This article contains spoilers.
A big portion of the third season of ABC’s Agents of SHIELD has been spent on a talent search. That is to say, both the good guys led by Phil Coulson and the remnants of Hydra led by Hive (formerly Grant Ward) are both on the hunt for Inhumans in the hopes of bolstering their numbers.
It was in Agents of SHIELD’s midseason premiere that the writers introduced Elena Rodriguez, nicknamed “Yo-Yo”. Played to cool, yet plucky perfection by Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Yo-Yo was spending her time before her appearance on SHIELD taking down corrupt cops in her home country of Colombia.
Fans of the show know that Yo-Yo wasn’t the only Inhuman running around Colombia (the bad guys employed a mute who could temporarily paralyze people at a mere glance).
It was Cordova-Buckley’s performance, however, that stole the show and propelled her to an intermittent spot on the Secret Warriors roster. A floating member of the team, Yo-Yo is called in for emergencies when the regular team can’t get the job done.
Each time she shows up, though, Yo-Yo effortlessly grabs the spotlight from the regular players, only to wander off again at the end of the episode, back to her own personal war. As season three winds down and everyone begins looking to SHIELD season four, it’s time to think about injecting some new blood into the show full-time. And there’s no better person to start with than Elena Rodriguez.
She’s Got a Kickass Super Power
Why do they call her Yo-Yo? Because Elena Rodriguez is a speedster with one big, defining difference. Yo-Yo can move at supersonic speeds, but only for the length of a heart beat. After that, she snaps back into her original position. In a movie and television environment that’s filled with fast runners, Yo-Yo distinguishes easily distinguishes herself.
Though her limitations on speed may have been considered a weakness, Yo-Yo’s specific power has forced the writers to craft a character with not only the brains, but the gumption, to use her powers correctly. Where someone like Daisy tends to use her earthquake powers to just toss people around or shake the ground a little bit, Yo-Yo is forced to plan her moves more tactfully.
Case in point: in her first episode, the woman was executing her assault on the local police so effectively that they believed they were being attacked by an entire squadron of mysterious men. Sure, Yo-Yo’s powers allow her to move quickly, but it’s her tactical knowledge and her bravado that make her a truly scary opponent on the field.
Her Morals Are Unique to the Team
The cast of Agents of SHIELD is chock full of people possessed of unwavering morals, however Yo-Yo stands out from that crowd as one of the few cast members doing their job out of a sense of responsibility to their fellow man.
Coulson began in that vain, but the job is about survival for him, now. Mack does it to support his family. Daisy does it to learn more about herself and the world. Lincoln does it because Daisy is there. Only the coarse (but freaking awesome) Melinda May falls in Yo-Yo’s camp, but her moral barometer is slightly compromised because she chooses to take orders rather than follow her gut.
Yo-Yo, on the other hand, only has faith in God (but she’s damn serious about that faith). She entered the show with a pretty serious distrust for authority figures (see: aforementioned corrupt cops), a distrust that has not yet abated and that makes her more prone to follow her gut before listening to a superior. It’s that tendency towards maverick behavior combined with her intense belief in using her gifts to protect those in need that sets Yo-Yo in such stark contrast with the rest of the team.
There’s Room On The Cast
At the end of season 3, Agents of SHIELD has just killed off two major characters only a few episodes after jettisoning two of their major players (Adrianne Palicki and Nick Blood) who departed on their way to the ultimately doomed pilot for Marvel’s Most Wanted.
In other words, SHIELD has room on the team. Even if the writers decide to try and re-incorporate Palicki and Blood — all you really need is Palicki, though — there’s still space for a new team member, especially in the wake of Daisy’s startling (though definitely temporary) departure from the team. It’s almost necessary for the showrunner’s to bring in some fresh heroes, and with the show skewing ever more in the direction of showcasing Inhumans, Yo-Yo is a logical place to start.
Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez is easily Agents of SHIELD’s best new addition in season three (at least, the best new addition still breathing). She’s confident and quick-witted and, best of all, she’s super fun to watch on screen. Natalia Cordova-Buckley may not be a household name, but the charismatic actress is absolutely a great addition to the show.
Now that Agents of SHIELD is looking at a rebuilding year in terms of its on-screen talent — seriously, they got rid of a lot of people this season — now is the time to bring Yo-Yo on full time. She’s already proven that she can hold her own on the cast (and she’s already got more chemistry with Mack than almost any other relationship on the show).
More than that, she’s a hero who forces the show’s writers to think outside the box, which is never a bad thing when you’re crafting a world where Inhumans run amok and the world is never as safe as we’d hoped.