Agents of SHIELD: Bouncing Back – In a Heartbeat (Review)

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bouncing Back introduces another inhuman, dubbed Yo-Yo by Mack who can move at super speed in a heartbeat.

WILLIAM SADLER, CLARK GREGG

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bouncing Back introduces another inhuman, dubbed Yo-Yo by Mack who can move at super speed in a heartbeat. Things in the verse are also moving at THE pace of a heartbeat  as Malick and Coulson gear up for war. In terms of the title (bouncing back) refers to a great number of things, Yo-Yo, Coulson’s team, Fitzsimmons  and,  more disturbingly,  Grant Ward’s new incarnation as “Hive.”

The return of S.H.I.E.L.D offers a recap at least one comic moment:

President Ellis: “FOX News will not shut up!”

Less comic and more quaintly amusing is Mack’s own heartbeat now speeding up with an attraction for Yo-Yo, aka Slingshot in the Marvel Comic verse.

The episode opens with a teaser, a shot set three months in the future. A spacecraft, a’la Dead Spacea dead ship, weightless with globules of blood floating through the vehicle, a glimpse of a SHIELD patch and boom. The episode then enters “flashback” mode.

Part of that flashback includes William Sadler (reprising his role as the president) who clears the air with Coulson about SHIELD and sorting out an agenda, ATCU will still be in charge and Phil’s agents will continue as “Black Ops.” Ellis will assign a replacement for the dead Rosalind who answer’s to Coulson.

A shipment of special “inhuman” weapons are stolen from cops south of the border by an “invisible” assailant/thief.  Skye and her team head down to Bogota, Columbia to investigate and Mack discovers that the perpetrator was not invisible but faster than a heartbeat. later he learns that “Yo-Yo”, aka Elena Rodriguez, bounces back after each heartbeat journey to her original position.

NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEY
Yo-Yo getting the drop on Mack.

One person who does not bounce back is Werner von Strucker (Spencer Treat Clark). Coulson puts Verner in the “Tahiti” machine and the young brain-damaged man starts murmuring Phil’s own words when he was in the device, “Just kill me.”  Despite what must be disturbing deja vu to Coulson, he forces Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) to trigger another memory.

While the images of being tortured interweave with Werner’s introduction to Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) “plays” just long enough to give Phil the information he needs.   Malick fawns over “Hive” as he slowly rejuvenates and Ward/Hive (Brett Dalton is gloriously creepy in Hive’s interim stage of bouncing back) is not just scary but terrifying to behold.

Apart from Phil Coulson’s focus on Malick, the head of SHIELD has a new hand, and forearm, designed by Fitz.  The scientist has made the prosthetic look like a real appendage and, according to Agent May, it feels real as well.  Simmons and Fitz finally address the elephant in the room and agree to “start over.”

IAIN DE CAESTECKER, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE
Fitzsimmons starting over…

Back in Bogota, Elena turns out to be a “good guy” while the local policía turn out to have their own inhuman and the colonel is as corrupt as Rodriquez claims.  Yo-Yo believes that her gift is from God and Mack admires her faith.  He also gives Elena a similar spiel to the one Lincoln gave Skye/Daisy (Chloe Bennet); the gifts are not random.

Bobby and Hunter are taken prisoner by the local police and the team go in for a rescue. Elena, who is now Team Daisy, helps and is injured.  After getting the two agents, and capturing the inhuman, with his freezing eyes, HYDRA comes to collect the the prisoner.

Coulson tracks down Malick, which costs the magnate millions. Lincoln and Daisy connect and Fitz and Simmons reconnect. Hive appears to be a heartbeat away from killing Mr. Giyera.

In an ironic twist, Ellis appoints General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) to head up ATCU a move that Coulson believes is a mistake.  

Bounce Back allows Agents of SHIELD to remind the audience of just how hard core Phil Coulson is under that calm exterior. The scene between Coulson and Fritz (the “hard choice” bit) is a perfect example of the steel in the man who shot Loki in The Avengers.

This episode also reminds viewers that SHIELD do not realize that Grant Ward has been “inhabited” by Hive and is building himself up for a confrontation.  Agents of SHIELD has returned with a great open for the second half of the season. The series airs Tuesdays on ABC.

 

Agents of SHIELD: Many Heads, One Tale (Review)

Agents of SHIELD: Many Heads, One Tale has Phil and Rosalind finally getting to the crux of their relationship, that pesky lack of trust (on both sides) and whether or not these two really liked one another or not.

CLARK GREGG

Agents of SHIELD: Many Heads, One Tale has Phil and Rosalind finally getting to the crux of their relationship, that pesky lack of trust (on both sides) and whether or not these two really liked one another or not. The subterfuge of Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe) is finally brought out into the open to Phil, Rosalind and to Grant Ward. 

Ward, in turn, learns that SHIELD brought someone back out of the monolith portal, although he does not know that it deals with he two former colleagues he attempted to kill, Fitz-Simmons.  Andrew Garner meets Ward and after some preliminary verbal sparring, Grant lets mustard gas into the cage for in order to trigger Andrew’s transformation into Lash.

Speaking of Fitz-Simmons, these two hesitant suitors finally lock lips and share a passionate kiss.  They kiss not once but twice. It does  not appear that this has cemented their relationship as Leo breaks away and repeats his assertion that the two are “cursed.”

Mack finally approaches Phil about the director’s dalliances with Rosalind and whether the ATCU head can be trusted. Coulson takes the intrusion pretty well since, as he tells Mack, he has never trusted Rosalind, even after they did spend some “sack-time” together. Phil also puts his “paramour” in a holding cell on his flying fortress and tells her that it could be her home unless she comes clean.

As the two spar verbally, Price comes to understand that Malick is the spanner in the works and that he actually is HYDRA.  The presidential advisor has infiltrated her organization for his own ends.  Malick also attempts to take Grant Ward (Brett Daltonout of the picture but fails and ultimately offers Ward a place at the top of HYDRA.

Fitz tracks down the image/logo that he discovered on the astronaut’s patch and learns that it is the same group who initially studied the monolith and that the logo is the forerunner to HYDRA’s octopus.  This then brings up whether Will, Simmons’ is an astronaut in shining armor, or whether he is a willing member or the organization.

Jemma actually believes that Will was a “blood sacrifice” and gets angry at Leo for trying so hard to rescue the man.

Lance and Bobbi go undercover to get into the ATCU computer system, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) and May team up to follow clues discovered by Daisy and Hunter’s hacking of the system of their competitor. 

As Bobbi and Hunter continue their surveillance and accommodate Daisy’s monitoring of the ATCU database, it is revealed that the president’s new agency is not curing Inhumans but exposing normal people to TERRIGEN. Malick speaks with Dr. Garner, still playing both sides against the middle as Banks enters the facility and blows Hunter’s and Morse’s cover.

Price proves to be a “good guy” after all once she realizes that Gideon has been playing both her and the president. She instructs Banks (Andrew Howard) to assist Phil’s two agents in escaping the facility. 

Lincoln Campbell and May rescue Lance and Bobbi in the nick of time and Grant Ward begins the process of turning Andrew into Lash.  Somewhat disappointingly, Banks is not the big bad he seemed to be and neither is his boss, Rosalind.

Kudos to Powers Boothe for being the ultimate smarmy bad guy and to Brett Dalton for continuing to make Grant Ward a real nasty bit of work that one loves to hate.  The Fitz-Simmons triangle is still a good underlying story thread and hopefully Rosalind and Phil can now “kiss and make up” after their search for the truth.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC. Tune in and try to keep up with all the twists and turns.

Agents of SHIELD: Devils You Know (Recap & Review)

NICK BLOOD, MING-NA WEN

In Agents of SHIELD: Devils You Know, Lash is still killing evolved humans and the ACTU and SHIELD are still maintaining an uneasy alliance. Daisy and Mack still do not trust Rosalind; leader of the former opposition,  and Phil seems to be attracted to Ms. Price.

At the start of the episode, Alisha (Alicia Vela-Bailey) stops by to see two evos who were changed before the Terrigen got out, like Daisy’s mother and Alisha herself. Lash shows up and kills the two friends and attacks Alisha.

Daisy and Mack chase Lash from the crime scene and later they learn that there was an email sent to the young dead couple with a virus that was used to track the two evos and Phil passes this information on to ACTU. Daisy is not happy with the extent that Coulson (Clark Gregg)  is sharing with Rosalind and says so. 

Lance and May continue to work the Grant Ward/HYDRA infiltration and May’s ex, Andrew Garner tries to get inside Jemma’s head to help her transition back to the real world.  Fitz is concerned about Simmons and later learns that she wants to get the portal back up and running. Jemma “needs” to return to the world she was rescued from.

Hunter ends up meeting the one person who can identify him at HYDRA, the new director Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). After a tense shootout, where Lance actually puts a bullet into the former SHIELD agent, the new HYDRA boss escapes. Before being shot and then diving out a second story window, there is a brief standoff. Ward threatens  May with Andrew’s death and by the end of the episode, it looks like Grant’s newest recruit may have killed Dr. Garner.

Bobbi is still in rehab and Jemma thinks that her friend told Fitz about the portal. Daisy learns where the email virus came from and the two organizations head to the source, one  Dwight Frye who is also an evolved human. Once they arrive and question the man, it is revealed that his change  has left him “allergic” to other evos.

ACTU take Dwight in and Daisy, along with Mack, tag along to see what Rosalind’s crew are doing with the evos they have captured. On the journey, Lash arrives and kills Dwight. Frye (Chad Lindberg) believes that Lash (Matthew Willig) is a good guy, someone who is  “merciful.” Something that Lash himself reveals to be untrue;  just before he kills Dwight he tells Frye that he is “necessary.”

CLARK GREGG
“Sorry it’s classified.”

Stand out moment: 

During the questioning of Frye, the man attempts to bolt. Phil grabs the evo with his new hand and warns him that he has a “laser” finger. Part of Devils You Know  has Rosalind telling Phil that some ACTU information is classified. After the altercation with Dwight Rosalind asks Phil:

” Do you really have  a laser finger?”

“Sorry, it’s classified.”

Rosalind also gets the line of the episode award. As her team start to take a sedated Frye away, Coulson asks:

“How heavily sedated is Frye?”

“On a scale of 1 to 10, about a 6. No one likes a drooler. Why?”

There is a certain appeal about   a gal who refers to a sedated captive as a “drooler.”

During the shootout with Ward and his minions, May (Ming-Na Wen) decides that Grant Ward is bluffing about Andrew and attacks with Lance. It turns out that the new head of HYDRA was not lying about Garner’s life being in danger. However, it looks like things might not have gone down as Ward expected. 

Young Strucker runs from the shop where the camera shows  blood, the gasoline can and at least one body on the floor. Strucker hides behind a car as the premises explodes in flames.  It is unclear just what happened in the small business, but clearly the killing of Garner did not go as planned.

After Lash attacks the van with Dwight in it, and kills the evo, Daisy observes the killer’s silhouette changing shape. She reveals to the team that Lash can apparently look like a person.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC.  Things are heating up nicely.  Grant Ward has been shot, Jemma wants to return to her place of rescue and Dr. Garner may be dead. Tune in and see where Coulson and his team go next and find out whether Rosalind can really be trusted.

Agents of SHIELD: Purpose in the Machine (Review)

IAIN DE CAESTECKER

Agents of SHIELD continues the missing Jemma storyline, but only until the very end of Purpose in the Machine. Last week saw Lash killing new inhumans before Phil or the opposition could collect them and Fitz going into the monolith room and beating at the huge hunk of rock while screaming at it to “do something.”

This week, we learn where May (Ming-Na Wenis and what Grant (Brett Daltonhas  been up to.  Another Asgardian is turned to; Professor Randolph (Peter MacNicol) who first appeared  in 2013,  via the episode The Well, for help with the monolith.  May, is with her father (James Hong), the victim of a hit-and-run accident that may or may not have been orchestrated by Ward.

Meanwhile, Grant is busily kidnapping Baron Van Strucker’s son. Strucker was in Avengers: Age of Ultron and a member of HYDRA, as well as SHIELD. Ward is rebuilding HYDRA and he is intent upon making it better than it was before.

Leo, who was last seen beating the big rock with his fists, is rescued by the team just as the stone changes.  He finds a grain of sand, which proves his portal theory which prompts Coulson and his agents head to Norway to collect Randolph who reluctantly agrees to help.

Fitz and the team, along with Randolph, head to Gloucestershire where the monolith appears at the start of this episode. The group discover an oddly shaped room with old electrical equipment.  This room was a container for the monolith and Fitz, with a little help from Daisy, goes into the the stone, that Mack brings from HQ and Leo rescues Jemma.

While this episode has a number of references to the big screen verse of Marvel, “floating cities” and Baron Von Strucker and new inhumans, there was plenty of small screen focus going on. Daisy, whom Phil insists upon calling Skye, is becoming a “leader.” At least that is Dr. Andrew Garner’s prognosis.

Fitz becomes action man as he refuses to stop until he gets Simmons back, which he does in such a spectacular edge of the seat fashion that the viewer was in danger of getting muscle cramps.  May is hunted down by Lance, who reveals that he knows why she is looking after her father.

Ward has prior of hurting the opposition by harming/killing those closest to his target. As shown at the end of the episode by Von Strucker’s son enrolling in Andrew’s psych class, May’s old flame has obviously been targeted by HYDRA’s new leader.  Besides turning into a leader, Daisy also shows that she has learned to master those new powers, it is her controlled tremor that keeps the portal (monolith) open long enough for Fitz to bring back Jemma.

Purpose in the Machine ticked all the right boxes this week:  A white knuckle rescue, reaffirmation that Grant Ward is the nastiest bully in the playground and enough tears to sink Nick Fury’s flying fortress.  In terms of emotion, and the requirement for a box to tissues, Whedon and director Kevin Tancharoen hit viewers with a double whammy.

As Fitz was being drug back by the cable, he and Simmons’ hands kept slipping and after losing her hand once, the final “pull” looked to have left Jemma behind as the monolith was destroyed by all the tremor action going on.  Leo is seen emerging from the rubble and  then he matter-of-factly  reaches into the crushed remains of the stone next to him and pulls out Simmons.

“Fitz-Simmons” are back together, and if the emergence of Jemma from the rubble did not bring at least a lump to the viewer’s throat, then Simmons’ waking up and crawling over to the sleeping Fitz and putting her head on his lap guaranteed floods of tears.  Tissues are required for this episode unless you are Hunter who opted to crack open a beer in celebration at the news.

This episode belongs to Iain De Caestecker; his focussed Leo was the hero of this story, although Daisy (Chloe Bennetcomes in a close second with her tremor control allowing Fitz to grab Jemma and retrieve her from that alien world.  Brett Dalton proves yet again, that even with just a small amount of screen time he convinces as one nasty bit of work.

DAZ CRAWFORD, BRETT DALTONNow that Leo and Jemma are back as a team, it may be his turn to help Simmons to cope with what she’s been through.  Daisy has a cool new nickname, Mack calls her  “Tremors” after she helps Fitz and May decides to help Hunter in his plan to take out Grant from within HYDRA. Andrew, however, looks to become a Ward casualty.

Agents of SHIELD airs Tuesdays on ABC. Tune in and get your Marvel fix.