Agents of SHIELD renewed

e1db8-abc-agents-of-shield-season-2The only question is … why is it renewed?
In case you haven’t heard, I’m quite, quite done with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Period.
If you ditched this series to the curb by now, know that (with Fox holding the license to X-Men in a stranglehold / death grip) AoS started using Inhumans in place of mutants. Inhumans makes it more of an alien threat than the traditional mutant, but it’s the exact same premise.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, they started stealing so much of X-men  — not the awesome plots where they’re fighting intergalactic empires, but the plots where people with superpowers are persecuted, and they whine about how they have awesome powers and no one understands them.

Yeah. That.

You know what? When they started using SHIELD in place of the X-Men in an attempt to put together Secret Warriors from the comics, I should have known they would go the same exact route as X-Men — angsty “WAAAHHHH, I’m a monster” bullcrap.  I’m sorry, Mr. “I shoot lightning, but I just want to be a surgeon,” get off your pansey ass, grab some spandex, and throw lightning at some bad guys. “Waaah, I’m a Monster?” yeah, well, so’s the Incredible Hulk, and the movie Bruce Banner is a lot less whiney than you are.

And you know what? That wasn’t the only problem.  The problem was the entire plot is being effected by this. The whiney is spreading.

The third episode of the season pretty much put a nail in the coffin for me. We had two stories — which, at that point, had nothing to do with each other.  Nothing. At All.

One’s a swaggering badass. The other is on Agents of SHIELD.

On the one hand, we have an Inhuman from the camp led by Skye / Daisy / Quake’s mother last season.  He’s an MD who shoots lightning out of his fingers.  Really. And we spent the entire plot thread following this guy, who spends most of the time brooding and on the run, and he doesn’t do it half as well as Bill Bixby. “Daisy” tracks him down and starts making out with him…

Wait? What?

No, stop.  Just stop.  It’s been made quite clear that it’s been six months between seasons two and three and Daisy is only now bringing up that fact that she’s in love with this schlub? In love with a character she’s spent maybe a few hours with that we’re aware of? No. Just no.  Period. That’s where I drew the line

And hell, while we’re at it, the ONLY reason she gives a crap is because she loves the guy? Really? Wow, what shallow-end-of-the-gene-pool writing. How … Jeph Loeb of them. (Seriously, can’t that man just go back to Heroes and stay there? Oh right, no one wanted that either.)

Of course, the episode entirely undermined Daisy’s moments from previous episodes, where she’s trying to bring Inhumans into a big tent under SHIELD, and how they could all be brought in and made to understand what’s happening to them, train them, and maybe send them back into society with a change of name and some methods to disappear. But no, she’s female and must be motivated by love of this person who is as bland and generic as she is?

What?

The sad thing is that Daisy seemed more sincere and passionate about saving the mutant — um, Inhuman — in the first episode than she did saving someone she’s supposed to be in love with in episode 3. No, I’m not kidding.

Of course, this story is jammed into the overarching plot of the new anti-Mutant …. um, anti-“alien threat” response unit.  It might have been interesting if they spent more time with Coulson than with Daisy, because I’d rather see the grownups work out these problems than anything else. But, no, someone decided that Daisy was more interesting than Coulson from day one — curious, as Daisy only became slightly interesting this season.

In the other plot, we have Agents May and Hunter trying to track down Ward — tall dark and wooden from Season 1 and 2 — who, really, shouldn’t have made it past season 1. Seriously, whoever’s in charge, Ward isn’t interesting. He has moments that are completely out of place in his monotone of blandness. This episode was threatening to work up the food chain of Hydra through an old contact of Hunter’s, getting him into fight club — the contact turns on Hunter, and Hunter has to beat him to death.  Somehow, Hunter feels bad about killing someone who he had earlier described as a cold blooded murdering psychopath who he is not friends with. Really? Um, guys? Character-driven drama only works if I care about your characters, AND IF THEY ARE CONSISTENT.  This is not consistent. This is … stupid.

Meanwhile, a subplot that’s barely there is trying to bring Gemma Simmons out of her PTSD fit after being on an alien planet for six months.  And, you know what? It was the most interesting part of the show.  I think we could have had an entire episode dedicated to that. Hell, have her try to interact with everyone when she’s at a point where she jumps at the slightest sounds. This was the best acted, best executed part of the story.  It was emotional and passionate, and more believable than believing that Daisy isn’t shallow.

Then, at the end of the episode, Simmons declares that she has to to back to the alien planet— DUN DUN DUUUUUUN.

… Except by that point, I had already given up. I was done the moment Daisy (with no foreshadowing, hint, explanation, or visible on-screen chemistry) kissed Doctor lightning-boy in the middle of an operation to extract him from the pile of excrement he was in.

Seriously, I’m done.

Season 1 didn’t gel until the last 6 episodes because of movie concerns.

Season 2 didn’t come together because they were all over the freaking place for the length of the season, going through three sets of adversaries before they decided who the enemy was.

And then, Season 3 had three plotlines at the start.   Normally, I would wait for the sequoia to hit the submarine, but previous seasons have taught me that they won’t know what they’re doing until the last six episodes.  At best, the mid-season finale will end one thread and start another, canceling out one of these threads.

But no, I don’t care.

I might have been curious about how this all tied together at the end … but no. I’m not.  I’m more curious about how it’ll tie in with the next Captain America film. And I won’t even bother tuning in to see that.

You know, had they possessed some concept of what they were doing from the beginning, this show may have had a chance. But no, it’s an ensemble show that has been saddled mostly with people I cannot care about, whose motives are contrived at best, and at worst, are capricious as hell.

Also … I think I found the problem with this show. It was while I was going over the “Hunt for Ward” plot.  Ward is now the head of Hydra, and this mission is dismissed early on as though it’s a side project, and a purely personal vendetta…

Wait. Really? Hydra is an organization of professional bad guys. They need to be stopped and staked and put into the ground. Does no one remember than Hydra was the reason SHIELD is a pile of bricks that Coulson had to single-handedly (pun not intended) rebuild? Why isn’t there a team behind May and Hunter tracking Ward down? And the rest of Hydra?

This led me to one very important point — Where are all these Agents of SHIELD?  Why does Coulson have to be involved directly with everything? Where’s the rest of this organization? After all, remember how Nick Fury showed up to make an appointment with Pepper Potts in Iron man and went undercover with Stark in Iron Man 2, and then took over the Mjoliner landing site during Thor and met with the General at the end of The Incredible Hulk? Yeah, neither do I. Because Coulson was the point man.  Fury was the man behind the curtains who could play spymaster and pull strings, and only move in when he absolutely had to.

Coulson doesn’t have a Coulson — he doesn’t even have anyone he can trust enough to act on their own. In any capacity. Daisy looked like she was getting there, but no, she was undermined by a subordinate as well as Coulson himself — on the grounds that the team leader who can level buildings has to be protected from random government minion #3. Yeah. Sure. Right. Dumbass excuse for more dumbass reasoning for more dumbass forced choices and for the love of God stop it, Marvel. Fire Jeph Loeb. Better yet, shoot Jeph Loeb, if only because he wrote Ultimatum.

Let’s dress her like a badass … then make her motivated by love and undermine her command authority because she “needs to be protected.”

And, while we’re at it, has anyone noticed the command structure lately? Who’s the head of SHIELD’s science division? Fitzsimmons? Cute trick, since both were basically MIA for six months — one in outer space, the other trying to find her. Who’s the Deputy Director of Operations? Who’s the DD of Intelligence?

I think the answer to everything is Coulson.

Come to think of it, who’s in charge of SHIELD’s armed forces? Because when Fury showed up in a helicarrier in Age of Ultron, I presume he didn’t dial up everyone on his Rolodex personally. We know that Fury was behind Coulson, and it should have been “Hey, Phil, I need a helicarrier and enough personnel to run an evacuation of a floating city in Eastern Europe.” We know that Coulson had the helicarriers in mothballs, and there have to be enough people to maintain them … so where are all of these people?

In short, Agents of SHIELD is stunted. We’re only just now, in season 3, in a place the story and the show should have been in season 2. It doesn’t feel like Coulson’s running the CIA. It still feels like he’s running a single team, only out of a basement instead of a plane. In fact, after the whole two-SHIELDs storyline last season, there was supposed to be rule by committee … where’d the committee go? Coulson made making several high-level command decisions for the first several episodes, and he consulted no one.

It’s amazing. It’s been three years of this show and so little has changed.  After all this time, they gave acting lessons to Fitzsimmons and Daisy, given their useless hacker superpowers and training, but it’s too little, too late. It still feels like nothing has changed — one step forward, take a light-year back.

It’s been argued  that S3, E3 was just one episode. But no. It was really the last straw. It proved that, at the end of the day, Agents of SHIELD will always manage to focus on exactly the wrong thing. Instead of Daisy as she’s getting interesting, focus on the latest X-men reject who doesn’t actually want any help. Instead of focusing on Hunter getting in with Hydra, let’s take two minutes to mourn for a raging psychopath no one cared about, including our characters. Instead of focusing on Simmons and Coulson for most of the episode, the focus was on almost everyone else. And from what I’ve seen of the trailers — let’s make the only guest character we care about (May’s ex, played by Blair Underwood), a villain. Because screw you and your likable characters, apparently.

And I’m tired of it. Goodbye, Agents of Suck. I may tune in for the last six episodes and see how much Civil War is going to impact your plot line. But aside from that, I await news of your ultimate cancellation, and hopefully, Coulson’s return to the Marvel theatrical universe, or perhaps his appearance on Netflix, assembling the Defenders.

Because otherwise, I just don’t care.

About Declan Finn

Declan Finn is the author of Honor at Stake, an urban fantasy novel, nominated for Best Horror in the first annual Dragon Awards. He has also written The Pius Trilogy, an attempt to take Dan Brown to the woodshed in his own medium -- soon to be republished by Silver Empire Press. Finn has also written "Codename: Winterborn," an SF espionage thriller, and it's follow-up, "Codename: Winterborn." And "It was Only on Stun!" and "Set To Kill" are murder mysteries at a science fiction convention.
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One Response to Agents of SHIELD renewed

  1. swanpride says:

    Agent of Shield is great. Agent Carter is great. Both shows deserve more love than they get. But to answer your question: The ratings of AoS are still decent – not great, but considering that it brings ABC a male demographic they usually have trouble to reach, it is still worth it. The ratings of Agent Carter were sadly abysmal (thus said, there hasn’t been made a decision yet, so let’s hope that we get a proper wrap up somehow). But even more important: AoS is shortly before syndication. There never really was a question if there would be a season 4 or not. Shows nearly never get cancelled at this point.

    Like

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