A few episodes ago, I had a feeling that there was an explicit similarity between Phil Coulson and Sarge: his devotion to his team and in return, their loyalty. As we know from last week’s episode and this week’s thrilling conclusion, this all turned about to be nothing than a facade. It is now clear that these are two entirely different people, sharing nothing but a face.
The reason why “Collision Course Part II” is so important to the characters is that they all finally make this realization along with the audience. The only question left is the same one I’ve been asking week after week: why the same face then? As S.H.I.E.L.D. (apparently) wraps up a big story arc, the show begins to tease us, not of the answer to that question, but to the return of the unexpected, brutal plot twists that fans are used to.
It’s a slight cop-out, but the potential “collision course” that last week’s cliffhanger left us on was entirely avoided—much to Sarge’s chagrin. All of the plot lines are finally interlinked, with three ones to follow: Daisy, May, Deke, and Snowflake on the truck, a literal atom bomb in tow, Mac and Yo-Yo in pursuit on the Quinjet, with Sarge’s team captive, and Fitz and Simmons on the spaceship entering Earth’s orbit, unaware of the threat of their would-be savior Izel.
The episode is pretty well-crafted in terms of pure plot and story structure, but the heart of the episode, at least in my opinion, is the downward spiral of Sarge. He isn’t coolheaded one bit, and after learning about his oh-so tragic backstory last week, we now know that he is a man willing to go too far, not for any sense of justice but rather out of vengeance.
Look no further to how he treats his own team, as he finally reveals his philosophy of cutting off anyone he thinks will slow him down. One of the cooler things about the new season is watching that quartet operate as an efficient unit, but this episode proves that it might actually be more interesting to see the cracks form—because of this, we can get into these characters as individuals.
With that, I want to make sure that the character of Jaco, the gentle giant of Sarge’s crew, gets his due. This character played by Winston James Francis is presented as the most alien and otherworldly (he literally needs a breathing apparatus with air from his home planet), but there’s an empathetic side to him that’s been slowly emerging, and it’s fully seen here.
Snowflake, on the other hand, used to be a joy to watch, but ever since she weirdly hooked up with Deke last week, both characters have basically turned into useless clowns. Even the final character montage at the end, which had the other characters quiet and contemplative, had the Snowflake/Deke pair basically clowning around.
Other than that, it’s wonderful to see Fitz and Simmons back with the full crew, and I have the hope that the show will readjust to what it used to be, after the fun, weird, uneven experiment of these previous episodes. Even Mack and Yo-Yo, who I’ve complained about extensively in these reviews, brought their A game here; Mack in particular gets into a brutal hand-to-hand fight with Sarge, finally giving us an action scene with some weight.
So hurray, the day is saved, and S.H.I.E.L.D. is all back together. It’s odd that there are just four episodes left, yet there was a sense of victory and finality to everything. But with the loose threads still hanging, it’s pretty clear that this is just the end of the second act. While I have a few thoughts bouncing around in my head about what’s next, I don’t really know what’s next for the show.
And that’s pretty exciting.