Friday, 11 March 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 'Bouncing Back' Review

This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for the episode to be discussed, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.

After more than two months off our screens Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns in an episode that might not be the most action packed, but is definitely one of their most well rounded and strongest episodes in a long while.

The main focus of the episode follows Daisy, Mack, Hunter, Bobbi and Joey in South America, on the trail of an Inhuman who stole a shipment of weapons from local police.  Mack quickly stumbles across Elena Rodriguez, the Inhuman in question, who has the power to move at super speed for the length of one heartbeat before snapping back to where she was.  Elena uses her powers to quickly overpower Mack, showing that she could end up as either a powerful foe, or a valuable ally.

Whilst being held captive by Elena Mack manages to make a strong connection with her, and we start to see the beginnings of what could be a strong friendship in the future.  When Daisy and the team track them down and capture Elena they come to realise that she might not be the villain they first thought, as they discover that Elena stole the weapons in order to destroy they, rather than use them.

The team discover that not only are the local police corrupt and acting outside of the law, but also have an Inhuman of their own, one that can paralyse people just by looking them in the eye.

With the weapons back in the hands of the local police, and Elena's cousin murdered, the team decide to launch an assault on the police.  Whilst the action is up to the usual S.H.I.E.L.D. standards, the real treat was watching Daisy, Joey and Elena working together to take down the enemy in the first real display of what the Secret Warriors could actually be.  Yes, we've seen Daisy and Lincoln do stuff on screen before, but this is the first real time that we've seen multiple Inhumans working together like this and it was great.

Whilst fans of the comics will have known who Elena is from the beginning, and knew that she was destined to join up with the good guys, it was still enjoyable to watch that story play out and see the journey the characters went on.

The episode also gave some time over to everyone's favourite S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Agent Coulson as he meets with the President of the US, played once again by Iron Man 3's William Sadler, who helps to clear up just what kind of organisation S.H.I.E.L.D. is now.  We at least now know that they're a secret but official organisation, and the ATCU will be acting as their public front.

It might not be to everyone's liking, but personally I'm glad to see that our heroes are part of the government again, even if they're not officially recognised.  It means that they don't have to be secret agents on the run anymore, and it means that there's hope somewhere down the line for S.H.I.E.L.D. to come back properly, or at least be the beginnings of a new organisation.

Elsewhere in the episode we also catch up with Grant Ward, or at least the body of Grant Ward.  As we saw in the mid-season finale, and had confirmed by producers, Ward's body was taken over by the Inhuman, Hive, and is currently in the care of Gideon Malick, the last leader of Hydra.

Hive is a creepy guy, not just because he looks like a walking corpse, but the way he moves and the way he talks exudes discomfort.  For those questioning if Hive was still going to be Ward in some way it's safe to say that he's not.  I saw nothing of the passionate, reckless man we'd seen for two and a half seasons in the scenes we had with Hive.  He might be wearing Wards face, but this is a very different character.

It might not have been the flashiest or most shocking episode in the shows history, but 'Bouncing Back' gives us a well rounded and solid episode that manages to introduce some new characters as well as carrying on some long established plot lines.


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