After months of hiatus, fans finally made it to the night they’d been waiting for. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D returned to our television screens with ‘Laws of Nature’. In some ways it sang the same old song, and in others it played a completely new overture.
Let’s discuss the similar aspects (both good and bad) before we move on to the shiny and new, because I’m a firm believer in saving the best for last.
Mack has a line to Bobbi in the lab, talking about how ‘the team is falling apart enough as it is’. It’s good to see that things aren’t just magically resolved amongst the team, but I am hopeful that this ‘a team divided’ trope doesn’t carry on for too long into season three. With it being part of the arc for season one, and dominating season two, we’re moving dangerously close into overdone territory.
Certain tensions have their place; Mack and Lincoln, for example. This is another carry over from season two and I’m pretty on board with it. It’s certainly the hope that someday Mack and Lincoln will solve their beefs with one another, but it’s one that I think it’s important we see. It’s because of that, that I am pleased it didn’t happen in the interim between the seasons. Lincoln and Mack represent their respective ‘species’, in a way. Both fear what the other may do.
Aside from those aspects, everything else in this season was new, new, new! Shiny new bus, new baddies in the terms of both Lash and the Advanced Threat Containment Unit (ATCU), all new Fitz, coping Coulson, and an adjusting leader in Daisy.
The new plane (Zephyr One) is nothing short of a work of art. The VFX team on the show really and genuinely outdid themselves in every aspect of that machine and its components. Hopefully we will see more of its traps and tricks as the season progresses. For now, at least if they have to leave their lives behind, the Inhumans get some pretty sweet digs in respect to private rooms!
We have several villains to choose from in the coming season. We know we will be seeing more of Grant Ward and his Hydra, but so far as this episode goes it was Rosalind Price, and Lash. The symmetry of having Inhumans and humans on both sides of the fence is one I really enjoy. Not a whole lot of Lash was seen this episode, but it was enough to know that he isn’t anything to mess with. Lincoln and Daisy’s powers combined hardly dented him, and can we say terrifying? The makeup team really showed us what they were made of with him, and hopefully a closeup on that creepy face is coming soon!
Rosalind Price. In this first episode, this woman embodied a character that is genuinely made to be hated. This is a change from the previous human ‘on our side but not really at all’ characterization with General Talbot. Everyone knew that he was wrong, but you also respected where he was coming from. This Rosalind lady doesn’t seem to be cut from that same cloth. She represents extreme reaction without understanding. We saw this when she ordered her men to use brute force if necessary on a man that was clearly terrified and just trying to surrender. On top of her ignorance, there is also her steadfast belief that she is both right, and above all other parties involved. This characterization came through in her insistence to refer to Coulson as ‘Mister’. This was a clever move by the writers, because in that one word, that disrespect to a beloved character turned the entire audience against her immediately. Ms. Price is definitely going to be a character we love to hate moving forward.
Secret Agent Leo Fitz surprised this episode. It appears that the loss of Simmons has pushed him past his ailments, which leaves us with a determined, focused, and understandably obsessed man. Fitz tearing at fans heartstrings is nothing new, but in this episode it was a different kind of pain. From the forlorn ‘yeah’ when he was asked if he loved Simmons, all the way to his complete and utter emotional breakdown at the very end of the episode. Leo Fitz won most of our hearts on day one, but in this episode those hearts shattered with his during Ian De Caestecker’s unbelievable performance of a man broken to his core.
Fitz isn’t the only character struggling with change in this episode, though. Phil’s really been through the ringer, and we get to see glimpses of that. Coulson’s always quippy, and usually shares his feelings in moments of dire need, but the character development when he shared his woes with Fitz was both touching, and a nice move forward. On top of losing his hand, May, and still trying to get his team back up to 100%, we also see a glimpse of him missing Skye. She’s changed quite a bit between seasons, and it’s great that they’re not showing the whole team just rolling with that.
Phil was/is a father figure to Skye, and it seems that with this transition, he feels that he’s lost a bit of that. The question is, is this the struggle every parent figure goes through, when their children don’t need them so much any longer, or have all remnants of the woman Daisy was before been erased? I believe it’s the former, but I’m also certain we’ll have our answers soon enough.
That seems like a good segway to talk about the veritable bad… erm… bad butt Daisy has become. This was an aspect that I was concerned with going into the episode. Daisy ‘Quake’ Johnson is unbelievable in the comics. Like, level 10 unbelievable. The transition from lost, then scared Skye to that hero isn’t one that happens overnight, and in the trailer it almost looked like that was the direction it was going. With those fears in mind, I can say I wasn’t disappointed one bit.
This Daisy is a leader. She knows what needs to be done and does it, but at the same time questions herself and seeks guidance when it’s needed. While some control of her powers have been gained, she’s by no means to ‘defeating Magneto by vibrating his brain place’ level of Quake, and that’s perfect.
I’ve ran long here, so I will try to wrap it up. This review was very character driven, because, to me, that is what drives a show. You can have the best story in the world, but if the characters aren’t relatable, or real, or someone you feel for, who really cares? This episode shone through in all aspects, whether it be VFX, makeup, or plot, but where it was truly great was those characters.
Those characters are what make us care about rivalries, growth, love, and hate. Those characters are what leave us weeping when they break seemingly beyond repair.
In summation, I give ‘Laws of Nature’ a 9/10. It was truly compelling in all areas, and I look forward to seeing where the writers, cast, and crew take us next. The only question I have for you is, will you be avoiding fish oil moving forward, or do you have a trip planned solely to pick some up?