While we’re freaking out about Coulson’s fate, Talbot seems to be getting much more power hungry and continues down his path of villainy. The diverging plot lines this season seem to finally be coming together. Simmons’ search for a cure, the destroyer of worlds, and the effects of the Gravitonium all seem to be converging. May and Deke manage to take care of the alien ship looming over The Lighthouse. After terrifying his family, Talbot easily defeats S.H.I.E.L.D. when confronted by Mack and Yo-Yo. And Coulson finally makes a move on May. But not long after, his condition worsens and he’s put into a coma. The episode ends with Talbot having kidnapped Robin and her mother in an attempt to locate what remains of the Gravitonium.
While Talbot still has a lot of potential as a villain, this episode made him a lot less sympathetic. The writers seem to have leaned more into his love of family over his duty to protect the country. In the last episode, his drive seemed to be to find the Gravitonium so that he can defend the Earth. This is a compelling motivation and fits perfectly in line with what we’ve seen from him before. His primary objective has been to protect people and serve his country. Talbot’s distrust of Coulson, while annoying, is justified because of how much S.H.I.E.L.D. has lied to him. So I was really hoping that the conflict with him would come from two opposing methods and points-of-view. But it seems like they’re leaning more into him going crazy because of the Gravitonium.
The scene where Talbot absorbs Creel was incredibly tense and well acted by both Adrian Pasdar (who’s clearly been having a lot of fun playing Talbot) and Brian Patrick Wade. But these characters have history and it would’ve been nice for that to be mentioned. After he escaped Hydra, Creel was hired by Talbot as a bodyguard and proved to S.H.I.E.L.D. that he’s trustworthy. It would have been nice to acknowledge that history. They also have a lot in common since they’ve both been brainwashed by Hydra. But Talbot didn’t seem at all remorseful about killing Creel. If Talbot truly wants power to help defend the Earth he could have thanked Creel for his service or given him the opportunity to sacrifice himself. But instead, he pretends to be a friend and then casually absorbs him. This doesn’t really mesh with who Talbot used to be or who he was developing into in the last episode. This could be explained because of the effects of absorbing the Gravitonium and hearing the strange voices locked within. But that’s not nearly as compelling as a character who thinks he’s doing what’s right.
By the end of the episode there are still several remaining questions. How will they use the Extremis serum? To save Coulson or defeat Talbot? Knowing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s certainly possible they’ll find a way to do both. But this dynamic does create some interesting drama within the group. Of course Daisy is going to do everything she can to save Coulson which will continue to put her in conflict with Yo-Yo, who believes that the safety of Earth should always come first. We also don’t know what role Taryan, The Master of the House of Kasius, will play in the coming conflict. Daisy escaped his grasp, and now that Qovos is dead, Taryan and the Confederacy may no longer pursue her. So is that the last we’ve seen of him? Because if so, his only role would be to explain how in the future, Kasius knew of the Destroyer of Worlds.
Things are also progressing with May and Coulson. It was really sweet for him to kiss her after she started giving him orders. It was also nice that they didn’t linger on what happened in this episode, there was so much going on and they needed to focus on the mission. Daisy’s reaction to their kiss was hilarious and it was really funny to see her surprised and then immediately continue fighting, with May and Coulson kissing in the background. Of course, the joy is short-lived when Coulson falls unconscious. When Simmons reported on his condition it was nice to know that he’s not in any immediate danger, just that his affliction is slowly worsening. They still have time to figure something out.
This episode also saw a reoccurring theme of acknowledgement for how far these characters have come. When Fitz and Simmons have a moment to talk, she mentions Extremis first appeared on their first mission. And now, 5 seasons later, it might be used to save Coulson’s life or save the world. Then of course there’s the Gravitonium which was first introduced in the third episode of season 1 and hasn’t been mentioned since. Talbot was also a season 1 antagonist and has grown into a really fun character. All the loose ends from previous seasons are coming together to wrap a really nice bow around the entire series. So even though we’ll all be incredibly sad if this is the last season, they’re building to a great conclusion to the series and bringing everything together.
3 long-overdue kisses out of 5. The direction Talbot was heading in the last episode was really compelling and I hope we see more of his drive to protect the Earth than him just going crazy because of the Gravitonium. Especially because he has the potential to be a really compelling villain. The relationship between Coulson and May, which they’ve teased for the past season and a half, is finally moving forward. And the dilemma at the end of the episode, between saving Coulson and saving the world, is a really cool set up, I just hope they can satisfactorily pay it off.
- Deke continues to be the MVP both comedically and because he’s incredibly useful. Even though he only knows 5 numbers.
- “Copy that Hot Lips”
- The forcefield that Yo-Yo ran into was really cool and makes Talbot even more of a dangerous threat.
- More references to Avengers: Infinity War when Mack was watching TV and the news was covering the destruction in NYC.
- We also find out that Talbot’s wife thought she was helping him when she worked with Hydra.
- Deke stealing the navigation chart will definitely come into play at some point. It could also be a potential plot line if the show is picked up for another season.
- The kiss was great, but it’s also nice to see the return of Coulson’s (Captain America inspired) shield.
- Talbot’s unhinged crazy and Robin’s cryptic nature are not a good mix. But I think their interactions will be really interesting and have a lot of potential.
- The whole scene when Talbot was talking to his son was really tense and I felt bad for his family.