A reader last week asked why I continue to watch ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ when I’m so disappointed with this season. Like many viewers who’ve already invested a significant amount of time with a series, I feel an obligation to see it through. I’ve come this far, and this is very likely the show’s final season. How can I give up now?
I won’t say that we’ve come to the point that I’m actively hate-watching the series, as ‘The Walking Dead’ is quickly transitioning to, but it certainly feels like a chore I have to get through each week rather than something I look forward to.
The latest round of mediocrity picks up with Daisy, Fitz and Jemma on the run from the Kree. Daisy’s powers are still suppressed, but she proves capable of taking down a Kree guard without them. When Jemma’s implant goes berserk and she screams in agony, Fitz pulls it out of her ear. Nobody thinks to remove Daisy’s, though. As they make their way to Fitz’s escape ship, they witness it blowing up at the station’s dock.
Even though it sure looked like Jemma slit Kasius’ throat in the previous episode, he merely has a small scar on his cheek. What did Jemma think that would accomplish? Kasius is incredibly vain about this blemish. His dickish brother Faulnak chides him for being such a pansy, and kind of has a point. Kasius assures his brother that Sinara can recapture Daisy, but Faulnak has no faith in him and orders his best warrior, Maston-Dar, to hunt the fugitives down himself. Maston has a weird fetish of preferring to hunt his prey with their own primitive weapons, and arms up with a bunch of Earth guns and knives. After they leave, Kasius begs Sinara to find Daisy first. She’s still pretty pissy with him about sending her into the fighting pit to die.
May is still alive on the Earth’s surface. (How the planet still has an atmosphere is never questioned.) Enoch finds and saves her from one of the alien monsters called roaches, and introduces himself as a friend of Fitz. She recognizes his voice as the man who captured them in the restaurant and is skeptical of his motives, but before they can argue about it, a “gravity storm” hits the area and sends May tumbling through the air. Suddenly, masked figures appear and grab both of them with grappling chain weapons.
Kasius and his brother argue some more, during which it’s revealed that Kasius was disgraced from his family for cowardly fleeing from a major battle. Kasius argues that he was intentionally sent on a suicide mission from which he had no chance of victory. Faulnak has no patience for his excuses.
Working their way through the bowels of the station, Fitz, Jemma and Daisy discover that the artificial gravity is maintained by gravitonium. Other than a fan-service callback to Season 1, I’m not sure why that’s supposed to be a shocking revelation, but Fitz and Jemma sure act like it is. They’re then promptly cornered by Maston, but Daisy fights him off long enough for them to escape and run into Deke, who brings them to Coulson and the rest of the team. Nobody much trusts Deke, but he swears that he’s really on their side and only turned Daisy in to Kasius to stop her from recklessly getting a lot of innocent people killed.
Sad about his friend Tess getting killed, the young Inhuman boy Flint runs off and turns himself in to the badass Kree guard searching for him. The boy then kills him by making a pointy rock dagger (it’s explained that his telekinesis only affects rocks for some reason) and shooting it into the guard’s eye, but Sinara knocks him out to use him as bait.
In short order, Daisy surrenders to Sinara to save Flint, but of course it’s a ruse. Coulson shoots at Sinara and grazes her in the arm. (Why is everybody on this show such a bad shot?) The team regroup but get trapped in a locked foundry room by Sinara and Maston. The only way out is an air shaft leading straight up. Fortunately, Deke has an anti-gravity doodad on his belt that allows them to float up the shaft one at a time while Maston shoots through the walls with a powerful rifle. By the time Maston breaks through the wall, they’re all gone. Idiot Maston underestimates Sinara, who kills him with her flying balls as soon as he turns his back to her.
As the others make plans to travel to the Earth’s surface in the trawler ship, Flint won’t leave the station. He wants to play hero and save all his oppressed friends. Mack and Yo-Yo agree to stay and help. Fitz tells them that he stashed a bunch of useful S.H.I.E.L.D. tech on Level 3. Unfortunately, that level is now infested with roach monsters.
Lacking any qualified pilots, Coulson tries to fly the trawler himself, reasoning that it can’t be too much different from his flying car. This seems like faulty logic. Indeed, the trawler has a very rough descent toward Earth.
Sinara delivers the bad news to Kasius and Faulnak that Daisy and the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies have escaped, and also boasts of having killed Maston herself. Faulnak is impressed by her brazen ambition and offers her a job working for him – even though she just proved incapable of capturing Daisy. This is all just a ploy by Sinara to distract Faulnak and let Kasius stab him in the back with the bayonet on an old Earth rifle. Kasius gloats as his brother bleeds out. He conspires with Sinara to blame Faulnak’s death on Daisy. If they kill her to avenge his brother, that will get Kasius back in his daddy’s good graces.
Finally, May wakes up to discover that she and Enoch are somehow aboard Zephyr One. A group of masked figures enter the room. An elderly woman takes off her mask and shows May a carved wooden bird, identifying her as Robin, formerly the little psychic girl who sent Fitz on his mission to the future.
Although the action is tepid and the double-crossing plot twists are entirely predictable, this episode is surprisingly tolerable by the standards of this season. At least, I felt less bored by it than the last few. Perhaps I was just in a better mood going in, or perhaps my expectations have fallen so low that it takes less to keep me engaged. We’ll see how I feel next week.