A lot happened in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season One, but the biggest and most shattering event was the reveal of Hydra within S.H.I.E.L.D.’s ranks.  With Guardians of the Galaxy taking place almost entirely off of Earth, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. offered the only new Marvel Cinematic Universe stories between Guardians and Agent Carter.  Truly, between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, and Daredevil, Marvel had entered a new era in its MCU, using TV shows as chapters to introduce some powerful developments.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. offered some of the biggest of these developments, and is the strongest connection between Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron.

“Imagine a thousand years of evolution taking place instantaneously. That’s what happened to you after the mist.”

The Comic Book Inspiration for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

A lot of the plot of Season 2 moves on from Hydra pretty quickly, and focuses instead on a plot involving the Kree and Inhumans.  The Inhumans first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 in 1965 before going on to have a number of series and notable appearances in other Marvel titles.  The Inhumans of the comics are a race of beings who are the result of genetic experiments by the Kree.  The show is able to stick to this history really well.  It helps that the Kree were introduced in Season 1 and were revisited in Guardians of the Galaxy with Ronan the Accuser.

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Two of the characters that have been the most important this season are Daisy and Mister Hyde.  Skye’s identity has been revealed, and as she continues to develop, it has become clear that she is Quake, an Inhuman with vibration-related superpowers.  She first appeared in 2004, in Secret War #2.  Her father, Mister Hyde, has been around a bit longer, having first appeared in Journey into Mystery #99 in 1963.

Inhumans aside, this season has also given us Mockingbird, a S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent who first appeared in 1971, in Astonishing Tales #6.  Lance Hunter is another new agent in this season, and he is another character from the comics.  You can find him making his first appearance in the pages of Captain Britain Weekly #19 in 1977.

With newer characters and a rapidly expanding universe, Marvel did a great job of incorporating a lot of elements from their books and staying faithful in their adaptations.  Even better, it was an action-packed season, filled with new questions and revelations in every episode.

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Review of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

While the first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took a long time to take off, Season 2 started off with some great action and universal stakes, and the hook was stuck.  Season 2 has brought me back week after week, and it’s largely due to the fact that Season 2 has been largely active, while Season 1 felt mostly reactive.

Season 1 didn’t feel like it belonged in the Marvel Universe in most of its episodes.  With the exceptions of individual episodes that were released the same week (or following week) as one of the movies, Season 1 felt separate, like the things it was dealing with wouldn’t really matter to the movies.  If that’s the case, one might argue, then why watch the show?  If it doesn’t enhance your viewing of the movies, what difference does it make?

Season 2 is the answer to that question.  Season 2 makes the difference, and will be almost necessary viewing for MCU fans before the upcoming Inhumans movie.  This season, the stakes will be far-reaching… perhaps we won’t see much of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but Kevin Feige is playing a very long plan, one that extends farther than any one of us could guess.  Season 2 is starting to show us how the series of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fits into that plan.

This season mixed up a lot of the standards of the first season.  The playful banter of Fitzsimmons has become cold, awkward dialogue between Fitz and Simmons, and the tension brings up the intensity and creates some cool (and important) conflicts.  The betrayal of Agent Ward was a shock to the team, and his escape was even moreso.  New characters popped up in the very first episode, including The Absorbing Man, Carl Creel, who also appears in Netflix’s Daredevil.

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The cast is strong across the board, handling some difficult sci-fi action with ease.  Past the action, the emotion is truly behind the scenes.  Moments between Skye and Ward are hard to watch, because we, as viewers, felt that betrayal hardest through the eyes of our point-of-view character.

The major story in Season 2 starts off focusing on Coulson’s mysterious alien writing, which was one of the major cliffhangers of Season 1.  As the series begins, Coulson and his team are hunting down alien artifacts with similar writings, though Coulson’s team doesn’t really know why.  This leads them to a destructive key, which, when touched, kills humans.  Anyone with the right genetic code, however, is safe to touch the key.  Pursuit of the alien writing has since led to the discovery of an underground city, where the key triggers an evolution in two of the characters- Skye and Raina, the girl in the flower dress.

Since this event, the show has taken a different turn.  Skye’s storyline has been largely Inhumans-focused, introducing a lot of new characters, and, really, a whole new civilization and type of people.  It’s theorized that Marvel might be trying to use the Inhumans as a replacement for the X-Men, which they don’t have the movie rights to.  It makes sense, but one might wonder if the Inhumans can have the same popularity as the likes of, say, Wolverine or Gambit.

What doesn’t focus on Skye has revealed that Coulson and his team, operating under Fury’s blessing and orders, are challenged by another group of agents for the title of S.H.I.E.L.D.  There are now two different factions.  How this is going to impact the upcoming Avengers movie is a good question, especially since we know that Maria Hill and Nick Fury are set to make appearances.

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The Stan Leo Cameo in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

At this point, there has been no Stan Lee Cameo.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘ Season 2: Its Impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

As I’ve said before, the introduction of the Inhumans is a huge step forward for the MCU.  These characters will probably appear more and more before the Inhumans movie comes out.  Plus, we now have warring factions within S.H.I.E.L.D.  It’s anyone’s guess how this season will end up!

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Episode Guide to Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2

  • Shadows’ – Coulson and his team, missing a few familiar faces, but with plenty of new ones, track down the Obelisk and The Absorbing Man who took it.  Unfortunately, he gets away.  Fitz isn’t doing well without Simmons- he has brain damage.
  • Heavy is the Hand – Continuing the pursuit of The Absorbing Man, S.H.I.E.L.D. captures him, but loses the Obelisk to Raina and “The Doctor”.
  • Making Friends and Influencing People’ – HYDRA tries to recruit a villain from an episode from season one.  Simmons is undercover in HYDRA and needs help from May to maintain her cover.  Skye learns that her father is alive.
  • Face My Enemy’ – Coulson and May are caught up in an identity-swapping, action packed episode while trying to recover a painting with alien writing.
  • A Hen in the Wolfhouse – Simmons’ cover is blown and Mockingbird has to blow her own cover to rescue her and return her to Coulson.  Skye learns that her father is the Doctor, but sees that he’s a killer, and thinks he’s a monster.  The Doctor gives HYDRA the Obelisk and offers to join with HYDRA.
  • A Fractured House’ – Coulson interrogates Ward’s brother, a politician, to determine his intentions.  Skye interrogates Ward.  Both brothers say the other will lie.  Ward ultimately escapes.
  • The Writing on the Wall’ – Coulson finds more pieces of the alien writing from others who were experimented on with the alien DNA.  It turns out to be a map of a city.
  • The Things We Bury’ – The Doctor discovers that Whitehall, a HYDRA leader, is a Nazi who dissected The Doctor’s wife (and Skye’s mother) to get her healing factor.  The Doctor tells Coulson that the Obelisk is a key.
  • … Ye Who Enter Here’ – S.H.I.E.L.D. finds the entrance to the city, but Skye is taken by Ward and HYDRA.
  • What They Become’ – Skye and Raina trigger a bioweapon that kills Triplett but transforms them.  Ward escapes.
  • Aftershocks’ – Skye begins to discover that she can cause earthquakes, but doesn’t know how to control it.  Raina is depressed by her new monstrous appearance and tries to commit suicide, but is rescued by a teleporter with no eyes.
  • Who You Really Are’ – Sif returns to help track down a Kree, who is hunting the people who were recently transformed.  Everyone finds out that Skye has been causing the shaking. Mack and Mockingbird are hiding something, and Hunter gets knocked out by Mack while investigating.
  • One of Us’ – The Doctor recruits a bunch of people on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s gifted index to take down Coulson and get Skye.
  • Love in the Time of HYDRA’ – Skye is left in a safe house to keep everyone safe.  We learn about Agent 33, who is with Ward.  Hunter learns about “the Real S.H.I.E.L.D.” and escapes from them.
  • One Door Closes’ – Skye meets Gordon, who offers to take her to where she can learn to control her powers.  She agrees when she can’t control herself and attacks Mockingbird in self defense.
  • Afterlife – Skye is taken to Afterlife, where other Inhumans are, and she can be guided in her new form.  Fitz leaves the “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.” which Mockingbird led into taking over Coulson’s groupl
  • Melinda’ – We learn the past of May, who had to kill a child who transformed into an Inhuman at too young of an age.  This is told to us by Skye’s mother, who it turns out is alive and is Skye’s guide at Afterlife.
  • The Frenemy of My Enemy’ – Skye tries to say goodbye to her father.   Coulson, Hunter, Fitz, and Deathlok recruit Ward and Bakshi in the midst of the war between S.H.I.E.L.D. factions.

Click here for our Iron Man Revisit!
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And don’t miss our revisit of Captain America: The First Avenger!
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Did you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1?  Our revisit is right here!
Guardians of the Galaxy is revisited here!

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