Glad you asked.
I had meant to get on this and do a regular sort of critique as the season went on. But I missed the premiere, got behind, caught up via my DVR, and never seemed to get something together in a timely fashion. So I'll get my thoughts out this way.
After the ups and downs of seasons one and two, Phil Coulson's new version of S.H.I.E.L.D. is no longer the little engine that could. Nick Fury's infamous tool box has given Coulson a respectable amount of tech and financial resources to be a viable shadow agency ala the original S.H.I.E.L.D. (ugh, these long acronyms are gonna kill me!). New plane(s), new headquarters, a large staff, etc. -- papa's got a brand new bag, so to speak.
We see Skye, now called Daisy, more fully formed into the Quake character from the comics. She's trying to recruit new Inhumans to create a powered unit within SHIELD (that's it, I'm done with the periods!). We see her thwarted on two fronts -- May's ex-husband, the wonderful Blair Underwood as Andrew Garner, doing psyche evals on each new Inhuman and rejecting them outright. And a scary agency called the ATCU -- Alien Threat Containment Unit, supposedly created to contain the growing Inhuman threat, caused by the dissemination of the Terrigen crystals at the end of season two.
But neither of these stumbling blocks turned out to be what they were on the surface. Garner turned out to be Inhuman himself -- a monster that is driven to kill other Inhumans. And the ATCU, while doing what it's head, the unconventionally attractive Rosalind Price (played by Constance Zimmer) believed she was doing, instead it turns out the ATCU was in fact being run by HYDRA, through Gideon Malick (a former council head from the first Avengers movie), played by Powers Boothe with his usual lurid evilness.
We learn that HYDRA was not in fact created by the Red Skull in WWII, as put forth in the Captain America comics and movies, but instead a centuries old organization dedicated to retrieving a monster, most likely another Inhuman or some sort of Cree criminal, who was banished to another world via a portal that happens to be the monolith discovered by the agents last season. This would be the same portal that swallowed up Simmons at the end of last season.
Got all that? Okay, so . . .
After starting the series thinking that Daisy/Skye was going to be the focus, this season seemed centered mostly around Coulson, with a large part also devoted to Simmons and her awkward love for Fitz.
It took until the end of the season for Coulson and Rosalind to get over their Tracy/Hepburn-esque back and forth to become lovers. And then Rosalind was murdered by the increasingly annoying former agent Ward via the overused technique of a mile-long sniper shot.
After introducing Ward as nothing more than a trained soldier, the character has morphed over three seasons into one of those formulaic indestructible psycho killers from horror movies. He survives every attack, defeats a room full of armed soldiers without a scratch, can out-think and out-maneuver anyone and everything that comes at him. Blah, blah, blah. I was so happy when Coulson finally killed him off in the finale. But then we see him reborn as the alien/monster/Cree thing has inhabited his body and returned to Earth.
Simmons got to become more than just a geek due to her time on the alien planet. She's tougher now, and if the finale is any indication, may finally be able to show some affection for Fitz, who has overcome most of his aphasia from last season's near death situation. Indeed, we got to see Daisy and Lincoln kiss too, so maybe there's a love interest for next season.
Mack (Henry Simmons) is still struggling to cope with Coulson's seemingly fluid morality when it comes to missions and also the agency's alliance with powered individuals. Bobby (Adrienne Palicki) seems to have lost some confidence after her capture, torture, and near death at Ward's hand. And she and Hunter may be resolved, as lovers, or maybe not. Like I said, this season seemed mostly about Coulson and his struggles to lead the team against, and then with, Rosalind's ACTU.
There were a lot of good moments this season. If you can find it on demand with your cable or whatever, it's worth a watch, imho. The show has improved each season, which is what you want in your television shows. I'm hoping MARVEL keeps the thing alive for a while. It serves the greater purpose of furthering their mythology for the movies. And I find it kind of fun to see the tie-ins as everything progresses.
Maybe we'll even get one or two cameos next season from a few more prominent characters from the movies.
But thumbs up for this series.
Here's a couple of recent pics of Chloe Bennett, who needs to work on her red carpet manner -- she's got the deer in the headlights thing going on here:
And I GOOGLE'd Constance Zimmer for some pics and found out that she was in STUFF eleven years ago. Woof! I thought she was hot now, but: