‘Agents Of SHIELD’ Recruits New Blood, But Do We Need Him?
Meet Lance Hunter. He’s a highly-trailed field operative working with S.H.I.E.L.D. for dubious reasons — so dubious, in fact, he even turns his gun on his fellow agents.
Sound familiar? That’s because we’ve seen the story before, through former golden boy turned treacherous snake Grant Ward. He posed as a loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agent for months before revealing himself as a HYDRA spy, leading to his eventual incarceration.
Ward and Hunter’s situations aren’t one-for-one mirrors of each other, but they’re similar enough to wonder why “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” needs someone like Hunter on the regular squad. He’s British, he’s badass, he’s rebellious — and unless the producers really want to tread old ground, he isn’t a secret double-agent working against Coulson’s best interests. But accent aside, what does Hunter bring to the table that every other character doesn’t already supply?
Hunter’s central focus in last night’s “Heavy is the Head” is one of few question marks in an otherwise solid hour of “S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season two’s second episode features the welcome return of smooth-as-silk Raina, another great use of Crusher “Absorbing Man” Creel, and the return of Coulson’s compelling carvings — potential visions of another world. It also furthers the mystery of Skye’s father, as actor Kyle MacLachlan enters the scene as an imposing evil-doer who wants a face-to-face with his “daughter.”
Best part of all: MacLachlan’s villain isn’t affiliated with HYDRA, which adds another new party to the… err… party. It makes the show’s landscape pretty interesting, actually. S.H.I.E.L.D. is trying to cut down HYDRA, while simultaneously evading General Tablot and the United States government. MacLachlan’s group is on its own, wielding the so-called Obelisk for unknown purposes.
And then there are a whole bunch of other X-factors still out there: Deathlok, for one; Ward, still imprisoned, for another; and Jemma Simmons, whereabouts unknown, though we can take a big, bad guess based on previews for next week’s episode.
All in all, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is getting more right than it’s getting wrong right now. The “Winter Soldier” bounce remains in effect. But the Hunter of it all feels like early season one, when the show was treading ground, not sure of what to do next. With everything else working out, it’s worth trying to exercise patience with Hunter, to wait and see where he goes. Still, he feels like a relic of the past, at a time when everything else on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” seems so dead set on the future.
What do you think of Lance Hunter as the newest S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit?