Agents of SHIELD: 301 “Laws of Nature” Review
Reviewed by Ollie Gregory.
Over the course of two years Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D has been able to completely reinvent itself. It’s amazing to see how the series has grown and morphed from a TV show that left fans saying “It’s Marvel, so it should be good right?” to a TV show that left fans saying “Wow. I can’t wait to see the next episode.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s by no means perfect, but it feels like something I can recommend to people, and not feel ashamed to watch.
“Laws of Nature” certainly hits the ground running, and in less than two minutes we are a part of a fairly intense action scene. From that point on, the episode very rarely slows down. Sure, there’s a few emotional scenes here and there, and a bit of information that needs to be spoken, but it’s fairly apparent the show has finally cottoned on to the fact that the people who tune in each week are superhero fans, and superhero fans want to see some superheroes. We can only listen to people in suits talk about whether their clearance level is high enough to access certain information for so long.
So what does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D get right in its Season 3 premiere? Well, for starters the cast did a great job. Chloe Bennet’s return, not as Skye, but as Daisy Johnson, was extremely welcome and she seems to be in full superhero mode. She’s got the superhero name (Quake), she’s got the cool costume and she’s got the superpowers. All we need now is a mask and a few more jokes, and then she’s ready to join The Avengers.
Clark Gregg also returns, and does a good job as Agent Coulson. I’m still having trouble believing the fun and nerdy guy with the Captain America trading cards, and the fairly stern one-handed Director of S.H.I.E.L.D are the same person, but Gregg still seems to have a passion for the role and certainly injects a sense of fun into the episode. Nick Blood, Adrianne Palicki and Henry Simmons make their return as Lance Hunter, Bobbie Morse and Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie respectively. They’ve all managed to develop strong chemistry with one another, which is exactly what a show like this needs, but other than that their appearances are fairly nondescript.
The one person who changes the Season 3 premiere from a fairly enjoyable episode to strongly recommendable television is Iain De Caestecker. This dude absolutely kills it. His performance is without a doubt the best part of the Season 3 opener. He’s funny, warm and incredibly likeable, which makes his wonderfully acted scene at the very end of the episode, even more difficult to watch. I can’t stress how heartbreaking it is when he’s finally told to let go of Simmons.
Unfortunately, despite Iain De Caestecker’s best efforts, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D still isn’t quite the perfect show. As much as I’m not a stickler for special effects, some of the CGI is noticeably poor. I know it’s only on a TV show budget but it is backed by Disney, and both The Flash and Arrow have special effects superior to that of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Another problem is the show’s tendency to force awkward jokes into parts of the episode which would have been just fine without. It’s almost as if someone higher up said the show needed more jokes, so the writers randomly put some in wherever they felt like. I’m not asking for something as dark as Daredevil, heck, there’s a couple of really well written jokes that brought a grin to my face, but make sure the humour is always in the right places. Sometimes the jokes fall incredibly flat and despite having been drawn in a mere five seconds a go, you lose interest in the scene unfolding before you.
But as far as Season premieres go, “Laws of Nature” does a solid job. At times it becomes a little exposition heavy, but it gives you just enough action to get you interested, and asks just enough questions to keep you intrigued. The debut of ATCU, a government backed agency also on the hunt for Inhumans, may seem like all to familiar ground for some, but I have enough faith in the writers to neither make ATCU another Hydra nor another “other S.H.I.E.L.D”. Constance Zimmer was both intimidating and snappy enough to make a decent villain, although I hope the writers have something special in store for ATCU.
The episode also features the first appearance of comic book character, and Inhuman, Lash, which I’m sure had a number of comic book fans frothing at the mouth. Despite his strength and abilities not being overly consistent, his (albeit brief) action sequence was rather enjoyable and his design is one of the best things to come out of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D yet.
At the very end of the episode, Hunter makes a promise to track down Ward (Who, alongside May, didn’t make an appearance in the episode), and if this didn’t send a chill of excitement up your spine, then me and you got nothing to say to each other. The story involving Fitz and his desperate attempts to find Simmons (Who is trapped on an alien planet) seems to be the emotional core of Season 3, and I imagine will hook the viewers who are less interested in the antics of super powered beings.
As many hoped it would have done by now, the show has very much become a superhero show, and as it teases the appearance of more and more Inhumans, the roster of super powered people, be they friend or foe, is sure to continue to grow. If you’re on the fence about whether you want to return to the series, I urge you to at least give this episode a try. If you didn’t enjoy this episode, this show simply isn’t for you. It brings me great pleasure to announce that the show has without a doubt found its footing, and if the next 23 episodes are as good as this one, we’ve got a good year ahead of us.