There’s no “previously on SHIELD” before this episode kicks off, and to be honest, it probably needed one. There’s been some months between episodes (both in reality and in the fiction) and the assorted plotlines simply aren’t adequately recapped within the dialogue to either make sense for newcomers or remind those who’ve followed the show faithfully what’s happening. For fans who are up to speed, though, there’s plenty to enjoy in the episode – from the William Sadler cameo that’s clearly setting things up for Captain America: Civil War to the passing reference to the problems at Pym Technologies.
To be fair, the episode spends a lot of time with someone who’s suddenly developed powers as a result of the terrigen getting into the ecosystem so we see the new set-up of SHIELD, with its fancy new “bus”, through their eyes, but given that various people have got new roles, it is a little disconcerting. Skye – or Daisy, as she is now known by everybody – is taking point on operations; Bobbi seems to be more scientist than fighter; Fitz fancies himself as some sort of Jason Bourne character (although Iain de Caestecker does get one of the best scenes as his frustrations boil over with the monolith). At least two of the main cast are conspicuous by their absence and although we do eventually get some resolution about what happened to Simmons, I’m a little surprised it was dealt with quite this quickly!
Verdict: Given the changes that have happened, I’d expected a stronger opener but this sets up plenty for the season. 7/10