Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD Season 3: “Bouncing Back” Review

The Recap

Agents of SHIELD Season 3
Yo-Yo Rodriguez races from the pages of Marvel comics to the small screen on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD

After a nearly three-month hiatus, Marvel TV and ABC’s Agents of SHIELD Season 3 returned this week replacing its stand-in sister show, Agent Carter. For those in need of catching up, Daisy and Mac are recruiting Inhumans to join a SHIELD special ops team. Gideon Malick had Ward assassinate Rosalind Price. Dr. Garner, it turns out, is the semi-cannibalistic Inhuman Lash. Daniels, the astronaut who kept Simmons alive on the alien planet–the two quickly became more than friends–, was possessed by an alien entity. Daniels’s alien possession being obvious, Fitz, who was on a mission to rescue Simmons from the alien planet, murdered Daniels to stop the alien from coming back to Earth. Coulson and Ward, also on the alien planet, got into an altercation that ended with Coulson using his robotic hand to crush Ward’s chest in, killing him. The team succeeded in rescuing Simmons, but the alien in searching for a new host possessed the freshly murdered corpse of Grant Ward, and returned to Earth just as the portal closed. Oh, and the team is holding a vegetative Werner von Strucker captive.

What a great place to take a three-month break! Seriously, how are viewers expected to remember and/or care about the miasma of plot-lines emanating from this show? It’s hard enough to stay interested in Agents of SHIELD Season 3 when the episodes air weekly but after a three-month holiday, I could barely engage at all, even after the pre-episode plot review. I get that this is supposed to be an ensemble cast show but this is too much all at once.

“Bouncing Back” didn’t slow down the pace though. Instead, more plot elements and a new character were added to the mix. This episode saw the introduction of Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez, another one of the few characters on the show that originally appeared in Marvel comics. Rodriguez, after her brother is murdered in cold blood by an Inhuman working with the Colombian police, decides to assist SHIELD on an on-call basis. Mac provides Rodriguez with an Apple Watch and says that now they’ll be able to contact each other whenever she or SHIELD needs help.


Coulson in a meeting with the President of the United States, played by William Sadler, demands that Gideon Malick answer for his crimes, especially his assassination of Rosalind Price. President Ellis tells Coulson that he can’t help him, Malick is too powerful. The President also tells Coulson that though a new head of the ATCU must be appointed, this person will be a figurehead that will unofficially defer to SHIELD on matters relating to Inhuman activity. Near the end of the episode, we find out that this will be Brigadier General Glenn Talbot. Ellis also suggests that Coulson and SHIELD follow up on Malick through unofficial channels.

Towards that end, Coulson uses a machine to extract information from their captive Werner von Strucker. Using this machine, previously used on Coulson to extract his own repressed memories about the TAHITI program, the team is able to determine the method Strucker used to check in with Malick. Coulson using this information is able to compromise several Hydra bases around the world, dealing Malick and Hydra a costly blow.

Agents of SHIELD Season 3
Grant Ward’s looking a little pale in his new undead role

Throughout the episode we also see an alien-possessed Grant Ward eating a lot of raw food and acting creepily. The audience learns that he is getting stronger but we have no indication of how that strength will manifest. However, at the end of the episode Zombie-Ward puts out his hand and appears to disintegrate. But, just after the effect started, the credits rolled so I imagine we’ll find out more about that next week.

My Critique

I think I’ve made it clear how disappointed I am in Agents of SHIELD’s scattershot approach to its premise already. The writers seem to be continually betting on the wrong horses, showing the audience little of what we want and lots of what they think we should want. Although I’ve been whining almost non-stop to anyone who would listen about how there aren’t many characters on Agents of SHIELD that originally appeared in Marvel comics, I don’t think that the way to fix that problem is to introduce another character, as they did with Yo-yo Rodriguez. Instead, it would have been great to see some real development from any of the established characters: Daisy, Mac, Coulson, May, Gutierrez … The audience was treated to a cute scene between Fitz and Simmons in which the two scientists agree to start their relationship over after an array of romantic missteps, but for all its potential tension and character development this scene took up maybe a minute of the episode.

Michael Bedford
Michael Bedford
Under intense scrutiny by the Temporal Authorities, I was coerced into actualizing my capsule in this causality loop. Through no fault of my own, I am marooned on this dangerous yet lovely level-four civilization. Stranded here, I have spent most of my time learning what I can of the social norms and oddities of the Terran species, including how to properly use the term "Hipster" and how to perform a "perfect pour." Under the assumed name of "Michael Bedford," I have completed BA's with specialized honours in both theatre studies and philosophy, and am currently saving up for enough galactic credits to buy a new--or suitably used--temporal contextualizer ... for a friend.