Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: All Roads Lead...

"I just saved the world."

Except she didn't. All roads lead to the freaking end of the world.

This episode was yet another immersion into darkness, culminating in a tense, twisted final act.

Did Yo-Yo do the right thing? Yes and no, it depends on how you analyze the situation. Ruby needed to be contained, as in killed. I don't see how that could have been averted. She had an unstable personality and was infused with a great power that she couldn't control. Even if she came around, I have very little doubt that she would eventually snap and start killing people left and right. So from a strictly tactical approach, taking Ruby out quickly was the right decision.

I didn't understand why Daisy thought Ruby was S.H.I.E.L.D. agent material. What Daisy knew of Ruby is that she was raised under Hydra values, cut off Yo-Yo's arms, tried to kill Coulson and Talbot, and had a psychotic obsession with her. How did she jump to the idea that, if well guided, Ruby could become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent? That line rang false, and I suspect it was only planted there to propel a conflict between Daisy, who could have been Ruby's savior, and Yo-Yo, the one who slaughtered her.

I did understand, however, why Daisy sympathized with Ruby during her final moments. Her desperation was palpable, and Daisy can relate to going through a traumatic metamorphosis. Ruby was falling apart and, instead of confronting her, Daisy kept relying on Hale's connection with Ruby to turn her around, which was a beautiful, heartfelt choice. After leaving the chamber, Ruby wasn't a teenage villain wannabe, she was both a dangerous being and a scared young woman crying for help. Which is why her demise was such a gut punch. Yo-Yo didn't wait to see which side of Ruby was going to rise above the other.

And here is where Yo-Yo got it wrong: from her end, killing Ruby was a shot in the dark. When Fitz cut into Daisy to activate her powers, he knew that it had to be done. It was the solution to close the rift. Yo-Yo, however, didn't assess the whole scenario to know with certainty that killing Ruby was the only/right option. She said that she had just saved the world, to oppose Daisy's accusation of murder, but she might have started the events that end it. You can't deny that there was a component of vengeance to her choice, which is understandable given everything that she has seen and been through, but, wow, it's another character going dark.

This is less abrupt than what happened to Fitz, though. Elena has been getting colder and more action-oriented for the past few episodes and, unlike what the writers are doing to Fitz, I doubt they'll spend the next episodes showing us how cute Yo-Yo is to counterbalance her darkness. Is Elena going to pay a price for killing Ruby? Will she regret it or just internalize as "it had to be done," like Fitz did? I also wonder why Future Elena didn't say a word about Ruby. "Ruby is going to cut off your arms" and "don't kill Ruby" probably would have been handy advice, no pun intended. Unless Future Elena, during her iteration of the loop, was told by her future self not to kill Ruby and that didn't make a difference. All roads lead... And if that's the case, what change could possibly be significant enough to break the loop?

I never cared for Hale as much as I did when she gave up control and surrendered to Daisy and May. At that moment, she was just a parent who wanted to rescue her kid before it was too late. I wish she could put the blame on Yo-Yo instead of S.H.I.E.L.D. – after all, Daisy was trying to help Ruby – but she just lost her daughter, so it's comprehensible that, being a Hydra alum, she decided to raise her middle finger to the world and be done with it. Finally, enter Qovas, who I presume is the ultimate Big Bad of the season.

Or is he? We were shown again that drawing of Robin that has several little persons inside a person:


This could be related to the prophecy of Coulson bringing all the pieces together, where "pieces" might refer to the members of the fractured S.H.I.E.L.D. team. But after this episode, we are led to believe that the drawing represents the person who will be infused with the 92% that is left of gravitonium. That person will carry the consciousness of Dr. Hall, Ian Quinn, Ruby (?), Creel (?) and whoever else is inside there (or has touched it). Who will be the lucky one? Daisy? Qovas? Someone else?

While Ruby ruined her life and Yo-Yo became a killer, Talbot went crazy in the Lighthouse. One thing I didn't realize last episode is that Talbot wasn't being forced to comply to keep his family safe, he was a sleeper agent who had just been activated. That produced a basic B plot that didn't do much except keep Coulson and Mack busy. Talbot tried to kidnap Robin, but Coulson talked him out of it and, for now, that's it. However, I have a feeling it isn't over for Talbot yet.

Coulson was left behind in the Lighthouse because May and Daisy think he is not fit to lead right now, and they are right. I love that May is giving Coulson zero chance to produce excuses, but she should give him some space to talk. He could drop dead at any minute now and she'll regret not having an actual conversation with him, especially considering how they are on the same page regarding their feelings for one another.

As the season races to its finish line – with only four episodes left and several plot threads yet to come together – I have the impression that we will see the end of the world happen and the loop repeat until someone figures out how to break it. However it happens, I really want these people to have a happy ending. I love a dark story, and I can't complain of episodes like this one, but the characters went through too much already. It's admirable that they aren't all suffering from PTSD. Considering that this could be the final season, the final ten minutes of the finale better show the team enjoying an extended vacation in Tahiti, or else I'll riot.

Intel and Assets

- Gold acting stars to Dove Cameron, she sold the hell out of her final scene and made me feel for her Ruby.

- Alex (Von Strucker) had one of the most gruesome TV deaths I've ever watched.

- That burst of gravitonium out of Ruby's body has to mean something, right? Maybe part of the gravitonium entered Daisy's body?

- Fitz and Simmons have decided they care too much about each other to let one of them die to save the world. I would have loved that five episodes ago, but now I just need Fitz to produce an actual apology to Daisy, and Simmons to drop the "we are capable of making difficult choices" speech. Come on, guys, you've been my favorite characters for so long, don't disappoint me now.

- "Back" in 2091, lemons were the symbol of love. If you were into someone, you would give them lemons, a tradition that Deke will follow to conquer Daisy's heart. I loved that Mack and Coulson didn't talk him out of it. Deke is the biggest source of humor right now, a welcome pinch of fun in a story that is getting darker and darker.

How to conquer a girl, by Deke Shaw-Fitzsimmons.
- Seriously, I can't wait to see Daisy's reaction to receiving a lemon as a gift of love.

- Another bit that was fun? Daisy and May kicking ass together. Good times.


- Creel is now with S.H.I.E.L.D., but he is in a horrible state, with the gravitonium "ghosts" taking control of his mind.

- Last week I asked why Yo-Yo didn't get to Fitz and Simmons before Ruby, and this episode answered it: her robotic arms were malfunctioning and giving her too much pain, so she retreated to the Quinjet.

- Some of Robin's drawings for our consideration. I'm guessing the one with the hurricanes is that scene from "The Last Day" when May is piloting the Zephyr, trying to get them to the Lighthouse.




Ruby (to Fitzsimmons): "Aw. You two are adorable. I ship it, I really do."

Mack: "The idea of the Zephyr flying to space still feels a bit out there."
Deke: "Yeah, well, I'm not even gonna be born for another 50 years, so maybe rethink 'out there.'"

Coulson: "When in doubt, get a bunch of lemons."

Deke: "Women, huh?"
Mack: "Shut up, lemons."

An excellent hour that picked up the pace of the season. Three and a half out of four lemons.

Important note: do not post Infinity War spoilers in the comments, even if you think that somehow there will be a connection with Agents.
--
Lamounier

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

''This is less abrupt than what happened to Fitz'' i disagree.
Fitz's descent into darkness was subtle and a long time coming. ]
All the characters never really got to deal with the framework which Fitz probably had the worst of. Episode 5 of this season was the first hint on Fitz..Looking back on the earlier half of the season there were several moments that showed the line Fitz was walking..I remember one when he cut of several Kree warriors heads and Jemma noted the brutality he was using. His ability to easily fit in with cosmic monsters when he first arrived in the future was fascinating.

Cheryl said...

Yo-Yo did exactly what I said I would do with Ruby. She was unstable and their is no way she would have learned to control her abilities with the men arguing in her head. Look at what she did to the only person she liked.

I have never been a Daisy fan and not really shipping her as a leader.

Lamounier said...

Anon, I actually agree with you, there is plenty of evidence of Fitz going dark. I should have made my point clearer.

As you said, the buildup was subtle and, because of that, Fitz fully embracing his Framework persona in "The Devil Complex" was done in a way to pull the rug from under us and produce maximum shock. Even during that episode, before the reveal of what was really going on, I had no idea that Fitz would be capable of doing what he did to Daisy. Looking back, it all added up. With Yo-Yo, you could tell for a while that she was capable of killing the person who took her arms off if she had a shot.

Patryk said...

To be honest killing Ruby was the right thing to do. Especially in a post-Walking Dead TV landscape. You can't blame her for leaving Hale alive and thus probably dooming the world.

Talbot's double agent status amounted to nothing though.

Serena + Pumpkin said...

Ok, I’m super annoyed with this arc.

1. Deke wasn’t such an annoying dork in the early episodes. I mean. He was kind of a bad ass and had enough tech skills to program his own version of the Framework. Why is hell is he all of sudden this goofy and clueless?

2. If they really wanted us to buy into this Deke is their grandson thing, it would have been great if Deke and Fitz are shown as having similar manners, and annoy each other especially because they both do that. It’s hard to stomach how annoyed Fitz is with him, especially since he knows he’s his grandson. Plus it’s not like Jemma to not develop some sort of emotional attachment to him.

3. Ruby. Seriously. They are dated SO MANT EPISODES on her only to be killed, and now they have to cram the “will the time loop repeat itself” into the final four. Also - the backstory of General Hale was sloppy storytelling. Yeah I get it played into the not believing Coulson thing, but the time cards etc was like exposition.

I was really intrigued with how could they break the time loop, they should have invested a little more into how their specific actions paralleled or contributed to whether or not are taking them towards an inevitable future. The only thing that really ties is Yo Yo and Fitzsimmons thinking they can’t die.

Oh and trying to save Coulson? It’s like an afterthought. Considering how much future Elena put into it, there should’ve been a lot more exploration into what’s happening with him and their efforts to look for a cure.

I’m highly disappointed, especially as the future arc was so tight. AoS has been getting exponentially better each season - S4 was incredible. This back half has unraveled poorly. I hope that S6 will redeem itself, especially if they can tie in with infinity wars 2.

Serena + Pumpkin said...

Oh and where are the Kree? Why introduce this new alien bad guy? I wanted to see Casius’s dad, either in opposition to Thanos or part of his invading force.