Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Bouncing Back”

Inhumans zip, shock, melt and shake. With gusto.

In which Damian and Hanna chat about the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with all the spoilers. You can find our Retrospect for the show here.

First, a brief recap: Coulson pursues the latest in crotchety Hydra commandants. This time it’s personal — as opposed to the last time. We meet a new superpowered person — Elena — and she is awesome. She kidnaps Mack, is kidnapped by S.H.I.E.L.D. and then helps bring down a corrupt group of Colombian police. And Evil Ward eats raw steak in a menacing manner.

Hanna: So… What did you think?

Damian: Generally pretty good. I would say my favorite moments were Daisy, Elena and Joey taking the police station. The show is finally about a team of Inhumans — or at least heavily involves them.

Hanna: Their teamwork was pretty fantastic. I appreciated that the show addressed the limitations of the non-powered folks and that Hunter and Bobby want superpowers. And we introduced a few new Inhumans, especially Elena. At first, when her powers seemed like straight up superspeed, I was worried. It’s usually an overpowered or poorly defined skillset (i. e. Quicksilver in the Days of Future Past). But the time limitation of a heartbeat is fantastic. She’s effective, but doesn’t break the world. I’m impressed.  

Damian: And having her snap back to the place she started at is great. It’s unique and they honor specific parameters for what she can do. She’s also grinning and clearly enjoying her brand new powers.

Hanna: I’m sad that we’re getting rid of her again.

Damian: You mean the ‘prologue’?

Hanna: Actually, I mean that they are sending her and Joey away to be guest stars and keeping Lincoln as a regular character.

Damian: Yeah, I guess they say that fairly directly.

Hanna: I am displeased by this.

Damian: I don’t think we’re done with either of them. They’ll be back.

Hanna: Absolutely. But I would trade Lincoln for either or both of them as regulars. Sigh… And we have smarmy Coulson back. He talks like he is the smartest guy in the room.

Damian: I wouldn’t say ‘smarmy’. ‘Righteous’ maybe. He’s saying things like “That’s the job” again.

Hanna: Ugh…

Damian: I liked the conversation with Fitz and Simmons.

Hanna: I didn’t like it. I think resetting is the wrong way to go with them.

Damian: I thought it was two adults trying to maturely find their way out of the situation. And having her acknowledge that Fitz is awesome was nice.

Hanna: I appreciated that. I thought bringing in the president was silly. And we get Talbot back… yay…

Damian: Yeah, it’s crazy how unpresidential he is too. And Coulson totally does not care or treat the president as important. Did you have something that struck you as the weakest moment?

Hanna: I don’t know if there was a single moment. I mean. May is “wise advisor May” again. She’s back to soothing Coulson. And he’s back to the same patterns. But nothing major, no.

Damian: I didn’t have any specific problems. It’s a set-up episode. They’ve basically decided to use their mid season break to turn each season into two mini seasons. This is actually the beginning of season 3.5. Anyway, I liked gross skeletal Ward.

Hanna: I also liked gross skeletal Ward. But I’m a little impatient with his presentation in this episode. I think they showed too much of him. I would rather have a single shot of him at the end. More of a teaser — the less we see of him the scarier he will be.

Damian: How many episodes do we have left?

Hanna: Eleven? Eleven.

Damian: I guess it’s going to depend on how big a problem he becomes and how fast. I liked the giant handprint bruise on his chest.

Hanna: I liked the overall design of Evil Ward. I’m also digging Mack’s distinct philosophical arc. He starts out having problems with Coulson’s authority, then gets paranoid about Coulson being influenced by aliens. Then he’s hijacked by the Kree temple and becomes very mistrustful of all things alien. Now he is a leader, and at a point where he’s seeing other possibilities in the Kree/Inhuman happenings.

Damian: You know, I kinda miss the Mack that worked in the garage and played video games with Fitz. He was the one that got Fitz back in the world. That was a nice dynamic. They’ve replaced it with Mack and Daisy.

Hanna: That’s true. But I also like him with Daisy. And I’d rather see them as the field team as opposed to, say, Lincoln and Daisy.

Damian: Or Coulson and Daisy.

Hanna: Anything but Coulson and Daisy.

Damian: Mack tends to serve as the field commander right now. Which is good casting. He has the presence for it.

Hanna: I did love Hunter arriving at Elena’s apartment, seeing Mack tied up and realizing that the kidnapper was a small woman.

Damian: I loved the revelation that Hunter and Bobby both tried the fish oil. That was my favorite laugh line.

Hanna: Oh god. Yeah. Well. Hunter tried it. Bobby only thought about it. My favorite was a cheap one: the hold music coming on when Coulson was calling Mallek — our requisite bland Hydra leader.

Damian: I hope they deal with Mallek quickly. Enough with the old white men. Not that there aren’t villainous old white men out there, but we’ve seen at least one per season at this point. They’ve intro-ed Ward as a big evil Inhuman. Let’s go with that.

Hanna: We do still have Lash. He killed all the Inhumans and then took off. He’s a genocidal jerk. Any other thoughts?

Damian: I’m hopeful for where they are taking the show. Ward as the big bad is, I think, the right move. Let’s just hope it doesn’t overstay its welcome. One last thought. The intro to the episode takes place inside of a quinjet, in space. Drops of blood, Elena’s cross and someone’s SHIELD’s shoulder patch are visible. Now, they’re implying that it’s Elena bleeding in space, but given the possible attraction/connection they set up for Mack and Elena, I think it might be Mack. What do you think?

Hanna: I suppose Elena could give the cross to anyone: Daisy or Joey might be just as likely as Mack. But I think that it’s Elena.

Damian: There must be a switch somewhere in there.

Hanna: I don’t know. I think that they set-up Elena as integral to season 3.5 if you will. They haven’t picked up anyone new for this season except Joey in the very first episode, so I think the story arc could be centered around her strongly. Which I would love. I enjoyed having her in the mix.

Damian: I think the cross in space has to be a red herring, and it’s anyone other than Elena.

Hanna: Well. Your odds are much better than mine, I suppose. But we’ll see.

Hanna and Damian will return next week! Bye!