Thursday, October 1, 2015

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Laws of Nature

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. opens its Third Season with a better than average episode focusing on the new mission of Coulson's (Clark Gregg) team in a race to track down burgeoning mutants Inhumans (seriously, other than the gas which causes their mutation is there any difference between them?) before a mysterious, but equally well-funded military force, gets their hands on them. From the premiere we learn that S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially dead (which makes you wonder just who is funding Coulson's army and providing them with top-of-the-line tech such as their new flying stealth ship). Daisy (Chloe Bennet) has adopted her birth name and made great progress in controlling her powers leading a team to rescue a new Inhuman (Juan Pablo Raba) from the forces of Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer) who Coulson mistakenly believes is responsible for the death of five Inhumans in the past few weeks.

Along with redefining Skye/Daisy at the show's big gun and introducing new recurring roles like Price, the premiere also gives us a look into the adventures of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) who has left his stutter in the dust in his search to find a way to free Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) from the monolith. From the final scene, and to no one's surprise, Fitz's quest isn't in vain as we catch a glimpse suggesting just how far the team will have to go to save their lost soldier. Notably absent is Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) who, like Ward (Brett Dalton), doesn't appear in a single frame of the season premiere.

"Laws of Nature" is a simple and straightforward episode revamping the show in places (in mostly positive ways), but I have to wonder if S.H.I.E.L.D is primarily focused on capturing and helping Inhumans learn to control their powers who exactly is doing their old job of keeping the world safe? As packed as the episode is, even giving Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Hunter (Nick Blood) plenty to do, it's understandable why May wasn't given her own subplot but her absence is nonetheless an unnecessary blemish on an otherwise pretty solid episode. Based on the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron I would have expected S.H.I.E.L.D. to be back on the rise with Nick Fury in command of the larger picture. With the show going in a different direction, leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. to be the best financed underground non-sanctioned military organization in the history of the planet, the episode leaves some nagging questions about the organization's role in the world going forward that have yet to be addressed.

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