Instead of picking up where it left off at the end of last season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continued its fast forwarding past the summer months to four or five months from the events of the previous season. I don’t know if I like this storytelling method or not. Allowing time to elapse gives the writers room a chance to incorporate the events of Marvel’s summer blockbusters, and jumping ahead through the summer months of 2014 made sense because of what happened during Captain America: Winter Soldier but not that much happened during the summer of 2015.
The events that occurred during Ant-Man and Age of Ultron were given footnotes in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s season three premiere, “Laws of Nature.” With that being the case we lost a sense of who the characters were in the TV show for not much of a payoff. It’s like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wants to take three steps back before taking one step forward. Again, I think that idea worked between season one and two but how long can they continue this ploy?
Once my mind re-acclimated to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s waters, I enjoyed the show well enough but I don’t think it’ll ever be a stand-alone show. AoS’s purpose is to set us up for the upcoming Inhumans movie and it’s doing a good enough job of that. I just hope they—they as in Marvel—will not pull a DC TV universe and use the characters from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the upcoming Marvel movies. All signs point to yes as plenty of Marvel’s cinematic actors have made appearances on the show and Clark Gregg, Agent Coulson, is a series regular and he got his start in Marvel’s movies.
After the dust settled in “Laws of Nature,” we find that our rag-tag team of agents are once again split-up, Skye goes by Daisy and she’s the only one in peak form, and Simmons is trapped on a different plane or planet. Like I said, they take three steps back before taking any steps forward but I guess this plot device works as a means of keeping the team manageable and not too powerful before the Inhumans movie. We get a lot of catch up in the first episode and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s third season doesn’t get started in earnest until its second episode, “Purpose in the Machine.”
At the beginning of “Purpose in the Machine” we learn that Simmons is definitely trapped on a distant planet. The rest of the episode splits its focus between finding a way to Simmons, reintroducing us to Agent May and her whereabouts, Syke or Daisy trying to assemble a team of Inhumans, Hunter’s vendetta against Ward, and Ward reconstituting Hydra. If it sounds like there was a lot going on in this episode, there was, but Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does a good job of balancing the different threads as many of the threads weave together.
The ending was a little too convenient. Simmons had been trapped for months and she just happened to be near the portal. They explained how Simmons found the portal (she saw the flare Fitz fired into the portal) but how could she see it through a massive sand storm and why would she head toward an explosion on a strange planet. I guess it made sense but that was a lot of build up for very little pay off. Still, I don’t know how Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could’ve maintained its ensemble without finding Simmons quickly but when characters don’t suffer, we don’t fear for their safety. I thought Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. could’ve and should’ve played with that thread for a while but we may not have seen the last of it after all. Simmons may suffer from PTSD.
“Laws of Nature” stumbled a little bit out of the gate but “Purpose in the Machine” made up for it by speeding through a lot of plot points. Perhaps Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s third episode this year could find a happy medium in terms of pacing. I’ll still watch, at least until the Inhumans film.
We also have some secrets from “Laws of Nature” and Purpose in the Machine.” Check them out here.