Agents Of SHIELD: 2.02 Heavy Is the Head
This week Agents Of SHIELD continued its explosive, confident streak as Heavy Is the Head picked up immediately after the dramatic events of last week's Shadows and continued to push the show in bold new direction. May and Skye pursued Creel, Fitz continued to battle mental health with his ability to support the team, General Talbot pursued his vendetta against Coulson and a familiar foe returned to the mix.
What I'm loving is the fact that Agents Of SHIELD is showing no signs of faltering as it enters its second season. Many shows find their groove by the end of its debut season and then falter in the following year as they struggle to develop new story lines and characters while maintaining the ante of a first season finale. If anything, this show seems to be getting better and better. As I said last week, Agent's Of SHIELD is finally starting to become the TV show we always hoped it would be.
There were some terrific action sequences again - particularly May's pursuit of Creel on the highway and his final take down by Coulson. But ultimately this was much more of a character-driven affair to Shadows.
With his 'colleagues' dead, Lance Hunter developed into a more interesting character this episode as we learned more about the motivations of the former SAS-turned hired gun-turned potential SHIELD recruit. Like the recently added Triplett, he is a far more engaging than the previously-bland Ward. The question over his loyalties added some drama to the episode; he felt a moral obligation to ensure Hartley received the burial she deserved but seemed willing to accept Talbot's money in exchange for selling out Coulson.
Taking out May, Skye and Triplett was a startling twist only bettered by his decision to betray Talbot and work for Coulson. He's proved he the skills to fight alongside May and Triplett, but it is his motivations that make him more interesting - perhaps more interesting than any of the original roster from season one.
The bond between Coulson and May grew stronger this week; her brush off of Skye's concerns about the director proved to be all an act. May is fully aware of Coulson's 'episodes' and is even helping to record the raw data he is creating in his hypnotic state. This is by far the most intriguing aspect of the show to date and I look forward to seeing where it will progress next.
Poor Fitz seems no closer to improving and became increasingly isolated for the rest of the SHIELD unit even though he was able to find a way to stop Creel. I'm a little torn on where this story line is progressing. On one hand I don't want the show to go for the easy option of finding a cure quickly. On the other hand, his constant struggles may become a little tiresome over the weeks if nothing changes in his condition. Perhaps the best option is for Fitz to sit out a handful of episodes from time to time before that 'resolution' comes in one form or another.
I'm still intrigued where Simmonds has gone. Having her appear as Fitz's hallucination is a clever way to keep Elizabeth Henstridge on the show full time but I'm looking forward to seeing what she is up to and how she rejoins the team.
Raina's return was an interesting one. Gone is the surprisingly dull Centipede arc from season one but I like how she is not aligned with HYDRA either. She remains as fearless as ever - confronting an Obelisk-powered Creel and then touching the device at the threat to her own life in the episode's closing moments. What the Obelisk means, with its symbols that match the ones Coulson is drawing, adds another layer of mystery to the show. As does Raina's connection to the new mysterious villain, played by Agent Cooper himself Kyle MacLachlan. I've heard some rumours as to who he might be, but I'll keep silent on those until the show reveals them.
I also loved Coulson's 'meet' with Talbot at the end. It was a small step forward to building up the Government's trust in SHIELD once again, though there is still a long way to go. Flying off in the invisible jet and Talbot's reaction was priceless, proving that even a more serious Coulson can still be his old fun self when the opportunity arises. Though I'm still wondering if we will see Lola again.
Heavy Is the Head continued the promise of greater things to come, a more dynamic team, while serving as a concluding part of the Absorbing man story that kick-started the season. We still have many questions. What is happening to Coulson? What is the Obelisk? Who is Raina working for? How long will it take before SHIELD will discover Mac is working for HYDRA? Where is Simmonds? Will Fitz ever be cured? Will Ward (absent this week) remain evil for the foreseeable future?
Agents Of SHIELD is a lot of fun now and I can't wait to see where the show goes next.