Agents Of SHIE LD
Not quite the leader of the pack
Agents Of SHIELD stormed through a second season so packed, inventive and dynamic that it’s almost as though it’s received a Changing Rooms- style makeover since those wobbly early days. After being given a kick up the arse in its first year with the release of The Winter Soldier, the show was on sure enough ground this season that it didn’t require a boost from Age Of Ultron – indeed, the release of the movie barely impacted on the plot. SHIELD
is doing mighty fine all by itself, and long may it continue.
However, the show that started out as the little brother of Marvel’s big- screen adventures is now suffering from the addition of Agent Carter and Daredevil to its small- screen universe: you could argue that now it’s little more than a second cousin, overshadowed by its brighter, bolder relations.
Take the cast. Characters that once bored us ( Ward, we’re looking at you) have earned a new lease of life, yes. But SHIELD’s entire ensemble withers when placed next to the beautifullyrounded persona of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter: she’s simply in a different league, a true legend alongside a bunch of fairytale sketches. And these characters also suffer when compared to those in Netflix’s Daredevil; there will surely be Emmys for those actors ( Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin in particular), but for the team in SHIELD? Nope.
The same goes for the action. Obviously the shows are wildly different in tone – think of SHIELD as a cartoon, Agent Carter as a loving homage to pulp detective tales and Daredevil as Shakespeare. But consider the casual way that Coulson loses his hand yet seems to shrug it off, contrasted with how we get to feel every scratch that lands on poor Matt Murdock’s battered body. Naturally we’ll find ourselves drawn to the more dramatic version, assuming it’s better in the same way that the Academy overlooks comedies when they award the Best Picture Oscar.
Daredevil and Agent Carter, then, are the pedigree pooches winning all the awards at Crufts, while SHIELD’s the daft family labrador who just wants to jump all over us and lick our face. On the plus side, however, this doesn’t mean that we like labradors any less. Jayne Nelson
New Life: Rumours are still circulating that season two newbies Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird ( Adrianne Palicki), and Lance Hunter ( Nick Blood) might get their own SHIELD spin- off series. This might not happen any time soon, but ABC have hinted strongly that it could be a plan at some point in the future.
Friends Reunited: Both Nick Blood and Ruth Negga ( Raina) appeared in Channel 4’ s Misfits.
It’s Wossername! A major character in SHIELD’s second year is played by Dichen Lachman, who starred as Sierra in Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Her fellow “doll”, Enver Gjokaj, plays Daniel Sousa in Agent Carter.
Best Lines: May: my plane.” Coulson: “Me too. Though, if you think about it, mostly terrible stuff happened on that thing.”
“I miss balance will be restored a little next season: no one wants an all- out farce or even for the show to reach the lighter heights of The Flash, but a totally brutal, unrelenting Arrow isn’t exactly the ideal either. Hopefully more collaboration between the shows – which has proved a prime source of amusement and truly cracked the code for making crossovers work ( odd scheduling issues aside) – will provide some joy to go with all of Arrow’s moping.
Meanwhile, the stunts and fights continue to impress, alongside the writers’ willingness to play within the DC Universe. They’ve been so successful that you begin to wish the cinematic version could start taking more of a cue from its small- screen compatriots, but for now it definitely feels like they’re existing in completely different timelines. James White
Trivia: Chalk up another person knowing Barry Allen’s real identity, as Felicity outs him to Malcolm Merlyn ( John Barrowman) in the season finale.
It’s Wossisname! Matt Nable, playing Ra’s Al Ghul, cropped up as Boss Johns in the recent Riddick film.
Spoiler Alert! The finale appears to show Ray Palmer caught in an explosion, but since he’s joining spin- off DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, he’ll be okay.
Trivia: There’s a sneaky DC Easter Egg in Ferris Air, seen in “This Is Your Sword”, referenced as closed down when “one of their test pilots went missing”.
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He didn’t see that coming.