While there was a lot of action for DC Television shows in the comic book genre this fall, Marvel also had a big first half of the 2014-2015 season as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a show that has improved in several levels from a critical stand point. Today, we are doing a round table discussion about the first ten episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2. Be aware that we will go into spoilers so if you haven’t watched these episodes yet, check them out first before reading.
There is a clear difference between Season 1 and the first ten episodes of Season 2. Has the first half of the current season helped make this show into something that you always wanted to see?
Andy Behbakht: This is exactly what I wanted the show to be since day one: a full on Marvel TV show that will take the opportunity to expand the universe in ways that the movies can’t or don’t have the time to explore. These characters have found their places within this big Marvel world and having seen this first half: it has made me love the concept of S.H.I.E.L.D. on TV much more exciting. I have especially loved seeing the big difference in the young cast as all their characters have really taken different directions since the second half of season 1. They are expanding the show in so many different levels and it’s finally becoming the great show that I knew it could be.
Blaise Hopkins: Yes, it’s exactly what I wanted to see. The show finally has some direction to it rather than just feeling like a television companion to the Marvel universe. I feel like Marvel knew S.H.I.E.L.D. would be the perfect way to expand the Marvel universe and explore some smaller topics to include, but was unsure of how to start it out and grow it on its own. The first season began feeling like it was a useless 40 minutes for Marvel to dump extra events that were simultaneously going on during and in coordination with the MCU. The show seemed to be more focused on prioritizing that it was a part of Marvel rather than being a standalone show that takes place in the same universe. Now S.H.I.E.L.D. has found the perfect balance of both by focusing on the show itself first and then finding a way to tie in Marvel events with the background.
Chris King: Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was, until the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a Marvel procedural series that had a new “case of the week” in each episode. Once the serialized storytelling of the back half of Season 1 kicked in, it set up for a stronger, more consistent second season, and that’s what we’ve gotten. Plus, the characters of S.H.I.E.L.D. have finally grown into their own, from Skye to Fitz and Simmons to even Ward, who is much better as a villain than a boring “action hero.” It’s definitely a show that I look forward to watching every week now, and that wasn’t the case last year.
A lot of deep character development in the core cast in these first ten episodes: whose arc has been the most compelling one to follow so far?
Andy: Skye has had some major progression this season and it has just been a genuine joy to follow Chloe Bennett’s journey both with this character and as an actress. I still look at her as this show’s Buffy, a rank that is very hard to get up to because of the legacy that character and that show has since it ended. With the revelation that she is Daisy Johnson and an Inhuman, it’s only going to get better and more compelling. FitzSimmons has been heartbreaking to follow this year so far because the tone those two characters have gone from, is just too emotional for me. Ward has easily become the character that I absolutely love to hate which is a good sign of Brett Dalton’s great acting abilities.
Blaise: I think I’ve enjoyed Skye’s development the most. She was probably the most useless character when the show started and was written so poorly. Chloe Bennett has come a long way and it’s been really fun to watch her character finally turn into a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent and be able to handle things herself. I loved seeing her go out on missions by herself and being able to fight people off. While it might come across as happening relatively quickly, I can look past everything for the sake of being satisfied with how the show has turned out as a whole. I love that they decided to make her Daisy Johnson and am more excited than anything to see her character develop even more now that she has powers.
Chris: I’ve really been enjoying Skye and Fitz’s journeys so far in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2. While I’m interested in the Inhumans, I’m mostly just happy to see how far Skye has come in her training. She’s more than just a hacker–she’s now an integral part of S.H.I.E.L.D., and I’d argue she’s more important to its success than anyone else, even Coulson. Meanwhile, I’ve loved seeing Fitz battle through the mental issues that he’s been plagued with this season. It’s been heartbreaking to see his and Simmons’ relationship not be what it used to be, but these first ten episodes have allowed them both to grow individually as characters. It’s no longer FitzSimmons–it’s Fitz and Simmons. And that’s some great improvement.
Photo via ABC