Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Premiere Recap: A Lot to Absorb

Agents of SHIELD Season 2 Premiere

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned on Tuesday with a Season 2 premiere that caught us up on Coulson & Co. — for better, and in some instances for worse — as well as introduced some new friends in the fight to fend off HYDRA and rebuild the once-mighty organization.

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Following a highly entertaining prologue flashback that saw SSR Agent Peggy Carter and the Howling Commandos storm a Nazi camp to retrieve an alien obelisk from Daniel Whitehall (aka the HYDRA agent known as Kraken, played by Reed Diamond), we meet badass S.H.I.E.L.D. vet Isabelle Hartley (Lucy Lawless) and her colleagues Lance Hunter and “Idaho.” They cross paths with May, Skye and Triplett when their sting of a rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent goes sideways, thanks to an uninvited Absorbing Man.

Once aware of this “gifted” HYDRA asset, Coulson sends a reluctant Skye to confab with Ward, who’s being held under tight security. Ward is now… different… a bit Hannibal Lecter in his parsing of intel, the way he endeavors to steer the conversation his way. But once Skye, no longer susceptible to his charms, gets what she needs, she shuts down communication with her ex-man… before he can share something about her father.

Coulson’s team — which these days now includes mechanic Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie (Henry Simmons) — discovers that HYDRA is chasing the very first 0-8-4, the obelisk nabbed by Carter in the prologue. To that end, the Absorbing Man lets himself get captured by General Talbot’s men, thus affording him better access to the facility where the artifact is stored. May, Hartley et al then must infiltrate Talbot’s facility themselves, passing Triplett off as a high-fallutin’ general and using voice-changing technology to let Coulson barks orders as Talbot. (Agent Koenig’s exasperation as Coulson overdid it a bit? Priceless.)

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Once inside Talbot’s warehouse, Hartley gets to the obelisk first, but makes the mistake of grabbing it with her bare hand — and then is unable to let go, as it transforms her hand, and then arm, into inanimate (read: dead) matter. Promptly evacuating the facility in an SUV, Hartley beseeches Hunter to lance off her arm, in hopes of saving her life. Yet just as he does so, the Absorbing Man appears in the middle of the road. Transformed into a mass of concrete, he flips the vehicle, killing all but Hunter (who plays dead as their “gifted” adversary makes off with the obelisk). Thanks for stopping by, Xena, wish you coulda stayed longer.

Coulson’s team does not come away empty-handed, however, as they had a second agenda — to steal one of Talbot’s cloaking-enabled jets, seeing as Fitz has been unable to nail down the cloaking technology on his own just yet. And why is that?

Heartbreak ahead….

Though we thought we had seem the worst of the aftereffects of the tech whiz’s near-drowning, as throughout the episode he stuttered through conversations with sidekick Simmons while laboring to crack the cloaking nut, it is ultimately revealed that Simmons actually left some time ago, thinking that her presence was hindering Fitz’s recuperation.

In other words, Fitz is so far gone that he’s hallucinating her presence, their interactions.

But wait, there’s one more humdinger: As the hour closes, the in-demand obelisk is delivered to… Kraken, looking as spry as he did during WWII…?

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64 Comments
  1. Tran says:

    I give the season premiere of SHIELD a B. The one question remains: was it really redemption or no redemption for Ward after all the horrible things he went through or should SHIELD “trust the enemy”? DUN-DUN-DUN

  2. Mike R. says:

    Poor Fitz…and Skye, and Izzie. Where is Simmons, I need to know. Overall very enjoyable premiere, absorbing man was cool, and seeing Coulson as director is interesting, especially how he seems more like Fury than ever. Can’t wait for me, looks to be a great season.

    • Kate says:

      Oh, I think she must be the London connection that Coulson and May made reference to in the beginning of the episode. So, yeah, she just went home.

      • Mike R says:

        Hopefully she met up with Weaver, the head of the SHIELD science academy that we last saw in Turn Turn Turn, I just hope we see real Simmons soon.

  3. Simmons :( Is she gone for good?

  4. Mary says:

    Not happy with what happened to Isabelle Hartley.

  5. Dj says:

    I gave it A for awesome. They hooked me from start to finish. With twist I didn’t see coming and this is just the start. I am looking forward to this because one episode in and this feel like it’s my favorite show.

  6. Leo says:

    This was basically a mini-reboot. Lot of changes from season one. I guess they heard the criticism.

  7. Jordan says:

    Matt are we supposed to think Hartley is dead? Obviously her status didn’t look good, but couldn’t she just be unconscious?

  8. Ryus says:

    Quick, someone get some GH 325 for Izzie and Fitz! :”'(

    Great episode and start to the season. I gave it an A.

  9. Krayzeman says:

    The prologue was AWESOME! The rest of the episode was serviceable. It’s seems like all the main actors are more comfortable in their roles and the episode was entertaining. This disappointing thing is that this is a Marvel show with no Marvel superheroes. Hopefully Daredevil or Like Cage can crossover into this if they can’t get the movie actors in the show.

    • jordanmyoung says:

      Mockingbird is on the way in a few episodes.

    • Mike R says:

      If you haven’t accepted the fact this this show is not ever going to have super heroes on the show on a regular basis, you are never going to be completely satisfied. Cross overs may happen on the occasion, but this is a story about SHIELD, and if you can accept what it is, I think it is finally getting good.

    • I fear you’ve missed the whole point of the entire show. From day 1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has PURPOSELY not been about superheros. The show was designed to showcase the human aspect of SHIELD. There will be characters from the comics here and there like Absorbing Man, Mockingbird, Nick Fury… but the heroes are of the non-super-powered variety and that’s intentional.

  10. laurelnev says:

    LOVED it! But who else is betting we haven’t seen the end of Xena yet. My bet is that her contact w/ the 086 will prove to strengthen her, kind of like how the alien substance saved Skye & Coulson.

    And Tripp is officially my new crush, although May remains my heroine.

  11. Blah says:

    I hope Simmons returns and quickly as she was the breakout star of season one and the rare person who worked in combination with every other main cast member (including boring ward)

    The premier was a little underwhelming. Hopefully shield will focus a lot more on being an hourlong marvel universe comedy with case of the week elements as opposed to going darker/more serious for no real reason

  12. Sara says:

    Great episode!!! They definitely kept up the momentum from the end of last season. That end with Fitz was so sad and shocking. I really hope that Simmons comes back soon! Ward was so creepy! I can’t wait to see where his story goes this year. Skye was interesting because she had started to let down her walls as last season progressed, but she has definitely hardened up again. Not sure how I like Coulson as Director yet. I miss his interactions with the team and it seems like they haven’t gotten to see him much, which could account in part for Skye’s walls being back up (obviously Ward played a role in that, as well as Simmons’ absence). Anyway, I can’t wait to see how this season plays out! So excited to have it back!!!

  13. Jimmy says:

    Wow, what a shame it would be to bring in someone as great as Lucy Lawless then kill her after one episode. If this turns out to be true it would lost opportunity, both in story considering the history of the character and in having Lawless as a recurring guest.

  14. Drew says:

    I think it might be worse than last year. The military dudes were more stupid than the FBI agents on The Following. The dialog was bland. The acting was weak. They keep acting like everything is super urgent and dire, but it never really feels that way. The show is just so plastic.
    I am looking forward to the Agent Carter series. The flashback was the high point of this episode. I wish that there was more positive notes on the episode, but there isn’t… I guess the guy who plays Fitz is doing a good job. That is positive, right?

    • JimC says:

      I agree. Thought that was a great touch to start off the season. Not only another interaction with the movie storyline but also another chance to see Haley Atwell who absolutely stuns in the look of the 1940’s. They gotta figure a way to get her back in the Captain America movies but I’ll take the new series they’re planning.

  15. tjfecko says:

    So how is it that the aborbing man just appeared in the middle of the road to cause the suv the flip when he was just back in the warehouse? Doesn’t make any sense to me.. am I missing something here?

  16. sladewilson says:

    This rocked. All the surprises, Easter Eggs, and the end blow about FitzSimmons (and come on, we all know she’s coming back – it’s just a matter of when). Skye has turned into a mini-May. One question: Will B.J. Britt (Triplett) become a full time cast member or keep guest star status? I gave this one an “A”….

  17. Aaron says:

    Why would Simmons ever leave? Fitz professes his love for her and then sacrifices himself to save her and then suffers a debilitating brain trauma and the best thing that Simmons can do for her closest friend in the world who just saved her life is… Leave? Makes no sense. Otherwise great episode but that part irked me.

    • DarkDefender says:

      Maybe… Because (as you can see in his hallucinations) Fitz was relying too much on Simmons to get by and not stretching himself (solo) to get better. It is holding him back.

      • Aaron says:

        Perhaps they will go that route but it still makes no sense to me. It’s shaping up to be a bad portrayal of the kind of person Simmons is. They’ve already said that the space between her and Fitz will leave the door open for other relationships and I see that as a terrible turn. I’m sorry, but when the person you are closest to you in the world, who is so close that you finish each other’s sentences, tells you he loves you and then very nearly dies so that you can live, you don’t go out right away and start dating other people.

        • KCC says:

          I think DarkDefender is correct because the Coulson voice over actually said that as the scene of Fitz talking to himself played out. They wanted the twist at the end so they didn’t set up Simmons departure. You seem to be imagining Simmons saying, “Fitz is really messed up and I don’t have time for this. I’m out of here and going to hookup with some random guy.” I’m imaging Simmons being persuaded to leave to do what’s going to be most beneficial for Fitz and as that being a self sacrificing act.

          • Christina says:

            But that voice over also stated that he’s only gotten worse since she left. Unless she lost all contact with the team after going dark (entirely likely), I’m not going to be okay with Simmons proceeding to stay away whilst Fitz goes crazy.

            I’m nervously anxious to see how they reintroduce her to the team.

    • Christina says:

      That rubbed me the wrong way too. It honestly just seemed so out of character for her.

  18. Agent 86 says:

    What a bummer! I was looking forward to having the pleasure of regularly watching Lucy Lawless on the small screen. Maybe Izzy’s evil twin sister can be Madame Hydra? Or Izzy was some kind of cloned, sleeper agent of The Contessa? Or the 0-8-4 that she touched can mutate Izzy into Abigail Brand, complete with bright green “Hydra” hair and pyrokenesis?

  19. JessicaGozz says:

    It was a great episose!. but so sad about Fitz m.m ….. where the hell is simmons???!!! I hope she still around

  20. James D says:

    wow that was freaking fantastic. a totally different show from last season. I love all the plot points that have been set and the tone is so much better then the majority of last season. it actually felt like a SHIELD show. I hope Ward remains villianous he’s far more interesting. Absorbing Man was epic in the comics and he was epic in this episode. definitely A+ for me. can’t wait for next week.

  21. Jillian says:

    What a great start! The twist at the end with Fitz was heartbreaking. You can’t split up FitzSimmons!! Hopefully she comes back soon!

  22. Song4Ten says:

    They should have gotten rid of Skye and Ward in the season finale and started fresh in Season 2 with characters that were at least tolerable.

    • Anesu says:

      No way Skye’s story interests me a lot and Ward got plenty of layers after last season.
      Killing off any of the regulars without doing what they plan on doing with them just because some people complain would have been a major cop off.

  23. Joey Padron says:

    Premiere was good & bit sad. Good to see some of Captain America’s friends in the flashback. Sad Fitz is not himself. Sad what happened to Isabelle. Surprised about ending. Can’t wait to see next episode.

  24. MelindaB says:

    My heart broke for Fitz, and for the seeming end if FitzSimmons. As Aaron said above, Fitz told Simmons that he loves her, sacrificed himself to save her, and ended up with a debilitating brain injury, and she leaves?

    I enjoyed the return of the show, but I knew right away that “absorbing man” had absorbed the clear walls of the cell. What did they think that going in to look was going to turn up that looking through the transparent walls wouldn’t?

  25. DarkDefender says:

    I really liked the episode.. It’s a great start for the season. The little “mini Agent Carter episode” at the beginning was well done. Add that to the preview they showed at SDCC and I think that show is going to take off. Sad for Fitz, But I have zero doubt Simmons will return. I hope Ward stays bad, they tone down the Hannibal Lechter shtick and that Skye doesn’t fall for it and help him escape. It already seems like that where it would be headed, unless an unwitting – and damaged Fitz (who never believed he truly sided with HYDRA) let’s him go.. I’m not entirely convinced Hartley is really dead and I liked how the (original) 084 showed the same pattern as Garrett and Coulson’s writings. I said it last season and I’ll say it now.. Trip needs to be a series regular/ SHIELD team member.. That guy is awesome on all levels.

  26. I am so upset with a lot of this show’s continuing choices. I’d prefer Ward just be gone, rather than feel nauseous every time Skye is forced to interact with him. He’s obsessed with her, views her as an object rather than a person, and threatened to rape her last season. Please never put her in a room with him again. I’m also beyond annoyed that Jemma (the real Jemma) wasn’t even in this episode. They couldn’t give us a 15 second flash at the end to where she was, what she was doing? I’m glad they seem to at least be utilizing May more, because she’s amazing, and I’m eager for more May and Skye interaction. But really, beyond May, Jemma, Trip and Skye, I’m struggling to care.

  27. I cannot believe that they finally got Iron Man to show up! It was about time.

  28. dancmh says:

    Just going to throw this out there… The final scene where Creed it walking toward the overturned SUV? Best ass in TV in months.

  29. Brooklyn says:

    Can I be really honest? I think people complain WAY too much about Agents of Shield not living up “potential” but, I actually like the show and I am huge Marvel Comics fan. Was it a perfect premiere, no but, it was on par with the second half of last season. Loved the Agent Carter bit! I doubt seriously that we have seen the last of Lucy Lawless too! But, the biggest thing for me is the awful, judgmental commentary on other sights about the series from my fellow comic lovers and the critics that are picking at the show when it’s purely escapist fun! People need to relax and just watch, stop reading into it too much!

    • Drew says:

      Escapist fun is fine. But if it is not well made, the only real fun is in discussing how bad it is. Like “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. People aren’t bad for giving it a hard time, because that is its only use.
      AoS is a lot like Plan 9. Poor production quality, poor writing, poor acting. Let people enjoy it the way they want to.

    • Misscar says:

      I agree with you. I don’t think people logically understand that there are some things you can’t feasibly do on a TV show. I enjoy what they’re doing, especially considering they have a fraction of the budget that the movies have. The way I see it if you think you can do better writer your own fanfiction story, otherwise let it go.

  30. Mark says:

    I don’t care if Ward can be redeemed. He was boring until he was a traitor. What’s the point of redeeming him so that he can be boring again?

    • Maryann says:

      Redeeming him would not make him boring; it would just add extra layers to his personality.

      • EK says:

        I agree with Maryann. Redeeming him won’t make him forget all the things he’s done, all the people he betrayed and killed, how entirely alone he is now that the one man he dedicated his life to is dead. I mean, just imagine him interacting with Fitz, seeing firsthand all the damage he did to someone who used to think the world of him. That, to me, is a much more interesting story line than “Ward sits in a prison cell and is slightly unhinged.”

  31. Darth Rocco says:

    My thoughts… Episode was awesome and I’ll bet either Coulson or Skye will be able to pick up the obelisk without “dying”. It will be (obviously?) be the key to helping unlock the mystery behind the code.

  32. Aaron says:

    I think the 0-8-4 is connected to Coulson’s and Garrett’s diagram. Look at the pattern that appears when Isabel hold it and how Skye looked at it.

  33. BrianR says:

    I have an easy way of taking out the absorbing guy. Hit him with a load of jello and problem solved.

  34. Rick Katze says:

    Some questions answered. Some to be continued.

    The good news is that unlike last year when the first half(?) of the season was all prologue to the real story that unfolded after Cap America 2, season 2 is starting a real story which hopefully will continue to expand.

    Looks like Ward will be rehabilitated but hopefully it will be thru hard labor and not a magic wave of the hand. Much more interesting story that way. And I definitely see a Skye/Ward reunion later in the season.

    Is Hartley permanently dead. Don’t think so. She touched the obelisk. I see a connection forming.

  35. Brigid says:

    I love everything about this show. I loved season 1, the writing, the acting and the casts chemistry. I’ve never seen the negative things that some have complained about. Every actor brings interesting layers to their character. I want to know everything about them.

    This episode was excellent! Coulson has got to be the coolest guy on the planet. Skye and Ward still have chemistry even after everything he’s done, I feel he genuinly loves her. Fitz was heartbreaking. I really didn’t have any idea he was imagining Jemma. I can’t bare to see him like this, I hope Simmons is in a lab somewhere creating some kind of serum to cure him and get him back to his old self. May is total bad *ss. Absorbing man was awesome. Lucy Lawless can’t be dead and Colonel Talbot in his skivvies was hysterical. I gave this episode an A+++. This show can do no wrong in my eyes, I’m completely under its spell.

  36. ANNA says:

    phew, showing up late to the party but here it goes. I really like the premiere, just wish it had been longer so they could have explained some of the new characters- who i like by the way. The fitz-simmons twist was gripping, i’m not sure how much more my heart can break for him. I am confident he will recover over the season and that his recovery will be tied with Ward’s eventual redemption- rightly so. speaking of which- get Ward out of the box!! For me, what they do with Ward will make or break the season and possibly the series, Ward embodied everything people didn’t like about the show and then wham, he got interesting. I for one hope he is never all good again or all bad but that they exploit the tension of a morally ambiguous character- maybe like loki from the marvel movies. But if they turn him back into a boy scout- snoozefest for sure. like I said i feel like his fate is tied to the rest of the show.

  37. Jeska says:

    BUT WHHHHHHYYYYY DO THAT TO FITZ & SIMMONS?!?!?!
    I wan’t them together so bad. :c

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