Now that is more like it.
With “Heavy Is the Head,” Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hit the ground running in a way that really pays off on just about everything that happened in the premiere. In fact, it’s more of a sequel than a second episode—so much so that it’s curious that the powers that be didn’t decide to just air it as a two-hour premiere. While the premiere had shown that AoS had all the necessary parts for building a better season, there was a sort of uncertainty hanging over things when the credits came around. It knew all the steps, it just needed to take the lead.
This week picks up right where we left off, with Lance Hunter as the only survivor of Carl Creel’s attack on Izzy Hartley’s squad. As Hunter realizes he’s the only one left alive, May arrives on the scene to rescue him—but he turns down her help, sending her after Creel. Badly beaten and with nowhere to go, Hunter finds himself in the company of Brigadier General Glen Talbot, a position that leaves Director Coulson very nervous.
Knowing Hunter’s dossier, Talbot tries to play into Hunter’s mercenary mentality by offering compensation and a way to get back at Director Coulson for sending Hartley and her crew off to their deaths. All he wants is for Hunter to sell out Coulson and his team. Hunter holds out at first, but then names his price: $2 million, and a proper funeral for Hartley, who would be branded as a terrorist for her ties to S.H.I.E.L.D.
Meanwhile, May is in hot pursuit of Creel on a freaking sweet Harley Davidson. After reluctantly agreeing to not take him down during his getaway, May tracks him to a diner, where we find out that the Obelisk is causing serious problems for Creel. The artifact has infected him, deforming part of his forearm to look like it. And it behaves like the Obelisk, too, as a poor waitress who accidentally touches his arm finds out—as she quickly, painfully, dies, her corpse drying out in a manner similar to those we saw during the 1945 prologue from the premiere. For lack of a better term, we’ll call them Obelisk Mummies. In the chaos that erupts from the waitress turning into an Obelisk Mummy, Creel makes his escape.