Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Laws of Nature

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back for season 3, and right out of the gate seems to have declared bolder intentions than past seasons. "This is the year of Inhumans," the show pronounced, apparently promising more action, more superpowers, more whiz-bang.

Fortunately, while they've upped the ante in the visual department, they haven't dialed back on the more dramatic moments that their now well-established characters allow. There was a lot of ground to cover -- so much that some characters (May, Ward) weren't even seen this week. (Though the ways in which they were referenced, and the ways their absence resonated with other characters, made a big impact.)

Actually, strong characterization began with the guest stars this week. First, there was metal-melting Joey, whose experience of awakening as an Inhuman made for a nice subplot in the episode. Then there was actress Constance Zimmer, who made a wonderful impact as new adversary Rosalind. The subway scene, which put her in a battle of wits with Coulson, was a great show piece for both characters.

Speaking of Coulson, Clark Gregg was excellent as usual in confronting Fitz about the need to let Simmons go (as Coulson had let May go). But on this rare occasion, he wasn't the stand-out performer of the episode. That award goes to Iain De Caestecker. It was fun enough to see his subplot, basically showing Fitz coming into his own as a stone cold badass. But then there was his final scene, and the way he poured out such desperation and fury at the monolith. I'm hard-pressed to recall a more powerful moment in the entire history of the show.

Putting so many balls in the air certainly set the stage for a promising season. I give the premiere an A-.

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