Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

agents-of-shield-all-the-comforts-of-home

Despite having made it back to the present Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team appear to be still stuck in the inevitable timeloop of the Earth’s destruction and surrender to the Kree Empire. Aside from the authorities, there’s also a death squad after the remaining agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. inexplicably led by General Hale‘s (Catherine Dent) bitchy teenage daughter Ruby (Dove Cameron). The final scene’s reveal of the fact is surprising, but more from a WTF is going on perspective than any kind of clever reveal through good writing.

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agents-of-shield-together-or-not-at-all

“Together or Not at All” finally unites most of the time-displaced fugitive Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., if only for part of a single episode as the team will split-up yet again before the episode’s end. We get more of the family turmoil between the whiny Kasius (Dominic Rains) and uppity Faulnak (Samuel Roukin) that mercifully comes to an end with death of the later. In fact, there’s quite a bit of Kree-on-Kree violence as Sinara (Florence Faivre) murders Maston-Dar (Remington Hoffman) despite the fact that the other warrior could have been useful in the capture of Daisy (Chloe Bennet).

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agents-of-shield-rewind

“Rewind” is the first episode of the show’s Fifth Season that I’m relatively happy with (even if it still leaves quite a bit unexplained). Leaving the alternate future, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. rewinds to the moment in which the rest of his team where taken and follows the path of Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) from arrest to finding his way to the future himself. The episode introduces us the alien Enoch (Joel Stoffer as a character pretty much stolen from a Hellboy comic) and a young human (Lexy Kolker) whose hazy vision of the future is responsible for the rest of the cast being thrown decades into the future, despite the fact that their return to the present will undoubtedly change events to make the future they are currently stuck in completely irrelevant.

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agents-of-shield-earned

The misadventures of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. lost in time and space continues as adapting to their surroundings has negative effects on Mack (Henry Simmons), Daisy (Chloe Bennet) meets the Kree overlords and discovers their plans for Inhumans, May (Ming-Na Wen) gets her ass kicked, and the rest of the team stumbles around the space station for an hour (give or take a few minutes for commercials). One reveal that “A Life Earned” does give us is the identity of the man behind the mask we saw back in the first episode of this season. As to why he’s been avoiding his friends since their arrival… um, that’s less clear.

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agents-of-shield-oreientation

Okay, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is officially out of ideas. Tell me if this sounds familiar, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team wake to discover they’ve been transported to a mysterious new world and will spend several episodes (about half a season, maybe) trying to find their way home? Yeah, that was last season’s second-half arc. It’s always where this season begins with the team abducted and shot into the future awakening aboard a Kree prison ship and struggling (and failing) to discover how and why they ended up in their current predicament.

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It’s fitting that the end to an up-and-down season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would have it’s share of highs and lows as well. Connecting back the first-half of the season, the return of Ghost Rider gives Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team an easy out to destroy Aida (Mallory Jansen) and her creations. I certainly wasn’t clamoring for the character’s return, and I’m already sick and tired of the gimmick of Robbie Reyes (Gabriel Luna) temporarily passing the Spirit of Vengeance to another host (this marks the second time the show has used this cheat this season). The episode wraps up the threat of Aida and her murderous rampage, but not the after-effects of a plan already put into action.

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Life in the framework gets a bit easier for Daisy (Chloe Bennet) now that May (Ming-Na Wen) has turned her back on Hydra and used a Terrigen crystal to restore Quake’s powers. Despite Melinda not remembering the real world, her actions help bring the team closer together, although one member has fallen and another is still leading the enemy against them. It’s good to see Daisy and May on the same side again kicking some ass together, and Daisy has her own star moment quaking Aida (Mallory Jansen) through a sky-rise window, but the real stand-out here is Coulson (Clark Gregg) who steps up in a big way to fill the void left with the Patriot‘s death.

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agents-of-shield-what-if

Everything old is new again. Whether or not anyone wants it, whether or not the character ever worked, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to push Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). And guess what? He’s a traitor in any reality. In the show’s return from hiatus, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) wake up in the computer-reality of the Framework and begin searching for their friends who don’t realize the lives they are living are lies. Jemma wakes up having to dig her way out of her own grave. Daisy wakes up in Grant Ward’s bed. It’s hard to gauge which woman has a harder time assimilating to this brave new world.

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agents-of-shield-the-man-behind-the-shield

“The Man Behind the Shield” offers some context to why Anton Ivanov (Zach McGowan) has gone to all the trouble to create the Watchdogs and hunt Inhumans. Although racist, it seems Ivanov’s real problem isn’t with aliens or Inhumans but with the man he deems responsible for beginning the entire series of events (questionable logic at best) beginning with stealing alien tech from Russia years ago – Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg). Far from a true zealot, the episode downplays the villain as the show ends the episode moving the LMD storyline in a new direction.

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agents-of-shield-the-patriot

An assassination attempt on Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) leads to the Director, Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Mack (Henry Simmons) being cut-off by the rest of the team and hunted by former Hydra agents. The return of (a well-funded but even less impressive version of) Hydra feels like a bit of a step back for the show. However, the episodes does include one important twist which will shake up the S.H.I.E.L.D. hierarchy and return Coulson to his rightful spot in calling the shots. As for Mace, even if his abilities were cooked-up in a lab, the man knows how to frame and sell a story. It doesn’t look like the public face of S.H.I.E.L.D. is going anywhere anytime soon.

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