I was one of the few people who defended Marvel's Agents of Shield during the first season, even through the torturing slow moving plot of the first few episodes, but now even I have to admit that the show is moving in the wrong direction and has been since episode one of the second season.
The truth is that I watch this show and think that the writers had a good concept for the first season and where they wanted it to go, but then they got picked up for a second season, seen the reviews about how DC's Arrow was better(and is) and then decided to try and take the show in a gritty, darker direction that it was not prepared for. Nothing in the first season set us up for the dark plot lines or even the lighting of the show. The first season mostly took place in an airplane and was bright and cheerful even when the whole world was falling out from underneath them. In the second season we start out in an underground type operation with a gloomy, sad feel. Shield is suppose to outlast the government, not just be part of it.
This isn't the only thing I have an issue with in this season. The new additions to the cast has yet to make me feel any type of emotion toward them. In the first season we had an intimate group that made you feel emotionally attached to each of them and feel like the whole world would stop spinning if one of them was to perish during the dangers of the missions at hand. When Grant Ward turned out to be a secret agent of HYDRA it about killed me, and then when he and Skye finally had their romantic moment come to life, I felt as if true love could bring him back from the evil hole he had crawled into. The second season seems to focus more on the relationship between Skye's father and herself. The rest of the cast just seems to be there with no apparent reason whatsoever. Why are they not focusing more attention on the relationship between Fitz and Simmons and what is obviously needing to be repaired.
To top everything off that this show is doing wrong is the creation of the second Shield faction. Really. This has to be one of those hail mary passes to try and get the fan base interested again in what this show has to offer. Shield is suppose to be a unified force in the world that is above reproach, yet doesn't care to be the ones to get their hands dirty in order to preserve peace or order in the world. Shield wouldn't be divided into separate factions, Samuel L. Jackson's character Nick Fury would never allow something like that to happen, not even if he were hiding out as a dead man.
In short this show needs some kind of direction. When I think of what shield is, i think of it being the side dishes in the MCU. It can and will never be the meat and potatoes but it can certainly add something to what the movies offer us. It seems that without a movie like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this show really has nothing to offer the MCU by itself. It really makes you wonder if the show has enough of an impact and following to continue, or if the problems the show faces is just too much to overcome.