creel, who gets the iconic chain and ball moment he is so famous for in the comics. The team then kidnaps Talbot and gets information from him.
After Simmons and Fitz have another discussion about his slow recovery, we discover that Creel is wanting to be captured, because Talbot is storing both the old weapon from the first scene and the villains that they are capturing. This leads to a SHIELD breach of the base, where they search for the box from the opener, which bonds to Hartley, harming her in the process. Yet Coulson gives the order to continue the meeting, no matter what.
Clearly, something is worth risking everything to get. So new guy Nick Blood winds up having to do surgery to free Hartley as the rest steal a cloakable Quinjet, needed for their covert missions in the future.
The episode ends with a dramatic speech from Coulson about how they will remain hidden as they work to fight back against Hydra and evil, revealing that the Simmons that Fitz has been talking to is a product of Fitz’s imagination and there are real concerns about whether Fitz will ever recover completely. And then Creel crashes the car with Blood and a now seemingly dead Hartley and walks away with the item…and her still attached hand.
And the episode closes from the present with a view of the ageless Nazi villain from the opener, now at work in our world, directing Creel and his actions.
So with this opener, we are left with some key plot points to be revealed over this season:
- How does Coulson and the team assemble the new people? I am assuming that there will be some flashback episodes, which is an interesting plot device. It lets them immediately move the new season into full speed motion, while setting up a potential for backstory later when needed.
- It would appear that the mysterious past of Skye should be revealed through the course of this season. Does that background make her more or less a hero? How has the chemical placed in both her and Coulson affect her? Most think she is headed for powers and becoming the heavy hitter on the television show.
- Will they ever develop a workable relationship with Talbot?
- Is Fitz going to be restored? To what links might a genius trapped inside a damage brain go to in order to be made whole? Will Simmons, the real Simmons, figure out how to save him?
- Will the show get bogged down in Peggy Carter crossover? This episode’s work seemed to be thoughtful and well planned but a constant back and forth will quickly get old and hard to follow.
- Is Ward really reformed or just biding his time, tormenting Skye with a promise of what he could be?