20 March 2016
Agents of SHIELD S3E11 "Bouncing Back" review
Opening up with a brief "3 months from now" teaser that seems to be hinting at big things for the finale of Agents of SHIELD's third season, "Bouncing Back" is an episode that despite being forced to do a lot of set up for future episodes (a common problem when a show comes back from any kind of break) still manages to entertain in a big way thanks to a compelling story and a greater understanding of what people have always wanted from this show.
The main plot sees SHIELD travelling to Colombia in order to deal with an incident that they believe is related to the Inhuman breakout. A shipment of guns has been stolen from the police, but it soon transpires that not everything is as clear cut as it may seem. Meanwhile, Director Coulson (and his new hand) restarts the search for Gideon Malick after being given the go ahead by President Ellis, first introduced in Iron Man 3.
I imagine that the biggest impact "Bouncing Back" will have on Agents of SHIELD is the introduction of Elena Rodriguez, a Colombian Inhuman who has the ability to move at super-speed for the duration of one heartbeat, after which she is snapped back to her original position - hence the name Yo-Yo. Not only is she already a great addition to the cast and an interesting character in her own right, she also has a unique power that works well within the limitations of a TV budget, visually distinct from the boring "stuff coming out of my hands" powers that have defined the shows Inhumans until now.
And that isn't the only way that "Bouncing Back" improves on Agents of SHIELD's approach to superpowers. Depending on what the hell you want to class the new version of Ward as there are about half a dozen super-powered people in this episode, meaning that the Inhuman outbreak that has been in the background of the third season throughout now really feels like something that is actually happening. Whether or not this sudden increase in the amount of super-powered people has an effect on the Netflix shows or the films remains to be seen (and to be honest, I'm not holding my breath), but for now I'm just happy that Agents of SHIELD is actually dealing with the idea that anyone could turn out to be an Inhuman.
Which means that bar the ever-present question of "Will any of this will ever actually affect the other parts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?", the only issue I really have with "Bouncing Back" is that it feels a little too "case of the week", too much like the kind of episode we might have seen back in the shows first season. The season-wide plot feels very much like background information rather than the focus of the episode, and that's all well and good when Agents of SHIELD is as entertaining as it is here - but I'd hate to see the show slip back into the structure that was quite rightly criticised so heavily when it first aired.
But as long as Agents of SHIELD dives right back into that season-wide story in next weeks "The Inside Man" (and the marketing materials for it suggest it will) then I'm sure that the second half of the third season will continue to be as good as I've come to expect of the show. I mean, think what else we've still got to look forward to - an explanation for that "3 months from now" tease, SHIELD finding out that Ward-thing got through the portal, the tie-in with the upcoming Captain America: Civil War, the return of Lash and the explanation for why Bobbi and Hunter have to leave SHIELD to star in Most Wanted - and that's just some of the things we know about. It's an exciting time to be a fan of Agents of SHIELD, and I can't wait to see where the show goes next.
This article was originally published on OutLoudCulture.