As disparate this season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been, and despite my being the only person in the fandom to feel disappointed by last week’s episode, I’m overall digging what I see. Even though I couldn’t tell you what this season is, it certainly feels as fresh as every new season of this show does at its time of airing. S.H.I.E.L.D. as a show is not stupid—but this week, the characters sure were.
We’re more than halfway into the season, so things obviously have to pick up. We learned a lot during this episode, and the events that occurred set a number of things into motion. Unfortunately, it felt like the plot progression was at the expense of our favorite characters acting like total morons. The writers should be smarter than this.
Clark Gregg’s Sarge is in S.H.I.E.L.D. captivity, and thus, the mind games begin. Armed with the knowledge of the team’s affection for the dearly departed Coulson, Sarge is brought into the base with an overt aura of confidence. And if that confidence wasn’t obvious enough, Sarge proclaims to Mack that he’ll be a free man at the end of the day.
Because the “bad guy” said that, it has to be true, and any attempts from Mack to contain him will surely be futile. In fact, Mack gets a little too ambitious—thanks to a now-actually useful Deke, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers where the nearest two Shrike hosts are. The team captures them with ease, and what results is a sequence in which I could not stop shouting at the screen.
Yo-Yo and company take these two people, infested with a horrific alien host that Yo-Yo herself witnessed the destructive abilities of, and puts them in the same containment unit. Even as someone who doesn’t understand alien biology, I know that putting two volatile beings in the same confined space would be a bone-headed move.
Not to spend too much time detailing how the rest of the sequence went down, but it got worse and even more contrived. Yo-Yo again just stares instead of using her goddamn super speed, and at one point opens the containment unit and orders a poor redshirt to just, like, shoot at the two (this obviously does not work).
It’s supposed to result in this tense scene in the Lighthouse, where the power dynamic between Sarge and Mack has shifted, but I felt nothing but incredulity at what I was watching. Did Sarge know that S.H.I.E.L.D. would have been so careless in handling these things? I guess something would have went down eventually that S.H.I.E.L.D. would need his expertise, but this was quite early for that.
I would’ve liked to have seen more Sarge character building this episode—a scene with a captive Jaco led me to believe that Sarge’s team has the same fervent loyalty to him as S.H.I.E.L.D. did for Coulson, but this episode didn’t go too far to make any comparisons like that. A damn shame on missing out on that thematic possibility, because I still have no clue why Clark Gregg is still in this series.
To be honest, there isn’t really a lot to say about the Fitz-Simmons plot line, which is a bit strange considering how last episode was 100% about them. Enoch’s escape with the two is botched, and they end up back on the planet Kitson from episode three (still my favorite, at this point). The season is feeling like a palindrome at this point.
They play a dangerous spectator game for their lives, devised by Mister Kitson himself, played by guest star Anthony Michael Hall, who is in this show for some reason. And gun to my head, I could not tell you what the thematic purpose of this B-plot was, other than to get Fitz-Simmons with the new character Izel (Karolina Wydra), en route to Earth.
Weirdly enough, I think this is the first episode of this season to have all starring cast members show up in the same episode. Granted, the characters aren’t all physically with each other, but that looks like it’ll happen soon—the next two episodes are literally titled “Collision Course.” Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. still has an excellent ensemble—I just want to see them together again.