Here’s a novel idea for an MCU villain—how about a Kree character who’s sadistic and violent? I mostly jest of course, even though all of the named Kree characters in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are still variations of the same, bloodthirsty belligerent person (in-character of the species for sure). But this episode was an excellent showcase of who Kasius and Sinara are beyond those villainous archetypes.
We’re used to Kasius being in a significant position of power and Sinara as an emotionless femme fatale, but the arrival of Kasius’s brother Faulnak challenges our image of them. As Faulnak reminds his brother, he is “playing God over a dead rock” in his Zuko-esque journey to restore his honor and win back his father. By introducing the brutal Faulnak and his lackey MastonDar (which sounds like a lame username for a Power Rangers message board), both with a fetish for archaic human weaponry, the show purposely misleads you into thinking that our villains might gain some sympathy points.
But this episode reminds us of the real nature of Kasius and Sinara: they are literal backstabbers. They are cruel and cowardly, with Kasius even going as far to commit fratricide in what will likely eventually be a futile effort to win back his honor. Sinara finally shows some independence, demonstrating doubt regarding Kasius’s leadership ability, before solidifying her position as his number one. Yes, I joke a lot about Kasius being creepy and all and being a Blade Runner 2049 ripoff, but S.H.I.E.L.D. again shows off that with the benefit of time, villains in MCU television shows can get as much (and usually more) interesting development than those in the MCU films.
But let’s talk about some non-villanous new characters, namely Deke, Flint and Enoch.
Deke returns after being sidelined a few episodes ago, and with all of the characters being aware of his duplicitous nature has created a somewhat fun dynamic. Our agents are reluctant to keep him on board, while reluctantly admitting that his knowledge and skillset make him an essential asset. While Deke’s motivation is clear, in that he wants to explore the possibility that his father is alive on the surface, this is-he-a-good-guy-is-he-a-bad-guy act is wearing a bit thin.
And poor Flint. It wasn’t his choice to run away from the Kree (thanks, Yo-Yo), and others have to suffer the consequences. It is quite annoying that Tess, a character who at one time felt important to the larger arc, is almost fridged for the development of Tess. I enjoyed the scenes between Flint and Mack, the latter attempting to switch to “dad mode” (an aside: I appreciate how good the writing is that Mack did not need to verbally mention his being a dad or mentioning Hope). But Flint’s turn to violent vigilantism doesn’t sit well with me right now, nor does his decision to stay in the Lighthouse, fragmenting the team in an episode that’s f-ing titled “Together or Not at All.” They just got back together, doggonit.
And in case you needed another reminder that Enoch is an excellent wingman, here he is bringing May to safety and the audience to some answers. He too is emotionless, but not in the same unsettling way as Sinara, but in a rather charming and comedic sense. I’d watch an episode that’s just following a day in his life (hell, that’s what the cold opening of episode one was). The reveal of an elderly Robin at the end was a pleasant surprise, as I was afraid that the show was done with her after Fitz made it to the future.
The show began challenging my attention regarding the villains, but now these characters have won me over. The drama was quite silly at times, coming across as Shakespearean and featuring a lot of random yelling to punctuate emotional moments, but Kasius’s final act wrapped up that plotline amazingly. I hope Deke and Flint’s stories actually go somewhere to balance it all out, however.
4 bayonets to the heart out of 5. Minor blemishes aside with some arcs of the new heroic characters, but an excellent showcase for our villains, and a great way to continue this arc’s final act.
- “I do push-ups now.” -Fitz
- Made this realization while watching: Sinara is like a good Auran from Inhumans.
- All of the characters seem intensely bored every time Enoch explains who he is.
- Aha, Gravitonium is back. I hope that actually goes somewhere this season, and isn’t just a wink to fans complaining about loose plot threads of yesterseason.
- That scene of Flint’s vigilante moment was well written, poorly directed. Seriously, the Kree dudes were just standing there awkwardly, making the scene unintentionally funny as he murders one of them with absolute ease.
- “Mr. and Mrs. Boba Fett”
- That gag of Fitz putting the weapons in the worse possible place was one of the highlights of this episode.
- Shaking and lights flickering seemed to be a common element in this episode.
- “We are SO stupid.” The optimism is always appreciated, Deke.