AGENTS Of SHIELD
Man’s inhumanity to Inhumanity
UK Broadcast E4, Sundays
US Broadcast ABC, midseason break
Episodes Reviewed 3.01- 3.10
The Inhumans are here and Agents Of SHIELD is feeling the benefits. The constant complaint during the early days of the show was how un-“super” it felt. Now Coulson and co can’t move for people with powers. Even Coulson is a kinda cyborg now; well, he has a prosthetic hand that – in Whedon vernacular – “does stuff ”. Hell, he undergoes a mutation in episode nine which gives his face the ability to show a third expression ( over and above “mild concern” and “smug”).
This action- packed half season cracks through a number of parallel, interweaving plot lines with a refreshingly energetic verve. Even when it slows the pace for an extraordinary format-breaking episode five – featuring just one character for much of the running time – the result is assured and gripping.
The main strands are: Daisy forming the Secret Warriors, her own subsection of SHIELD comprising new Inhuman recruits; Coulson discovering the US government has a new Inhuman-hunting division with differing methods to SHIELD’s and a boss he fancies almost as much as he mistrusts; a new über- Inhuman called Lash who’s killing other Inhumans; May and Andrew having marital problems; Fitz trying to discover where Simmons vanished to; Hunter on a revenge mission against Ward; and Ward discovering that Hydra has indeed grown a new Head. As the season goes on, they all dovetail in often surprising ways.
Fitz wins “character of the half season”, narrowly edging out his old partner, Simmons; they both have some meaty plots to chew on. The writers have also worked out what to do with Mack; he’s basically Coulson’s number two by episode nine and, amazingly for a character who was so forgettable for much of season two, you feel he thoroughly deserves it.
The show still suffers from drab production design, info dump speed bumps and unambitious fight scenes. But at least it now feels like a small- screen version of the bigger Marvel Cinematic Universe, even if Captain America never pops round, never calls, never leaves a text… Dave Golder
The colourful spandex is in the post.