The budget on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is so tight this season that not only have the majority of scenes taken place in nondescript windowless locations, now the lights are getting turned off so we can’t even see what’s happening in them!
Episode ‘Option Two’ also makes an oblique reference to some undefined “events in New York,” which I suppose is as much of an ‘Infinity War’ tie-in as we’re going to get.
With Ruby now dead, Coulson makes a plan to fly Zephyr One into space and slingshot all the gravitonium into the sun, which should eliminate the threat of someone using it to crack apart the Earth. Daisy is nevertheless pissed at Yo-Yo for killing Ruby against her orders. This leaves the whole team divided, some siding with Daisy and some with Yo-Yo. Mack is angry with his girlfriend, and their arguments about making touch choices drive a wedge in their relationship.
Even though it’s against Coulson’s wishes, Daisy and May plot their own secret mission to look into a cure for his illness. For this, Daisy has to sneak out of the base.
Fitz worries that if they break the time loop, that Deke will blink out of existence, as in the way time travel works in ‘Back to the Future’. Deke, however, despite being born post-apocalypse and likely having no education at all much less any exposure to contemporary popular culture, is somehow fully versed in the theory of a multiverse and feels confident that he’ll be fine.
Gen. Talbot can’t stop muttering a series of numbers and eventually realizes that, in his brainwashed state, he gave Hale the coordinates to find the Lighthouse. Just as he tries to warn Coulson about this, as if on cue, a spaceship arrives and hovers over the base. This triggers the base to activate something called “Project Reclamation.” A very antiquated computer terminal prompts Coulson to select from a list of emergencies. Before the option for alien invasion comes up, Coulson impatiently hits the button for nuclear attack. The base immediately goes into full lockdown, and a film strip recording from Gen. Stoner (Patrick Warburton) informs the team that they will be trapped inside for the next 15 years. May chastises Coulson: “You always listen to the whole menu… Always!”
The alien named Qovas appears on a video monitor and, finally seeing his whole face, he’s just a regular-looking actor (Peter Mensah), not even wearing any makeup appliances or anything. He demands that Coulson turn over the gravitonium, but Coulson feels confident that the base is secure from any attack. At least, he does until he remembers that these aliens have a teleportation device and can go anywhere they want.
Sure enough, alien warriors teleport directly into the base. Deke sees them and recognizes them as Marauders, a race of evil scavengers he describes as unstoppable. What they want, they get. Deke explains to the team that everywhere the Marauders go, darkness follows – not just in a metaphorical sense, but they literally cause all the lights around them to go out because they can see in the dark. Conveniently for budget purposes, this means that we rarely get any clear looks at them and all the fighting scenes against them are comprised of ill-defined actions and movements in the dark. When conventional weapons fail to halt the Marauders or even slow them down, Coulson calls for an evacuation. Unfortunately, the base is on lockdown and nobody can get out.
Daisy of course is already outside, and she has no idea that any of this is happening. (A spaceship hovering over a small town isn’t a newsworthy event the media might cover, I guess.) She meets with Tony Caine (Jake Busey), who believes he’s found a promising lead that has connections to John Garrett (R.I.P. Bill Paxton) and a serum created by the HYDRA Centipede program, but the serum is missing an important healing element.
In defending their positions, the team inside the base get split into small factions. Yo-Yo leaves Gen. Talbot in the lab with Jemma as she goes out to fight. Convinced that he can save the day and find redemption for his betrayal, Talbot ices Jemma and climbs into the gravitonium infusion chamber, activating it and letting it run all the way to 100%.
With ammo running low, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team are just about overrun by ninja aliens parkouring through the base hallways, until Talbot saves the day by using his new gravity powers to smoosh all the Marauders into tiny cubes. He then blows the ceiling off one section of the base and flies away with Coulson. Just then, Fitz successfully overrides the lockdown. The Stoner recording declares, “Congratulations! The planet is safe again.”
Looking for the healing agent she needs, Daisy digs up her mom’s grave.
Sadly, just when it seemed like the show was on a roll of decent episodes, this one is pretty cheesy and lame. The Marauders are too goofy to be taken seriously as a threat, and the whole episode feels cheap and chintzy. The plot isn’t particularly interesting either. However, the scenes for the next episode suggest that Talbot will let his new powers go to his head and might be the ultimate villain of the season, which may or may not be a worthwhile twist. We’ll have to see how that plays out.