Sunday, 15 April 2018

Agents of SHIELD 5x17 The Honeymoon Review: "As If Things Couldn't Get Any Worse"

I think it’s fair to say that Agents of SHIELD is an under-rated gem. ABC don’t exactly rate it. Whether storytelling choices are agreeable or not, it has a passionate fandom, backed by a passionate cast & crew who love the show and are constantly testing the depths of their capabilities to keep dazzling us.
I’ll admit that I gave up on the show after a few episodes of its debut season because it didn’t exactly grab me, but I’ve kept an eye on it since then, always being drawn back into it and that happened for good halfway through last season. Ever since then I’ve been absolutely gripped and joining the fandom in having a heart attack every week, praying against hope that my favorites make it, and then after that praying they don’t suffer irreversible psychological damage as a consequence of their adventures (and that second part is an automatic fail)

This season has been all about the destruction of earth. The beginning took the team to an earth-less future, the middle saw then back in their original earth-standing timeline, and as the season reaches its climax it’s all about how they stop the future from happening.

It’s basically just one giant jigsaw puzzle that they have some pieces of, which they don’t necessarily understand, every time they think they’re getting closer to the full picture another obstacle comes along, the clocks ticking and everything is just one giant mess.

That giant mess has massive consequences this week. Having broken Fitz out of his cell last week and gone rogue, Yo-Yo, Jemma & Fitz are in sunny old England this week without any back-up. When you put aside Jemma highly contagious belief of invincibility? Going rogue with no back-up is beyond dumb. They do manage to find what they’re looking but unfortunately they’re not the only ones who’ve decided to hit England first in their search. Anton Ivanov is soon proving unwelcome company with his robotic army.

With a little bit of explosions, they manage to distract him and his friends long enough to break into the facility and smash the place up. But they’re soon coming back and Yo-Yo’s attempts to use her powers end up very badly with her, as Fitz explains her metallic arms aren’t meant to take in that much energy. Yo-Yo is all for one of FitzSimmon making an escape and her staying behind to help hold off the army, but FitzSimmons are refusing to leave each others side anymore. Where one goes, the other follows no matter what, and after 5 seasons of constantly being torn apart in danger? It’s a beautiful sentiment.

Yo-Yo attempts to make her escape in order to call for back-up (again highlighting just how bad this plan is) but is stopped by Ivanov. The two have a fight which Yo-Yo ends by throwing him out of a window, and the robot army fall down with him. It’s at this point we realize he was controlling them, and FitzSimmons are congratulating themselves for a victory that seemed unimaginable a couple of minutes ago when they were running out of ammo.

Unfortunately, the victory parade is cut short. Ruby and Von Strucker turn up at the facility. Thanks to his photographic memory Strucker immediately realizes they’re in the right place, and that Fitz, Simmons & Yo-Yo have destroyed part of the machinery that they need. Ruby wastes no time in threatening to kill Simmons if Fitz doesn’t agree to help them, and with Strucker pointing a gun at him Fitz has no way out. Simmons is insistent that Fitz can’t help them, but Fitz says he doesn’t have a choice and they never really did.

This whole situation is caused by two components really; Simmons insistence that she’s invincible and Yo-Yo catching that bug to go off from the team, under the belief no matter what happens they have to make it out alive because they were in the future. Forgetting ever so conveniently that they’re trying to change the future which means doing things differently, and getting killed would probably achieve that.

The second component is Fitz’s breakdown. The twist of it being Fitz’s brain injury that was causing him to see the Doctor, and not just the fear universe was interesting at first. We certainly never saw it coming. Locking Fitz up in a cell and refusing to let him out due to her hurt over what he did to her, is an understandable reaction from Daisy. They have no idea of knowing if his brain injury will act up again and cause the Doctor to once again resurface. So considering this and the fact Fitz and Simmons science is essential in their fight, I really think the show should’ve taken some time to rebuild Fitz psyche instead of just having him locked away, Daisy rejecting Simmon’s request to release him and May silently pondering. Because what we’ve been left with in the aftermath is an extremely fractured team that have no idea what each other is doing.

If they’d given Fitz a little downtime to recuperate, had him apologize to Daisy and her understand instead of their pointless tit for tat, NOT lock him in a cell when they’re in the middle of a fight and need all the bodies they can get? Maybe they wouldn’t have ended up in this situation. Because maybe, instead of Mack being locked in a cell, he would’ve been on hand as back-up to aid Yo-Yo, Simmons and Fitz on their mission.

You can account for many different scientific variables when you’re trying to change the future, but you can’t account for human nature. Put Fitz in a situation where Simmon’s life is in jeopardy and he will work with the enemy. It’s probably why the line “We don’t have a choice. We never did” speaks volumes. It speaks a lot for the predicament they’ve ended up in, but also the other characters on the show.

Ruby shares an interesting conversation with Hale in her cell before she goes rogue. She speaks on the fact Hale’s labelled her a disappointment, and no matter what Ruby does it’s never good enough for her, and she’s never had a choice in her life. Hale is so focused on the mission she’s never really eyed Ruby as anything other than an asset, and that massively comes back to haunt her. With Strucker to help open her eyes to Hale’s treatment of her, Ruby is able to accept that her mother is her weakness but she’s equally her mother’s weakness and she uses that to go free and cause carnage.

Ruby is hellbent on beating Daisy and that obviously won’t end well. Hale managed to save her this time by shooting Deke and therefore distracting Daisy, but I doubt she’ll be so lucky next time and it wouldn’t surprise me if Ruby is among the casualties at some point.

Speaking of Deke, the guy has come a long way from the annoying douche we all hated at the beginning of the season. Now he’s all about trying to be a useful member of public, aiding the team in their mission and getting shot to help an unappreciative Daisy. I’m not sure if it’s the fact he’s FitzSimmons grandson that makes him so endearing, or the work Jeff Ward puts into the character. Daisy, Coulson & May get Deke back to the base where he needs emergency medical attention.

It’s left to Piper & Mack to explain Yo-Yo, Simmons & Fitz have gone off goodness knows where, and Coulson to get the gist that’s the long story Daisy was hinting at beforehand. Mack & Piper manage to save Deke, who under the medical influence admits he has a bit of a crush on Daisy. Mack & Piper are highly amused by his medicated state.

May meanwhile confronts Coulson over leaving Daisy in charge of the team and giving himself up to Hale. She doesn’t believe Daisy is ready to lead the team, and considering she’s very much letting her emotions rule her, it’s hard to disagree. Daisy’s been hellbent on getting Coulson back ever since he left, but she’s been hellbent to do it her own way. Sure they did actually get a decent lead from Robin, but they were extremely lucky with that. Coulson is insistent that Daisy is the right person to lead, and given he is dying, there’s no time to gently ease her into the field. May is annoyed he doesn’t think about the people who love him when he makes crazy decisions involving his safety, and that leads her to confess that she loves him.

It’s a beautiful, simple moment, and the writers are well and truly serving fans well as the season reaches its climax.

Of course with rescuing Coulson they also rescued Talbot who isn’t exactly with it. He struggles to take seriously the teams claims of going to the future, and is insistent on being able to speak to his wife and son. Though Daisy’s reluctant at first, after Talbot breaks down she does eventually give in. Unfortunately, when he does call his wife she’s being held hostage. Yes, Hale’s back-up plan from earlier involved using Talbot’s wife to wake the sleeper agent in him, and judging from the look on his face as the episode ended, things are probably going to go from bad to even worse for Shield.

So basically just a typical outing!