‘BOUNCING BACK’ PLOT SUMMARY:
S.H.I.E.L.D.’s recruitment of Inhumans for the Secret Warriors leads the team to Colombia, where the police are investigating the seemingly supernatural disappearance of a cache of weapons. Meanwhile, Malick (Powers Boothe) attempts to make his new guest (Brett Dalton) comfortable.
I dislike season breaks. There, I said it. I understand they’re something that shows do. Crews need time to shoot new episodes, and in the case of ABC the break was used to air Agent Carter, which is also a good series. It is possible to do a full season with no breaks though. 24 did it, and that had a huge production value for a network show. But enough with my gripes; let’s get on with the review.
People raved about Season’s 2 midseason finale since it had the reveal of Skye’s (Chloe Bennet) true identity and everything about Inhumans, but I think it’s safe to say that Season 3’s midseason finale and the episodes preceding it were even better. The longest lasting effects were obviously Ward’s death and the creature, Hive, inhabiting his body. Fortunately, we do see Hive briefly in this episode, and it is quite creepy. It doesn’t speak much, but what it does say is cryptic, which makes it all the more mysterious. Credit must be given not only to Brett Dalton for his unsettling performance but also the make-up team. It’s spooky seeing Ward’s ribs (which also happened to be crushed in the last episode). Hive definitely has some plans for Malick and the rest of Hydra.
Malick’s other biggest problem right now is Coulson (Clark Gregg), who’s still fuming over Rosalind’s death. Evidently, getting revenge on Ward wasn’t enough, so now he’s gunning for Malick, the guy who held Ward’s leash. This culminates in Coulson finding out how to contact Malick so he can basically threaten him, though it seems like he somehow also hits him financially. Maybe I missed something, but the man is untouchable, according to the President (William Sadler).
As for rest of the gang, they’re stuck with the case of the week, which involves a woman named Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley). Her Inhuman ability is that she runs super fast. However, she always returns to her point of origin; think the Flash, but if he were a boomerang. Aside from inclusion another Inhuman with Medusa-like paralysis powers, her story isn’t terribly intriguing, and it takes up the majority of the episode. She has her place on the team though. This is just set-up, which all shows need. It’s unrealistic to expect every episode to be a home run. Still, the one-off episodes have always been one of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s weaknesses, something that other superhero shows handle better.
There are a few notable moments sprinkled in that are worth mentioning. My favorite is the idea that someone would purposely take fish oil pills in hopes of going through Terrigenesis (the process of unlocking Inhuman powers). That might sound serious, but they play it as a joke and it works wonderfully. We also get a nice scene between Fitz and Simmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge). It’s surprising, really, that they’re still not officially together. I kind of just assumed they were when they were introduced in the very first episode. Even more romantic sparks fly between Daisy and Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), but that’s not as interesting. Honestly, I think Lincoln might die later on. Love interests have a bad track record on this show.
All in all, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s midseason premiere is middle of the road, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In some ways, it was inevitable. But we have nearly a whole half season ahead of us, and with things like Hive’s return going on, it’s hard not to be excited.
Welcome back, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
RATING: 6.5 OUT OF 10 (AVERAGE)
Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky