Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Recap: A Life Earned
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. peels back the layers of their new world like an onion, but it’s the final reveal at the end of the episode that got everyone’s attention.
It’s rare that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives a character a line that sums up the entire episode, but then again, it’s rare to see a show that has been markedly improving year after year, even if their ratings don’t. This week’s episode was also impressive for zagging where most fans assumed they would zig. Ever since the S.H.I.E.L.D. series realized they couldn’t move at Mad Men/Game of Thrones like slow plot build speeds on broadcast network, they have a tendency to solve their issues the week after they announce them, so most assumed this week we’d make it to Earth and meet those awaiting the delegation.
Instead, this week we back burnered that in favor of going full dystopia, as we learned the answer to a question our SHIELD agents should have been asking since day one: where are the kids?
Deke: People don’t get pregnant anymore
Coulson: Super! And the vibe goes full dystopian.
This doesn’t look to be a place where universal health insurance is a factor or even birth control, so the “streets” of the spaceship should be littered with young people, mothers with too many, orphans in doorways, unwanted 5 years olds panhandling as they look after toddlers. The lack of this pointed to either a lack of imagination on the part of the producers, or…sterelization. This week confirmed it is the latter that’s happening, and our man Deke is actually one of the last born ‘the old-fashioned way.”
We actually got a lot of Deke this week, including May and Coulson punching him in the face multiple times, in a very satisfying sequence. In between efforts to break the guy’s nose, we learn his parents were those “elders” killed off but the Kree, and that he will now be the driving force to get to that underground colony on Earth…because it looks like that where many of them, including his father, escaped to.
Meanwhile is Deke’s handiwork from last week, Daisy is now in the belly of the Inhuman training beast. Kasius is afraid of her, not only because of the legend (which apparently he believes?) but because he knows about the “SHIELD Agents from the past coming to save us” prophecy, and between Daisy showing up and Jemma’s empty wrist, he’s starting to suspect it’s coming true… just as he’s planning to sell off his assets and burn this last of humanity spaceship to the ground.
Grill: Have you looked in a mirror? You’re beast. Go be one.
We learn the latter through Daisy’s new mind reader Inhuman friend, who it just so happens is a full telepath, able to relay what’s on his mind as well as read yours. Very useful for Daisy and Jemma, who need to keep their stories straight, even as Jemma can’t hear and Kasius is making sure she can’t read the lips of Daisy’s version. The Telepath even pipes up that they’re telling the truth for good measure. Too bad May just got herself captured and is going to ruin all of this next week.
Let’s get to the ironic parts, of which there were many. Mack got accused of being the world most unfit parent to be. YoYo was the one who kept her head after Mack insisted she was losing hers. (By the way, nice call back to YoYo’s backstory, and a reminder that here on Earth today there are places that aren’t so far off from these “futuristic dystopias,” even if the show didn’t actually follow through.) The there’s Coulson, locking up Deke, even though he’s now the most driven to get them to the Earth to find his father.
But of course, the real irony is seeing a man in a distractingly face covering mask stepping up and taking to off to reveal…Fitz.
Mack: Who doesn’t love irony, right?
Not old wizened “I waited for you” Fitz. Not Fitz with his head in a jar a la Futurama, or any other useful method of keeping himself alive over the course of the slow path. Not even a Fitz who looks like he was working on keeping the Earth from blowing up of Vergil’s postcard. Just regular old Fitz, exactly as we left him, who will get his tour de force episode next week in which we’ll learn he got himself to the White Rock only weeks after his compatriots, and perhaps with a little bit more information of what he was going to find when he arrived.
So much for him on being on the list, And here we thought there was something sinister going on with SHIELD and the Framework that kept him left behind. But I think we’ll discover soon that SHIELD had little to do with Fitz’s being left behind. That’s all Kree based bureaucracy. (By the way, I need to know all about the Kree based bureaucracy, stat.)
And now that Fitz is here and arguing that Daisy needs to…fight to the death? Okay. So much for that “Live Earned” tagline this week. Next week, we’ll rewind the clock at least and learn a few things.