*Spoilers Ahead for SHIELD and Captain America 2*
For the longest time, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD had been struggling both creatively and ratings wise. While the latter is still an issue for the program, the former is finally finding its place. It took nearly the entire season though, and that’s something I’ve learned isn’t entirely the fault of the writers. Jeph Loeb (producer of SHIELD) told several interviewers that they were stuck in something of a holding pattern because they were waiting for Captain America: The Winter Soldier to be released. Now that the movie is out, the show can now deal with the fall out of those events.
Those events of course, are the infiltration of SHIELD by Hydra. What remains of SHIELD is at war and Coulson’s team are on the run from Colonel Talbot. At this time we also learned that one of Coulson’s own, Grant Ward, is a Hydra spy. Though how far he subscribes to their doctrine is unknown. He seems to be mostly tied to his SO: John Garrett. That’s fine, and it makes me glad that the writers decided not to go the brain-washing route. That would be such a TV trope and Whedon isn’t necessarily known for using those.
The greatest gift this show received from Captain America was a goal. The show’s plot is now focused on one thing: defeating Hydra while preserving what’s left of SHIELD. It’s something the show desperately needed. I admit that before Captain America they were focused on hunting the Clairvoyant. But that only came to a head a few episodes before Cap 2 debuted. Now the show has a larger, overarching goal to reach for. This will no doubt drive the show until its end in May. Perhaps their hunt for Hydra will continue on through season two, up until the second Avengers movie.
More importantly though, this goal has shaken up the characters. For so long everyone followed their predetermined mold. Many of the characters had the personality of paper dolls. Now everyone is a bit more varied and we’re finally getting some depth. This is SHIELD’s chance to build on this depth and deliver us characters we can engage with.
For now, I think it’s easy to look at SHIELD as a show worth watching. It’s somewhat disappointing it took this long to get there, but it wasn’t exactly the fault of the show. It’s a strange new thing when your show is directly tied to a movie franchise. This has never been done before so there will be roadblocks. As time goes on I have no doubt we’ll see smoother transitions and a better show overall. I simply hope that the ratings tick up so we’ll get to see that show.