TVOvermind Round Table: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

After struggling to find a rhythm in its first season, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. evolved into a much stronger and enjoyable series in its second year, as Director Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his new S.H.I.E.L.D. fought against Hydra and the newly discovered race that are the Inhumans. Today, we at TVOvermind are doing another round table discussion as we examine the second season of the ABC series, exploring favorite aspects to the show’s overall role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 featured a more serialized format with Season 2A being Hydra-focused, while Season 2B was about the Inhumans. How did it work for you as a viewer? Was it more enjoyable seeing more connectivity as opposed to procedural-style of Season 1 with individual cases of the week?

Andy Behbakht: I did enjoy the serialized format so much more than having random cases that sometimes never tied back with the overall plot, because there were several times in the first season where you had these sort of “out of place episodes.” I think I enjoyed the Inhumans arc a little bit more, mostly because this was something new for me in the Marvel Universe. While the execution with Jiaying going evil on everybody wasn’t perhaps the best way to end it, it was entertaining as a whole, and while the movie is still years away, it’s great to see it being set up through the show.

Jasef Wisener: While I appreciate a procedural element (and I definitely enjoyed it through its ups and downs in Season 1), I really liked how serialized the show was this season. The writers used the winter break to their advantage by being able to tell two distinct-yet-connected stories, and I think it was more enjoyable as a member of the audience.

Blaise Hopkins: I definitely enjoyed how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was focused this season. It was a nice balance between finishing off the current chapter of Hydra and opening up a new one towards the end with Ward, while also beginning the story of the Inhumans. The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. felt really all over the place, and while the second season had its moments like that, I think overall it was a nice progression that knew where it would begin and end. There is too much going on in the entire MCU to make Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. an episodic/ individual case per week type of show. I think that it focused on the right things in season two and did a great job of being its own show while also giving us an idea of what Hydra is up to post-Age of Ultron.

Nick Hogan:  I definitely preferred the Hydra story to the Inhumans. I think it was good to see Inhumans, and deal with a world in which powered people exist and could be dangerous, but this show works best as a spy show. It felt like a really long time before Hydra and Inhuman plots intersected, and the former was certainly more interesting to me. The short answer is, I prefer connectivity, and I didn’t see the Inhumans connected to anything else until late in the game.

Chris King: That type of serialized storytelling worked incredibly well for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Season 2, particularly in the first half of the season as the Hydra arc really felt like it was building to something major. Although the Inhumans-centered half of Season 2 was less successful, I still appreciated that it was focused on the series’ mythology and was giving us insight into Skye’s history, rather than many of the “case of the week” episodes of Season 1.

Whether you were familiar with them or not before this season, what did you think of the introduction of the Inhumans into the MCU, with Skye being revealed as Marvel’s Daisy Johnson/Quake? And, in general, how did you like seeing more super-powered people in the show?

Andy Behbakht: As I mentioned above, the Inhumans were new to me, so getting it introduced through this TV show was very special, and it was a different animal as a villain, compared to what we had in 2A and last season. It’s funny how I always wanted Daisy Johnson on the show for so long and to then find out that she had been there this whole time (even though I’m sure the plan to make her Daisy wasn’t always 100% set in stone at the start) was thrilling. Chloe Bennet just got so much good material to work with this season (as well as some stuff that wasn’t so good) and seeing the show give us this superhero origin story in a spy show made it very easy for me to enjoy the stories.

Jasef Wisener: This is a tough question to answer. I really liked Skye’s reveal (even if it’s very clear that this exact scenario isn’t 100% what the creators intended for the character from the beginning), and I think that having a super-powered character on the show’s main team will really pave the way for some good stories later on. With that said, I didn’t really like any of the other Inhumans. I felt that all of them (with maybe one exception) were very poorly used throughout the second half of the season, and I think that the writers really just felt it necessary to add them in order to give viewers a tease at what’s to come in the MCU. Furthermore, the plans for the MCU itself, even with the upcoming Inhumans movie, seem completely set on not caring what happens in any of the television series, so I don’t really know if this really is the introduction of the Inhumans to the MCU. Hopefully, the films will allow themselves to connect more to television in the future, but right now, it’s just incredibly hard to answer without knowing what will happen later on.

Blaise Hopkins: Personally, this is everything I want the show to be. The show is still about S.H.I.E.L.D., but it incorporated people having powers, which was pretty much inevitable. I like the division they are creating about certain character’s trust towards people like Skye after seeing what can happen when they don’t have control. It’s setting up nicely for Captain America: Civil War, and I think the show will be really neat when that is eventually released. I’m extremely happy that Skye did turn out to be Daisy (as I had believed for a while), because she’s just an extremely important character in the whole MCU. I really like the decision to bring her in through S.H.I.E.L.D. because it has allowed us to watch a drawn-out and well-developed origin story. I still have a strong feeling that Skye was never initially meant to be Daisy Johnson, but after the lackluster first season and the feeling that they didn’t know what to do with her character, I think it was a smart move. I’m excited to see her character continue to progress, and I would hope to see her become the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. or the new Maria Hill if Hill herself becomes the new director at some point.

Nick Hogan: As I’ve previously stated, it’s good to see S.H.I.E.L.D. exist in a world that has powered people in it. I have no prior familiarity with the Inhumans, so it was a little hit and miss for me. It wasn’t until “Melinda” (Episode 17) that I really felt the plots intersected at all. I like Skye as a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent/Hacker/Inhuman, and I really enjoyed her arc this season. I think Chloe Bennet is wonderful. I also have previously mentioned that this show works best as a spy show, so I really felt better about the Inhumans when they related directly to the mission of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Chris King: I sort of touched on this above, but I was a little underwhelmed to be honest. As interesting as it was to learn more about Skye and her family, the whole arc just felt very rushed and contrived, particularly the reveal of Jiaying’s true intentions. Plus, I believe that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. simply works better as a spy show than as a sci-fi series that is directly trying to connect with the MCU. What was more compelling to me was watching Skye interact with members of the team after they learned about her powers; that’s where the real, fascinating drama was, not in meeting a bunch of bland Inhuman characters whose names I can’t even remember.

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