Remember how much everybody just loved the casino planet storyline in The Last Jedi? What’s that you say… everybody hated it? Well, apparently not the writers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The goofily-titled episode Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson takes place almost entirely in far-off outer space, with only a brief check-in on Earth at the very end. While Jemma and Daisy follow on the heels of Fitz and Enoch, so too does a space bounty hunter (Christopher James Baker) whose scenes are literally played to the iconic synth riff from The Terminator with almost no attempt to disguise it.
The crew of the Zephyr just miss Fitz when they arrive at planet Naro-Atzia. Everybody’s pissed at Jemma for taking them there when they all wanted to go home to Earth first. Daisy orders the ship turned around, but they get waylaid by a pencil-pushing Customs officer named Pretorious Pryce (Clark Middleton from The Blacklist) who insists on boarding and inspecting the ship even when they tell him that they don’t intend to land on the planet. The inspector freaks out when they tell him that they came searching for their friend. At the mere mention of Fitz’s name, the Space Terminator arrives and starts shooting up the place. Fortunately, Agent Davis knocks him out and takes him captive.
Meanwhile, Fitz and Enoch fly to Kitson City, the gambling capital of the galaxy, to drop off the crew they saved from their murderous captain. As thanks, the crew double-cross them and take the ship. Fitz and Enoch are forced to go to a seedy casino called the House of Games in order to raise enough money to secure transportation back to Naro-Atzia. The place bans entrance to any robots, androids, or other synthetic creatures, but a sentient chronicom like Enoch is able to slip past their security sensors. As luck would have it, he’s very good at gambling.
Daisy and Jemma question the Space Terminator, who tells them that Fitz is wanted for tampering with the universe. He somehow knows that Fitz died in his original timeline and the one they’re following is “out of time.” In other words, the Space Terminator is also a Timecop.
For a while, Enoch hits a big winning streak at space poker, but because he doesn’t understand the concept of bluffing, he eventually loses every space buck they have. Fitz is despondent. Enoch suggests that they could work in the brothels to raise some money, but Fitz is not down with that plan. Instead, Enoch puts Fitz himself up as collateral for a loan. To avoid being taken into slavery, Fitz gets locked into a chair and is forced to play Space Twenty-One. Not to worry, Enoch stands at the side of the table and feeds him directions by speaking in high-pitched dolphin squeals that only humans can hear.
Jemma and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team learn that Fitz went to Kitson and follow right after him, with the Space Terminator held as prisoner in the cargo hold. It doesn’t take Daisy long to find his ship and the mutinying crew. Agent Davis, being a total dumbass, notices some brightly colored candy ball things in a jar and immediately assumes they’re safe for a human to eat. He munches down on one and passes the jar to Jemma and Daisy, who do the same. Of course, it turns out that the candy has highly hallucinogenic properties when consumed by Earthlings.
Davis and Piper stay behind in the Zephyr to guard the Space Terminator while Daisy and Jemma head to the casino. In no time at all, the three who ate the candy are tripping major balls. Only Piper remains sober. Due to Davis’ drug-addled incompetence, the Space Terminator gets free.
Stoned out of their gourds, Daisy and Jemma wander through the casino marveling at all the pretty lights and colors. They hear Enoch’s dolphin calls but don’t know what the sound is. They quickly forget what they’re supposed to be doing at all.
After another player at Fitz’s game loses and is killed at the table, Enoch has a seizure and powers down, blaring a deafening alarm sound that gives up the fact that he’s a synthetic. As his accomplice, Fitz is arrested and the two of them are locked in the room together while everyone else evacuates. He’s able to reboot Enoch, who explains that he was overridden remotely by another chronicom. This is bad news, because it means that danger is coming. As he explains, not all chronicoms are friendly scientists like him. Some are soldiers tasked with protecting the timeline by any means necessary.
Sure enough, a bunch of Space Terminators arrive and start shooting up the casino. Drunken Daisy has to fight them off. Jemma searches for Fitz and runs into him momentarily when he escapes his captivity room. Fitz is dumbfounded to see her. As far as he knew, she should be in the future. Sadly, their reunion is cut short when the original Space Terminator grabs Fitz and beams away with him. Enoch stumbles out of the room and sees Jemma, exclaiming, “You should not be here.”
Back on Earth
In an epilogue, the Coulson lookalike named Sarge shoots a big gun at the night sky and makes a laser grid that encircles the planet. Apparently, this is going to help him track something important.
Surprisingly, for as dumb and predictable as it is, I found this episode to be quite a lot of fun. The humor is effective, especially Daisy and Jemma’s drug trip, and the episode mostly doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s just a lark, but an entertaining one.
The conceit of everybody eating the drug candy is pretty stupid, though. It’s also very apparent that the series blew through its budget with the first two episodes this season, because this one looks very cheap. Pretty much the whole thing takes place in a dimly-lit warehouse with blank gray walls and a few neon lights here and there. However, that’s charming in a way and the episode plays with an appealing 1980s B-movie vibe.