With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. going on its mid-season break, fans were surprised to learn that we were in for a Christmas treat from Marvel Television! Streaming now on the ABC website and YouTube, Slingshot is a short web-series starring Natalia Cordova-Buckley's Yo-Yo Rodriguez. With six short episodes set between Season 3 and 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this is a pretty cool stocking-filler!
Take a Look!
The series kicks off in the present-day, with Yo-Yo and Chloe Bennet's Daisy Johnson discussing what they should tell S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Mace about Chloe's months as a vigilante. That's really only the setup, though, and soon we're launching into a flashback that tells us how Daisy and Yo-Yo became secret allies.
What follows is a strong character piece with a dusting of action. The overarching narrative is an interesting one, with Yo-Yo seeking revenge against the man who murdered her cousin, and unwittingly becoming drawn into Daisy's battle against the Watchdogs.
A Glimpse into the Sokovia Accords
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s status quo was radically transformed by the Sokovia Accords, and we've recently learned exactly why Clark Gregg's Phil Coulson stepped down as Director; he wasn't exactly a popular man in political terms! Slingshot kicks off with Jason O'Mara's Jeffrey Mace new to the job, and Coulson still packing his belongings; we get some pretty entertaining scenes to flesh out the handover of power.
However, Mace's introduction to Yo-Yo is most fascinating of all, as it gives us an idea of just how intrusive the Sokovia Accords actually are for 'enhanced' individuals. As an Inhuman, Yo-Yo's biometric details are recorded - ranging from her thumb-print to her retina scan. She's tagged with a 'watch' that monitors every use of her powers, storing that information in a database; although it's clear nobody is actively reviewing that database, the fact that literally her every move is recorded is pretty disturbing. Yo-Yo herself gives the snarky comment that she thought America was the land of freedom.
Daisy's Campaign Against the Watchdogs
As we saw in Season 4, Daisy went rogue shortly before Director Mace took over. She didn't feel she could effectively work against the Watchdogs while operating under S.H.I.E.L.D.'s rules — not least with Coulson preparing to step down and a new layer of bureaucracy already added into the mix. Slingshot is set early on in Daisy's campaign, before she's started going to extreme measures and attracting public attention.
The web-series serves as a smart reminder of just how dangerous the Watchdogs are. The weapon they're attempting to purchase is extremely advanced, and clearly indicates just how much scientific intelligence, financial clout and paramilitary might the Watchdogs have behind them. Given that the Watchdogs had moved out of focus throughout the first half of Season 4, Slingshot is essentially a smart course-correction to ensure we're prepared for an increased Watchdog threat after Christmas. After all, when Director Mace claimed that Quake was undercover the whole time, he also made S.H.I.E.L.D. responsible for every action she took in those months she was fighting against the Watchdogs.
A Hint of Romance
There are a few nice moments between Yo-Yo and Henry Simmons's Mack — and they add an extra layer of awkwardness to the nascent relationship. We learn that Mack volunteered to become Yo-Yo's case officer so he could spend more time with her; they even share a sweet kiss. Unfortunately, of course, we know from Season 4 that it's against the Accords for a case officer to have a relationship with an 'asset'. Mack's smart idea backfired terribly, and led directly to the romantic tension between the two.
Does 'Slingshot' Work?
Consisting of six episodes, each under five minutes in length, Slingshot is essentially just an extra episode. It's done on the cheap — most roles are filled by the core Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast, and all the sets used will be very familiar to fans of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
Although Slingshot has a low production value, it actually serves quite a nice purpose. It joins the dots between seasons in quite a creative way, while allowing a character who's often been sidelined to get a chance to shine. It's hardly an essential component of the #MCU, but it is a fun one. It's essentially the #Marvel Television equivalent of the much-loved one-shots that Marvel Studios has produced on occasion; not essential, but fun, adding a bit of depth and color to the wider MCU. It's particularly helpful in giving us an idea of just how invasive the Sokovia Accords are in their treatment of 'enhanced' people.
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With Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. set to return on January 10th, Slingshot is a nice little Christmas present for Marvel fans. It's not exactly essential, but it is enjoyable, and sets a precedent for Marvel Television to hopefully make more of these brief web-series.
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