Review: ‘Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’ S03E11 – “Bouncing Back”

By March 9, 2016

On this week’s Agents of SHIELD we meet some new Inhumans, Coulson finally gets a meeting with the President and Ward doesn’t look like our Ward anymore. Let’s take a look at our first episode back with “Bouncing Back”!

After a very long break, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is finally back and it feels good! Sure we had Agent Carter to tide us over but it’s far removed from the current Marvel Universe that we’ve grown to love it feels like its own thing. The return of Agents of SHIELD feels like a satisfying MCU appetizer leading up to the release of Captain America: Civil War in May. It’s good to be back with these characters again.

This episode took a page out of the Arrow playbook and jumped three months ahead to show us a mysterious death (?), in outer space no less. We see what appears to be some sort of Quinjet floating in space with various items floating around inside, one of which includes a Cross necklace which we see later in the episode, there’s some blood floating around and then you see a SHIELD patch on the shoulder of a jacket all before the ship explodes. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some misdirection going on there. That shoulder we see may not even be a person, it might just be a SHIELD jacket that was left behind and is floating around. Then there’s the necklace we see, it could belong to Elena, the new Inhuman we met in this episode, or it could be a completely different one and belong to someone else. Plus, what are doing in space? Or at least in high orbit.

Cut to Bogotá, Columbia where a new, mysterious Inhuman has stolen weapons from the local police. Time to send in the pros! Daisy and Joey gather some intel from the local police captain while Mack, Hunter and Bobbi investigate the crime scene. I love those three so much! It’s bittersweet that Hunter and Bobbi are getting their own spinoff show because while I love the two of them together I love their interactions with other members of the team, especially with Mack. That little bit about Hunter taking one of the fish oil pill just because he was curious and a little jealous of those getting super powers. Then Bobbi admitting that she at lease thought about it. Mack’s right, the two of them are made for each other.

Back in the States, Coulson and May have set up a little meeting of their own, with the President of the United Sates. It was so good to see William Sadler back reprising his role as President Matthew Ellis whom we first saw way back in Iron Man 3. His name was also seen in Winter Soldier and he made a video appearance earlier this season. We had the sad and in-your-face reminder of what happened to Rosalind Price by having the meeting right where she was killed.

This was a great scene between Coulson and the President. He fully acknowledges the good work that Coulson and his team has done. The President also doesn’t want to have any inkling of how SHIELD is still around after everything that has happened. The truth would probably give him a headache. While he can’t publically acknowledge that SHIELD is still around (even though they are doing good), the public’s memory is not short enough to forget all those hellicarrier’s falling from the sky in D.C. The ATCU will still remain the public face that is addressing the issues but SHIELD and Director Coulson are the ones calling the shots. I loved this! No more having to fight a battle on two fronts: the bad guys and staying out the reach of the good guys. SHIELD will still operate in the shadows but with more freedom and flexibility than they have had ever since HYDRA almost completely wiped them out. When President Ellis mentioned he would put someone in charge that he trusted that would have implicit instructions that Coulson was calling the shots I was completely oblivious to the obvious choice. I knew it would either have to be someone we have met before or at least a recognizable actor. I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me until seconds before the reveal that it would be General Talbot. I’m all for that! The more scenes we get of Talbot and Coulson together the better.

During the away team’s investigation Mack is captured by the new Inhuman, Elena. She is a mixture between a teleporter and a speedster. She can go as far as she can in one heartbeat but she always snaps back to where she originally started, hence why Mack later affectionately dubs her Yo-Yo. The team learns that Elena is not stealing the weapons for herself or for anyone else, but that she and her cousin are relieving the weapons from the police to destroy them so that they can’t be used to harm anyone. The police have become corrupt and have been abusing their authority on the defenseless and innocent. Elena sees her new abilities as a gift from God that she wants to use to help people.

Bobbi and Hunter find Elena’s cousin disposing of the weapons but they are almost immediately encountered by the corrupt police captain who has an Inhuman of his own. This guy can freeze you in your tracks just by looking at you. With Bobbi and Hunter captured, this sets up an awesome rescue sequence with Daisy, Mack, Joey and Elena breaking in and taking out all the officers and their weapons. That whole assault was so cool! Seeing Daisy, Elena and Joey all using their powers and effectively taking everyone down and then you have Mack being Mack. But before they can apprehend the Inhuman, HYDRA shows up and takes him away.

That pesky HYDRA. They just won’t go away! Gideon is working to build his own little army of Inhumans as well as trying to please and get through to the alien being that is now inhabiting Ward’s body. It appears that the Grant Ward that we all know is indeed dead and that the alien is merely inhabiting his body. He doesn’t seem to have any memories or knowledge that Ward had as he is watching various bits of footage to learn about all that he has missed. Gideon has even begun questioning if the thing that he helped bring back is actually what he was hoping would come back. Ward looks gaunt and weak and has yet to display the type of power that Gideon is hoping for but if that last shot of Ward tells us anything we have only scratched the surface.

This week Coulson took somewhat of backseat from the action as did May. Coulson had that great scene with the President early on in the episode and then he had that interrogation scene with the Von Strucker kid. Coulson has become a much darker character and much more serious as the series has grown. There are still moments of levity with him but not nearly as often as there was in the beginning. As the Director of SHIELD he’s got much more on his plate and he’s been through a lot of turmoil, most recently of course is the death of Rosalind Price. Season 1 Coulson would have been much more hesitant to push that interrogation to where it went but that’s a sign of character growth and I’m all about that.

As I mentioned, May also took a backseat this week. She was just kind of “there” with Coulson, helping him out with whatever he needed. She did have a nice moment with Coulson at the end where she said that maybe Rosalind’s death isn’t something he’s supposed to get past. There are things that scar us and that we just have to live with it. Fitz and Simmons didn’t have much to do this week. It was almost a new beginning for them now that Will is dead and they have admitted their feelings for each other. I think they could have found a better way to wipe the slate clean and start over rather than an introduction and handshake. Hopefully we can move past all that awkwardness and move on with their story. Fitz did finally create a new hand for Coulson that finally looks real.

This was a solid return and I’m excited to see more Inhumans and the team back in action. I also liked that they let Elena (and apparently Joey) return to their lives and giving them methods to reach SHIELD in case either party needed their assistance. I have a feeling we’ll see more of this where SHIELD has Inhumans in various parts around the world that they can reach out to if needed.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs every Tuesday night on ABC.

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Christopher Skalicky
Chris, a film and television junkie, grew up on Star Wars, all things Disney, Stargate SG-1 and a healthy dose of John Wayne. When not thinking about movies he is busy being an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan. He will also argue that Surf Ninjas is the greatest movie about surfing ninjas ever made. Tweet him at @Schlick51