Thanks to the obligatory call back of events from episodes prior, the rag-tag team of Agents is now under the guidance of Director Phil Coulson (played superbly by Clark Gregg), trying to find their way in a world that fears them as much as they fear Hydra.
As much of Season One was predicated on the fallout from the events of Captain America 2: the Winter Soldier, this latest addition follows suit in a big way by extending the MCU with easter eggs galore.
Bursting out of the gate – quite literally — Agent Peggy Carter, Dum Dum Dugan and Jim Morita of the Howling Commandos (played by Haley Atwell, Neal McDonough and Kenneth Choi, respectively) storm the last remaining Hydra storage facility in 1945 Austria. It is there that the SSR, or predecessors of S.H.I.E.L.D., encounter the very first Object of Unknown Origin: a mysterious obelisk designated 0-8-4.
Flash forward to present day, the item in question is up for purchase to a group of mercanaries led by Xena – I mean Lucy Lawless – where things inevitably go wrong. The reason for this mishap is courtesy of one Mr. Carl “Crusher” Creel (played by Brian Patrick Wade), who fan of the Incredible Hulk comics will recognize as the Absorbing Man. With the level of computer technology today, this character was able to look like a viable member of this Universe. As Coulson and his team try to bolster their ranks from the shadows, it becomes evident that Hydra still has plenty more heads to cut off.
So there we have the crux of Season Two. Hydra and a meta-powered human now control what could speculatively be an Asgardian treasure (I’m thinking Norn Stone), S.H.I.E.L.D. has almost no resources (except the Quinjet stolen at the end of the episode) and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
The most exciting factors about this episode and those to follow are the levels of detail given to each character. First off, you have Coulson himself thrust into an impossible situation, the there’s the traitor in the ranks (Agent Grant Ward as played by Brett Dalton), then finally you have the mental degradation of their top scientist (Agent Leo Fitz as played brilliantly by Iain De Caestecker).
With all this interplay amognst the core group of Agents, the addition of characters like Absorbing Man and Hydra Official Daniel Whitehall a.k.a. the Kraken help to bolster the widest and most comprehensive cinematic universe to date.
Don’t be surprised if there’s a Guardians of the Galaxy cameo in later episodes.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on ABC every Tuesdays at 9/8c.