Per aspera ad astra

(Note: This post has full spoilers on the first ten episodes of the season. I do admit that I don’t have the patience to write a post from week to week. That could change one day.)

It’s been a rough road to the stars on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Coulson and the gang (sans Fitz) have been lost in space from where season 4 left off.

Coulson: Well, I don’t have many details, but I do know that we’re in space

Mack: Yeah, that makes sense. The one thing we haven’t done yet!

The first two hours of the season leaned in heavily on what made the show work so well such as reinvention and humor. Putting the characters in space is another example of the show’s fearlessness of not settling into a comfort zone as it increases the scope of it’s storytelling and it’s also very, very funny.

A common trope in anything sci-fi horror. Never. Split. Up.

Things take a sharp turn left when the crew discovers that on top of being lost in space, they’ve travelled forward through time and if that wasn’t enough, earth has been destroyed…because of Daisy!

They make some new friends along the way such as Deke, a smuggler. Flint, a young Inhuman-to-be (more on him later) and Tess, a prisoner in the Lighthouse.

Simmons gets kidnapped by Kasius, a Kree overlord that’s enslaving inhumans and is forced to serve him by placing a device in her ear that deafens her to everything but his voice. Coulson, Mack, Elena and a wounded May are forced into slave labor to bide their time to figure out a plan to get home to the present day. Daisy and Deke form an uneasy alliance to stop Kasius…until Deke turns on her!

Meanwhile…Fitz was left behind and he was taken into custody by the government for the LMD Daisy’s attempt to murder Glenn Talbot (who’s in a coma) as well as the deaths of Jeffrey Mace (Patriot) and Holden Radcliffe. SHIELD, in the present, has been disavowed. Fitz being Fitz figured out a way to escape the authorities with some help from an old friend…former SHIELD agent Lance Hunter! Together, with Enoch, they were able to send Fitz into the future via cryostasis (With an Empire Strikes Back homage as a nice touch!)

Hunter: I love you

Fitz: I know

Guess who’s back?

Speaking of surprise returns. Robin Hinton, the little Inhuman seer from two seasons ago, played a crucial role in their return home. Robin warns Fitz, Hunter and Enoch of an impending apocalypse that could destroy the planet which ties into Daisy’s unwanted label of “Destroyer of Worlds”

Elsewhere in the Lighthouse, Flint, underwent Terrigenesis, and he became an Inhuman with the power of geokinesis. Luckily, he had Mack and Yo-Yo to help him with mastering his powers. Fitz, now in 2091, infiltrated Kasius’ lair to save Daisy and Simmons. With the deaf device out of her head, Fitz and Simmons decide to get married! (A well-earned moment, I might add!)

The gang, now reunited, decide to carry out their next course of action. Coulson, Daisy, Fitz and Simmons start looking for May on the surface and Mack, Yo-Yo and Flint stay behind to spark a revolution against Kasius’ empire.

“Hello, gorgeous”

A wounded May encounters the future Robin in space and there were flashbacks (or flashforwards…time travel can be a real headache) prior to the Earth’s destruction in 2091 from Fitz trying to build a time machine to the Zephyr-1 crashing to an out-for-Kree-blood Yo-Yo jumping headfirst to a losing battle against Kasius to May raising a young Robin way back in 2022 and footage of Daisy staying behind on Earth to fight an unknown threat. The key to return home to the present lies in Flint’s hands as Robin’s last words before she dies to May were to find him. During the flashbacks, Fitz discovers that they’re stuck in a time loop being forced to live through the same span of time again and again (“Endless. Looped. Time”)

Kasius has got an ace up his sleeve as he’s got a seer of his own…IT’S YO-YO!

Yo-Yo circa 2018 makes this shocking discovery as she faces her disillusioned future self who Kasius has held captive by killing and resurrecting her constantly for whatever he needed (blood, DNA, etc). Future Yo-Yo reveals that in order to break the time loop and prevent armageddon…Phil Coulson must die!

Daisy, still harbouring responsibility for what she has lost, decides to stay behind in the future to prevent this catastrophe from ever happening. An ailing Coulson, now realising that his end is coming, has other ideas as he shoots her unconscious to take her and the rest of the gang back home as the monolith that brought our heroes together is reassembled by Flint. Kasius also met his end at the hands of Mack and Simmons with the latter getting some poetic justice and it gave Mack an opening to stab him with his shotgun axe.

This space opera has reached its crescendo and the gang’s taking a break before the next chapter…

Thoughts:

  • I wanna give VFX supervisor Mark Kolpack a well-deserved shoutout. The visuals looked fantastic. It was roughly 7 or so months between seasons 4 and 5. I can definitely tell that there’s an extra layer of polish in the shots of space or when Elena and Flint use their powers, so that time was well spent.
  • May didn’t have as much screen-time in this arc but Ming-Na Wen made every minute count. As an added bonus, Ming’s recent knee injury got incorporated into the show as May was wounded for most of it. The attention to detail made me smile. Her stunt work coming off of an injury like that is astounding. Her scenes with Robin (young and old) also stand out, as cool as stoic, badass warrior May is, she’s got this rarely seen warmth and it was delightful to see that on display.
  • The Framework has left an indelible mark on the characters, especially Fitz and Mack, who both shined in some of the more dramatic beats. Henry Simmons was terrific in conveying Mack’s pain of not being a father to Yo-Yo and it took a simple fetch quest to pry open those wounds again. Iain De Caestecker also nailed a conflicted Fitz who’s trying to control the mean streak he developed in the Framework. Those human moments help keep this interstellar drama earthbound.
  • Natalia Cordova-Buckley also delivered her best performance to date on last night’s episode playing both her current and future versions of Yo-Yo. In a shocking bit of fan service, Future Yo-Yo had her arms severed by Kasius (shudders). “Stuck in the loop” cements how different the versions of Yo-Yo are from each other (Sidebar: It’s a real coincidence that this episode aired on Groundhog Day last night which knows something about repetition!)

Burning questions:

  • With this glimpse into the future…what can the gang do to prevent the earth from getting destroyed? Can they clear their names?
  • Coulson made a deal with the devil last season to stop Aida and it led to his current predicament. Will a certain Spirit of Vengeance come to collect?
  • Are Fitz and Simmons gonna make it to the altar?
  • What will the gang’s reaction be to Coulson’s secret?
  • Are Phil and May gonna get together?
  • Will Elena stay in one piece?
  • Should Coulson pass away (not that I’m advocating) will Daisy be his successor?
  • Who the hell is Ruby?!?!

Just as the show is starting to get back down to earth. I was left with more questions than answers. Overall, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is in fine form this season & if this is any indication, the 100th episode is shaping up to be a must-see event.

March 2nd can’t come soon enough!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Pingback: Per aspera ad astra - Rank Series

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