If you are one of the people who tuned out early in the first season, it’s long past time to come back.

Cast and Crew Information

Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
Chloe Bennet as Skye
Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
BJ Britt as Agent Triplett
Adrian Pasdar as Glenn Talbot
Nick Blood as Lance Hunter
Henry Simmons as Alphonso ‘Mac’ Mackenzie
Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse
Tim DeKay as Christian Ward
Falk Hentschel as Marcus Scarlotti
Brian Tee as Toshiro Mori
Brian Van Holt as an unnamed character we’re bound to see again

Written by Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc
Directed by Ron Underwood

Premise

Hydra agents dress as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and attack the U.N., causing Talbot to team with Senator Christian Ward to bring the rest of the agency in to “justice.”

High Point

May and Talbot converse.

Low Point

Tripp’s a good character. Can we maybe use him again?

The Review

This is a somewhat original episode in terms of tactics and stakes. Sure, the plot is little more than an escalation of Captain America: Winter Soldier with a new character in the mix, but it still feels fresh because of the new relationship dynamic introduced. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects are very well done, and are largely based on one well choreographed fight. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story works well to show that S.H.I.E.L.D. is not completely in control, that Talbot is starting to understand the actual team, that Ward’s entire family is likely messed up, and that the status quo is by no means safe. As a comic reader, I was happy to see a reasonable take on Marcus Scarlotti, a character I didn’t think we’d see following Iron Man 2, but I don’t know how he would play for audiences who are not familiar with the source material. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting was well done all around. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production includes a lot of interesting choices in terms of lighting and camera angles, well beyond what we normally see on TV. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response is excellent, despite similarities to the recent film. I’m looking forward to this season more and more each week, and almost regret that the first season launched in September instead of April, as the show didn’t start to step into its own until after Winter Soldier, but is now definitely firing on all cylinders. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, it’s another strong episode in a strong series. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, receives 36 out of 42.