TV Show Review

TV Review: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 3, Episode 01: Laws of Nature [ABC]

Matthew Willig Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Laws of Nature

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3 premiere TV Show ReviewAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3, episode 01, ‘Laws of Nature,’ decided not to pick up where the previous season had left off, and may have been all the better for it. The episode made the case that something very specific has been planned, for season 3, and everyone needed to be in place – redressed & remade – for when the curtains came back up.

Season 3 kicked off several months ahead of last season’s finale, with a really bad day on the lot (despite all its advances, AoS settings still have that recognizable backlot look to them) underscoring the curtain call analogy. Newly ‘activated’ Inhuman, Joey (Juan Pablo Raba), unwittingly shared his birthing pains with his entire neighborhood, and the outcome to last season’s resolution hit the ground running. I just hope this one episode didn’t take a chunk out of the season’s budget.

A running re-intro meant lots of flash, lots of bang, Agents still in stride, and Coulson (Clark Gregg) assuring viewers that covert cool will still have its place, on a now superpowered series (references to his hand even adding a sort of Bond villain air, to his usual demeanor). Even better, ‘Laws of Nature’ introduced the closest thing to a genuine foil that Coulson may have ever had (Talbot was a chew toy – let’s face it). As part of the episode’s situation-in-progress, we were introduced to Rosalind Price (Constance Zimmer), as Coulson’s equal-and-opposite number, at a rival covert agency. As well matched as they were, professionally, there was something even more noteworthy to their interaction: a palpable chemistry. I am looking forward to this rivalry.

On the subject of chemistry, there was a little bit of a show-within-a-show, between Hunter (Nick Blood) & Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki); but this may have had more to do with them setting up their ‘own thing,’ down the line, than as an actual sub-plot. Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), on the other hand, was reintroduced as a different person – the fast forward having allowed him to grow into his grief, over Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and fly solo. Clearly, he has been in a dark place; but take heart, there was still a bright boy, to all that darkness – bright being what he brought to a crowd dumb enough to think him dumb enough to trust them, anyway. Of course, bright only goes so far, when there’s enough darkness; and Fitz was left in a questionable state. Potentially serendipitous (think Locke, at the end of Lost‘s first season), but still questionable. I was just glad that he wasn’t reinvented as a bad-ass. Agents already had its My Fair Lady transformation.

As impressive as Daisy Johnson’s (Chloe Bennet) re-intro was, I imagine she made a bigger impression on Joey. That skipped time afforded the team’s resident super enough experience to fast track Joey’s orientation; but as thoughtfully efficient as Daisy, Mack (Henry Simmons), and Bobbi were, in getting Joey up to speed (I did like Mack’s line about “the muscle”), season 2 had someone else in that particular role.

‘Laws of Nature’ reintroduced Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) as a rebuilt life/ identity in progress, in much the same way an elaborate sand castle gets highlighted on a beach full of bullies. Lincoln’s fierce defense of the life he had made for himself – in the face of Daisy & Mack’s (mostly Mack’s) insistence that he put it at risk, for the sake of helping his fellow Inhumans – was a textbook set-up for a third party forcing the issue.

That was Lash (Matthew Willig); and all-at-once, his intro managed to reduce everyone’s showing, so far – including Daisy & Rosalind’s – as maybe needing to be taken up a notch, or two. Yeah, so now I’m really hoping there’s more in the budget, for the rest of the season.

I should also offer up kudos for an otherwise obscure detail. Besides adding to the tone of the season, by calling out the Inhumans as a serious threat, the Presidential address brought us the same Prez from Iron Man 3. Say what you will, about Agents being a poor relation, I’d like to think that the show has earned a position of strategic value, in the MJU.

After doing such an effective job of introducing Lash, I can’t help but get my hopes up for how far/ faithful Agents intends to go, using this position to cover the open areas of the MJU. The areas not hoarded by Fox/ Sony, anyway. My first thought, regarding the episode’s closing reveal, was of the Negative Zone. The annoying buzzer sound, that followed, said Fox lock; so no Annihilus (pro’lly be a really short chase, if that were the case, I guess). So AoS is likely sticking with expanding on the Kree footprint. I could be fine with that. It does suck, however, that there may not be a Skrull element, adding essential context to what the Kree have been up to; but annoying buzzer sound is annoying.

Best to shake it off – like so much vibrating electro bursts – open up a hole to your escapist place, and get your chest busting critic hat on. Time to judge whether AoS season 3 is worthy of its newfound superpowers.

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About the author

Sam Joseph

Sam is an Avid consumer/observer of Geek culture, and collector of Fanboy media from earliest memory. Armchair sociologist and futurist. Honest critic with satirical if not absurdist­­ wit with some experience in comics/ animation production.

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