Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Recap: “Best Laid Plans”
The mice, men, and Kree have too much to muddle through and only 41 minutes to do it in the first weak episode all season.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has had a heck of a run since arriving in December on the heels of Marvel’s The Inhumans collapse. The build-up to last week’s “it’s all a time loop” reveal was one of the best slow burns the show has ever pulled. But the show’s decision to pace themselves properly this year is now running up against the reality of only having so many episodes to get through the story and so many minutes per episodes due to commercial breaks.
That time crunch was painfully evident this week, and as we basically had multiple plots to deal with in the time we should maybe have dealt with three at most. On Earth alone, I counted four threads trying to compete for attention. In one corner we have Voss still alive, and Deke trying to decide what to do with him, in another Sinara’s imminent arrival and coming fight with Daisy, in a third, there’s May, wondering how on Earth she was a mother to Robin for decades in the past, all while the S.H.I.E.L.D. team is trying to outrun a gravity storm to get to the lighthouse
Daisy: You’d be that no phone, no TV, 7:30 curfew kinda mom. Kinda proving my point with the face.
Over on the Lighthouse, we have too many stories at once as well. At first, it just looks like the showdown between humans and Kasius, but that winds up being delayed until next week. In its place, we get delaying tactics, mostly in the form of Mack staying true to his “Turtle Man” nickname that Yo-Yo gave him. It’s all, “slow down, build a coalition, bond before fighting, y’all” for most of the hour.
That is when Tess isn’t there taking up extra time. I didn’t see the return of Tess coming, for the record, but it’s a smart move by the show, after robbing us of all our guest stars to bring at least one back. The way they brought her back was smart too. Most of the time the show conveniently forgets that Coulson is really a man resurrected via Kree technology that no one understands properly, and was used in an act of desperation.
Tess’ return is a good reminder of how this all started in the first place way back in Season 1, along with more details of how it works. Not how the technology works, exactly, but how the experience of resurrection works. “Smothered the fires of Death with the blood of the Eternal” indeed. No one Coulson has some nice Tahiti memories implanted to cover that up. (Also, the delivery of “Knives are cold” was one of the Greatest Quotes of S.H.I.E.L.D. History.)
Her arrival keeps both Yo-Yo and Flint from ending Kasius immediately, not just with claims of Kree godhood. (Though I suppose if someone just resurrected me, I’d be inclined to deify them too.) She’s the big stumbling block that keeps Flint in check for the hour, now that we know his real purpose isn’t to kill Kasius, or put the Earth back together, but merely reassemble the monolith. (We assume that’s taking place on the third floor, right?)
Enoch: Plastics are quite useful, if not often appreciated.
So the plan from the Kree floor is to take Yo-Yo and Mack prisoner, along with all the Inhumans to lure in Daisy. Daisy meanwhile is actually considering keeping the inhibitor as a consolation prize, and also to keep herself from “quaking apart the world,” because, at this point, she’s even bought into the propaganda that she did this.
But even as she does, Fitz and Simmons are putting together that the Gravitonium Zephyr 2 technology might be the culprit. Unfortunately, right after Simmons says it, that’s immediately lost in the mind-boggle that is a time paradox. They built in the past that they’re looking at now in the present after they built it but before they actually did so, might actually be the culprit. (I hope you followed that, time loops are really confusing.)
All that and Sinara still hadn’t shown up. I was so confused how she got in, the humans didn’t look at her twice, or notice she was blue or…anything? But the worst part was the fight that wasn’t. The show has been *building* to a fight between Sinara and Daisy for weeks, they cut the gravity, which says here we go, big impressive anti-gravity fight and then…oh sorry, no budget for more than a minute of that. Let’s just do the usual tricks and call it good enough. At least that was the end of Sinara.
In the end, Mack and Yo-Yo do face Kasius, but on their terms, and on the research floor, after proving to him they know his easy human wipe out plan. (A plan, we should note he could have detonated decades ago, but for reasons we cannot explain did not.) One cute moment: Kasius recognizes Yo-Yo immediately and seems almost amused to meet her here. Should we assume that the last we saw of Yo-Yo in flashbacks was her heading to see Kasius, that ended in a failed attempt to speed kill him? (He was obviously ready for her.) Was that part of what lead to the “Inhumans for Humans” deal? And is that version of Yo-Yo the “Seer” telling him
Deke: Yikes, that is definitely gonna get infected.
At least Simmons speaks for everyone in this episode when she yells “This was a terrible idea, I’m sorry!” The show may not have had much choice other than to squash this all in a single episode in order to get over the hump, but as an hour of television, it was a frustrating step backward.
But at least we’re set up for next week. The gang’s all here, and it’s time to blow this future popsicle stand and go back to the past.