Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: All the Comforts of Home

"No time like the present."

Well, I didn't see that coming. I'm not even going to say "I didn't see that coming so soon." Nope. I didn't see it coming at all.

Yo-Yo lost her freaking arms. I figured that she would only lose her arms after getting captured by Kasius in 2022, and since that future was going to be averted (will it?), then she wouldn't lose her arms at all. It's such a kick to the guts because, right after she returns to present time, Elena gets confirmation that the horrible future she visited is already taking shape. As if losing one's arms isn't traumatic enough, for Yo-Yo it also means that (1) Earth will be destroyed and (2) her life will be absolutely horrific.

Before tragedy struck, Yo-Yo and Mack had a conversation about Future Yo-Yo. Mack argued that Kasius was using her to mess with them, but the truth is Kasius didn't create Future Yo-Yo. If they are unable to change the future, Yo-Yo knows what is coming for her, which is why the message and image of Future Elena stayed with her. Going forward, it's only going to have more weight. And this is going to mess with Mack big time too. An armless Elena was killed in front of him, now "his" Elena lost her arms. I have to say, this arc is making terrific use of the ensemble cast. All the main characters, with possible exception of Simmons, are being given something relevant to work with.

That dark turn also worked really well because most of the episode was lighter and fun. In fact, this was the funniest episode of the season so far, and can we sing our praises that the team is finally back to the present? This episode had more light and colors than the last two and a half seasons combined, which I believe was a deliberate choice, to contrast with the dark future the team just returned from.

I loved the scene in the van. It was delightful to see the agents make use of such a state of the art vehicle. Zephyr One who? The dialogue recapping some of the situations the team had to deal with was pre-100th episode goodness, complete with a glorious closing line from May. Everyone was clearly enjoying present time, from the sun to the gravity to the freedom.

The team was not alone with their enjoyment of 2018, though, as Deke also came from 2091 and savored every bit of the Earth he stumbled upon. I mean, he nearly ate an ice cream he took out of the trash. Out of the trash, people! His delight over this new world unfolding before his eyes gave the character a charm he didn't possess before. That montage in the bar was gold, not only because it made Deke likable and relatable, but because that type of scene isn't common on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Like so many things in the episode, it was a breath of fresh air.


It was also fun seeing Daisy go undercover to take Deke's ass out of prison. They even replicated the question/answer routine that Deke used to free Daisy and the others from the Kree prison. That was cute. And I like that Deke keeps being reminded that he used to sell people out. This is not something to be tossed aside just because the character is making the right choices now.

Onto our new Big Bad, what is General Hale up to? What does she have to gain by ending S.H.I.E.L.D. for good? And what exactly is her daughter Ruby? An Inhuman, a lab experiment? A mutant? (We are allowed to have those now.) There was a bit of a hype around Dove Cameron debuting on the show. Cameron is a young actress with a big following and ABC probably wanted to capitalize on that. I didn't expect the lady in the mask to turn out to be Ruby, she looked tall and Cameron is tiny.

Ruby has a twisted fascination on Quake and is also used by her mother as a weapon. She seems a bit cold and emotionless. And General Hale is assembling a team, starting with Absorbing Man, to destroy Coulson and his team. Let's hope that turns out better than the last time a Big Bad decided to assemble a team against S.H.I.E.L.D. and we were left with a rather mediocre outcome. In any case, I'm intrigued to see where this goes.

Finally, what the hell is the one hundredth episode going to be about? It looked like the three monoliths side by side and the explosion happening near them will lead to some crazy shenanigans. The first monolith is similar to the one that transported Simmons to Maveth. The second is the one that sent the team to the future. What about the third one? What does it do? The promo for the 100th episode was interesting but it didn't tell us a lot. I don't have any idea of what is going to happen.


Intel and Assets

- Deke hated beer, but loved Zima.

- The Lighthouse was built by S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 70's as a part of "Project Reclamation", which was likely never initiated.

- There was a welcome message from Rick Stoner, who was the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. before Nick Fury.

- Noah, the new Chronicom, only lasted one episode. Noah's stoicism was a bit more cynical, but I kind of liked him by the end of the hour. Hey, he did sacrifice himself.

- First Enoch, now Noah. Are all the Chronicoms named after Bible characters that lived a ridiculous amount of time?

- I loved the quick discussion the agents had about Mack's strict morals. May's "we are spies" versus Simmons' "I think it's admirable of him", and Coulson finding the middle ground. This group of characters works so well.

- Ruby said to her mom: "If I do turn eleven again, you got it [breakfast time]." Was that a shout-out to Stranger Things? Like Eleven, Ruby has a power that is exploited by her parent.

- Why did the team arrive at the same place this time, but in the premiere they were scattered around level three?

- Elena tossed away the guns she took from the robots, which didn't make sense. Had she kept some for Mack, May and herself, they would have had the upper hand.

- They used the same Officer to create two moments of tension that were only misdirection.

Noah: "You'd be surprised how frequently S.H.I.E.L.D. is mentioned."
May: "We have a small but active fanbase."
Well, look at that shout-out to us!

Simmons: "This place has secret tunnels, like an Agatha Christie novel."
Mack: "More like C.H.U.D."

Daisy: "Even though my friends have been out in the world for like four minutes, it'll let me know if one of them is spotted."
Noah: "It has been much longer than four min--"
Daisy: "Dramatic effect, Noah."

May: "Hey, could be worse."
Simmons: "True. We could be enslaved by an alien sociopath in a dystopian future."
Mack: "Or we could be trapped inside a virtual-reality fascist state."
Fitz: "Or stuck at the bottom of the ocean."
Yo-Yo: "Or stopping a crazy robot lady."
Simmons: "Or falling out of a plane."
Mack: "Fighting Daisy's mom."
Coulson: "Or fighting Daisy's dad."
May: "Or dancing."

Deke (re: beer): "Do you have anything else that's like this but... delicious?"

Chief Wellins: "Your name?"
Daisy: "Sinara. Sinara Smith. It's Portuguese. Sinara, not Smith."

A solid, good ol' S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. Three out of fours Zimas.
--
Lamounier

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate this episode having a bit more light charm to it than the space arc. Not being in the dystopia helps. Shame Hale is about as interesting a villain as Kassius was which basically is not very. I actually watched a few Iron Fist episodes lately (got to catch up with these Marvel Netflix shows eventually) and I'd actually say some of the villains in that have been more interesting/entertaining that this SHIELD season has offered so far. I mean that could be a sign of my resentment of the season right now but that's not exactly a great sign especially if this IS the final season (though at least we have some fan service returns to come in the next few episodes and they'll try and wrap things up in the finale if this is the end)

The Deke character is kind of average but that montage was definitely fresh as you said. The fanbase shout out was cute but Supernatural definitely had them beat a while back in that regard. A bit disappointed Daisy seemed to forgive Coulson super quick (although her eating cereal from the box was fun and cute).

While Elena losing her arms (and especially so soon) was definitely a shock I do have to question some of the logistics of it. I mean Future Elena was kind of useless in warning her Past counterpart that she was gonna lose her arms like 24 hours after she had that conversation. You'd think that'd be something she'd have trouble forgetting. I also have to wonder how did Ruby manage to time her weapon so well that she was able to cut off both of Elena's arms but somehow not her torso. I mean someone somewhere suggested that both her arms could have been extended out but the timing of that would have to have been amazingly precise. While Ruby may have some abilities yet to be disclosed that is some crazy good accuracy. That's some Seeing Red bullet type stuff.

It was nice to see Patrick Warburton in this but there does seem to be some inconsistency with stuff earlier in the season. In 5x05 Enoch said he didn't know what the purpose or origin of the Lighthouse was but apparently the Patrick Warburton hologram was perfectly willing to tell anyone who found it what exactly the deal was and there were a bunch of Chronicoms (those guys are fun) up in the place. I mean we've had inconsistencies and/or dropped plot points in this show before but this might be one of the more blatant ones. Also bunch of monoliths is kind of wacky. Starting to think they might be losing some of their lustre tho. I mean that first monolith was pretty cool but now they're starting to get a bit tacky. Oh yeah thanks for reminding me about that group portal seperate/together arrival inconsistency, there are a bunch this season I could make a list. I think it was only done that way the first time for the sake of the "mystery" and "drama" which is kind of annoying.

TAD SPOILERY but its pretty much been said that the 100th is the one where we get all the information surrounding Coulson's deal with the Ghost Rider. Whatever situation he's in I'm kind of hoping he dies by the end of the season. It would work as a final episode (unless he dies in the 100th which some people have suggested) and would allow us to start anew in a hopeful to happen Season 6. Also seems we're going to get a grab-bag of past villains from the show in the episode to celebrate the milestone so that could be fun.

Anonymous said...

Also here's my list of reasons why I felt the season has kind of been weak so far I posted elsewhere before this midseason premiere. Had to leave it as a separate comment since apparently there's a 4096 word limit.
-They did another dystopia like right after the last one. I was already kind of apprehensive of them doing a non-normal environment so soon after the Framework since there was no real downtime after it but the fact they made it dystopia was way too similar and couldn't help but draw comparisons.
-The gladiator stuff was too similar to Thor: Ragnarok. similar to the dystopia thing doing a sci-fi gladiator narrative so soon after the release of that film was a poor choice. Especially since Thor knew not to take the scenario too seriously since this kind of plot has been done to death. AOS does take it seriously and it makes the weaknesses more apparent.
- SHIELD being renegades again. While this is more due to the S4 finale and won't be addressed as much til the second half this was a poor choice because we've already done this plot in the past and it's lost its lustre. The first two-thirds of S4 proved you could do different plots with SHIELD and still have it be pretty good and the ending of S4 just knocked down the house of cards they had built up just to do the renegade crap again.
-The time travel stuff is kind of convoluted. Basically making an entire season about having to change history is gonna lead to a lot of problems because you know its gonna end with questionable logic. Plus since we're basing the whole plot on made up logic anyway it kind of hurts the stakes. This kind of thing is fine in one-off stories but when you make your whole season based on it suffers (similar stuff happened with the Matt Smith era of Doctor Who). Also the way they've structured it there's a lot of cryptic teasing about the events that actually happened and it's pretty frustrating.
-The characters making dumb dumb choices. There are many instances in this season where if the characters had not made a certain choice the plot wouldn't have happened. When certain things only happen cause the characters are dumb that's pretty annoying.
-Not a huge Kassius fan. They didn't get the serious/goofy balance right with him. Also the Kree, despite all the build-up they've received over the years aren't the most interesting of alien race villains.

Lamounier said...

I actually liked that Daisy forgave Coulson quickly and the drama was not drawn out needlessly.

I mean Future Elena was kind of useless in warning her Past counterpart that she was gonna lose her arms like 24 hours after she had that conversation.

That's a very good observation, televisionandotherrantings. About Ruby's timing, it's either some ability Ruby possesses to foresee her opponents' moves, or a "Seeing Red" bullet type stuff.

[PROMO AND PRESS RELEASE SPOILERS FOR THE 100TH EPISODE FOLLOW] I read the description for the 100th episode, so I know it will address Coulson's deal with the Ghost Rider. But then from the promo, it looks like some other crazy stuff will happen too. There was a shot of an evil nun. A nun! Very horror-ish. Do we know if any character on this show had a Catholic upbringing? There were also new shots of Hive and Lash. One theory I read is that the three monoliths will "mix" and the characters will be sent to a spacetime displaced dimension.

I'm enjoying season five so far. The fist arc dragged things a bit in its middle section, but it ended with strong episodes that, in my opinion, did a great job setting up the remainder of the season.

Michal Dvorak said...

One thing that bugged me about Elena losing her arms - limb re-attachment surgery has been first performed in 1962, and many times since then. Why on Earth didn't they pick up Elena's arms and re-attach them? Considering the amount of cutting-edge science they do almost every episode, this should be a walk in the park for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. They didn't even try.

Anonymous said...

While dragging out the Coulson/Daisy drama may not have been the best thing (Supernatural S9 kind of suffered a bit with this (though it did lead to Drowley)) I think some was entitled given Coulson clearly was dismissive of her view on things here (plus Episode 100 probably would have shooken things up anyway). Just seems a bit underwhelming to set up this conflict and barely address it (still maybe 100 will give us something).

I can kind of forgive the arm thing if only cause it was kind of a dangerous situation and there was a chance they could have gotten their asses kicked. Though like much of this season they could have maybe put in a line somewhere (maybe there will be more to come).

I don't think it was said specifically anyone was Catholic (at least nothing that I can recall specifically) but Yo Yo and Mack are at least some kind of religious.

Patryk said...

For a moment there I thought those were Kree in armor. Now I wonder where did they get the robots from.

Serena + Pumpkin said...

Ok I hate to try and even bring up timeline continuity questions. But - in 2022 flashbacks, Elena had both arms. If this is the time loop coming true, shouldn’t she have lost them later?

Also, yeah, Coulson has a robot hand with a digital shield.