It’s been a long wait, but Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally back with its first new episode in three (!) months. It’s fitting that Ron Underwood directs “Bouncing Back,” whose Tremors—another study of hidden menace—shares the name by which Mack sometimes refers to Daisy. The episode’s title refers to both the show’s return as well as their latest Inhuman ally. Dubbed “Yo-yo” by Mac (in the Secret Warriors comic books she’s known as Slingshot), her real name is Elena Rodriguez (played by Natalia Cordova-Buckley), a Columbian speedster who believes her powers are a gift from God. It’s an obvious idea that many superhero comics have explored, but here it’s used for some great character beats, as we get to learn a little more about Lincoln and, more especially, Mack.
S.H.I.E.L.D.’s gentle giant hasn’t been given much of a spotlight since his mutiny with Bobbi last season. And while we’re still waiting for Mack to receive his long overdue “shotgun-axe combination of some sort” (which would come in handy, what with Earth’s evil Inhuman population skyrocketing), here he at least gets a chance to begin developing a relationship with Elena, and reveal/come to terms with a little of his own metaphysical beliefs. Too few characters on the show have been given a spiritual dimension thus far, and though it may be cliche to have the one African-American character admit to a faith in a higher power, it’s handled gracefully enough. Even if many of us flinched upon hearing Simmons use the words “natural intelligent design.”
Coulson, meanwhile—with Von Strucker’s brat in tow—is out for the head of Malick, whom he still holds responsible in part of Rosalind’s death last year. Fortunately, he’s at least got the President (the returning William Sadler) on his side, and so S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially the US government’s new black ops team, with Talbot, much to Coulson’s chagrin, replacing Ros as head of the ACTU.
Daisy, however, is still trying to get her own Inhuman task force together. But her dreams of forming another Avengers are delayed when Elena—and, following her lead, Joey—elect to return to their families rather than remain stationed at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Oh well. They look great in action together, so hopefully they’ll have cause to reunite soon. With “Medusa Eyes” now in the clutches of Malick, it’s only a matter of time. Of course Malick’s also got Ward in his new, creepier-than-ever, reanimated persona. But is the former traitor too much for even Malick too handle? “Boucing Back” leaves us with far more questions than answers, but they’re the good kind of questions, the kind that feel as satisfying as answers. In fact, the only real answer we get this week is regarding Fitz and Simmons’ relationship. After all that’s happened between them, the adorable soulmates love each other too damn much to remain haunted by their demons. So they reintroduce themselves to one another, and begin to rebuild.
- The events of the Winter Soldier continue to be felt strongly within Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. One can’t help but wonder how Civil War will turn their lives upside down!
- “All it takes is one fainted fish taco and…pfft. Unfair advantage really.”
- Hunter is charming even when paralyzed. The man is truly Han Solo reincarnate.
- “Powers are the new normal.”
- One episode and I already like Elena a million times more than I did the last speedster we saw in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- There’s not nearly enough May this week. Why can’t she join Daisy’s team in action? She could be Batman to their Justice League!
- I love that most of Elena’s Spanish dialogue is not subtitled, so that we’re left in as confused a state as Mack, though still moved by her spirit.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).
Image Credit: ABC