Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 6 Starts Off Strong
It’s nice to have S.H.I.E.L.D. back on television and its also nice to have back S.H.I.E.L.D in the ancillary MCU world that is Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AoS). Phil Coulson dies in the Avengers and Nick Fury bring him back with Project T.A.H.I.T.I. After the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Captain America: Winter Soldier, the S.H.I.E.L.D. of television crew also take their Quinjets and disappear underground (most of the time). And then the Inhumans, and then the future and far-flung places in the universe through portals of liquid stone, and via the Zephyr. And now somewhere, some time.
Just one episode in, falling while Avengers: Endgame still churns through box office receipts and the cheers and blurry eyes of its repeat patrons, AoS season 6 feels like a parallel universe. There are claims it is before The Snap but the temporal calculations prove a bit sketchy.
And let’s see, what else? Some new aliens which is fine. The Zephyr as long-term recognizance spacecraft. OK. Fitz lost in space. 😉 Jemma cruel and unusual. 🙁 Quake cooler than ever 🙂 …and May and Mack and Yo-Yo and Coulson.
Yep, well, a guy who looks like Coulson. From an alternate somewhere, or sometime. It’s unclear so far. So Phil Coulson is dead, long live Phil Coulson. (And Clark Gregg gets the opportunity to direct his own evil self.)
Bottomline: I like it so far. I don’t really care that I’m no longer in the MCU, and least nowhere I recognize—because they grabbed me early and they just kept tugging. Remember, Season 5 was the original end of the series. With a surprise renewal, the creative team had to think about a way out of their own endgame. And they have done a credible job. The losses first, then the confusion and eventually, I’m sure, the confrontation, conflagration and reconciliation.
AoS Season 6 pointedly goes toward reinvention of S.H.I.E.L.D. with the covert recruitment of May’s scientist buddy Dr. Marcus Benson, who is none too interested in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s. But the team needs brains and Benson has one. And he also has some educational chops to Kickstarter a S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy. It’s great to see the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo in the light of day, even if it is no longer as universal on the team’s attire as it once was (as with Endgame, who and where are they creating the weapons, clothing etc.?)
The MCU has gone full space opera science fiction, and, since last season, so too has AoS. First, a lighthouse circling a quaked and cracked Earth, and now, to the far reaches.
My initial hope for AoS was a mostly earthbound series that focused on how S.H.I.E.L.D. protected ordinary citizens from threats from, as Fury says to Captain Marvel, “above.”
But perhaps the Earth-based drama of the cinematic MCU, along with the now ending Netflix series made it too hard for ABC to keep AoS, with its global surveillance and reach, out of the way of other characters and plots. If this is indeed pre-snap, in an alternative universe or not, Nick Fury and Maria Hill are likely somewhere, but they don’t seem too interested in coaching (Mac is watching holographic recordings of Coach Coulson to help him wrap his head around his new job as Director). Who does the S.H.I.E.L.D. Director work for now? Does the team get a paycheck and benefits? At least while Hydra was running the show they got healthcare and dental.
The special effects continue to be top notch. ABC has decided if it’s going to do Marvel on the small screen it needs to look as good as its big screen cousins, and in that, they succeed marvelously.
It will be interesting to see where the plot leads us. Some of the earlier seasons went a little off the rails when they lost the core focus and tried to do too many things, turning to mush rather than a mashup. The first episode reeks of focus and purpose. Let’s see if they can maintain that.