When Yo-Yo actress Natalia Cordova-Buckley teased a surprise teaser at the end of the winter finale for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fourth season, many fans understandably expected that teaser to be for Spider-Man: Homecoming. Instead, what we got was a teaser for a mini web series focused on Yo-Yo. Given S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s use of various web series prior to Slingshot, it wasn’t entirely a shocking reveal that we’d be getting some sort of web series yet again. It was, however, a surprise that this time around, the web series would actually be focused on one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s criminally underused characters. Even more surprising was the reveal that the series would launch on ABC.com a week later – yesterday, December 13th – to help tide fans over until S.H.I.E.L.D.’s return in January.
With that said, because this is a mini web series and the episodes are no longer than five minutes, we’ve decided to do the review for this series a bit differently. Instead of a single review for each episode, I’m going to review the series as a whole, while highlighting the important bits of each episode. So without further ado, let’s get to reviewing Marvel and ABC’s first proper web series, Slingshot.
Episode One: ‘Vendetta’
Although only introduced back in season three, Cordova-Buckley’s Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez has quickly become a fan-favorite on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., not only delivering some of the best action sequences in the series but also proving to be one of the show’s most complex characters to date. She’s mysterious and unwilling to openly trust most people, and yet, she’s a loyal friend and agent – well, at least the last part was true until Slingshot. (Although, c’mon, can we really blame her?)
The web series kicks off with a scene between Yo-Yo and Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet) in the present day, as Daisy is trying to come to terms with a daily routine inside of the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters yet again. It’s a quick little scene that is a perfect reminder of just how well both Bennet and Cordova-Buckley work off of one another. As the scene proceeds to head into a flashback, we begin to get a bigger sense of the plot to Slingshot.
For me, Vendetta was easily my favorite episode out of the series because of the conversation between Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Yo-Yo, and the nod to the much-loved Peggy Carter. It’s a scene that feels straight out of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and one that establishes Yo-Yo as more than a secondary character.
Fun fact about this episode:
It was the directorial debut of Joe Quesada.
There’s a super quick Stan Lee cameo in the form of a photograph (see above).
Episode Two: ‘John Hancock’
Moving onto perhaps the funniest episode of the series, “John Hancock”.
The addition of Jeffrey Mace (Jason O’Mara) on S.H.I.E.L.D. has proven to be an interesting one. While there’s no denying it gave the show a needed reset, putting Coulson back in the field, he’s also proven to be a rather tricky character thus far, lacking the charisma and wit that Coulson showcased as the Director. Yet, in this episode, alongside Cordova-Buckley, I found it hard to deny that O’Mara fit right in. He was funny and awkward, and it actually kind of worked, even when he namedropped Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt).
Quick note about this episode:
- Given the fact that these flashbacks take place months ahead of the current timeframe of S.H.I.E.L.D., it was nice to see more callbacks to Captain America: Civil War included, especially as they didn’t come off as forced.
Episode Three: ‘Progress’
Unfortunately, “Progress“, aka the FitzSimmons episode, proved to be a bit of a step back for the otherwise solid web series. This episode felt like a way to shoehorn the fan-favorite duo, and oddly enough, seemed to feature a Fitz that was a far cry from the dorky scientist we’ve come to know and love on S.H.I.E.L.D.. Ever since the first season, it’s been evident that Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) has been in love with Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) for some time, so when Yo-Yo tries to distract Simmons by asking her about them possibly moving in together, seeing him react poorly to the suggestion just seemed out of character. Thankfully, outside of that little hiccup, this episode did get back on track with the inclusion of Mack (Henry Simmons).
However, as I noted before, this episode did feel like the one in which it seemed like they tried to shoehorn in as many cameos as possible. Thankfully, while May’s brief appearance at the end of this episode feels tacked on, it does provide the perfect lead-in for “Reunion“.
Episode Four: ‘Reunion’
This is perhaps one of the series’ strongest episodes, which is why it should come as no surprise that it primarily features Ming-Na Wen‘s Agent Melinda May. Wen is a force to be reckoned with on screen and putting her alongside Cordova-Buckley was one of the show’s best decisions. Much like with Bennet, Cordova-Buckley and Wen truly bring out the best in one another and that truth is perhaps no more evident than in “Reunion“.
Should Slingshot prove to be a potential testing for something more, such as a possible series ala Agent Carter, I can only hope that the producers are smart enough to bring Wen in to co-star as often as possible. These two are dynamic together and seeing how they play off of one another is just pure magic. Wen delivers her lines with both force and ease, making you question who’s side she is truly on up until the very end. It’s a strong episode with some of the best writing in the series. And it ends on perhaps the biggest – and best – cliffhangers of all six episodes, reuniting Yo-Yo with the man that killed her cousin back in season three.
Quick thoughts about this episode:
- I know we’ve already gotten an Agent May-centric episode, but I’d love to see an Agent May mini-series.
- How the hell is Cordova-Buckley not a series regular on S.H.I.E.L.D. yet?
Episode Five: ‘Deal Breaker’
Although only a six episode series, Slingshot manages to craft a deserving showdown between the hero and the villain, reminding you of just how callous the latter truly is. Even better? “Deal Breaker” provides a nice tie-in with S.H.I.E.L.D. by bringing in the Watchdogs, even if only for a minor appearance.
The best part of this episode, though, is the fight scene with Daisy. One of my biggest fears was that Marvel and ABC wouldn’t put the same resources into this web series that they do into S.H.I.E.L.D., making me worry that the special effects would suffer. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case whatsoever. In fact, the effects on this mini-series were rather striking, especially when used to display Quake’s, well, quaking.
Seeing what went down months earlier between these two, and how even after her abandoning S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy was still there to rescue Yo-Yo was a nice touch. It also helped to answer how the two managed to stay in touch with Daisy on the run throughout the first half of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s fourth season.
Quick thoughts about this episode:
Have we seen that gun before? Does it have an official name? If not, I’d like to name it the you’re-screwed-blaster.
More action sequences with Yo-Yo and Quake, please.
Episode Six: ‘Justicia’
For a mini-series that only has episodes that average around three minutes, it’s crazy to think of how impactful “Justicia” proved to be. In fact, as much as I would have loved to see Slingshot given more time all around, I feel as though the finale provided a fulfilling finale. Yo-Yo stopped herself from crossing a line she wouldn’t be able to uncross, while still finding a way to seek the vengeance she’d sought in the first place.
Seeing her struggle with the decision to cover up what she had done, making it so that both Director Mace and S.H.I.E.L.D. would never know of her personal mission in Baltimore, as well as her guilt was a nice touch. Especially given how little we’d known about Yo-Yo beforehand.
All in all, Slingshot is a fantastic addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and provides Cordova-Buckley the time to shine. I can only hope that going forward, the producers decide to make more use of Yo-Yo on S.H.I.E.L.D..
What did you think of Slingshot? Let us know in the comments below!