The MCU Ranked: ‘Agents of SHIELD’ (Season 2)
Showrunners: Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, Jeffrey Bell
Heroes: Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), Skye Johnson (Chloe Bennet), Agent May (Ming-Na Wen), Agent Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Agent Triplett (B.J. Britt), Agent Lance Hunter (Nick Blood), Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki), Agent ‘Mack’ MacKenzie (Henry Simmons)
Villains/Support Cast: Agent Ward (Brett Dalton), Koenig Brothers (Patton Oswalt), Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond), Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), Calvin Johnson (Kyle MacLachlan), Raina (Ruth Negga), Agent Robert Gonzales (Edward James Olmos), Dr. List (Henry Goodman), Jiaying (Dichen Lachman)
Cameos: Jaimie Alexander returns as Asgardian Sif, now with AMNESIA! J August Richards also returns as Deathlok. Cobie Smulders plays Agent Maria Hill to maintain a thin link to the films. In some flashbacks we get Hayley Atwell and Neal McDonough reprising their roles as Agent Peggy Carter and ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan respectively.
Plot: SHIELD is now an underground spy organisation run by Agent Coulson. They work to strike out against Hydra while also seeking to unravel the mystery of the strange glyphs Coulson is compelled to sketch. This leads to a shocking revelation about Skye and her father.
Review: We found the first season season of Agents of SHIELD to be…scattershot. It felt as though they we playing catch-up. When this season opens we’re mostly feeling confused about who all these people are.
It makes sense that Coulson would have needed more personal to make SHIELD operational but we’d like some explanation of who we’re looking at. In addition to the usual crew we have Tripp, Mack and Hunter. They have have established relationships with the main cast and we’re just left to figure it out on our own.
There’s a couple of plot threads out of the gate, including Fitz trying to regain his facilities after being in a coma, Simmons working undercover at Hydra, Coulson potentially being insane, May having to keep him under control and Ward being a prisoner of SHIELD. None of these plots are especially engaging though, and they mostly just plod along until the mid-season point.
When Coulson finds the mysterious alien city, which has been his driving motivation for the first few episodes, we introduce a major new plot element. At the heart of this mystery is the Terrigen Mists, an element that unlocks the latent powers of The Inhumans. This group of Marvel characters have always played second fiddle to the X-Men and have been untapped by cinema. Skye learns she is an Inhuman and has the ability to generate shockwaves.
Introducing the Inhumans works really well and gives the series the shot in the arm it needed. We get introduced to a host of colourful character with unusual powers, an underground society and learn more about Skye’s – or Daisy’s – backstory. Kyle MacLachlan is on point as her unhinged father, while Dichen Lachman provides a more zen influence as her mother (at first).
Meanwhile, back on The Bus, we get the additional reveal that new characters Mac and Bobbi have secretly been working for…SHIELD? It turns out that on the day Hydra’s incursion was uncovered and SHIELD fell there was another group who survived and carried on in secret. Ultimately this new faction comes into conflict with Coulson’s SHIELD adding a layer of politics and betrayal. It also add Edward James Olmos, which is always a welcome addition.
Eventually both sides of SHIELD and the Inhumans all meet on the battlefield and by this point we’ve gotten suitably invested in the characters and their relationships to give a damn. The budget has reached a point where even minor roles get real talent, and the effects make the crafts and superpowers look convincing. There’s no clear right side to any of if and it becomes a solid binge. The only real pointless inclusion is Ward, whose character remains crowbarred into every major episode whether he belongs there or not. He could be cut without any real change to the show.
Credits Scene: Fitz finally asks Simmons on a date and she accepts. Then Simmons gets eaten by a rock.
Most Notable Easter Egg: The ties to the MCU are much stronger this time around. There’s a few moments that provide set up for Age of Ultron, including Maria Hill getting a heads up from Coulson on where the find Loki’s sceptre, the helicarrier coming out of storage and a prophecy about metal men.
Coolest Moment: We have to note Kyle MacLachlan as Cal Johnson, Syke’s unhinged father. He’s on fire in this role, playing it something like a super-strong Joker. He’s fun whenever he turns up.
Phase 2 Hand Loss: The TV shows seem to have jumped on the bandwagon of dismembering limbs. Coulson gets his arms chopped off by Mac to save him from the Terrigen crystals turning him to stone.
THE MCU MASTER LIST
Well, it clearly gets a step up on the first season. The dragging first half of the season does mean it’s not falling to far from the tree.
Click those numbers if you want to see what we said about the others entries.
1. THE AVENGERS
2. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER
3. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
4. THOR: RAGNAROK
5. IRON MAN
7. THE PUNISHER (SEASON 1)
8. IRON MAN 3
9. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER
10. IRON MAN 2
11. AGENTS OF SHIELD (SEASON 2)
12. AGENTS OF SHIELD (SEASON 1)
13. THOR: THE DARK WORLD
14. THE INCREDIBLE HULK
Whilst we’re in the area, let’s swing by Hell’s Kitchen.