Friday, September 18, 2015

TV Show Review: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 2

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Some episodes, acting, special effects
Cons: Some episodes, overall weak story arcs
The Bottom Line:
Show feels less focused
Which leads to an uneven
Sophomore run.  Bummer!

“Laser Grids.  Why Is It Always Laser Grids?”

I stuck with the first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and felt I was rewarded by the end result.  The twist they did that tied in to the second Captain America movie really helped the final third of that season.  I was looking forward to seeing how they’d move things forward in season 2.  Sadly, it was a decided step down from season 1.

The season picks up a couple months after the first season finale.  Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) is now in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D. and trying to rebuild the organization.  The trouble he’s having comes in many forms.  There are, of course, the double agents who are really working for Hydra.  There are the Hydra raids on some of the supposed safe locations.  Plus the government is trying to crack down on S.H.I.E.L.D.

Fortunately, he has his team in place to help.  Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) is going on missions in the field.  Former Agent Ward (Brett Dalton) is in custody, but he is only willing to talk to Skye (Chloe Bennet), even teasing her with information about her father.  Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) has gone under cover at a Hydra base.  And Fitz (Iain De Caestcker) is trying to recover from the brain damage he suffered at the end of the previous season.

Of course, Coulson has one other issue to deal with – he is regularly going into a trance and filling anything around him with drawings.  Is it fatal?  Is he crazy?  Can he overcome this side effect of his resuscitation?

There were several problems with the season.  First, the show seemed to go off in several weird directions.  I know, I know, this is a show set in a superhero universe.  Even so, they went some pretty strange places and just stayed there.  It made it hard for me to truly get into the show.

Then there are the new comers.  The cast of the show is greatly expanded from the cast that started out season one.  Honestly, there were too many of them, and it was hard to keep them all straight.  Plus, I just missed the chemistry the original cast had together.  This was driven home by an episode late in the season that had the original crew working together again.  It was my favorite episode of the season.  And don’t get me started on how they didn’t seem to know what to do with Ward.  He missed a lot of episodes this season.

The tie ins to the movies weren’t as strong this season, either.  They were some passing references, but nothing more.  Of course, Avengers: Age of Ultron came out so late into the season, it would have been hard for them to do much with it as it was.

Having said all this, there were parts of the season I did enjoy.  When they let the characters shine, those moments were amazing.  I needed to see more of that humanness.  Some of the storylines did work for me.  But it seemed like if I enjoyed one episode, the next would disappoint.  It was that obviously uneven this season.  I think it was a case of trying to do too much with the show this season, and the result feeling unfocused.

I can’t fault the actors for any of this.  They continued to grow into their characters and bring them to great life each week.  Likewise, the show was filled with believable special effects, which is always important for a fantasy show.

I’m still on the fence about moving on with season three of this show.  I’ll probably give it a few episodes to see what I think.  But unless they really turn it around, season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be my last.

Season 2 Episodes:
1. Shadows
2. Heavy is the Hand
3. Making Friends and Influencing People
4. Face My Enemy
5. A Hen in the Wolf House
6. A Fractured House
7. The Writing on the Wall
8. The Things WE Bury
9. Ye Who Enter Here
10. What They Become
11. Aftershocks
12. Who You Really Are
13. One of Us
14. Love in the Time of Hydra
15. One Door Closes
16. Afterlife
17. Melinda
18. Frenemy of My Enemy
19. The Dirty Half Dozen
20. Scars
21. S.O.S. Part 1
22. S.O.S. Part 2

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