Titled “Heavy Is the Head”, the second episode of season 2 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is sadly a definite step down from the epic season opener. Feeling very much like a filler episode, it continues the Crusher Creel storyline and brings it to a rather unsatisfactory end. Having said that, strong character writing and a scattering of fantastic scenes make it at least a passable episode.
Warning: Spoilers follow!
Though not the greatest follow-up to the fantastic “Shadows”, there are moments in “Heavy Is the Head” where it’s clear that some of the show’s brilliance remains. Standout scenes include the final confrontation between Coulson and General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), with both fizzling tension combined well with some comedic lines, as well as the thrilling reveal that ‘the Bus’ is back in the air, complete with cloaking tech.
Another great piece of writing is the development of Fitz. Every time he comes on screen (be it accompanied by the hallucination of Simmonds or not), the complete contrast with his season one genius is gut-wrenching. This is cleverly done as it is a constant reminder of the effects HYDRA has had, as well as keeping Ward as a figure of hatred.
Despite feeling like a filler episode, this is, however, an instalment that reintroduces us to many of the potential big players for the series. General Talbot heads up the anti-S.H.I.E.L.D military forces, and the talent of Pasdar is clear, with the Talbot/Coulson scenes positively tingling with tension.
Their final confrontation suggests that Talbot will continue to appear throughout the series. Also making a return, in a big way, is Raina (Ruth Negga) or ‘The Girl in The Flower Dress,’ who played a major role in last season and seems to be back stirring trouble for the team.
Though once again she is something of an enigma and her true loyalties are unclear, Raina is in regular contact with Skye’s estranged father (Kyle MacLachlan), a mysterious doctor who can control the Obelisk (the MacGuffin introduced last week that is imprinted with the same markings that Coulson has been obsessing over).
The writers continue to prove that they are fantastic at showing character development. Skye in particular has come a long way from the computer-whiz-in-a-van we met last season, even going as far as confronting Coulson head-on. With her father getting closer, it appears that dark days lie ahead for the character, and I for one cannot wait to see where she will go.
A definite step down from the epic season opener
Pacing issues abound and a poor follow up to “Shadows”, “Heavy Is the Head” struggled to juggle closing last week’s story in a satisfactory manner whilst also setting up new plot arcs. Crusher Creel felt wasted, with his demise at the hands of Coulson, who seemed to appear from nowhere just to allow a neat tie-up, seeming a bit anti-climactic. Having said this, it did unleash a new set of story arcs that seem filled with potential, leaving us excited for the future.
Catch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Channel 4, Fridays at 8pm.