(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen the Season 2 premiere of ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Season 2 premiere was filled with twists and turns galore, but the show’s biggest curveball came when it killed off big-name guest star Lucy Lawless.
ABC had proudly flaunted the enlistment of the “Xena: Warrior Princess” veteran since July, leading many to speculate she would be around for quite some time. But her character Agent Isabelle Hartley didn’t make it very far into the season at all.
Agent Hartley encountered “S.H.I.E.L.D.’s” returning cast of do-gooders — including Director Coulson (Clark Gregg), Agent Skye (Chloe Bennet) and no-nonsense bad-ass Agent Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) — in the episode’s opening sequence, which was a MacGuffin deal gone wrong. She had history with Coulson, and was one of the few people not already on his team that he could trust.
New super-powered bad guy Carl “Crusher” Creel (Brian Patrick Wade) escaped everyone’s clutches with a mysterious, magical artifact and left behind a pissed-off Hartley who quickly teamed up with the show’s main cast. It was a pairing made in fan-boy heaven, but one that didn’t last.
In a later sequence, Agent Hartley and her underlings, which included Lance Hunter, played by newcomer Nick Blood, fled from a related mission gone awry. Suddenly Crusher appeared from out of nowhere, changed his body into asphalt and allowed Hartley’s vehicle to ram into him at full speed. Agent Hunter lived to tell the story and Crusher was barely scratched, but the accident claimed the life of Agent Hartley.
Of course, this is a comic book show. Season 1’s entire premise was based around digging into Coulson’s return from death, so who knows what the future might hold for Lawless’ character. In the world of comic book superheroes, death is just a temporary state of being.
There’s also a second twist at the episode’s end, which undercut everything the audience thought it learned about the blossoming relationship between Agent Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Agent Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge).
As it turns out, their adorable interactions were all fabricated by his damaged mind. The real Agent Simmons ran off before the season began, seemingly abandoning her friends.
“Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.