Tuesday, 5 July 2016

TV Review No. 31 Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Series 3

Strong Points:
Great character development (for most characters)
Well choreographed action
Superb emotion and tension
Good CGI
Simmon's and Fitz's story-line
End of Hydra
Lots of Inhumans
Surprising twists and reveals
Great pace
Good references to the MCU films released in the time
Hive's addiction idea was interesting
As was the prophecies being misinterpreted
Lincoln got better...

Weak Points:
Some story arcs were weaker than others
Some character's story-lines were rushed to finish
...Although he was still a bit of a whiny teenager
Didn't carry on Ward's brother story-line
Lash seemed to have a bigger part at the beginning
Lash transforming over time while the rest of the transformations was instantaneous was a bit odd
Characters were introduced only to have no other part to play
Can we keep The Secret Warriors together for longer, please?

Note: my rating may seem higher than the individual episodes ratings. This is due to AoS being a show where the sum of all parts is a lot greater than the individual stories given the huge story arcs. Also spoilers ahead:
In-depth Review:
The pace of the show is so quick it's nice to take a step back and remember all the different story arcs which started and finished this season. At the beginning we had Lash and the ATCU, then getting Simmons back, then Ward and his Hydra, Gideon and his Hydra, Gideon and Hive, Hive versus S.H.I.E.L.D., Hive + Daisy versus S.H.I.E.L.D. and back to Hive versus S.H.I.E.L.D. We've had Gideon and Rosalind come and go, Hunter and Bobbi's emotional farewell, Lash's reveal and sudden death, Ward and Will dying, Lincoln and Hive dying, Lincoln and Daisy getting together, Fitz and Simmons getting together, Simmons and Will getting together, Coulson and Rosalind getting together, May and Andrew getting together and the appearance of Radcliffe. Phew, that's a lot of stories.

Of course, some went better than others (compare Fitz helping Simmons to Lincoln helping Daisy) but overall it was a superb series with emotionally deep characters, humour and action aplenty as well as a dollop of Marvel CGI and powers. For this series review I'll be going through each of the main characters and their story-lines and who better to start off with than Coulson.

The modern medical miracle, now with a robot albeit human-like hand has taken more of a backseat this season although he still had many standout moments. Jumping through the portal to get to Ward and killing him for Rosalind's death then promptly having to deal with the consequences gave a nice exit to Ward while also allowing for character development throughout as the team were forced to think about the bigger picture. You can't not mention his Captain America-esque shield either.

From villain to friend, Rosalind's character development was quick and bumpy. The opening conflict between her and Coulson was great and as they were both veterans in the spy field, all the tactics in the book were used so we never knew who was telling the truth. Then she died in a twist I didn't think of. Just like that.

He's back! And still as racially insensitive as ever but that's why we like him. Some great comedic moments came up with Talbot and he was also the connection to the general MCU with the Sokovian Accords being delt with cleanly. Nice to see him back.

May took an, even more, backseat role than Coulson this season with most of her story revolving around Andrew and his reveal as Lash and while the final goodbye seemed a bit rushed between the two of them, the rest of her conversations with Andrew were nice and well thought-out. Her finally bringing up that Coulson seems to treat Daisy with more adoration than the rest of them put together was also needed and well done.

And we thought you were inconsequential! Alas, Andrew turned out to be Lash and prescribed a serious case of genocide to the Inhuman race although this also seemed sort of well-earned - Lash seriously thought it was for the best. Him saving Simmons and Daisy as well was great, as was his fight with Hive then... He died. Oh. Him not transforming straight away like all the other Inhumans was a bit odd as well.

Ah, Fitz you've been through hell and back really. From starting as just a lab coat he and Simmons have really improved over the last couple of series, becoming fully fledged characters in their own right and not just Fitzsimmons. Iain de Caestecker was able to capture the emotional turmoil of Fitz really well as Simmons is ripped away from him and he'll do anything to get her back. The subtle hints of stress like him reverting back to his stutter to the big explosions of frustration were all really well thought out and the payoff of Fitz and Simmons finally getting together was believable in all aspects.

Another character who has improved dramatically due in no small part to 4722 hours, an episode devoted to Simmons. Elizabeth Henstridge was able to show Simmons out of her depth with great ability as well as the inner turmoil as she was caught up in a love triangle - a believable one at that. She also brought more science to a show, helping to keep it grounded.

For only technically being in one episode, Will really changed the show, introducing a believable love triangle with Simmons and allowing the parasitic Hive to get off his world of banishment. Shame he had to go really, as I'm sure we would have gotten some great interactions between Simmons, Fitz and himself.

Battered and bruised either physically by a mind-controlled Daisy or emotionally from the departure of Hunter and Bobbi and the distrust but eventual reconciliation from his own brother, Mack is starting to become one of the better characters on the show and not just a character that is there for other characters to bounce words off.

Before his departure from the series, Hunter was becoming to be a really good character who could still keep the laughs flowing with his quips but also give as all a shock as we realise how far he would go to get revenge on Ward. It's a shame we saw him go in his prime but remember he's not dead and I'm sure he deserves a pardon right?

Much like Hunter, it was a shame to see Bobbi go just as she began to get better from her injuries of last season. Her electric, magnetic batons were awesome as well and hopefully, again like Hunter, we'll see a return.

The epitome of whiny at the beginning, Lincoln started to finally get along with the team and work nicely as a character later on, (maybe he'd ran out of ways to throw a tantrum) just about allowing his final sacrifice to be worthwhile. I thought the reveal of his drinking and anger fell flat though probably due to us already knowing that he got angry before hand and due to it being a step down from the all-out rage of Cal from last season.

Another character that got better later on, especially as he started to see his death approaching. Only then were we able to see cracks appearing in this all-powerful figure and that was good as he was finally mildly relatable. Using him to ret-con Hydra was a good idea as well and finally allowed for Hydra to go, making way for more story-lines.

An interesting, albeit not really developed character, Giyera is ruthless in his removal of obstacles be it objects or people. His telekinesis is awesome and made fighting him dynamic as objects couldn't be used. Of course, unless he didn't know about them as shown by his demise at the hands of Fitz's invisible gun.

A cross between Hunter in persona and Ghost Rider in powers, it will be interesting to see what becomes of Hellfire in the next season. I want a Hunter, Hellfire standoff though, but just with quick comments.

The first new Inhuman we saw this season, his powers were great, his personality was good and then... I don't know what happened. He just started to become distant and didn't come back, which is a shame as The Secret Warriors worked great with him, due to his bullet-proof ability. Maybe next season?

An interesting take on the speed ability, making her a slingshot was a really smart idea. Personally, I thought they were going to take her out by making it so she couldn't get to a place in one heartbeat (which is her limit) but her saving Mack was a good idea as well and keeping her alive allows for more slingshot powers!

Introduced near the end of the season so as to set up next seasons story-line, I do like his character and his seemingly moral ambiguity when it comes to science. I look forward to seeing what the LMD is next season.

Brett Dalton has always been one of the better actors on the show from day 1, and Ward has been one of the better characters. To see him killed off without redemption and sacrificing himself for Daisy (which I thought they would do) was nice as it showed just how broken and bad his persona was. His short exchange with his brother could've been added to though. Having Brett also act Hive was a good idea by the writers as it allowed some familiarity to be witnessed then broken as the Ward we knew turned alien. Hive ultimately believed he was doing what he was doing for peace and his end was also well deserved and well done. Now, are they going to bring Ward back as an LMD?

Rounding off our review is a look at Skye Daisy Quake who has had an inconsistent story-line this time around. I liked that she has now fully adopted her Inhuman abilities and origin but she was in danger of becoming 'Inhumans are the evolution of humans and humans shouldn't give orders' when she herself was human a season ago. Her withdrawal symptoms was interesting and her relationship with Mack was nice to see formed, at least better than Lincoln anyway. Her abilities are great as well and allowed for some really impressive fight scenes.

Other characters:
We had lots of other characters and story-lines in this series from Mack's and Ward's brothers to the 'not quite red-shirts' extra agents. However, these all suffered the same fate. They were forgotten after the episode they were in, which is a shame.

Conclusion: thanks for joining me in this review series of the epic AoS. If you enjoyed it and the format of this review then please comment down below and I'll do more!

Rating: 95%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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