When Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned following Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it wasn’t the same show that was on the air for two-thirds of its initial season. That S.H.I.E.L.D. meandered listless and directionless, and when Coulson memorialized the Bus this week by saying that mostly bad stuff happened there, he might as well had been talking about the majority of season one storylines. Going into the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the first Marvel movie to have a release date that intersects with the show in its second season, the question was what impact it would have on S.H.I.E.L.D. And the answer, it turns out, is not much.
Weirdly, many had wondered about some of the plotholes in Age of Ultron and if they might get answers this week in S.H.I.E.L.D. Where did that Helicarrier come from to save the day? Who were those extra agents with Fury? What’s the story with the new Avengers facility in Upstate New York? Well, two out of three, ain’t bad. It turns out that Theta Protocol was the storage and staffing of the Helicarrier, Coulson and Fury were saving it for a rainy day. I’m not sure why no one else in Coulson’s inner circle couldn’t know about it though. May and Simmons at least knew that Fury was alive, so why make a big secret out of the situation, and create such huge blowback on yourself in the future?
I suppose that was the point of Coulson’s detente with Nu-S.H.I.E.L.D. He doesn’t want to be Mr. Secret-keeper anymore, and they’re the ones advocating for transparency, so why not let him stay on as director while Gonzales and the gang continue to serve as the Board of Directors he reports to? Makes sense, even Fury had the World Security Council. That’s one problem down. Problem number two is what to do about the Inhumans, who are named as such this week by Skye, who says it’s the old name that the Inhumans call themselves.
Obviously, Lincoln doesn’t like waking up in S.H.I.E.L.D. and is disappointed that he’s now going to be categorized and indexed despite Skye’s assurances that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t as evil as he thinks. Meanwhile, Raina’s been making herself at home in Afterlife as a kind of future counselor, giving spoilers to the residents about their kids lives and such. But Raina’s getting an even more powerful vision of a rock with alcoves in it, which Gordon recognizes as a Kree super-weapon meant to destroy the Inhumans. Guess in who’s aircraft carrier cargo hold it is?
After Raina and Gordon get caught poking around on Gonzales’ boat, it’s time for Skye’s worlds to collide. Coulson proposes a diplomatic mission to deduce the Inhumans intentions and to convince them that S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s not bad. After all, he and the leader of the Inhumans, Skye’s mom Jiaying, have one thing in common. Mistake #1: Gonzales doesn’t trust Coulson to leave his feelings the door, so he’ll be the one to represent S.H.I.E.L.D. Mistake #2: Coulson says “Okay.” And those are just on the S.H.I.E.L.D. side of things, because there’s a big political struggle on the Inhuman side of things that makes you wonder just who the bad guy is in that entire enterprise.