Here’s why I believe Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is such a good television show: it knows when to move. A lesser show would still have Coulson, Mack and Yo-Yo hauling rocks, Daisy, Ben and Simmons still conniving, and Fitz aimlessly continuing his reconnoissance. But boy, did we move. Here is a reminder that this show is the reverse of The Walking Dead.
After taking a broadcast week off, this Clark Gregg-directed episode felt like a splash of ice cold water into our faces. Flint, who has sort of a whimsical musical motif from the score, gains his Inhuman powers—naturally, having a name that is literally a rock, gains terrakinesis powers. I’ve harped on Inhumans way too much by now, but I feel that I have to stress again that this Inhuman-based society is already loads more interesting than Attilan; not only is S.H.I.E.L.D.’s more efficiently defined, but the emotional stakes are larger, with known characters of Tess and Flint sharing a moment before this ceremony.
Speaking of emotional stakes, imagine my reactions every time I saw Fitz and Simmons share the screen. Maybe I’ve been watching Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who too recently, but the back-and-forth between Fitz and Simmons and the extreme actions they take for each other seem very much like a fairy tale. We all know as we’re watching their first scene that Simmons can’t hear a damn word that Fitz is saying, making that minutes-long one-way dialogue exchange all the more painful to listen to. And the episode continues to play with Fitz-Simmons fans, until the satisfying ending (more on that later).
But let’s rewind to Fitz’s situation: he is surrounded by some of the scummiest beings in the galaxy, which appears to include an Amazonian from Futurama, Howard Hamlin from Better Call Saul and others. It’s like a higher class version of the Cantina scene in the original Star Wars. Not to mention, he has Enoch to feed him information, like he’s Ghost from Destiny. The excellent previous episode concluded by showing that Fitz had to embrace his ruthless “Framework Fitz” side to get through this predicament—in this episode, he isn’t so much actually ruthless, but puts it on as a mask, trying to tactically win Kasius’s favor by showing that he too, loves hardcore violence. Seriously, Kasius was really into Fitz—the Kree’s almost fetish for ruthlessness made me legit think that he would try to seduce Fitz at some point.
And we learn a key bit about Kasius’s backstory—due to what he claims to be a misunderstanding, he was banished from his homeworld by his powerful father. This entire Inhuman slavery operation, in this place that he abhors, is his way of trying to win back his favor. I hope you aren’t tired of me referencing other works in these S.H.I.E.L.D. reviews, because I literally yelled “PRINCE ZUKO!” at the screen. But perhaps Fitz plays into Kasius’s ruthlessness too much, as Kasius has our favorite Darren Criss rip-off Ben executed for helping to cover up Daisy and Simmons’s lies, after he faced off against fellow time-traveler May. And… boy, did that have no impact on me. I kept thinking that his character would have a larger role in the final act of this arc, which made his death unexpected, yet completely unceremonious.
The same would go for the hanging of Tess, the greatest ally of the S.H.I.E.L.D. strangers in a strange land (or time, I guess). Her killing happens off-screen, and largely seems unearned—she’s gotten out of worse situations that this in the season thus far, making her death sad and underwhelming. I think even Grill, a scenery chewer throughout these episodes, somehow got a more sensible death, being part of a big character development in Flint. So that’s three big characters from this arc being offed, with Flint (and perhaps Deke, who is missing in action from this eventful episode) being the sole future ally of S.H.I.E.L.D. This episode was the show cleaning house, reminding the audience that this story arc is wrapping up quite soon.
After a pretty good fight sequence between Daisy and Sinara, we get an action-packed escape from Daisy, Fitz and Simmons. It’s like Clark Gregg was watching Errol Flynn films or something of that like in preparation, because this escape was big, fast and exciting. Fitz uses his icer to satisfying precision, and Simmons gets a good slice at Kasius with a table knife. Daisy is incapacitated quite quickly, but Fitz carries the weight, with him and Simmons sharing a heroic kiss and doing a second attempt at a marriage proposal. After seeing all of these characters struggle individually, watching this unfold put a smile to my face.
So all of our characters (save for May, who’s in a bit of a pickle on the surface) are due to reunite. This story arc has a lot of momentum going for it, so let’s cross our fingers that it’ll continue on.
4 butter knives to the neck out of 5. Some big character deaths lack impact, but it’s made up for in the exciting romp that was the Fitz-Simmons-Daisy storyline. A great way to begin the final act of this space arc.
- Again, this show seemed to give Virgil more character development post-mortem, with his role in taking care of Flint.
- I was afraid for a second that Flint’s power was to explode, like that other dude from season 4.
- “People who buy other people are not good people.” Please, Yo-Yo, say the word “people” one more time.
- I really thought that Fitz acting so similar to Kasius would have led to Kasius figuring out his game. But nope, he’s a moron.
- It was interesting how much the two characters bonded however, with Kasius and Fitz both having some major daddy issues.
- “What are tacos?” “What the hell kind of future is this?”
- Coulson and crew, you need to find a better, more discreet area for your conspiring, other than your quite public place of work.
- Big thank you to Grill for finally acknowledging that Kasius is a “creepy son of a bitch.”
- Last pop culture reference in this review: Kasius’s brother looks like a Monstar from Space Jam.
- Fitz had no practical reason to smack Howard Hamlin in the face during the escape—I guess he just though he was that big a dick.
- Love Enoch rocking the Blue Man Group look at the end (though I think I missed the point of that teaser?).