Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Leap

"You're not hunting me, you're longing for me."

Oh, this was a good one. For the most part. Tense and packed with good twists, this was just the type of bottle episode that Agents knows how to deliver. It's Izel versus everyone in a complicated chess game where she is clearly the queen.

After possessing May's body and shooting Sarge, Izel jumps from one person to another to get what she wants: the Monoliths (or what is left of them). She faces some complications, though. The agents are quick to figure out what is going on and try their best to contain her. I've complained that the writers have dumbed down the agents to advance the plot a couple of times this season, but here they did the exact opposite. The plot demands that the villain comes out on top for now, and instead of doing that by diminishing the intelligence of the good guys, the script lets them be smart and the villain be smarter. That's one of the reasons why "Leap" is mostly a strong outing.

The scene where the agents try to determine if and which one of them is possessed by Izel is terrific. It's a tense moment but also a clever one that allows for some secrets to be revealed, both fun and emotional ones. Mack displays his leadership skills when, after clearing Daisy and Yo-Yo, he wastes no time to isolate them: if Izel possesses either one of them, they are all doomed. While new information to the audience was used to clear most of the agents, the writers use one we already knew when Mack notices that Fitz is off and proceeds to confront him. That's a good call because it allows the audience to get absorbed into the scene – we are right there with the other characters waiting for an answer. And the way Mack approaches Fitz... Man, he knew Fitz was the possessed one. Henry Simmons brings such a gravitas to his role and his Mack really shines here (may I also say, he is a very gorgeous man).


After being exposed and leaving Fitz's body, Izel doesn't slow down and hops from one agent to another, leaving everyone in a panicked state. I always find it so scary when the being possessing a person makes that person hurt themselves, and Izel didn't think twice to use that as a weapon against the humans ganging up on her. The scene escalated quickly, from Piper shooting her own hand to poor Davis killing himself. Now, that hurt. They gave Davis extra screentime this season only so that his death would hurt more, didn't they?

For all the good work the episode built from the paranoia of body possession, it lost traction in the final act with that enormous exposition dump. Let's sum it up: Izel comes from a realm where beings have no form. Somehow, she was able to assume her current form and leave that world. When the three Monoliths (time, space and creation) exploded last season, they opened a rift to that realm. Coulson went to close that rift, and a copy of his body and personality was sent through time and space. Pachakutiq, a buddy of Izel's, jumped into Coulson's double, and took the opportunity to follow Izel's footsteps and leave the Realm of Beings with No Form. However, the combination of Coulson 2.0 and Pachakutiq resulted in Sarge, who doesn't have the memories of either Coulson or Pachakutiq. What the hell? The Pachakutiq side of his personality draws him to Izel, but the Coulson part makes him mistake her as his enemy, when she is his ally. She shot him to wake him up, and her endgame is to open the portal to their realm so that all of their formless buddies can come to Earth and be happy with them.

Oof... Did we really need all that information dumped at once? Couldn't they have saved some information for the next episode? It's not that there aren't any unanswered questions, but, wow... it was hard to keep track of Sarge's emotional journey there.

I worry. I liked the first part of season three until its disappointing conclusion, when it was made clear that the entire story told thus far was basically a huge plot maneuver to extend Brett Dalton's stay on the show. They had done such an excellent job this season to justify Clark Gregg's presence, but I'm afraid they might make a similar mistake to the one made in season three, though this time not to keep the actor around, but the character. It's as if they want to have it both ways: keep the legacy of season five alive – and therefore keep Coulson dead – but still have Coulson back somehow. It's not that they aren't allowed to do it, but does it really require such a complicated story to get there? The second version of Fitz happened very organically and logically, and it didn't require an entire season of back-and-forth to get to him. Maybe I'm being to quick to judge, but as of now, the main story of the season looks a bit of a mess. And there are only three episodes left to fix it.

Intel and Assets

- From Wikipedia: In Quechua Pachakutiq means "he who overturns space and time" (though more commonly translated as "earth shaker"). Is this connected to anything relevant from the comic books?

- This is what we learned when the agents shared information to prove they were themselves: the time Elena misses Pitosí the most is her mother's birthday; Daisy sends part of her salary to Lincoln's sister; and Davis stole an alien pen.

- Sad question now: did Davis ever get to see his kid? :( Damn you, Simmons.

- Yo-Yo made a quick reference to the killing of Ruby.

- May not using a gun came back as a plot point. Now I understand why they were being so on the nose about it earlier this season (but they didn't need to be).

- A random shot of the two most powerful agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:


Quotes

Daisy (to May): "Really? You're gonna shoot a guy in holding and then just go silent? Silenter."

May (to Yo-Yo): "You and Mack were obviously about to have sex. You asked what I remembered."

Deke: "The other you thought it was a fear dimension."
Fitz: "Yeah, well, he wasn't the smart one."


Most of the episode was great, but the exposition dump in the end hurt it. Three out of four body-hops?
--
Lamounier

1 comment:

televisionandotherrantings said...

This was probably the strongest episode of the season for me up to this point. It was fairly well told and it was nice to get some answers.

As someone who has Season 3 as their favourite I'm just gonna say I was cool that they kept Dalton around since I thought Hive was an effective villain and his performance was pretty good (I know you feel opposite..ly). And frankly I think he had more going for him than Izel who while having some cool possession stuff going on feels a bit thinly sketched (and the look is a little silly). S5 is still at the bottom for me.

I'm alright with the Sarge explanation we got. Having a being that's part Coulson and part something else is a neat idea. And if they do end up leaving him as Coulson by the end of the season at least he won't have all the memories of S5 so at least there will be some sacrifice going on (still have a feeling that Mack could die despite behind the scenes stuff).

Also Lincoln had a sister?