‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ showed a marked improvement in its second season, which developed a pretty interested storyline around the Inhumans and ended with a satisfying finale. Can the show keep up that momentum in Season 3, especially in light of having to compete with so many other superhero shows on the air these days?
Things look good so far judging by the third season premiere, ‘Laws of Nature’. It may not be the best or most exciting episode the show has had (though to be fair, the atrocious sound quality of ABC’s broadcast may be responsible for sapping a lot of the entertainment value out of it), but it’s a good one and the storylines it sets up seem promising.
In one of the Season 2 cliffhangers, a crate full of the Inhumans’ Terrigen crystals got dumped in the ocean, where they leaked and the mutation-causing Terrigen mist was ingested by a school of fish. In turn, those fish were caught and processed into fish oil supplement pills. The premiere episode picks up with the fallout from that. The pills have already caused several incidents of health nuts either turning to stone or having super powers they don’t understand activated within them.
We’re introduced to one such victim, named Joey. He has the ability to cause certain forms of metal in his vicinity to melt, but he has no idea what’s happening or how to stop it. As he inadvertently causes chaos in the city streets, a squad of black ops paramilitary commandos race in to contain the “alien threat.” Joey doesn’t know what alien threat they’re talking about and just wants somebody to help him, but they don’t seem too interested in hearing what he has to say. He runs when they open fire on him. Fortunately, he’s rescued at the last minute when Skye, Mack and Lance swoop in and toss him into a flying pod thingamajig that shoots up into the air and docks with the brand new Bus V2.0.
Skye, now going by “Daisy,” arrives shortly after and tries to talk Joey down from his panicked state, to mixed results. She deposits him in a room that’s been designed to neutralize his power (how’d they build that so quickly?) and explains about the “biomorphic event” that changed his DNA. Just as he’s starting to process this, Daisy drops the bombshell that his old life is over and he can never return to it. Joey isn’t too happy about that.
As mentioned, Joey isn’t the first victim of the Terrigen outbreak. Ever since it started happening, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been in a race to save victims before the unidentified black ops guys can collect them for research purposes, whether they be alive or dead. Sometimes the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies get there first and sometimes they don’t. The black ops group doesn’t seem to be connected to HYDRA, which has gone silent in recent months. All Coulson and the team know is that it’s led by a mystery woman (Constance Zimmer) who has gone by many different identities and has ties to many different government agencies, including NASA. In her most recent identity, she was known as Margaret Campbell.
In other developments, Coulson now has a robo-hand, as expected. May has left on a “vacation” and not returned. Bobbi is sidelined as a lab techie while she recovers from the injuries sustained last season, and Lance has grown obsessed with hunting down and making Ward pay for what he did to her.
The Kree monolith thing has solidified and hasn’t made a peep since swallowing Simmons. Fitz refuses to accept that she’s dead, and has scoured the globe in search of ancient artifacts that might provide answers to what it is or how it works. A chunk of this episode is devoted to him retrieving a parchment scroll from Morocco, only to find that the only thing written on it is a Hebrew character for “Death.” That’s not encouraging. Coulson tells him that it’s time to let Simmons go.
Coulson and Lance track down the Margaret Campbell woman and confront her on a subway, but it’s a trap she’s laid for them. A bunch of blacks ops guys reveal themselves and take Coulson and Lance prisoner. The woman asks to be called “Rosalind,” and she knows all about Coulson. She also reveals that, while her group and S.H.I.E.L.D. have been squabbling over Inhumans, an unknown third party has also been hunting them down and killing them.
Daisy realizes that she’s not terribly good at welcoming or indoctrinating Inhumans to their new lives. She needs Lincoln back. That was his job for her mom Jiaying. Unfortunately, Lincoln has gone off to become a doctor and has tried to put all that Inhuman stuff behind him. Nevertheless, Daisy and Mack show up at the hospital where he works to talk him into joining S.H.I.E.L.D. He’s reluctant and tries to give her the cold shoulder.
Suddenly, they’re interrupted when a burly Rastafarian porcupine monster smashes into the hospital looking for Lincoln. He and Skye try to fight it off using their powers, and Mack shoots it a bunch, but the thing seems unstoppable. Eventually, they repel it, but it escapes and Lincoln runs off.
Coulson and Lance of course escape from Rosalind on the subway. (That detachable robo-hand proves very useful.) The next day, the President gives a televised press conference to announce the formation of the Advance Threat Containment Unit as a more proactive successor to S.H.I.E.L.D. So now we have a name for the black ops guys.
In a teaser at the end of the episode, we learn that Simmons is still alive (no surprise, really), though she’s trapped on an alien planet and is on the run from something unseen.
In terms of plotting, the premiere episode does a good job of laying out the storylines for the season. The action bits are OK, however the parts with Fitz in Morocco seem totally superfluous. The writers work in a smidge of humor here and there, which is appreciated, but hold back perhaps a bit too much. I’d like to see a little more worked in. Regardless, the episode does what it needs to do, and Constance Zimmer is a good addition to the cast. At this point, I’m optimistic for the season. I hope it doesn’t let me down.