Agents of SHIELD 5.21

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 5.21 Recap: “You’re Just the Villain of the Month”

The rumors from last month have borne out. ABC has officially renewed ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ for a sixth season. It’ll only have 13 episodes, but hopefully the show will do better with a more concise narrative and less padding.

A Quick Catch-Up

Not until I sat down to write the latest recap did I realize that I hadn’t written one for the prior episode. It didn’t even occur to me that I’d missed it!

In short (and yes, the realization that an entire episode can be summed up in a few sentences makes me question what I’ve been doing with these long recaps), Gen. Talbot allowed his new gravitonium powers to go to his head and believes himself to be a superhero on par with the Avengers. He’s also turned incredibly paranoid and murderous, and believes for no reason that S.H.I.E.L.D. has betrayed him. He killed Hale (who, admittedly, wasn’t very trustworthy) and formed a pact with the Confederacy of alien races, replacing HYDRA as the representative from Earth. Basically, he’s gone full-evil but still thinks he’s the good guy.

Also, he trimmed his beard and now wears a silly costume.

Where We Are Now

Talbot turned Daisy over to a Kree named Taryan, master of House Kasius and father to the pompous twit she tangled with in her trip to the future. While trying to persuade the Destroyer of Worlds to become his ally voluntarily, she disses his stupid makeup, which perhaps looks even dumber than his son’s.

Coulson and May are prisoners of Qovas, the black guy in charge of the Remorath Marauders. He locks them in a cell and informs them that his ship has missiles locked on the Lighthouse that he will fire should they pull any funny business.

Back on Earth, Fitz and Jemma toil away at making a cure for Coulson’s disease using the Centipede serum and DNA samples from the skeleton of Daisy’s mother, Jiaying. Fitz has a new theory that saving Coulson will break the time loop after all. He says that Old Yo-Yo’s warning about how trying to save Coulson will doom them really means that what they need to do is succeed at it. “What if all we have to do is not fail?”

Talbot steals a quinjet from Zephyr One and flies it down to Earth, where he finds Carl Creel in a hospital. Talbot promises him that he knows how to silence the voices in his head. Creel is skeptical, but the voices are really tormenting him so he agrees to touch Talbot’s hand. Unfortunately, the cure is that Talbot liquefies and absorbs Creel into his own body. Mack and Yo-Yo witness this on a security camera and are horrified.

Daisy isn’t convinced by Kasius Sr.’s sales pitch. However, when she tries to use her powers on him, he smugly reveals that their meeting is taking place entirely in her subconscious. Her body, meanwhile, is sedated and being brought to him. That won’t stop Daisy, though. She manages to wake herself up and fight free.

Just as Coulson and May think they’ve figured a way out of their cell, Deke opens the door and busts them out. He tries to lead them back to the Zephyr but gets lost in the hallways. Fortunately, they run into Daisy.

Lamenting what has become of Gen. Talbot, Mack orders Fitz and Jemma to table their research on the Coulson cure and instead work on a way to counteract the gravitonium. They have an idea that involves combining the Centipede serum with Odium, the alien PCP that gives the Kree super-strength and makes them go nuts.

Talbot goes home to visit his son and proudly shows off that he has super powers now. His wife is incredibly nervous to see him again. He’s not too pleased with her due to the way she helped HYDRA brainwash him. They argue and he uses his power to violently throw her against a wall, scaring his son.

May wants Coulson to go back to the Zephyr with Daisy while she and Deke stay on the alien ship to disarm the missiles. (Deke is useful because he can read numbers in the alien language.) Coulson stubbornly refuses to leave her and they bicker. They come under fire from aliens, which Coulson deflects with his neat forcefield shield thing, and decides that this is a great opportunity to kiss May. Daisy is taken aback. She mops up the aliens so Coulson and May can finish smooching. Ultimately, Coulson agrees that May is right and the four of them should split up.

Mack tracks Talbot back to his house and arrives with a S.H.I.E.L.D. team. Talbot toys with them by smashing their cars around and repelling their bullets. He’s powerful enough to kill them without hardly trying, but he stops when his whiny son calls him a bad man. Talbot flies off, vowing to prove that he’s a hero.

May and Deke make their way to the Remorath ship’s bridge and reprogram the missiles to select a new target. Qovas interrupts and fights with May while Deke tries to figure out how to use the teleporter device to get them out of there. Laughing at their foolishness, Qovas fires his missiles – but before they reach Earth, the missiles circle around and head right back to the ship, the target May selected. Qovas is dumstruck. May and Deke teleport away just as the ship goes kaboom.

They make it back to the Lighthouse. On board Zephyr One, Coulson’s arm starts bleeding and is covered with signs of the infection. He passes out and Daisy rushes him back to Earth.

Fitz explains that there’s no way to get the gravitonium out of Talbot, but that he and Jemma have cooked up a more “permanent solution” – i.e. killing him. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough Centipede serum to both cure Coulson and kill Talbot. They need to choose. If they save their friend, Talbot will likely destroy the Earth. But if they kill Talbot instead, Coulson will die too.

As if to confirm where his storyline is heading, Talbot kidnaps Robin and her mother. (Seriously, how easy are these people to find? Has S.H.I.E.L.D. never heard of a safe house?) He asks the girl if she’s seen him in a vision cracking the planet apart to dig up something underneath. She nods that she has, and he asks to know where this thing he wants, whatever it may be, is.

Episode Verdict

This was the penultimate episode of the season. It’s pretty good, aside from the goofiness of Talbot’s Graviton costume, which even some of the other characters make fun of. Talbot’s switch to evil seems kind of sudden, but the guy was shot in the head and isn’t thinking straight. I like the moral dilemma the team has to face, choosing either to save one friend and risk the world or let him die (and kill another former friend) to save it.

The finale episode is titled ‘The End’, which suggests that the show-runners may have planned it as a series finale while waiting to hear whether they’d been renewed or canceled. Will it even leave enough room for another season? I guess we’ll see.


  1. Cory Springhorn

    “ABC has officially renewed ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ for a sixth season, to be its last.”
    Sloppy reporting. You’re making up the part about the sixth season being the last. It may turn out that way, of course, but that has yet to be decided, and you should not be mixing fact (ABC has officially renewed the show for a sixth season) with speculation (the sixth season may be the last.)
    The President of ABC Entertainment, Channing Dungey, specifically said that the sixth season is not envisioned as a final season. As quoted on
    “I feel the season we just had was creatively the strongest yet,” she told attendees. We don’t plan it as a final season. The show has a loyal passionate base. It does incredibly well in delayed viewing. By putting it on the summer we feel we can super-serve the show’s audience and possibly have it on the air longer,” she added.

    • Josh Zyber

      Initial reports claimed it would be the last. I’ll remove those four words if it makes you feel better, though the likelihood of this show surviving to seven seasons is extremely remote.

  2. Badboy

    I think people are reading way too much into the situation here.

    We know two things, firstly that the decision of whether there would be a season 6 came late, and secondly season 6 will be 13 episodes.

    Given the events of Infinity War, it’s easy to see why the 13 episodes decision was made, and the reason why it came in late was probably because they were deciding whether to skip a season until after the next film or not. Neither means that ABC have no faith in the shower. True 7 seasons is enough for any TV show, but im pretty confident there will be a season 7 regardless.

    • Josh Zyber

      The show’s ratings are anemic at this point. ABC wanted to cancel it, but were overruled by Disney corporate, which wants it to continue because the show still brings in strong revenue overseas – especially in Asia, where Chloe Bennet is quite popular. They compromised on a half episode order.

  3. Badboy

    Ratings don’t mean shit in this day and age, certainly not for just one country, not given how many ways people can digest content.

    Most shows wouldn’t make it past season 1 based on that criteria (and a lot don’t sadly) I’m not saying this hasn’t run its course. But at the same time basing a cancellation decision solely on US TV ratings is a little silly (and far too common)

    It really doesn’t matter one way or the other as Disney can go it alone if needs be, they don’t need ABC or anyone else at this point. They could get Netflix to fund it if they really wanted to for example. The age of TV as we all knew is rapidly coming to an end.

    • Josh Zyber

      Disney still needs an outlet to air the show, and if ABC cancels it, nobody else is going to want it at this point. Netflix doesn’t need to pick up a failing show with a dwindling fan base in its seventh season. That has little appeal for them.

      Even though ABC is owned by Disney, the network still needs to make responsible decisions for its own business interests. As the ratings fall, so does advertising revenue. (ABC itself doesn’t see any of that foreign or ancillary income.) If airing a couple reruns of Modern Family in that timeslot will bring in more ad dollars than new episodes of Agents of SHIELD, it becomes irresponsible for the network to keep the show on the air any longer.

  4. genesim

    By the way, saw season 4 is finally getting a UK bluray release…the bad for me…what is with this digipack thing? I hope it comes out in a standard edition too. My OCD can’t take it, and my printer…while it will have to suffice for custom print out, just isn’t as good as an official release artwork.

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