Finally, after a long hiatus, we got the premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s sixth season. It takes place exactly one year after the events of the last season, which is fitting given that it took a year to release. In some way, it seems like a way for the writer’s to avoid any potential crossover issues with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. There is no mention of the dusting of any relevant characters but it seems that the S.H.I.E.L.D. team got away without losing any of its core members. They already had to face the loss of Coulson at the end of the last season so it makes sense that they try to focus primarily on a unique story. As of now, the only interaction they need to consider is a reference to the Decimation as Endgame takes place five years after those events. There were brief mentions of Thanos’ children invading New York but so far the show is doing its own thing. Instead of going through the entire episode beat-by-beat, I will focus on the various highlights that this episode gave us. Without further ado let us jump right into the new season of SHIELD.

As much as I loved the way SHIELD handled their connections to the films, this time it seemed like the easiest dodge they could’ve done by just skipping a year ahead. There is also the possibility that this version of SHIELD is now part of a completely new timeline after they saved the earth from exploding. Still, it seems the team was really busy throughout that one year time skip, as we see Mack taking charge of a completely new team of agents. It will be interesting to see how long they will hold but it seems we may be heading towards a complete restart for the organization. Coulson was busy keeping the people around that he could while they faced one bizarre adventure after another. Mack finally has a chance to bring S.H.I.E.L.D. back with the plan to reopen an academy.

They enlist the help of Dr. Marcus Benson (Barry Shabaka Henley) who hopefully will be around for some time. Mack has a lot on his plate, trying to learn as much as he can from a hologram left behind by Coulson while his own personal relationships suffer as a result. It is sad to see his relationship with Yo-Yo go down this path but it does offer a fresh take on the responsibility of being the director.

It looks like they did not waste a lot of time to fly out into space. A small group is left trying to find the still lost Fitz consisting of Quake, Simmons, Piper, and Davis. It was great to see this ragtag team take on some very Star Trek-inspired aliens and the show’s effects team seem to be pushing the limits of a TV budget even more. We get some great character moments throughout as well. Davis and Piper share a great bond and have been some favorites since their recurring roles throughout the last seasons.

Simmons is going down a dark path as she desperately tries to find Fitz no matter if it could endanger their entire team. We also find out that Quake has already become infamous throughout the galaxy and it looks like she upgraded her powers as well. Chloe Bennet is giving a great performance of a jaded yet still quirky Daisy. Still, it is interesting how this show keeps our main characters constantly apart only for their reunions to be bittersweet. Hopefully, our small space team won’t be dragging the Confederacy back to earth.

Lastly, let’s talk about the new villains for this season. It looks like after space travel, magic and time travel, the next major plot element will be dimensional travel. A group of mercenaries come through various portals, one of which doesn’t make it through alive, and are waiting to meet with their leader Sarge. It all culminates in the SHIELD team trying to take out the team only to be surprised rushed by a giant truck rampaging from out of a portal. These mercenaries and the general team seem strongly inspired by Mad Max. Dr. Mason pointing out that they seem to have mechanical parts put into their bodies. It all culminates with the appearance of Sarge who just happens to look exactly like Coulson. He takes out one of the newly introduced agents and confirms that this isn’t who some may hope he could be.

After the credits, we get one last little tease though. We finally see Fitz who is speaking in an alien language. It is unsure where he is but his glowing green eyes do point to quite a lot of things have happened. Moreover, there is no sign of Enoch so hopefully, he also survived the attack on their ship. Still, I don’t think this is actually the Fitz they are looking for but rather a member of Sarge’s team. Who knows who and what they brought in with their truck so it would be an interesting red herring. This show does know how to tug at its viewers’ hearts throughout its seasons so anything is possible at this point.

VERDICT

4 evil Coulson out of 5.  

Certainly, a great way to start off a season. The fifth season still felt like a solid way to end Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. but they really went all out to give the show a soft reboot into its sixth season. The twist of Sarge looking like Coulson was already spoiled in the various trailers but it is still a great concept that will have some strong implications moving forward. This series does deserve more recognition for the effects. Mark Kolpack and his team really push a TV budget to its limits with each season and the shots of the Zephyr in space are amazing. We get some great teases for what is to come so there is a lot to be excited about for the rest of the season.

ONE-SHOTS

  • The mention of May’s late husband Andrew Garner was a great touch, as it rounds out this world and also sheds some light on how May got in contact with him.
  • We have a rather bizarre connection to the MCU this time around. Interviews keep hinting at this being pre-Snap, so it could be a timeline where Strange never gave up the time stone and delayed those events. Yet, they end up introducing dimensional travels that are connected to the events teased in the Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer. It’s a bit jarring to see the show put so much care into its continuity to only throw it out the window now.
  • Sarge does not play around, it’s great to see Clark Gregg take on a very different role from before. Hopefully, this might be a hint at some old SHIELD actors returning as completely new characters as well.
  • There is also a surprising lack of Deke in this episode, we might not see him for some time and it will be interesting to see how he factors into the show. It is ironic to think how his theory of just vanishing out of existence was negated by his official return and they somehow managed to stay in-line with the time travel theory set in Endgame.