Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? More Like Agents of "Can't Catch a Break"

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These people need an all expenses paid vacay to Tahiti like STAT. And by Tahiti, I mean the island paradise, not the “it’s a magical place” T.A.H.I.T.I.
It’s been non-stop forward motion for our team ever since shortly after Season 4 began. Daisy had been on her own as Quake, still on her walkabout post-Lincoln’s death until a flame-y headed guy put her on the path to being reunited with her S.H.I.E.L.D. family.
After that, it’s been all about the Darkhold and Life Model Decoys and of course the Framework…i.e., the convergence of all the above. All leading to Talbot being shot in the head by an LMD who looked just like Daisy (thanks Aida!) and our team waiting to be arrested and dropped down the deepest, darkest hole for Mace’s death and the attack on Talbot, among many other things.
As I said, they need to get away and decompress for a month at least. Instead, they go to a diner for some chow and maybe some pie. But since they can’t catch a break, they end up being put in some sort or stasis, captured and catapulted to a post-apocalyptic future earth via Kree monolith because…well because of course that’s what happens, that’s why.
Adding insult to injury? They never got their pie.
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The monolith that transports them is similar to the one that sent Jemma to Maveth in that it seemingly “liquefies” and engulfs its targets. Except this one is white with horizontal gouges and, oh yeah, it doesn’t transport people to the far side of the galaxy.
Much to everyone’s dismay, Fitz isn’t with our team as they pop up in the future. In fact, they didn’t even realize where or, especially WHEN they are until late into the first episode. It’s refreshing to note they are as lost as we are, wondering how they went from a diner to a dead earth and a dwindling human population, controlled by their Kree overlords.
This is part of what makes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this season especially compelling. Usually they are already somewhat “in the know” and have to work themselves out of it on their own terms or, as Hunter would say, “Make a plan. Plan turns to rubbish. Make a new plan.”
But before they even got to that basic level of understanding of their circumstances, their initial assumptions going along are logical. Hey, maybe this is a colony. Or we’ve been abducted by the Kree or what if this is a staging area for an invasion??? They think they need to send a message back to earth to Fitz who no doubt was looking for them.
Yeah…not so much. The earth is nothing but a broken shell and Fitz is missing, along with several billion other people.
Other than the prompt they got from the dude who welcomed them when they arrived, and whose head was skewered by a Vrellnexian (a nasty giant space roach) moments into their interaction, they know only that they’ve been sent there to save humanity.
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The other friends they meet along the way provide varying degrees of help but they’re all colored by the bleakness of their reality. They’re survivors who’ve had to dip their toe across the line a time or two just to keep on breathing.
The team is urged, repeatedly, to conform to the way things are or they all die horrible, gruesome deaths.
As arguments go, it’s a pretty compelling one, I must say.
But that’s not who are team is. And as much as they may try to keep their heads down and out of trouble, their first instinct is to protect the innocent and fight against oppression.
The surviving population of earth are as broken as their former world. Their will to fight back is almost non-existent. And because of this, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are legitmately aliens in this environment where humans are slaves who serve the bidding of the Kree and Inhumans are bred to be sold.
But the thing is, they cannot help but act even though they don’t fully comprehend how even well meaning actions can have dire consequences.
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Little by little, we see how their just being there and being who they are affects those around them, but especially those they interact with the closest.
Tess, legitimately (and reasonably) freaked out by how wreckless our team is, becomes willing to sacrifice herself for them. She protects Flint, who’s like a brother to her. She stands against Kasius who she comes to believe is a god after he raises her from the dead. For our team, that’s sort of old hat. Just ask Coulson and May. Of course, they didn’t have to deal with a Kree with a god complex lording his power over them at the time; so, there’s that.
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Sweet puppy Flint, a newly minted Inhuman with mad earth bending skills, was easily the easiest ally to bring on board. And it’s not because he hasn’t experienced the pain of loss or suffered under the thumb of Kree oppression. His parents were killed in a barbaric Renewal after all.
His spirit was never crushed and the heroic fire within him only burned brighter with Mack and Elena helping him focus his energy on protecting the innocent and fighting back against the Kree.
I admit I was really disappointed when he and Tess didn’t travel with the team to the past. I think he would have made an exceptional member of Team S.H.I.E.L.D. given his courage and the joy he takes from helping others.
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I was even upset Deke didn’t make it. At first…okay. I admit it. The guy drove me nuts. He always had an angle and seemed to only care about himself. And it didn’t help that he betrayed Daisy and seemingly sided with the head Kree, Kasius.
But looking at everything he did in retrospect, I can see that he was trying to help in the only way he knew how. Turning Daisy in protected the people from the wrath of the Kree coming down on them for whatever harebrained scheme she came up with to help Jemma.
Losing his parents in the way he lost each of them shaped him into who he became. It made him more cynical. More willing to believe the worst in people and to look after himself and his own interests. But being around our team, being around Daisy in particular, influenced him to be a man ready to lay down his life to get them home.
Well. Sorta ready.
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As wild as things started out for our team this year, all I can think going into Season 5 is poor Mack and Fitz. They are after all the ones who took the brunt of the emotional damage last year in the Framework. Daisy and May too, but to lesser degrees.
The team is fractured emotionally and physically. Mack is still dealing with the loss of his Framework daughter. Fitz is shackled with the memories of his life as The Doctor in the Framework and how that’s informed who he is now. How it’s made him darker.
May’s leg is shot for the time being and she seems tired and heartsick in a way we don’t see very often. It’s nothing overt, just an undertone of exhaustion that begs the question, yet again, when will she and the others get that break they so desperately need? No time soon, it seems.
Thank goodness May is the hero she is and she’s able to compartmentalize her emotions and channel her anger and frustration for the greater good. Like bashing Deke’s face in when he’s being an idiot.
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While the first several episodes set the tone of the season, it’s only when Fitz shows up out of seemingly nowhere that things really seem to start gelling. Like now, finally, the last piece of our puzzle is in place and we can get to doing whatever we need to do.
Now our team is whole again. Or, at least, not separated by decades of time.
The story of how Fitz gets to the future after being left behind is a wild one. It hurt my heart seeing him isolated and trapped, being held for six months in a prison without any trial or any chance of seeing the sun anytime soon.
I admit it…I cheered aloud when Hunter materialized with his audacious-as-always plan to get Fitz outta there.
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As an aside… I just gotta say I really hated losing Hunter and Bobbi in Season 3. HATED IT. And while we know Adrianne Palicki has moved on to The Orville, I really hope we get to see Bobbi again guesting in a few eps. The door is theoretically open from a character stand point to see them both again with Hunter committing himself and Bobbi into protecting young Robin and her mom.  And with the season ending with our team returning to the past, it would make sense for them all to cross paths once more. At least it does in my mind.
At any rate, Hunter deserves all the praise for coming through for Fitz, not only to escape prison but also in tracking down where the team ended up. Tracking them to sentient Chronicom Enoch and to a Seer who prompted Enoch to timenap the rest of the team and shoot them forward to 2091.
The Seer is ROBIN. Remember her? She’s the young girl of an Inhuman Daisy tried to save a couple years ago named Charles Hinton. (Note: You’ll want to go back and rewatch the Season 3 episode Spacetime for more on Charles and Robin. Actually, you’ll want to see that episode anyway since the essence of time and whether or not it’s fixed or changeable is a major theme this season.)
Robin’s drawings…the way she translates her visions and tries to make sense of them…pushes Enoch to help Fitz get to his team in the future because she knows they need him.
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Fitz’s journey is the long way around, having been frozen Han Solo style into a cryo-sleep only to be awakened by Princess Leia. I mean Enoch.
He’s woken just in time too to wrench May, Jemma and Daisy from Kasius’s hands. It only took him going undercover as a vicious criminal demanding Daisy enter a fight to the death. That’s all.
Early on in the season, it’s revealed that everyone and their cousin believes Daisy…that Quake…is responsible for the earth splitting. So it’s only fitting she as the Destroyer of Worlds survive a fight to the death before being auctioned off to the highest bidder.
It’s really fascinating to watch Fitz and Simmons’ evolution this season, to see how much they’ve grown and changed as a result of all they’ve endured. If you have a chance, go back and binge the show from the beginning and you’ll be stunned by how far they’ve come. Jemma, who couldn’t lie her way out of a paper bag in season 1 endures life as Kasius’s slave. As much damage as Fitz suffered during the time in the Framework and his incarceration, he’s still able to call up the darker Doctor attitude and bearing he needs in order to manipulate Kasius with the ease that he does.
The escape plan he and Enoch engineer is clever and at least partially successful. It’s too bad his space ship blows up before they get to it.
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Actually though it’s a good thing. Even though their path is a bit more complicated, at least it gets them back together again with the rest of the team. Not everyone though.
Prior to Daisy’s death duel with Kasius’s warrior Sinara (from which both survived thanks to Fitz’s brilliant timing), May, who’d been taken after losing a fight with Sinara barely makes it out of a different fight before Fitz manipulates Kasius into sending her to the surface.
Usually being sent to the surface is a death sentence. But not for May. Though it is touch and go for awhile, what with the whole massive space roach infestation.
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By the time our team reunites in the Lighthouse (sans May of course) Coulson’s crew has already determined there are people alive on the surface, that those same people are the ones who brought them from the past so they are all in on any plan that gets them to where they need to be.
Everyone except Mack and Elena, that is. They’ve formed a real bond with Flint and decide to stand by him and help protect the people from Kasius’s wrath while the others do whatever they have to do.
Unfortunately without Fitz’s ship, they’re forced to take out one of the trawlers. Doubly unfortunate is the fact that May isn’t with them and the only one with any piloting experience is Coulson, who’s only ever “flown” Lola.
They do find the survivors, known as the Old Ones, who are living inside the Zephyr along with Enoch and May, who the Old Ones rescued from a potentially horrifying death at the claws of the ruthless Vrellnexians. These are the ones who spoke of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s arrival as a prophecy…and that makes sense when we learn a now very grown up Robin is among them.
She’s able to communicate a little better than she had as a child, but only just barely.
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The moments we see from Robin’s mind seem to come from different strands of time. Different futurepast moments (events that haven’t happened to our team yet even though they chronologically exist in the past). These moments seem to exist in different loops of time where in at least one, Yo-Yo doesn’t even know who Flint is. In another, we hear Mack is dead. And in yet another, we learn Jemma dies too. The one constant is that May ends up being her mother when her birth mother dies.
Robin knows how they’ll get home and says she has the vision of how they’ll save the earth…both of which she shares with May before she dies in May’s arms. Her death is courtesy of a man named Voss, who was once friends with Deke’s father.
But now, Deke’s father is dead, also thanks to Voss. And the rest of the Old Ones believe the only way to save the earth is to kill Daisy now so she can’t go back and quake the world apart. That’s right. They brought the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to the future in order to kill them before they destroyed the world.
Thankfully Coulson et al thwart their scheme and all is well. Other than Robin dying of course. That, and Sinara showing up to take Daisy back to Kasius because things were going well for them for a few seconds and we can’t let that happen, now can we?
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Daisy is saved by Deke of all people. Voss tried to manipulate Deke into “doing what needs to be done” and I think Deke considered it. But in the end, I feel he decided to trust Daisy and the team to fix things and to ensure a better future.
But now our team is off, flying the Zephyr once again. The Zephyr, which uses GRAVITONIUM. Which is also in the Lighthouse. Now, for those who don’t remember Gravitonium, it’s an extremely volatile element we first find out about in Season 1. Last we heard of it, Ian Quinn (the same despicable man who shot Daisy [then Skye]) had possession of it. So to see it here now is more than a little disturbing given how the world crumbled apart and everything.
Back in the Lighthouse, Mack, Elena and Flint go to town dealing with the Vrellnexian infestation, protect the people and thwart Kasius’ Inhuman breeding agenda thanks to Fitz stowing away some cool S.H.I.E.L.D. tech and weapons, such as Mack’s beloved shotgun axe.
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As our full team reunites, they map out a plan to get back home per Robin’s special insights. Flint will reconstruct the Kree monolith using the small sample the Old Ones kept on the Zephyr as a reference.
But as Fitz and Jemma put the pieces of what happened and what’s happening together, a dark picture emerges and Fitz realizes they’re all in a time loop, doomed to make the same mistakes over and over.
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This is seemingly confirmed when Yo-Yo finds a different version of herself but this Yo-Yo is broken, both physically and emotionally. Yo-Yo 2.0 warns our Elena that Mack will die, that Coulson is dying and that trying to save him is what leads to the end of the earth.
All in all, pretty sucky news.
She’d been revived and killed over and over at Kasius’s whim and pleasure. When Mack sees Yo-Yo 2.0 being murdered by Kasius, he has no way of knowing it’s not his Elena and he kills Kasius with Jemma’s help.
In just the short time our team is in the future, they’ve made an indelible impact. Humanity has been freed from the grip of the Kree. Those who are left behind have the strength of will to stand and fight and preserve their freedom. To literally re-create a new earth.
Rest assured, if master earthbender Flint has anything to say about it, it’s a good as done.
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Final thoughts:
As a long time fan of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the first half of this season has been particularly fulfilling.
This season so far has done a wonderful job honoring the journey of each character while simultaneously ramping up the danger and conflict with a compelling and dark landscape they believe was created as a result of their own actions or inactions. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be seen as oftentimes those who are believed to be in the know are actually unreliable narrators. That they believe something to be true is besides the point.
The truth is, we don’t know what really happened to cause the earth to crack. And while everyone is saying Daisy was responsible, there have been enough clues so far to suggest something else might have been at play. A potential Kree invasion for one example. The Gravitonium for another.
Coulson is harboring at least one secret. We know now he’s dying but is that connected to his deal with the Ghost Rider?
May find out about her special connection with Robin, tying beautifully into her past desire to become a mother. Before Bahrain, she and Andrew had been even trying to start a family. So to see her in this light is so very sweet.
Jemma’s past traumas and adventures were exactly the kind of prep she needed to handle life under Kasius’s thumb. She sure has learned a thing or two about thinking on her feet in a crisis.
Fitz’s time in the Framework and his pain from rebuilding himself after the coma plus his journey to find Jemma on Maveth helped him through his 6 months in prison and prepared him for what he had to do to get back to his team. That specifically includes the emotional torment of life as The Doctor in the Framework and how much that hardened him to be able to do unspeakable things if necessary.
Mack’s recent loss of his Framework daughter was still fresh enough on his mind to inform his choices during their time in the future. And I can’t imagine watching any version of Elena dying did anything other than firm his resolve that she be okay, no matter what.
Daisy’s experiences with Hive, just like Fitz’s time in the Framework, have made her more than ready to sacrifice herself if it means saving the world. And she was already the type of person to do that sort of thing in the first place. She will no doubt be less than pleased that Coulson took away her choice and forced her to return to the past.
Elena now has another piece of the puzzle, what with the other Yo-Yo told her. The problem is that she too might be an unreliable narrator. She says our team must let Coulson die, yet must we? Perhaps from her angle, that makes sense. But we don’t know yet.
And I suspect when the time comes, we will lose someone or something traumatic will happen, and the price will be high as a payoff to saving the earth and Coulson. I just hope it’s not someone on our team.
Favorite Moments (in no particular order):

  • Yo-Yo splinter-bombing all the Vrellnexians in one fell swoop
  • Hunter saving Fitz
  • Yo-Yo tricking their jerkface floor boss Grill (both times)
  • Tess stepping forward to protect the team
  • Daisy trying and failing at being sneaky
  • Fitz seeing Jemma for the first time in months
  • Daisy/Sinara duels (both of them)
  • Flint tricking the Kree
  • Enoch being Enoch
  • Fitz-Simmons double proposal
  • Deke choosing to align with team S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Flint reconstituting the Monolith
  • Fitz saving Daisy and Jemma from Kasius
  • Yo-Yo rescuing Flint from the Kree after his terragenesis
  • Mack standing up to and manipulating Kasius
  • Kasius’s death at the end of Mack’s shotgun axe and Jemma’s role in it
  • Coulson and/or May doing pretty much anything ever

I give Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4.75 Flying Lolas out of a possible 5 because the show is just that good this season.
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If you’ve got your own pet theory as to how things will shake out or just want to ping me with any thoughts about the show, feel free to @ me on Twitter @theuberfan.
Don’t forget…Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns on Friday, March 2nd. See you then!