Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Best Laid Plans

"You're no god, no devil. You're just a cruel, sad, little blue man."

It's time for the uprising, and Mack, Yo-Yo and Flint lead the survivors against Kasius.

I wasn't looking forward to this episode that much. It looked like it would be more time devoted to dealing with the problems of a future that is going to be averted. Treading water, why care? I didn't have this problem when the episodes were set in an alternate reality and featured characters that were either brainwashed or ones and zeros, and I have already talked about why I feel that this current arc is overstaying its welcome – which the Framework arc never did – so I won't go there again. But, the truth is, the moment Tess showed up alive, Tess, who died three episodes ago, this episode had my attention.

You see, Kasius' commitment to oppress humans to their deaths and Mack and Yo-Yo's commitment to take him down made for some thrilling TV, to the point that I completely forgot that Mack and Yo-Yo were saving a bunch of people that will cease to exist when this future is "fixed". There is also the writers' commitment to sell this story, and they are doing a hell of a job. In the end of the day, this is all fiction and if it's well done, it's well done.

Tess was one of the two wild cards of the episode. I knew that Eve Harlow would appear in this episode, but I figured it would be in a flashback. I did not expect to see Tess alive at all. At first, I had the impression it was a zombified version of Tess to scare everyone, but it really was a resurrected Tess, also to scare everyone. That was a very good twist, and one that made me happy, because Tess dying three episodes ago looked like a major waste of an interesting character. It took Tess a lot of nerve to deliver Mack and Yo-Yo's message back to Kasius, but she has been team S.H.I.E.L.D. ever since she met them and I'm glad that her faith in them has paid off.

Did you catch her telling Flint that he had someone else other than her when Mack and Yo-Yo arrived? I'm telling you, Flint is totally becoming Mack and Yo-Yo's foster kid. As far as teenagers inserted into a genre show out of nowhere are concerned, Flint is a pretty great one. I can see Mutant Enemy telling us "hey, guys, we won't mess it up this time." What do they say, third time is the charm? (I did like Dawn, though.)

It's fitting that the show had two black men and a Latina lead the revolution against an oppressive leader. Mack and Yo-Yo complimented each other very well, Mack being the strategist who wanted to take his time and Yo-Yo being the strong tempered revolutionary who just wanted to kill the dictator. Mack not wanting Flint to fight was too much, but he was right that they needed a plan. Had Yo-Yo acted impulsively, odds are she would have died and they would have lost. On the other hand, Mack listened to Yo-Yo and let Flint join the fight. They have become a great action couple.

Kasius is such a petulant ruler, with his almighty posture and all, and it was about time his behavior blew up on his face. The corridor scene was riveting, with Kasius thinking he had the upper hand, and it looked like he did after Yo-Yo's attack was blocked, but the rebels gave him a run for his money. It was so ridiculous of him to accuse humans of turning against one another. Accurate, yes? But, dude, you just killed your brother, save the sermon. I loved it when Yo-Yo said with all the words that the humans had united to defend themselves against him. Reign of terror is over, Kasius, deal with it.

Now, who the hell does Kasius have in that room? All signs point to an older Elena, which is such a terrifying thought. Kasius recognized Yo-Yo when he saw her in the corridor, but he didn't recognize Simmons when he met her, for instance. So either Yo-Yo became super famous or Kasius has met her in the past. Last episode, in one of the flashbacks to 2022, May advised Yo-Yo not to confront the Kree because of what Robin had seen. I figured Robin saw Elena dying, but what if it was something worse? Has Yo-Yo spent the last 70 years in cryostasis, only awakened by Kasius when needed? If that's it, I can't wait to see Yo-Yo's reaction upon discovering the horrible fate of her older self. Although, if they do meet, wouldn't Yo-Yo have believed Robin's prophecy? Oh, Jesus, I really need to stop speculating and wait to see what happens or else I'll burn more neurons.

Deke was the second wild card of the episode, but I don't care for him as much as I care for Tess. I get what the writers are trying to do here – the jerk that reforms and shows he has a good heart – and I knew he was going to help Daisy, not try to kill her, but he is yet to win me over. He has great lines, though, and I now firmly believe he is the grandson of Fitz and Simmons. I mean, that scene in the end with the three of them side by side, Fitzsimmons pressing him to break the Monolith stone into two? His "leave me alone" gesture to Fitz? That was totally a family reunion, wasn't it? And they all look alike in their, uh, whiteness (my reviewing skills are impressive sometimes). Plus, wouldn't Fitz and Simmons, who are scientists, geeks and fans of Doctor Who, totally get a kick out of having a grandchild that is their age? They would love it and spend days discussing it.


Speaking of a Fitzsimmons' conversation about time travel and whatnot, they discovered that the gravity in the Zephyr is also generated by Gravitonium, and theorized that the substance might be spread all over the Earth... and also that it could be the cause of its destruction. That is a significant hint that Graviton might be the big bad the agents will fight against when they return to 2018. Fitz also talked about them being stuck in a loop, which is the same thing his alternate self said in 2022 (or, uh, what he will say in 2022 if they can't break the loop). But Simmons had a more positive approach: their discoveries were proof that they do go back.

Now, is Flint really the key to preventing the Earth's destruction? From what Coulson said, it seems that Flint is going to gather the pieces of the Monolith to send the agents back, and that's it. But if he doesn't go back with them, I'm back to not knowing what was the point of the agents traveling to the future in the first place. Again, I will stop speculating and wait to see what happens.

The thought that she might destroy the world is naturally consuming Daisy's thoughts, but, Daisy, honey, there is no proof that you are the one who does it. It is an interesting development that she prefers not to have the powers inhibitor removed. Her powers have been such an important part of who she is, she is clearly a good person to abdicate them for the greater good.

May is also shook after the events of the previous episode, most importantly the revelation that she is going to be a mom. Our tough May can't process it, but both Coulson and Daisy can see it in her. I liked that they were the ones to talk about it. Coulson is the closest person to May and Daisy is a daughter figure to both of them. Coulson was lovely in the way he assured her she could be a mom, and Daisy's lines were hilarious. "Another mom look." LOL. Parenting is a strong theme this season, isn't it?

The Zephyr One flying after god knows how many decades, with Fitz and Simmons quickly figuring out how to fix it and how May would be able to fly it, was so unbelievable, over the top and filled with pseudo-science crap to justify it that I loved it. Seriously, I had the best time watching all of that, especially the characters' comical reactions to what was obviously a terrible idea. I imagine the writers giving a draft of the script to the science consultants and they going like "whoa, you want us to make this look believable?". They probably had their best day at the job. I was absolutely dead of joy when, after all the craziness was over, Enoch, with his everlasting calmness and kind stoicism, stated "a sound plan, indeed". Oh, Enoch, can you stay with us forever?

Intel and Assets

- In my review of "A Life Spent", I nitpicked that it was impossible for the Earth to still have that shape and sustain an atmosphere. Now, I take it back, because it looks like Gravitonium is at play here.

- Okay, gravity explained. But how about power, food and water? How have people in the Zephyr One survived there for a decade?

- Does Voss think about the consequences of changing time? I mean, he doesn't appear to be a self-sacrificing kind of dude, and he isn't a scientist nor a sci-fi geek, so he probably doesn't know a thing about dimensions or different timelines. Doesn't he fear that if he changes the past he will instantly evaporate into nothing?

- Kasius told Tess he "smothered the fires of death with the blood of the eternal." Was he talking about resurrecting her with his own blood or was it something else?

- In any case, Tess' resurrection ties up with Coulson's resurrection and Daisy's healing in season one: Kree biology does wonders in humans.

- Simmons mentioned the casual loop paradox: they will make something in the past because they've seen it finished in the future.

- Don't know how Daisy didn't pick up on Deke's "killing may be the better option, if it can prevent more pain" talk.

- Voss said that there was "a light from the sky. Aliens is what I heard. S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to stop it and failed." So, Infinity War tie-in?

- Flint has a character music score of his own, and it's a lovely, hopeful one. Kind of reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia.

- The fight scene was cool, but a bit weird. Why couldn't Deke barely move while Daisy and Sinara were kicking each other all over the place? Why wasn't Sinara with her balls?

- Rest in hell, Sinara, you were one of the coolest villains of this series.

Daisy: "I'm pretty sure generations of space rats have lived and died in here."

May: "Zephyr flies again, metal man."
Enoch: "I am mostly plastic alloy. And Chronicoms do not have gender."

Daisy (to May): "You'd be the no phone, no TV, 7:30 curfew kind of mom. You're kind of proving my point with the face."

Yo-Yo: "Santo infierno."
This reaction made me laugh so hard.

Coulson: "S.H.I.E.L.D. needs Quake."
Daisy: "I'm just tired of these names."

Daisy: "I think that was a hospital."
Enoch: "Is this your first time having a building dropped on you?"
May: "No."

Enoch: "The sensation of death is one that I have yet to experience."
May: "Maybe I can help you with that."

Fitz: "Assuming we don't get crushed by debris..."
Simmons: "Slammed back to the ground..."
Fitz: "Or our thrusters don't run out of power..."
Simmons: "And spin out into the void..."
(Fist bump.)
Simmons: "We're in."

Simmons: "This was a terrible idea, I'm sorry."

Rating the episodes of this arc has become increasingly difficult. The episodes are very good, but there are so many question marks that it's hard to tell if it will all make sense or fall apart later. In any case, this was another thrilling hour of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Three and a half out of four crazy plans.

And next week's episode looks intense. After that, we have the Olympics break, so surely the writers will leave us with a gigantic cliffhanger.
--
Lamounier

5 comments:

televisionandotherrantings said...

SPECULATION/THEORY SPOILERS BASED ON THE NEXT TIME TRAILER AND OTHER THINGS PEOPLE HAVE SAID

So my current thinking is that Coulson is basically gonna knock Daisy out and force her to go back to 2018. However, something will happen so that the crew will end up in an earlier time instead. Perhaps Daisy had a plan in case Coulson tried to pull something like this (because while he cares he can be a bit forceful at times). I figure they were going to have to go to the past at some point since we have to explain why the Lighthouse existed back in 2018 in the first place. While I'm not crazy about the notion of Daisy feeling severe guilt about the situation that she's arrange something like this if it leads to something cool like meeting Peggy Carter than I'm willing to accept it. If we're going to use time travel maybe we should have the characters actually try and change something that has severely hindered them in the past like the HYDRA sleeper agent thing or Whitewall basically destroying Daisy's family's lives. It might not work but it would be an interesting Terminator 2 situation to put them in. Plus the 50s or 80s or whatever would definitely make for a more fun place to be than this post-apocalypse. Although there is a possibility that some characters might stay there or be in 2018 in order to create an All Good Things situation where we're dealing with a problem in 3 different time periods.

I'd imagine Voss figures that if he dies to change the timeline it would ultimately be worth it so billions don't die or suffer at the hands of the Kree. I'm not sure how much he's thought of the logistics of it but the core idea makes a bit of sense.

Anonymous said...

Wow if they went back to Peggy's times it think i would explode from the awesomeness. It seems a bit far fetched but two things make me believe they could just go completely balls out with the plots from now on..
1..Infinity War or the Avengers 4 is rumoured to also have time travel, Shield always incorporates what the next big Marvel film will have as a plot point..
2. Because of the whole Disney/Fox deal all the Marvel Tv shows and movies landscape will change considerably in the coming years...Especially with new characters who will just pop up as part of the already existing universes. A good way to explain that from a story perspective is with people messing around with the timelines.

To the episode..It was excellent again...This season is exceptional..Week to week it can seem a little slow but imagine if this was released in a netflix format. Even the flaws that people see i see them as a positive..The extended period of this arc is clearly down to budget cuts as im sure they are only using 3 to 5 sets that are being rejigged to look different...
Also whenever your strongest character is leashed like Daisy is at the moment its because they can't afford or have to be careful when they use the CGI of her powers... The fact they can still make the show compelling despite these restraints is an achievement in itself.

Was disappointed that Sinara died jumping into a pole, i think it was meant to look epic but was just poorly directed.

Lamounier said...

Oh my god, I would love if they went back in time to a year when Peggy is alive. That would be a terrific way to pay respect to S.H.I.E.L.D. in the hundredth episode, by the way. It would also be nice if something they did in the 50s-90s tied up with something that happened in a previous season.

Good call on Coulson knocking Daisy out so that she won't resist going back, televisionandotherrantings.

Anon, the VFX are spectacular. I'm tired of the corridors of the Lighthouse at this point, it's a bit jarring that the visual effects are so great and then we are back with the actors stuck in claustrophobic sets. I get that there was a budget cut, but I'm looking forward to seeing the characters in other places than small rooms and corridors.

televisionandotherrantings said...

I'd give this individual most of the credit for piecing the knockout thing in question. The next time trailer just kind of confirmed it.

https://twitter.com/CrazyGirlVids/status/956618974527188992

She also has some good fan vids if you want to check those out. The Agents of SPOOF series is a must.
https://www.youtube.com/user/CrazierGirl1870/videos

Comparing it to Netflix is kind of apt but I still feel like people would have some of the same issues with the padding and the pace since they seem to have those with the main Marvel Netflix shows. This arc is generally more efficient than those but you can still feel the drag. With some of the prior 10+ episode arcs there were still enough standalone episodes/elements that you didn't feel the weight of the situation drag. That's kind of been hard with the Framework arc and especially with this space arc. Probably why ep5 was the most popular one so far is that we actually got away from all of this.

The visual effects are definitely very impressive. Though I'd probably trade the visuals in for a setting I was more invested in (fingers crossed for that Carter team up). Some people compared this arc to Doctor Who a while back and the reusing of sets and corridors is definitely in line with Classic Who. The timey wimey needs no further explanation.

"I've no idea where he picks that stuff up."-Tenth Doctor.

Patryk said...

So far everyone is convinced that they will go back in time and lead to the end of the world, but I don't see it being a loop, maybe more like endless iterations of a groundhog loop. We'll see, but I hope sooner rather then this being the entire season arc.