The second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is definitely moving at a brisker pace than the first, with big developments to the story continuing to unfold in the fifth episode. Whilst many shows would continue to have Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) stay undercover within Hydra, yet the series brings this story-line to a swift conclusion, though she does bring an awesome new character back with her.
With Hydra having developed a deadly new weapon from the mysterious alien obelisk Simmons is placed in a compromising position as security increases, bringing her into suspicion as being a double agent. It’s a disappointment that it was spoilt before hand that Adrianne Palicki would be playing Bobbi Morse, the comic book hero Mockingbird, as it means that there’s a lack of tension when she investigates Simmons.
Instead of being worried that Simmons is in some kind of danger we’re left wondering exactly when she’s going to find out that she has an ally within Hydra. I was half expecting the series to carry this on for a while, perhaps imitating Alias, having Bobbi playing the Jack Bristow role of the older and more experienced agent helping her to keep her cover and lean Hydra’s secrets. Strangely, the decision is made to have Simmons lose her cover and be extracted in the same episode. Whilst this does limit the options for interesting undercover plots it does give us a fun reveal of Bobbi as an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., kicking the crap out of Hydra thugs with her iconic battle staves.
Palicki already seems like a great addition to the cast, and shows that she has some great range just in one episode. She comes across as cold and calculating when posing as Hydra, but is immediately charming and fun as soon as she’s back in the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, interacting with people like she’s been friends with them for years. The surprise revelation that she’s the ‘evil’ ex-wife that Hunter (Nick Blood) has been complaining about since his introduction is a brilliant turn, and something that is sure to lead to a lot of fun moments as the two of them stick around. Whilst Bobbi joining the team looks set to be something that’s going to be a great change I’m curious how Simmons being back is going to impact Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), who has been working hard to deal with his recent injuries and the absence of Simmons.
The episode also continues the ongoing plot of Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his mysterious carvings, as Skye (Chloe Bennet) learns the truth about what is going on. Once again, this is a plot point that I was surprised to see this early on into the season, expecting the show to play it out over the vast majority of season two. It really goes to show how the series has changed it’s approach to storytelling, relying less on adventure of the week episodes with the occasional advancement of the main plot and shifting to a story that moves with a much punchier pace.
The scenes with Coulson and Skye have also improved this year, and we get to see just why he thinks that she’s so special, something that her murderous father seems to agree upon. Kyle MacLachlan is still impressing as Skye’s father, and the final scene where he teams up with Hydra in order to kill Coulson makes for an interesting and unexpected twist.
A lot happens in ‘A Hen in the Wolf House’, and it all seems designed to moving the central story forward. This is the kind of pace and excitement that was lacking a lot in the first season, but finally seems to be becoming the standard for the series.
Are you a fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Let us know!