Very much the second part of the premiere episode (to the extent that you have to wonder if it was designed to be screened as a two-hour event when it was first devised), this sets up the new SHIELD format, and presents a number of queries which are sure to resonate through the season. Why exactly did Simmons abandon Fitz? The character we’ve seen before doesn’t seem to be capable of being that callous, so there must be something more to it than that. Why does Coulson have to do the magic writing every eighteen days or so? What will happen if he doesn’t?
The first season initially was about pulling Coulson’s team together but by the end of this episode, it’s almost completely different – even if Lance Hunter is obviously the rugged male lead with issues to replace Ward. Fitz is working with Mack – and the moment when the latter realises what the brain-damaged Fitz means by his repeated phrase is nicely played – and Skye, Tripp and May seem to be a close-knit team. The interplay over Creel between Coulson and Glenn Talbot promises much and you have to wonder whether Talbot is going to be totally obstinate or will be allowed some sensible development.
Raina’s reappearance, and her links to Skye’s father, played by Kyle MacLachlan, add a third player into the SHIELD vs HYDRA battle that this season could easily fall into, and, frankly, the show needs that sort of variety to prevent it getting stale.
Verdict: Some good moments, but SHIELD is still not quite up to speed. 7/10