Sgents of SHIELD Recap Season 3

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: Is the New Team Overpowering the Original?

grade_C+A year ago, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s midseason premiere picked up from a winter finale in which a familiar someone had been “transformed” into an Inhuman something.

And now here we are again, resuming a season wondering what exactly has become of, in this case, He Who Was Known as Grant Ward.

A year ago, I wrote 1,000 words on the ABC series’ return. Here, I procrastinated, hemmed, hawwed, took a nap, made sure I had food for dinner, and… still I search for the enthusiasm to sum up the premiere.

I worry. I worry that with the formation of the Secret Warriors team comprised of Daisy, Lincoln et al, “ordinary folk” such as Coulson won’t be as active in the field. (Is that why Coulson got a Swiss Army knife hand? To give him some “inhuman” something, whereas May and Bobbi are inhumanly elite fighters? Who can blame Hunter for gobbling fish oil pills, if it means the chance for more screen time.) Obviously it was irresistible for the series, dinged very early on for being a superhero show minus superheroes, to assemble its own team of Agents of SHIELDDON’T-SAY-MUTANTS. But I do worry where that leaves the JustHumans (especially when two are poised to be spun off).

Fitz and Simmons, played so heavily during Season 3A, were given token scenes in the winter premiere, simply to acknowledge the awkwardness foisted upon them by recent events and agree to start fresh. And May pretty much just had a brief scene, inviting Phil to join the Cavalry. Meanwhile, we spent considerable time getting to know the Inhuman known as (yet never called?) “Slingshot,” whose power was extremely nifty (if specific), though perhaps edged out by “Medusa Eyes.” At hour’s end, she bid us and budding crush Mack adieu — surely to return, though…? (In almost a heartbeat, guest star Natalia Cordova-Buckley proved to be quite engaging.)

Coulson met with President Ellis, hoping that visiting the site of Rosalind Price’s brutal assassination would prompt the leader to officially reinstate S.H.I.E.L.D. (and in turn override the MCU, as if!) Instead, all Ellis could do was nudge Phil to keep fighting the good fight on the down low — and alongside new ATCU head General Talbot. (That’s your “bonus scene” bombshell? Update: Even the “three months from now” prologue wasn’t as provocative as, say, Arrow‘s ongoing flash-forward, offering few clues to chew on outside of the floating cross necklace.)

Time will tell — quickly, I hopeAgents SHIELD Ward Hive — exactly what sort of Big Bad the being known as Hive fka Grant Ward will be. Hopefully after gnawing on a few more raw slabs of meat, he’ll muster not just strength but personality. Though it is delicious to see pompous, powerful Gideon Malick (played by the always entertaining Powers Boothe) kowtow to this creature, as if worshiping some sacred, almost-as-mute golden calf.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. worked hard, really hard, to find its stride and deliver a superhero-less show worth watching. At times, it has had brushes with “very, very good”-ness, especially coming out of Winter Soldier‘s big-screen game changer, or Skye’s aforementioned transformation. Now that it has a Season 4 to look forward to and plan for, my hope is that it continues to service all its characters and not let the Coulsons and Mays get overpowered by the powered.

P.S. 529 words.

What did you think of the episode “Bouncing Back”?

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47 Comments
  1. Jordan says:

    Huh, seems like you watched a different episode than I did. I thought the midseason premiere was excellent. I’m really excited for the direction in which the show is headed.

  2. Amanda says:

    I fell asleep during the show and woke up at the bonus scene. Nothing about it pulled me in. I hope it’s gets going very soon!

  3. Hipper says:

    Also, Joey’s gone. :/

  4. A. D. says:

    Ward is the Hive…so obvious!

    • Max says:

      I believe Ward is dead. That Hive thing will transform his body as we see in the next episode clip at the end.

    • tvjunkie says:

      Yeah obvious to anyone who read anything about the show in the last 3 months as it’s been all over the news.

  5. Somuchforthat says:

    Everyone is overlooking this, but Marvel introduced their first gay male superhero on tv this season, has after half a season, has written him out. It is disappointed and feels like he was just a quick grab for articles. I know the cast is getting big, but only being credited to 4 episodes but feeling like a main member of a Secret Warriors Team is disappointing.

    • Max says:

      But isn’t it good for a gay character to be introduced and nobody batted an eye? Isn’t that what gay people want? To be accepted without a second thought? They snuck that bit in there, and people don’t think twice about it. We are being told gay people are not different…so why do we assume they should be treated differently or made a big deal about in a TV show?

      • Weezy says:

        Max exactly. But don’t let a little thing like common sense and logic get in the way. I just can’t understand the hypocrisy of these groups that literally identify in only 1 way. Successful humans realize they part of the HUMAN race and all the social division is a manipulation tactic to keep us all separated. I mean seriously I couldn’t give a crap if a character is gay, straight, lesbian, black, white, female, male, Colombian, etc. etc. It’s so regressive to incessantly bring that crap up and yet people think they are pushing through some new rights movement. It wouldn’t be so exhausting if they weren’t in your face every 3 seconds when they feel a perceived slight.

        • Letting a gay character not be defined by his sexuality doesn’t mean that he should be sexless and never have any relationship on screen.

          What we gay viewers want is characters who are simply treated the same as other characters. The straight ones all have ongoing relationships happening on screen and as an important part of the story. The gay dude is the only one who didn’t.

          When people ask for gay characters who are not defined by their sexuality, they don’t mean sexless. They mean characters who have on-screen relationships that are portrayed as just as normal as the opposite-sex relationships and are a meaningful part of the story.

      • Cris says:

        Nicely phrased! I agree! It’s great to have a gay-character without his sexuality being his defining factor.

        • Letting a gay character not be defined by his sexuality doesn’t mean that he should be sexless and never have any relationship on screen.

          What we gay viewers want is characters who are simply treated the same as other characters. The straight ones all have ongoing relationships happening on screen and as an important part of the story. The gay dude is the only one who didn’t.

          When people ask for gay characters who are not defined by their sexuality, they don’t mean sexless. They mean characters who have on-screen relationships that are portrayed as just as normal as the opposite-sex relationships and are a meaningful part of the story.

      • Well said. Besides which, everyone’s speculating we’re never going to see him again, the show’s not said anything about it as far as I understand it, so it’s quite possible he could make a further guest appearance down the line.

      • No Max, what we gay people want is main characters who are treated exactly like the straight characters. Who have relationships with other characters on screen which is not treated as a problem, just like the straight characters have relationships with other characters on screen without anyone making these relationships all about “the problem of heterosexuality”.

        The nobody batting an eye part is only half of what we want. There’s gotta be something that no one is batting an eye about, and that’s missing here.

        Joey was a sexless fringe character who wasn’t even in most episodes since he was introduced and is now already gone again.

    • Jordan says:

      I disagree that he’s been written out. It seems pretty obvious to me that Joey and Yo-Yo will both be back multiple times when the Secret Warriors are needed for a mission. Depending on how things go with the Most Wanted spinoff, he could also be under consideration for a series regular role next season. Much like Bobbi, Mac, and Hunter were after initially joining as recurring guest stars.

  6. Jimmy says:

    The main disappointment I’ve had for most of this season is how little-used Ming Na Wen is. They have this great kick-ass character played by this great kick-ass actress and they’ve pretty much relegated her to being the consoling friend.

    • Aly says:

      I completely agree with you. I half want May to be killed off, so Ming Na can do something else with her time, since she’s so awesome. But then I feel as if that would be a disservice to the awesome character that is May.
      All in all, I just wish they’d use her for something…

  7. Max says:

    Anyone curious about the metallic like character that is zapped by Lincoln at the end? It looked sorta like Wards new hive body…but looked bulkier. It was suspiciously shaped like Mack. Maybe he swallowed those pills and transformed next episode?

    • Jordan says:

      Pretty sure that’s Carl “Crusher” Creel (Absorbing Man) returning after his last appearance in season two. They’ve already announced he’s coming back.

  8. lariet50 says:

    I totally agree with this entire recap. Coulson is a grim specter brought in every so often to make me long for the days when he had a sense of humor. Mack, Bobbi and Hunter are so boring, and I have yet to figure out how they think Bobbi and Hunter can carry their own series. The Inhumans – whatever. So bored with them. Lincoln is super boring. I miss kick-ass May, and why did they have to disband FitzSimmons?! I actually liked “Fast Chick,” as my husband and I are calling her. And I have to say, I enjoyed Brett Dalton’s portrayal of a zombie. But yeah, this episode was very disappointing.

  9. Johnny says:

    Surprised you didn’t write about the opening scene that’s “three months from now”. I feel like it’s May that dies (possibly as a sacrifice with Andrew?) but we’ll have to see what hints the writers drop.
    This episode didn’t engage me as much as I would have liked. I enjoyed seeing Slingshot (Yo-Yo?) and the mini Secret Warriors mission was good, but something was off about the episode. It just didn’t feel like a mid season premiere. Totally called Talbot as the replacement and it wasn’t exactly a bombshell or surprise. Hopefully things pick up next week.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Ha! 1) I forgot, 2) there weren’t many clues to really get us brainstorming a la Arrow. Just the floating cross necklace, and they showed Yo-Yo as wearing one. Maybe she gives it to Mack, he dies…? Dunno!

      • Johnny says:

        Good point. I somehow missed the floating cross. We shall find out who it is in May (hopefully).

      • lariet50 says:

        My first thought on that was, three months from now puts us right around post-Cap 3. Just sayin.

        • John NYC says:

          And getting jerked about by the films will get very, very old.

        • chiguy79 says:

          That was mine too. My guess is that they’ll be start setting up for the Infinity War since that’s supposed to be the big phase three climax and phase three kicks off with CA:Civil War.

      • Maybe you skipped reporting on it so you wouldn’t accidently give away today’s blind item?

      • A-Rizzle says:

        Am I not remembering correctly, or did they immediately cut to Slingshot putting on that cross necklace that was floating in the spaceship? Seems like they want us to know she was the one getting blown up… but how and why?

      • Kim R says:

        Yes, I noticed the cross connection as well. And I agree, whatever direction they take the show in, I hope they give the original crew that is left equal air time at least.

  10. laurelnev says:

    Not enough May!

  11. Stacy says:

    I really liked the episode though I wish there was more Fitz-Simmons and May.

  12. Aly says:

    I agree with this recap. It’s been a complaint of mine for a while that this show started focusing more and more on Coulson and Daisy only, and not giving enough for the rest of the team to do. This has changed to being all about Daisy and her new team of ‘shiny, cool’ friends. I miss the old team – they are the reason I started watching this show, and the reason I want to continue watching. But right now, I feel as if all the old characters are getting shoved aside for the writers to play with their new toys, and it makes me sad.

  13. kirads09 says:

    I share the concerns you express in the article. While the ep was very good, seems Daisy/Skye’s team is taking the lead while S.H.E.I.L.D is still on the back burner. I love Powers Booth. I am sure the writers and showrunners have a plan/direction so giving it a chance. I just hope they don’t stray too far from what the series started out to be in the first place. I graded B

  14. Ashley says:

    I’ve been a fan of the show since the beginning, even when it was generating quite a bit of criticism, but this episode felt off to me. I hope it gets better.

  15. Brigid says:

    The original complaint was that there were not enough super heroes. Now we have super heroes and the complaint is they are taking up too much screen time. Are we ever satisfied?

    I thought this episode was very good except wish Ward was gone completely. We have an explosion of humans with in-human abilities and SHIELD needs to have some on their side because you know darn well that HYDRA is collecting them, we need equal footing. I totally enjoyed watching the in-humans work together, those scenes were wicked cool. Now SHIELD has little cells of their own around the country and hopefully the world to help out if needed. This episode needed to happen. Loved seeing Fitz-Simmons work through the awkwardness and get back to being the pure enjoyment they’ve always been. We’ll get our May fix soon enough. By the way, if they have Mac die, the Whedons will be kicked off the Christmas card list.

    • Cris says:

      Couldn’t agree more! Well phrased.

    • Leanne says:

      Well said! I’ve watched the show from the beginning and I love how it’s progressing. If it stayed the same viewers would get bored and then complain about that!
      May had plenty of episodes all about her last season, so we have a much better understanding of her character. Now it’s the turn for others. I’m sure we’ll get more May soon enough.

  16. Preventing a Cluster Fock

    The season premiere was actually pretty good… No major characters are dead, some are missing and presumed dead, others just didn’t make the premier cut aka may or may not be important to the continuing story line at the beginning.

    So where does that leave Andrews, aka Lash, well I would say that’s hard to tell… but as the Hive an invasive symbiotic, aka Ward now presupposed to be a very powerful inhuman …and Lash; clearly the most powerful of the previously introduced inhumans

    My guess is as a wild card, and potentially unexpected yet welcome ally, when the still learning to use their powers agents of shield secret warriors first confront Mr. Hive

  17. Kansas Blutbad says:

    529

  18. theyletfly says:

    It’s not the same show. It’s the Secret Warriors now with added SHIELD. Fine if you like that sort of thing but after pulling a 1.1 its clear people are reviewing with their remotes.

  19. ebs says:

    I was incredibly disappointed in this episode as well. Everything felt needlessly rushed and seemed to be rushing in a really crappy direction at that. The weird out of the blue ‘chemistry’ between Mack and Slingshot felt tacked on and cheesy, the faulty logic they used to convince the team that there was no other option than to torture the brain-dead rich kid was ridiculous, and there was none of the full-team coordination that makes shield feel special. Most of all, I was terribly disappointed in the sudden easy resolution of the Fitz-Simmons tension that they built up for so long. Sure it was torture and I want them to be together, but that was too quick. I’m really bummed.