Legion of Leia contributor Christina Janke is recapping Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for us this season! Check out her thoughts on the premiere!
You can’t keep a good agent down. We’re glad Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back for a second season, and boy are they back! Beware, spoilers and foreshadowing ahead.
The season two premiere episode begins with a soft introduction to ABC’s next Marvel series, Agent Carter. The wonderful Hayley Atwell reprises her role as Agent Peggy Carter. Accompanying her are the original Howling Commandos from Captain America: The First Avenger. The scenes opens in Austria, 1945. Hydra agents who clearing out their own base and seizing all the mysterious artifacts claimed during the war. One such artifact is an advanced (and super deadly) piece of technology called the Obelisk. “It may hold the answer to death itself,” says the commander.
This is probably way too early to call it, but I’m going to say it anyway. Any time someone mentions “death” in reference to an artifact or some other worldly thing, we’re just going to assume this particular moment is highly significant where Thanos is concerned. Just saying.
Carter and the Commandos get the drop on Hydra, capturing everyone and everything. They box up all the found artifacts, labeling them for permanent storage. The Obelisk, we see, gets sealed up and labeled SSR 408. Fans of the show should immediately recognize those numbers by now. Afterward, Agent Carter looks on to say, “This is the last Hydra site we know of. They’re beaten.” Oh, Peggy. If only that were true…
Fast forward to present day, our favorite agents are staking out a transaction between a mercenary group and former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. The latter are offering a Level 10 classified object, which is safe to assume is the Obelisk. The transaction is interrupted, however, by a third party who makes short work of the former agents. Skye, Triplett, and May stop the conflict before the mysterious bruiser can get to the mercenaries, who we find out are Coulson’s latest recruits in rebuilding S.H.I.E.L.D. One notable person in this group is the one and only Lucy Lawless, aka Isabelle Hartley.
“Go dark,” is the order Coulson gives the team. “Going dark” may also be the new tone for the show. You’ll see why later in the episode.
So here are a couple problems Coulson and company are faced with: S.H.I.E.L.D. is completely dismantled save for one bunker (that they know of) hidden underground. Coulson has to physically move himself around from country to country (in coach!) to recruit new agents. S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are scattered everywhere; they’ve either gone rogue, disappeared, or compromised. The worst part of it is the fate of all those gifted people in the Index.
The mysterious guy from earlier happens to be one of the gifted crossed off the list by John Garrett, and subsequently recruited to work for Hydra. Fans of the Marvel comic books will be familiar with this guy: Carl Creel, aka The Absorbing Man. He has the power to take any material and consciously change his body and adopt the same characteristics as the substance.
Oh yeah, then there’s Ward, who has decided to emulate a bit of Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal from the Silence of the Lambs movies. And poor, poor Fitz is still a little damaged from his drowning experience last season. It seems he’s sustained a little bit of brain trauma, causing his mind to be all jumbled up and hallucinate. Truly, that was the most painful of all.
The team locates the Obelisk and go to retrieve it. Of course, Creel is already there and they fight it out. Desperate, Hartley grabs the artifact. Mistake. Her hand immediately darkens, and she can’t let go of the object. It’s literally sucking the life out of her. She and her mercenary team defy Coulson’s orders to continue on their mission — they are also supposed to retrieve the Quinjet, which has cloaking technology they need — and depart while the rest of our heroes stay and fight armed U.S. military guards.
Speeding away, Hartley urges one of her mercs to cut off her hand 127 Hours-style. Creel catches up to them and flips their SUV, seemingly killing Hartley and one other. The last conscious merc helplessly watches Creel take the Obelisk and walk away.
Meanwhile, Skye, Triplett, and May just barely escape with the Quinjet.
Settling for half a victory, Coulson reflects, “That’s how we have to live now: In the shadows. To save people, even when they don’t know it, don’t want it.”
Elsewhere, we’re taken to another secret bunker where Creel is giving someone an update on his mission. This man he’s talking to? Doctor Whitehall, aka The Kraken, aka the guy we saw in the 1945 flashback who hasn’t aged a day. Bum bum BUM!