Cover image via Hypable. Caution, contains some spoilery things.
I have previously noted my fangirl love of the Marvel cinematic universe, so it’s probably no surprise that I’m a big fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was a little iffy about it when the first season premiered on ABC, so I didn’t watch it as it aired. I waited until it was on Netflix, which was both an excellent and poorly timed decision. It was an excellent decision because it reeled me in immediately and I was hooked from the first episode so I could watch them all in basically one sitting. (In fact, I liked it so much, my husband, Terry, bought me a S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy Alumni phone case for Christmas. It’s awesome.) It was poorly timed because by the time I was done binge-watching it, Season 2 was already several episodes in on ABC, and I couldn’t find the first episodes streaming online anywhere. Rather than steal/buy them, I waited.
Finally, a few weeks ago Season 2 went up on Netflix, and Terry and I got to bingeing. I really enjoyed Season 2. It plays off of the end of Season 1 and the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. well as Coulson and his team work to rebuild the organization. It also incorporates the smaller story arcs–particularly the character-driven ones–nicely: Fitz/Simmons, Skye and the search for her parents, Coulson and the fallout from the TAHITI project, new characters who have joined the team (like mercenary Lance Hunter, played by Nick Blood. I’m a fan.), etc. Together with the overarching enemy of Hydra, these story and character arcs really make the season.
As Terry and I were getting to the last few episodes of the season, I realized one of my favorite things about the show, particularly Season 2, is how well-crafted the antagonist(s) are. I say “antagonist(s)” specifically because there’s not just one. Far from it. Yes, Hydra is the “main” enemy and will be until all its heads are cut off. But throughout the season, other enemies rise and fall, become allies, or go from ally to enemy. From Ward, to Skye’s father, to the “enhanced individuals,” to S.H.I.E.L.D. itself, Coulson and his team’s antagonists are ever-shifting–and that’s a good thing. If they were just going after Hydra for 22 episodes, it’d get kind of boring. With several different people and organizations squaring off against S.H.I.E.L.D., though, the show always stays interesting, and you never know what ride is in store for you each episode.
As my husband put it, it’s very much like The Walking Dead in that regard. The walkers are always there, and they’re always the overarching enemy (like Hydra). But there are other bands of people, individuals within the group, cannibalistic towns, and so much more that creates a threat to Rick and the group. You never know who to trust, and when you add the threat of zombies on top of it, it makes for an incredibly compelling show.
At this point, if you like the Marvel cinematic universe movies but you’re not watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., time to get with the program. In fact, if you’re not watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you’re likely going to start missing out on important details in the movies (for instance, if you didn’t know that S.H.I.E.L.D. had fallen when Age of Ultron came out, that was probably a bit of a shocker for you). So, if you like Captain America and Thor, all the action those movies provide, and a sprawling interconnected world, I would highly recommend you check out Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Also, let me remind you that this is a Joss and Jed Whedon show. Picture Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer with established superheroes and all the force of ABC/Disney behind it. There are strong female characters all over the place, great action scenes that almost always further the plot, and intricacies and mysteries that can only be etched out over 22 hours, rather than 2. So if you were feeling a little underwhelmed by Age of Ultron, I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will help you feel like your action can be smarter.
If I haven’t made it clear enough, I really like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. When Terry and I finished watching the last episode Thursday night, we both wanted more, and not just because the cliffhangers were intense. The show and characters really captivated us, and when the season ended, we didn’t want to let go yet. All weekend we’ve been lamenting that we finished the season and now we don’t have anything else to watch that even comes close to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. So in the meantime before Season 3 premieres, I guess we’ll just keep re-watching Daredevil, and I’m going to search for a gym that trains you to work out and fight like a spy…