What right does one have to take another’s life? Yeah, a pretty heavy question to begin an MCU review with, right? It’s a question that superhero fiction has completely run into the ground by now, mainly by DC. The film side of the MCU features heroes (save for Spider-Man) who really couldn’t give a damn about the body count they leave behind, while the TV side has people like Daredevil and Iron Fist who go through that familiar dilemma. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has gone back and forth, displaying both pacifism (the ICERs, for Pete’s sake) and straight up violence (i.e. crushing Ward’s chest with your robot hand).
So it might not have been the intentional mission statement by writer George Kitson, but this entire episode seemed to be about how our agents find that delicate in-between line. We already had a bout with this conflict with the debate on what to do with Grill’s right-hand man Zev in episode three, which had some mixed results—they avoided directly killing him, while still condemning him to death. We get this conflict at a larger scale, with Mack again trying to act as a pacifist arbiter while leading the humans to resist Kasius and his Kree cronies (kronies?).
Yes, Yo-Yo finds Mack in his peacemaker mode hot, but is intensely resistant towards his brand of pacifism. She’s out for blood (perhaps foreshadowing the vengeful future Yo-Yo we see in the previous episode), and she’s dragging Flint down with her. But remember, S.H.I.E.L.D. is about saving people (even though they’ve casually killed an absurd number of people throughout this show)! I genuinely bought the idea that Mack and Yo-Yo would turn themselves in, but they proved how stupid of a viewer I am when they conjure up a compromise of a plan, not only saving themselves, Flint, Tess and everyone in the Lighthouse, but denying Kasius of making more superpowered kiddos.
S.H.I.E.L.D. needed some wins, and they got aplenty of them.
Oh, and speaking of death and killing, Tess is back. We were all wondering why her original death was unceremonious, and it retroactively makes a little more sense now. She gains the key role in the arc as I originally thought she would, Kasius attempting to use her as a conduit between himself and the humans. By using Kree technology/biology to resurrect her, the show is making another unexpected throwback to its history, with the gravitonium again making an ominous appearance.
As was implied and shown in last week’s timey-wimey episode, our agents may be stuck and doomed in a time loop (a “causal loop paradox,” to be exact). Just like Yo-Yo, we’re seeing the origins of cynical future Fitz, who is beginning to believe that their actions are futile and time is already written and set in stone. Simmons and Mack act as the ray of optimism for their significant others—leading us to believe that something bad could very well happen to them quite soon.
Sneaky Deke-y has his own dilemma, as he faces off against the apparent killer of his father, Voss. Will Deke kill to right a wrong? Or perhaps should he do the same to Daisy, the presumed Destroyer of Worlds? This show is generally good at subverting expectations, so the writing would lead you to believe that Deke would be doing some more double-crossing here, but his action to save Daisy from Sinara felt pretty telegraphed that it didn’t have as big an impact as intended.
Still, zero-gravity fight scene. We know Daisy has to make it back to the past, but that doesn’t take away from what was yet another well-choreographed and well-shot fight scene between a powerless Daisy and a balls-less Sinara. Couple that with the high-quality CGI sequence of the Zephyr riding the gravity storm and you have a pretty cinematic episode here.
Our agents are winning—but I’m tiring a bit of the setting and I’m ready to move on. I still have no clue if this show is okay with killing or not, and some of the signature S.H.I.E.L.D. twist and turns weren’t as effective as some of the best ones we’ve seen from the show’s past.
But it was all worth it to hear a desperate Kasius scream his heart out at the end.
4 screaming Kasius’s out of 5. Some of the thematic elements could have been more refined, but this was cinematically and technically an awesome episode.
- Man, that transition from the Marvel logo to the shot of the Kree emerging through the fog against a red background—nice dissolve.
- Enoch comes across as a mix of C-3PO and Spock. They’re (genderless, remember) great.
- More. 360 degree. Shots.
- The wooden robin figure floating up was a nice way for Robin to help the team from beyond the grave.
- “Says the space mime.”
- RIP Sinara’s leitmotif, you will be missed.
- Oh yeah, I totally forgot about that baby from that previous episode.
So… thoughts on Kasius’s seer? Any subtle hints from previous episode? Is it someone we know already?