TV Show Review

TV Review: AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 3, Episode 11: Bouncing Back [ABC]

Natalia Cordova-Buckley Chloe Bennet Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bouncing Back

ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bouncing Back TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3, episode 11, ‘Bouncing Back,’ seemed familiar, in how it brought a few new things to the series; but that’s a good thing – as it sort of reminded me of how the season started, in the first place. It did pick up months later – but this wasn’t another flash forward gimmick so much as a foreshadow tease – one with no noticeable connection to the episode, save for a crucifix & a titular insignia, so there’s already home work. School’s back in.

Presently, the episode focused on Director Coulson (Clark Gregg) trying to gain some ground on Gideon Malick (Powers Boothe), while his team was putting into action the very reassurance he had brought to a face-to-face with the President (William Sadler) – at a very specific location, for effect. That action involved a case of endemic Colombian troubles being treated by a new Inhuman – on a mission from God – and the Agents’ effort to sort it out as subtly as possible.

That didn’t happen, of course, and between an abduction, the new superhuman arms race element to the show, and Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) getting more of a nostalgic envoy role, new Super Agent prospect, Elena Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) – with a super speedster snap-back ability – was introduced in pretty impressive fashion. Unlike Joey, her intro gave her a lot more to do, and with her powers in full effect. The episode also recalled the impressive SFX from the premiere, as one shot, in particular, brought back the same feeling of escalation that Daisy’s (Chloe Bennet) season opening slow-mo reintro did (turns out, their powers work well together – best/ worst game of tag-team keep-away you’ll likely see).

This time around, however, the escalation also came in the form of a local secret weapon named Lucio (Gabriel Salvador) – with a look in his eye that could stop anyone dead in their tracks – for more of a superpowered match-up; but as a late entry twist, he was more of a problem for the demonstrably out-leagued Hunter & Bobbi (Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki) team.

There was more to ‘Bouncing Back’ than a superhuman Yo-Yo, Medusa Man, and a not-so-surprising last minute addition to Coulson’s operation (oh, yeah – a last minute addition to Coulson’s operation was ordered by the President). Beyond the whiz-bang & deck chair reshuffle, the episode sort of reintroduced some key players.

Coulson has retained the noticeable edge he took on, after Rosalind’s assassination; but some of that classic tension breaker stoicism was still there (musak gag’s here to stay). After everything Agent Coulson has been through, this last loss-and-retribution cycle (hand & all) seems to have set in a more lasting change to the character (as opposed to that TAHITI phase he managed to get over); but may have also brought a new dynamic to his relationship with May (Ming-Na Wen). Something to be said for bonding over being broken, I guess.

Well, maybe at S.H.I.E.L.D., anyway. Over at HYDRA, one broken doll had been fitted with a whole new set of puppet strings, but it hasn’t been enough to get Malick & Giyera (Mark Dacascos) over thoughts of buyer’s remorse. Once-was-Ward (Brett Dalton) was left as another, more looming foreshadow – a fallback measure in the event Malick ever actually gets his back to a wall – but at least somebody got a taste of what’s to come (in ways that will hopefully give the still under-utilized Dacascos more to do). Frankly, I miss Wayward Ward’s smarmy charm already; but let’s see what World-ending Worm-Ward has to offer.

Ultimately, HYDRA’s real role, in this episode (and likely going down the line): facilitating Inhuman face-offs & (in this case) rematches. I can get into that.

Mack (Henry Simmons) continues to wear authority well, and his size used to interesting effect – his reliance on wit making his stature a running set-up for any number of twists & gags. When he wasn’t playing tit-for-tat, with Hunter & Bobbi, it was in the course of going head-to-head through hand-in-hand, between the Mack Truck & the Yo-Yo Mamacita (don’t hate me – the puns – they take over, sometimes….).

Come to think of it, was that chemistry I saw, between Mack & Elena, or just more of Mack’s gentle giant touch (with a hint of Stockholm syndrome)?

Lincoln’s (Luke Mitchell) brief stint in medical scrubs wasn’t forgotten, as he got to play a key role behind the lines – like Joey, proving to be more than just the razor’s edge to the Daisy Cutters (yeah, that team name’s still percolating). Unlike Joey, however, he opted to hitch his newly lengthened leash on station – y’know, in order to work on his ‘green thumb,’ and all.

Now, I’m no shipper (dismissive diatribe about shipping goes here), but I’m actually starting to feel the Fitz-Simmons (Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) love. This has to be the reason the show seems set on rebooting the original dynamic – without all that deathly awkward mushy stuff. Let’s see how long that lasts; but for now – Wonder Twin powers: re-activate!

If the episode didn’t have so much in common with the season premiere – complete with a bit of call-back closure for Joey – I’d think it a fine start, rather than a steady continuation.

With all of Hunter & Bobbi’s talk (mostly Hunter, though), about their craft no longer having much ‘fairness’ to it, I imagine the episode may have also set the clock in motion, regarding Hobbi’s eventual spin-off departure. The world of Agents certainly has been getting big enough for just that sort of expansion, I suppose; and with more eps like this one, I welcome it.

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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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