TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 3 Episode 11 "Bouncing Back"

EPISODE 11: "Bouncing Back"

SYNOPSIS: In the aftermath of his trip to Maveth, Coulson is more determined than ever to get to Gideon Malick and put an end to HYDRA once and for all. Daisy and the team encounter more Inhumans who have powers like they’ve never seen before, but will they be friends or enemies of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).

The beginning of tonight's midseason premiere features a spacecraft heading towards Earth. The ship appears to be on autopilot and as the camera pulls back, we see blood droplets suspended in the cabin along with a crucifix pendant and a S.H.I.E.L.D. insignia. It is a foreboding and unexplained sequence of images but one that the second half of this third season is heading towards. We then quickly flashback to present day and get back into the beginning of the story arc that will cover the next: The Secret Warriors. It has been teased since last year's San Diego Comic Con, but now we are finally seeing the superhero team of Inhumans begin to take shape thanks to the inclusion of tonight's newest member.

Before shifting to Columbia, the action begins in the home of the recently deceased Rosalind Price. It is there that Phil Coulson meets President Ellis who commends the S.H.I.E.L.D. director but does not go so far as to reinstate the organization. Instead, Ellis decides to keep the ACTU as a front while allowing Coulson to continue operating in the shadows. By episode's end, we learn the new face of the ACTU will be Coulson's frequent frenemy, General Glen Talbot. Coulson himself is still dealing with the drama of killing Grant Ward on the alien planet of Maveth and even gets a nice new human looking robotic hand as he prepares to lead his team into the next phase of their attack on HYDRA.

Using the barely alive Werner Von Stucker, Coulson and May track down Gideon Malick which results in a tenuous phone call between the two organizational leaders. Malick is feeling the stress of the encroaching S.H.I.E.L.D., but he has more on his hands. We see Malick and Mr. Giyera dealing with the resurrected Ward whose skeletal corpse now holds the alien being known as Hive. I am glad to see the pesky Ward is gone but I am not entirely sure what to make of this new villainous threat. It may be too early to tell, but just seeing his twisted body and hunger for raw meat cannot bode well for any of our heroes. The episode ends with seeing Ward/Hive turn his hand into sand but the results still seem to be a mystery until next week.

In the episode's main story, Daisy and team head to Colombia where the local police have been dealing with an Inhuman who appears to be invisible. Mack eventually comes face to face with Elena "Yo-Yo" Rodriguez (also known as Slingshot in Marvel Comics), a woman who was transformed after consuming Terrigen-altered fish. It remains to be seen if we will see the Terrigen impact the big screen Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we do now know that both Bobbie and Hunter have thought about potentially changing themselves into Inhumans. In either case, Mack and Joey Gutierrez soon realize that Yo-yo is no villain and, in fact, is trying to stop the corrupt Colombian police. Mack sympathizes with Yo-yo's faith and convinces her to join forces with them.

Yo-yo and the S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives are put to the test when the cops take Bobbi and Hunter using an Inhuman of their own who can use his eyesight to freeze people like Medusa. What makes this rescue sequence so cool is that this is the first fully superhero-centric sequence featured on this series. Between Daisy, Joey, Lincoln, and Yo-yo (as well as the villain powers on display), we finally are getting the small screen Marvel series many of us expected from the outset. The results are good for our heroes, but Yo-yo elects to stay at home and the team gives her a S.H.I.E.L.D. watch that they can use to call her when they need the Secret Warriors to team up. Yeah, it is a little cheesy, but it does allow the show to maintain an international appeal.

Like most Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. premieres, season or midseason, this episode has a lot of strong elements but feels crammed with too much narrative for it's own good. We are essentially force fed the Secret Warriors while also getting some updates on how Coulson's group is viewed by the public at large while also teasing the pending supervillain nemesis for the next dozen episodes. I like everything the show is doing right now but I just wish it was done more consistently. Just like how well the superpowers are displayed in this episode, we get some truly awful matte paintings throughout. It is inconsistencies like these that hurt this series and hold it back from being as good as it can be. I am cautiously optimistic for what comes next week.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: William Sadler once again reprises his role first played in IRON MAN 3. 

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: "The Inside Man" airs March 15th - Coulson and General Talbot are forced to team up and attend a worldwide symposium on Inhumans, where they suspect Malick has an inside man. As the S.H.I.E.L.D. team gets closer to the truth, an unexpected traitor is revealed.

Source: JoBlo.com



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