There be spoilers here.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has finally returned to UK screens this week. Each week, we’re hoping to bring you the episode analysis that matters, the key insights and critiques that can be derived from those tense forty-three minutes of television…

Ha, just kidding. No what I really want to do instead is talk about the five things I loved and hated this week. So what did I make of season two opener “Shadows”?

136502_0542 Loved: The WWII flashback with Agent Peggy Carter

Quite frankly, any excuse to watch Agent Carter run circles around Nazis is a-okay with me and we had that brought to us in the opening minutes of the episode. Having mysterious objects in the vicinity of Hydra is just a bonus at this point. Also added to the Indiana Jones feel of the episode – another plus.

Hated: Brigadier General Talbot

I think we were all pretty much pissed at this guy by the end of season one, so the fact that Talbot hasn’t swallowed a huge serving humble pie yet still doesn’t help. I get that it makes for an interesting dramatic dynamic having a good guy who’s also gunning for the other good guys, but that doesn’t mean I have to like him. At this point I’m hoping that he doesn’t see the truth and then his demise ten seconds later, I would like him to redeem himself in the eyes of Coulson and the rest of the team.

Loved: Billy

One of the silver linings in these dark times is Eric’s brother Billy, custodian of Playground. There’s just something reassuring about him being there. Unlike everyone else, he’s not changed and is currently about the only constant in the series, which sees all the other characters as unknowns. We just don’t know quite how everyone else has changed, and there were hints/outright descriptions of this in this first episode.

Hated: Ward being treated as less than human

It’s quite interesting, but unpleasant, to see that the remaining agents have perhaps lost a little something after all that’s happened. While I don’t expect Ward to be treated with love and compassion, he’s shown to have tried committing suicide several times and I find it disturbing that he’s probably not got any human rights as far as they’re all concerned at this moment. I get that he fucked up and is dangerous, but it shows the slightly monstrous side of the team.

Crusher Creel Agents of Shield s2 ep 1 Loved: Crusher Creel

Creel wasn’t massively explained – they identified him, realised what he could do – but they never went hugely into his back story. For the first time in a while there was just the right amount of exposition for a villain and I liked that. Okay, and his power was just frelling awesome to watch being used.

Hated: Coulson not being so close with everyone

Having to rebuild S.H.I.E.L.D. was never going to be an easy job, but I was disappointed to see how detached Coulson had become from Skye and the team since the end of season one. He is super serious and driven at the moment, and characters are meant to grow, but I can’t imagine him as the Coulson who once wanted Captain America to sign his baseball cards.

Loved: The jokes

Coulson might not have been participating, but there were some funny one-liners in this episode, like the only thing the team finds (once we’re back in the present) is “a new enemy”. Then the jokes between the mercenaries about Coulson and handshakes. The humour helped to keep things tense, but not too tense.

Hated: Fitz being so damaged

Escaping from the bottom of the ocean was never going to be easy, but how Fitz has been left a shadow of his former self is really harrowing to see. He’s been left in such a dark place and he was one of the constants of the previous season and it was sad to see him in his current state. The brain damage he’s suffering from is just… Fitz ;_;

Loved: Tricking Talbot

Watching Talbot get tricked into ending up in the hands of Coulson and co was more than a little hilarious. Talbot may have continued to be an ass, but Coulson wasn’t the one in his vest and underpants while being questioned in a secret base he had been trying to find for months.

fitz-and-simmons Agents of Shield s2 ep 1 Hated: Simmons leaving

During the ending scenes of the episode, when we learned that Simmons hadn’t been there the whole time… that was about as painful as watching Fitz struggle along. But I also didn’t like how we didn’t get the chance that episode to hear Simmons’ side of the story, we only had it reported back… Simmons ;_;

That’s it for our first S.H.I.E.L.D. Declassified. “Shadows” was definitely a good season opener and left things really open for the rest of the season. I am looking forward to see where things go. Until next week…

What did you think of “Shadows”? Let us know in the comments below.