There was a time, a few episodes back, when I read fan grumblings about this series, as the writers found a few, less than elegant ways to introduce some much needed backstory and characters into the shows narrative. I'm guessing these same folks aren't still unhappy as Season 2 of the series winds towards its conclusion.
This week's episode was as fulfilling as any so far. Best part for me was seeing Skye/Daisy blossom into near superhero status during the assault on the Hydra base. Using her powers to blast a couple of guys across the room, then a knockdown/shoot out close quarters combat sequence where she took out a seemingly endless series of Hydra soldiers, and then finally using her powers to jumpstart Lincoln' heart after he died -- fabulous. The writers have slowly tweaked her uniform to something now approximating her comic book look with the gloves and all. It will be nice to see if they continue to open her up in the last two episodes.
The continuing evolution of Fitz and Simmons has been a surprise. Simmons has turned into a rather ruthless, almost sociopathic, agent that will not hesitate to put down those she perceives as a threat. Whether it is capturing and blocking Skye's powers or killing Ward, her hard edge is at odds with the softness of her outside appearance. Fitz, while still suffering from a sort of aphasia due to his near death experience, has regained some of his tech-y skills and has developed a wry cavalier sense of humor.
After setting up the conflict between Gonzalez (played by the mighty Edward James Olmos) and Coulson over the direction of S.H.I.E.L.D. we finally got a face to face and a bit of resolution. Coulson drops a bomb about Nick Fury still being alive, and points out that he's still in touch with Agent Hill, so perhaps he's not the crazy rogue Gonzalez has made him out to be. I liked the bit where Coulson, in a video conference with Hill, points out that Gonzalez' version of S.H.I.E.L.D. puts all decisions to a vote. The look on his and Hill's faces over this was priceless.
I've always had the feeling that Gonzalez is manifesting the sort of feelings shown in the first Avengers movie, where the council pointed out their reticence over having the world defended by superpowered beings that no one has on a leash. The animus that Gonzalez displays towards powered people is reminiscent of the vibe from the original X-Men comics, where being a mutant was the comic's allegory for the racial divide in the country at the time. This seems to play into what I believe is the theme behind the next Captain America movie which I think is sub-titled Civil War. I think the civil war is going to be between the homo-superiors (as they are referred to in the X-Men comics) and regular folk. But I could be wrong.
Besides showing Bobby Morse (Mockingbird's) costume evolution along with Skye's, we are getting a bit more teasing about her disenchantment with both Gonzalez and Coulson's versions of S.H.I.E.L.D. There are hints of a spin off with her and Hunter, which I think would be a shame unless it is a limited series, like the Agent Carter thing they did this season. And since Bobby ends up marrying Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner's character from the Avengers) I don't know why they'd pursue the relationship between these two, although they have some fun moments on screen, and Hunter's character has grown on me.
I'm not sure about the divide between May and Coulson. As Coulson points out, he and May have always had secrets, she was initially on his team as a spy for Fury, so her complaints about him keeping things secret from her is pretty weak tea. Ward is back on his own, his attempt to excuse his actions was pretty feeble and mocked by the others in the last episode. Agent 33 is back with S.H.I.E.L.D. perhaps as a spy for Ward. Raina, besides looking like a porcupine, is also a precog, and Cal (Skye's father) points out that she's dangerously manipulative. Cal gets to stay in Shangi-La for a while with the Inhumans, who are supposed to make an appearance in the next episode.
They've plugged the new Avengers movie, and more. From a slow beginning in season one, the show has found its stride. I, for one, was willing to allow it to get going, but a lot of fans haven't been. Hopefully they have come back because it is well worth watching. One more episode before the two hour season finale, so I'm looking forward to what comes next. This is the only broadcast show I watch besides sports as I cannot deal with commercial television, so its been nice to have it develop so nicely. If you haven't watched it, you may want to give it a chance.
And here's Chloe Bennett, Adrianne Palicki, and Cobie Smulders from various appearances recently: