We’ve always admired Marvel’s “Agents of SHIELD” for mastering the art of the comeback. Few shows have the ability to deliver strong entertainment; fewer can recover from a shaky start and do that. Ever since probably the midway point of season 1, this has been perpetually fantastic entertainment, dominated mostly by strong script-writing and character-building that challenges these Agents, and finds new ways to cut down to who they really are as people.
For the first part of season 3 in particular, we had a chance to see all sides of Phil Coulson, just as we started to get the necessarily evolution of the Fitz / Simmons relationship and great, tense storytelling for Melinda May. There’s a lot to get to in this latest Midseason Report Card feature, so let’s just dive right away.
What worked – We have to start with what is the performance of Clark Gregg, who was really fantastic over the past several episodes as Coulson allowed himself to open up and fall for someone in Rosalind Price, who eventually turned out to be a good person despite the warning signs. He showed tenderness and normalcy with her, and then pure rage when he killed Grant Ward in cold blood on the alien world of Maveth. This was probably the best arc for Coulson through two and a half seasons so far.
Also, the episode featuring Simmons alone on Maveth may be the strongest overall hour that “Agents of SHIELD” has produced so far, and the reveal of Andrew as Lash remains a particular standout even if it was earlier in the season. When you look at all of this plus the emotional implications of Andrew’s change on Melinda May, it’s easy to figure out why we’re high for the most part on the first batch of episodes.
What didn’t – It’s easy to pinpoint the weaknesses of the first ten episodes, mostly because the strengths were so obvious to spot: The show is perhaps taking too long on the whole Secret Warriors plotline given the preseason hype, and we feel like nobody knows full yet what to do with Lance Hunter and Bobbi Morse. We know that there have been spin-off talk there, and it makes sense given that they don’t have the best opportunities to shine her.
Overall – “Agents of SHIELD” as you know it best: Intense, surprise, and action-packed. It’s a little bit uneven from one week to the next, but this is what happens when you have a large cast and you are bouncing around to various stories so often. Midseason Grade: B+.
If you want to see some other news right now when it comes to “Agents of SHIELD,” head over here to see some more reaction to the winter finale right now via Brett Dalton! Also, you can sign up over here to get some additional tV news on everything we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter. (Photo: ABC.)