Gamersledge Reviews – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Ep. 201 “Shadows”
Welcome one and all to Gamersledge’s review of the first episode in season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! After the incredible integration with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the ridiculously strong finish to last season, many of us were exceptionally excited for this episode. As with my other reviews, these reviews will have a spoiler free first half where the overall story, cinematic structure, acting and other aspects and a spoiler section were we discuss reveals and theories. Without further ado, on with the review!
Episode 201 is titled “Shadows” and establishes what the team has been up to and what challenges they have to overcome. The episode opens with Agent Peggy Carter and some of the Howling Commandos taking out a Hydra station and boxing up all the goodies there. Among these is an object identified as “the obelisk” which——MINOR SPOILER—— ends up being the very first 0-8-4, object of unknown origin. This is a nice mini-setup and advertisement for the Agent Carter show.
Flash forward to present day we find the team desperately trying to build resources and allies. We get updates on all the characters and some introductions to the new including Lance Hunter, Izzy Hartly and “Mac”. Times have been rough for the team. In an encounter trying to buy tech or intel form a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, we encounter a new villain and see the obelisk is back in play. We also see the return of now Brigadier General (He was a Colonel last season) Glen Talbot who has the mission of routing out both Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. We also find out that Coulson has assigned Skye to work on decoding the symbols that he and Garret drew. This makes sense, but also seems somewhat risky.
The story feels like we never skipped a beat. Everything here is tight, including a gotcha’ that I have to admit got me. Unlike many series, this isn’t a reset after some cliffhanger that ends up being minimally important, but a true extension where you feel the full weight of the story thus far. We know what has gone before and now we have a clear direction for the future. That doesn’t mean all will go according to plan, but it is going to be exciting.
Visually the show hasn’t let up (I have always found it excellent). There weren’t necessarily the flashy effects from last season, but all the set pieces and little touches (like blue muzzle flashes) were perfect. There is one key effect this week that I believe was a practical effect that was incredibly impressive. If it was digital, still looked amazing.
The cast obviously has these characters as a second skin after only one season, Coulson aside. I am not 100% sold on Skye’s new look yet (Though the influence is obvious) but the existing characters feel spot on even Triplet. One actor gave an incredibly poignant performance that really hit home. The new adds flowed in naturally too, almost TOO naturally as we don’t learn much about them which is mildly annoying. I found there were minor pacing oddities that I couldn’t really nail down, but it is really a nitpick.
Overall this was an excellent start to the next season. Is ISN’T a good jump on point for new viewers. It may not be impossible to do, but with the highly integrated nature of the series, all of the back story really comes into play. Some may miss the “reset” that many premiers offer, but that would have been so impractical for this series I can’t count that against it. I give this episode a 9.5 out of 10 mysterious objects. Now onto the SPOILERS…See you again after episode 2!
**************************SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT CLICK THE SPOILER SECTION IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE EPISODE OR DON’T CARE************************