Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Recap: Orientation Parts 1 & 2
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. drops our crew in a completely, and potentially hopeless situation, as Season 5 goes where no AoS season has gone before.
“Home is where I want to be/But I guess I’m already there” belted out over the opening to this season’s AoS episode, a large circular hint about the reality Coulson and company were in after waking up at the end of last season’s coda to find themselves on a colony-like ship in a debris field in the middle of space. (Also? A great use of a Talking Heads song.) Even without the lyrical giveaway, it was pretty easy to guess that Simmons was asking the wrong question when she began demanding they figure out *where* in space she and the rest of the crew (minus Fitz) had been jettisoned to via rock portal. The real question should have been “Guys when are we?”
Simmons: Okay. Alright. Any idea which *part* of space we’re in?
Coulson: Uh… outer?
That question sadly never was exactly answered during last night’s two-hour premiere, though perhaps it’s not too hard to do the math. Especially since we’re already privy to one piece of information that Coulson and company aren’t. They were thrown forward in time by a Kree in a skin suit, who is most likely here on Earth, sent back from that future world.
If then, the Kree are already here in the present, working to make this happen, then we should expect that the colony spaceship Coulson and company are on in the future is in the planning stages, and the “90 odd years ago” when it was built is around the year 2020 or so. (This would also be why Coulson’s remark “That would mean this thing was build in the 20s” caused Deke to double take.)
It also means the “elders” who have been killed off would have only been the one that lived through the devastation, and our new friends are only a generation or two removed from it. It also means the destruction of Earth into the “bread crust-and-meteor shower” state we currently find it in is as much a thing Coulson and company need to be working towards stopping as they do the Kree take over of humanity.
Following in the footsteps of ABC’s The Inhumans and a move to Friday night might be the final doom of AoS, one might be worried about the show’s future period. But this two-part episode was the strongest set-up season opener the show has produced in five years. It’s notable that this is also the first time in over a year that show hasn’t come with a subtitle demarking a pod-like nature to the story at hand. Whether that’s by design that they are returning to a single arc this go-round, or merely by necessity, (since the series didn’t start airing until December), is as yet unclear.
Simmons: Well, I’m a biologist, but, sure, I can invent time travel. Just give me a minute.
Of the two hours aired, the first hour hit harder than the second in terms of storytelling. The opening 20 minutes, which Marvel has been putting out there to draw audiences in, hits on all cylinders, from the “Dark and Gritty Space Reboot” feel to the character banter, to the introduction of the “mythos” of SHIELD in this time period, without actually answering any questions. Really, someone should just let Virgil finish a sentence.
Going from the mindless “roaches” (presumably called that because they are the last thing still able to live on Earth) as a foil to the far more terrifying Kree oppressors was highly effective, as was the reveal of the reality of what had happened to Earth, and, of course, the final flip over of the postcard from Fitz. The torturing of Mack and YoYo by the Kree to set up “Kasius” as the leader was also well done, even if it took me a minute, once he actually turned up, to put two and two together.
Despite the “every reference to popular dystopias and the kitchen sink from Hunger Games” nature of the world that our heroes have been thrown into, by the end of the first episode, as Simmons was taken away, things already felt helpless in the extreme. The second hour lagged a bit, as the Hunger Games played out downstairs, and Simmons spent her time getting dolled up several floors up. But even so, it felt like each commercial break arrived with yet another twist to the situation, especially once the framework was reintroduced. (Now in a new escapism drug-parable format!)
YoYo: So SHIELD doesn’t have a space division called SPEAR or something? Really? I always thought you guys had people hiding on the moon!
As for the claim that Daisy Johnson “quaked” the world apart, no one seems to be pointing out the obvious: If she was already thrown forward in time, then how in haven’s name could she have “quaked the world apart?” But I’m sure that temporal loop is already written, and we’ll find ourselves answers as time moves forward.
The real question now is how (and when) exactly our heroes figure out how to get back to the white monolith and roll back the clock. And, how long will the show wait to let us in on what Fitz is doing back on earth, and how he figures out Simmons and company are currently at least a century ahead of him? (Also, is this a color code? Black Monoliths: space travel, White monoliths: time travel?)
From the looks of next week’s trailer, Simmon’s new position as “Kree Pet” looks to put her in contact with at least one new Inhuman friend. Is this a descendant of Inhumans that came before? Do the Kree know their pets projects are still happening? (If Earth is destroyed, where are they getting the terrigensis crystals?)
Or….are the Inhumans also people who were thrown forward? As the one SWAT team member observed in a throwaway comedic moment, it’s been a while since they did one of these raids under the Skin Suited Kree’s command. But it leaves us the question: Who else has been sent through the monolith?