Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episodes 11 – 17 Review

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Agents of SHIELD return to the present in order to stop the apocalypse in this middle chapter of Season 5, with some elements of their time in the future coming along with them. As the middle it does its job of setting up the end, and it also gives us plenty of good story moments too, including a twist with Fitz that was particualry great TV. So let’s have a deeper look into it, shall we?

Synopsis:

Back in their time, the team meets Noah, Enoch’s successor, who has been monitoring the world from the Lighthouse in their absence. Coulson, May, Fitz, Simmons, Mack, and Yo-Yo investigate a beacon emitting from Earth, which fits Voss’ description of the first signs of the end…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

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It’s a new character! But which one?! ….. It’s Ruby Hale.

Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) – Coulson is back in his native time period, and with all his team to boot! Now all he has to do is save the world before he dies and it’ll all work out…

Daisy Johnson / Quake (Chloe Bennet) – Daisy is happy to currently be without powers, given the whole “she’s going to quake apart the Earth and kill billions of people” thing…

Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen) – May is back in control of her life, somewhat. No framework, no dystopian future, just the present day… and stopping the end of the world.

Leo Fitz (Ian De Caestecker) – Fitz went through a lot to rescue everyone from the future, and he’s now looking to help make sure that doomed future never comes to pass.

Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) – Jemma not only has her hearing back, but also has her… everything back, as she is now back in her own time. Up next: saving the world!

Mack (Henry Simmons) – Mack had to watch the woman he loves get killed in front of him, and even though that was some future version of her, it’s made him possibly over protective of Elena…

Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) – Yo-Yo met up with an armless version of herself from the future who told her that the only way to save everyone is to let Phil Coulson die…

Deke Shaw (Jeff Ward) – Deke was born after  the world had been destroyed, he knows no other life than dytopian doom and gloom… until he suddenly wakes up in the past!

Glenn Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) – Talbot is a long serving member of the air force who has had several run ins with the SHIELD team before. He was recently shot in the head by an LMD that looked like Quake…

Hale (Catherine Dent) – Hale is also a member of the air force, but is also a Hydra agent, trained from her youth to serve the “greater purpose”.

Ruby Hale (Dove Cameron) – Ruby is Hale’s daughter and was genetically engineered to become the perfect Hydra leader… it’s a shame there isn’t much Hydra left…

Carl Creel / The Absorbing Man (Brian Patrick Wade) – Creel has been in and out of prison, his ability to absorb elements and temporarily gain their properties making him a wanted man in the criminal underworld. He is currently free to do what he wants… if he’s allowed to.

Werner von Strucker (Spencer Treat Clark) – The son of Wolfgang von Strucker, he was forced into Hydra by Grant Ward and ended up brain dead for it. He’s now recovering in a medical institution, but maybe not as far from Hydra as he’d like…

Plus many more!

The Good:

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What a cracking episode this was… Read on to find out why!

After a rather dull and repetitive environment in the first chunk of this season, it was nice to see a more varied mix of locations again, and with the exception of May (more on that later) everyone is given something to do.

Episode 14, “The Devil Complex”, was great! After a tear in reality begins to make people’s worse fears manifest, Fitz believes he has the solution but doesn’t know how to get it done, then he encounters a manifestation of his “evil” framework / Hydra self, who taunts him about not doing what has to be done. Eventually the framework Fitz kidnaps Daisy, straps her to a table and begins to forcible remove the inhibitor that was stopping her quake powers, saying that those powers are the only way to seal the rift. This is where the big twist comes: there is no framework manifestation, Fitz has been talking to himself the whole time, leading to a teary Daisy to ask what’s happening when Simmons and Deke arrive to stop him. They’re soon held under gunpoint from some reprogrammed robots as Fitz says he knows he’s not crazy, this is the only way to save everyone and close the rift. Afterwards he’s captured and put in a cell, but he says he’s not sorry, he just did what had to be done. It was such a great episode. It also had the already telegraphed moment of Deke realising he’s Fitz and Simmons’ grandson, which was at least a nice moment as Simmons realises she and Fitz must get through this, er, incident, and still be a couple if they have a daughter and a grandson in the future.

Other key threads that run through this batch are good too, like Coulson revealing that the deal he made with Ghost Rider was to take the alien stuff that was keeping him alive away, basically giving his life at the end of the previous season in order to save everyone. The team try to come up with ways to save him, but Phil doesn’t want any of it. He’s already died once, and it was horrible enough coming back the last time, he doesn’t want to do it again.

Although the return of Hydra wasn’t particularly welcome, I did enjoy the extended flashback, where Hale, the Hydra agent in the air force, is seen as a girl attending some sort of Hydra high school, with teenage versions of several Hydra agents from the past, and other previously seen Hydra soldiers acting as teachers. This along with the return of Werner von Strucker and Episode 12 (which was the 100th overall) having a bunch a call backs as hallucinations / manifested fears, it was a fun chunk of episodes for call-backs.

Speaking of Episode 12, it had Deathlok return for a time, and the wedding of Fitz and Simmons, which is a moment we all knew would be coming. It was a fun episode. What wasn’t fun was Episode 11 and seeing Yo-Yo getting her arms chopped off! That was beyond nasty, and although she now has robotic arms (just like her comic counterpart) it was still hard to watch her lay in bed, unable to do anything with two stumps for arms. Can’t blame Mack for being over protective…

Oh and Talbot, who I normally just role my eyes at as it’s normally just Adrian Pasdar being Adrian Pasdar, is actually a sympathetic character here. After his brain injury due to being shot in the head last season, he lashes out at his young son, then is tortured by Hydra, and even when he’s been rescued by SHIELD he’s clearly not himself. The cliffhanger for Episode 17 implies he’s also a sleeper agent for Hydra, which is a further heartbreak for him… Or at least will be, when he realises…

The Bad:

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The Absorbing Man is back! … This isn’t a bad thing, I just forgot to mention him in the good, and thought this would do just as well…

 Melinda May doesn’t do anything during this chunk of episodes, apart from be worried about Coulson and declaring her love for him. That’s nice and everything, but for the big bad-ass agent, seems like a step backwards…

Hydra… AGAIN? How many times must they pull at that thread before it’s gone?! Yeah, it had some good moments here and there, but just hearing characters say the word “Hydra” makes me roll my eyes.

Fitz, Simmons and Yo-Yo tricking Mack into a cell and running off on their own mission as they each “know” they survive the on-coming apocalypse is… interesting, but why are they trying to change the future recklessly because they know in the future they survive? Makes no sense! If they can change it all and save the world then they can change it so they don’t survive to have Deke’s mother, or be… old, in Yo-Yo’s case. It’s a bizarre conflict of interest, that just kind of annoyed me.

Ruby Hale is… just kind of boring. So is Hale to be honest. I guess it’s just the whole Hydra thing…

Overall Thoughts:

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This also happened, but who care about that, right?

Agents of SHIELD returns to the present and lays some ground work for the big finale, and has some pretty great stand alone episodes as well. The big 100 was fun, and Episode 14 has to be among my picks for best of the series as a whole. Despite some stumbling blocks, I’m looking forward to seeing how it ends…

Episode 14 “The Devil Complex”:

5 Star Watch

The Rest of the Episodes as a whole:

4 Star Watch

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