Alright, let’s get this out of the way right at the start: Fitzsimmons totally boned. After seasons of tension and what felt like endless discussions between the characters about whether they should or shouldn’t move forward in their relationship, The Singularity finally allows the inevitable to happen. Fitz and Simmons are both great characters, and I’ve mentioned several times (especially early in this season) how Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker are some of the finest actors this show has to offer, so if I said I didn’t thoroughly enjoy their relationship’s build-up and payoff this episode, I’d be lying. However, as enjoyable as every scene between Fitzsimmons is, it feels like a major distraction from the rest of the show. Aside from the arc at the very beginning of the season about Fitz saving Simmons from Maveth, Fitzsimmons have been kept somewhat isolated from the rest of the cast. Sure, they contribute in their own small ways during missions, but the only stories that are actually focused on either character have revolved entirely around the relationship, which has gotten…a bit tedious. So it’s with a cautious optimism that I say that, now that Fitzsimmons have finally done the deed and Simmons has discussed their pseudo-relationship with Mack, they might begin to re-assimilate to the show at large.
That being said, The Singularity seems like an episode where the only thing the writers felt was important was the advancement of the Fitzsimmons plot. That’s not to say that nothing else happens in this episode–quite the opposite, the single most important event in the show’s history happened tonight–but during scenes that didn’t involve Fitzsimmons, I could almost hear the writers saying, “Okay okay, now hurry up and get back to the good part”. While Brett Dalton played Hive with his usual creepy charisma, the character itself seemed to be going through the motions, moving around a game board and collecting pieces for the future. Likewise, the action set piece at the gathering of Transhumanists consisted of a few lobbed molotov cocktails from Hellfire.
Maybe I’m placing too much of the blame for this episode’s rushed scenes on FitzSimmons. Clearly, this episode was mostly intended as set-up for the season’s final stretch, and it may have just been suffering from the same problems as Iron Man 2: it needs to get a lot of information out in a short period of time in order for something in the future to work. However, set-up doesn’t have to feel so perfunctory. At the end of the episode, Hydra–fucking Hydra, an organization that has been a threat in both the movies and the TV show since 2011–was destroyed entirely off screen. What’s worse, we’ll likely never see a mention of that in the movies.
That’s not to say I didn’t like anything in this episode. One of the major issues I’ve had with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in general is the seeming infallibility of Phil Coulson. Even episodes that have shown him “crossing a line” basically end with everyone agreeing that he did what had to be done, and he made the right call. However, ever since he murdered Ward on Maveth, Coulson has been making increasingly destructive decisions. His hypocrisy to May about her willingness to kill Daisy after ordering her to hold the trigger that could disintegrate Lincoln, not to mention his own inability to make rational judgements about Daisy, are portrayed as serious flaws in Coulson’s character. Flaws that help round out a character that, despite knowing since 2008, we still don’t know all that much about.
Still, despite the set-up for the final few episodes (which I’m sure are going to be insane) and the elimination of Hydra, The Singularity is all about Fitzsimmons. And while the Fitzsimmons stuff does work in this episode, it does so at the cost of some of the excellent momentum built up in the previous few episodes.
2.5 S.H.I.E.L.D. Shields out of 5. By far the best augmentation Coulson’s hand could possibly have.
The opening walk and talk between Mack and May was impressively shot, and fun to watch. We don’t get to see those characters play off of each other too often.
“People don’t come to me with their feelings.” “Yeah, that makes sense.”
“So it’s a murder vest?”
Hellfire is such a great character, I’m glad to see him introduced in the show. I just hope he sticks around for a while and isn’t a character that only shows up in two or three episodes.
Coulson’s confession that Daisy is the closest thing he’s ever had to a daughter is really touching, but I’m glad treated like the admission of a flaw rather than a sweet moment. Coulson is her boss, and he needs to start acting like it.