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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Orientation Part Two - Review - "Review, Part Two!!"

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While Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Orientation Part One” oriented us to where the team was – space! The future! – “Orientation Part Two” orients us – and the team – to the society that they’ve landed in. This isn’t an alternate universe but an apocalyptic society. And once again, it’s brilliant writing from this team. What happens to the human race after 90 years of deprivation and subjugation? It’s not good that’s for sure. Elizabeth Henstridge wins the award for best one liners in this episode – which also sets her up to have another terrific story arc.

“Part Two” picks up right where we left off as the realization of where they are sinks in. May (Ming Na Wen) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are distracted and are brought back to reality as the trawler is suddenly being hit with debris. They start heading for a giant rock and Simmons saves the day by turning everything off (See Favorite Lines below!). And then applies the second rule of IT – punch/bash it! Once again, I was really impressed with the VFX on this show. This entire sequence was movie-level good.

Back on the Bunker, the team discuss their situation. Deke (Jeff Ward) is just a hired gun and can’t help them. Simmons points out that the last time she travelled by monolith, there was no monolith to get back with. May says they’ll have to find their own way back. Deke offers them all Metrics. He tells them the only way to survive is to blend in and work hard. May is dead set against letting him do it to any of the others.

Coulson (Clark Gregg) wants to know what the Metrics do – he’s not sure that he wants the Kree to be able to track them… They’re interrupted by Tess (Eve Harlow) who is upset that Virgil and Deke might have taken the trawler out without her. Coulson tells her that Virgil is dead, and it’s the first time we see someone upset at a death. Deke tells Tess that Virgil hired him to hide the team.

Tess thinks that its crazy that the team is from the past. Coulson shows her a coin, and she notices he doesn’t have a Metric and never has. She says that Virgil said they were from… and Coulson finishes “S.H.I.E.L.D.” to prove it. Tess knows there should be more of them. And if the past knows all about who disappeared, it may be because Fitz left a record of them going to the future, or it might be a record of them disappearing, OR it might be an indication that they actually do make it back. Of course, one can hope that when they do get back, they’ll be able to save the world – and maybe this cataclysm is the next Avengers movie…

Tess is upset that Deke let the others go after the Kree guards. Deke refuses to go after them, until Tess tells him she’ll double Virgil’s price. Coulson likes Tess already! She tells them that they aren’t sure what happened to the Earth. There was some cataclysmic event and then the blues showed up and restored order. Or rather, enslaved everybody… They destroyed all historical data to keep them focused on the future. All they do is survive.

Deke freaks out that they’ve killed two guards and tells them that a herd of people will be killed in retaliation. Mack (Henry Simmons) suggests hiding the bodies upstairs with those killed by the roaches. Mack doesn’t think this is an efficient system for disposing of dead Kree, but Deke tells them that it’s a two dead Kree maximum! Deke also tries hitting on Daisy (Chloe Bennet).

Tess takes them to the Lighthouse. It’s there marketplace. When Tess and Virgil were kids there were elders who believed in S.H.I.E.L.D. coming, so the Blues had them all killed – to kill the belief. May asks why they don’t fight back, and Tess is sure that they need the Blues to survive. Coulson points out that the humans have the numbers, but Tess points out that the Kree have the weapons and the humans aren’t military trained. May wants to help them to fight. They also see a human with a Kree. Tess tells them that sometimes humans are taken to serve the Kree and it’s seen as an honor, but when the humans return, they don’t talk much.

Tess takes Coulson to Virgil’s apartment, and on the way, she has some questions. How did they make all that air? It was just there. Isn’t it safer inside? Her knowledge is a mix of fact and fiction: earthquakes and sharknados. Grill (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is Tess’s boss. He says it’s a shame about Virgil, but the next time the trawler goes out, Tess owes him double.

Virgil’s apartment is full of memorabilia, and you get the sense that he would have been a kindred spirit to Coulson with their mutual love of nostalgia and respect for the past. Tess tells Coulson that she was close to Virgil – not as close as he would have liked, Crazy-Virgil. Harlow impressed me in this episode as she never did when she was on Bitten.

It’s clear that Virgil was “crazy” because he didn’t act the way one should in this society. He had the hope of his beliefs that their world would be better someday. The way it is now, people can’t afford to be close to others, so Tess kept him at arm’s length while he was willing to commit to her. Coulson finds a log book of some kind hidden away.

Simmons and May notice that the Kree are very advanced, but that they keep the humans in the dark ages – certainly easier to subjugate them. Simmons muses that time is strange when May mentions that Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) must be going crazy. Somewhere Fitz is working to get them back, but at the moment in which she and May are talking, Fitz is dead.

Suddenly, everyone starts grabbing bowls. May realizes something is going down. A human slave – Reese (Paul Duna) appears and tells them that Kasius (Dominic Rains) has seen fit to feed the most vulnerable today. He’s accompanied by Sinara (Florence Faivre), a Kree with mysterious, deadly ball-weapons. They reminded me of those clacker toys! Sinara uses her balls when a fight breaks out over the release of the food and Reese is stabbed.

Simmons goes to help Reese before May can stop her. She knows she has to cauterize the wound, but nobody moves to help her. Sinara takes Simmons and Reese with her. Simmons shakes her head to tell May not to interfere, but May and Sinara definitely notice each other.

The team is finally reunited – without Simmons. Tess fills Deke in and points out that these people aren’t like them. Tess is obviously moved by Simmons helping. Tess makes a passing reference to what Deke lost – maybe his family were all true believers? Deke says it’s worse if it’s real. It’ll be a massacre.

Daisy wants to go and get Simmons and get out. Coulson tells them the planet – what’s left is uninhabitable so that’s not an option. YoYo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) wants to go in to get Simmons – they won’t know what hit them, but Mack points out that no one knows that Daisy and YoYo have abilities and they should keep it that way.

Daisy and Coulson agree that Deke is a scam artist who’s afraid of them blowing what he’s got – he’ll need to be handled carefully to get him to help. YoYo grabs a Kree tablet. Daisy takes on Deke, who tells Tess to keep them under the radar before he leaves with Daisy on his trail.

May distracts Tess, while Coulson releases a steam pipe as a distraction for the Kree. YoYo steals the tablet. I loved the little flirtation between her and Mack! He remarks she’s showing off – and it’s clear she is… for him!

Daisy follows Deke into what looks to be an opium den. However, their opium, their escape, is the framework! She goes in to talk to Deke and is immediately sucked into his part of the framework. I was pretty impressed that she realized that she was in the framework so quickly. She finds him in a bar, reading a newspaper.

I was pleased to see Wes Armstrong as Rick the bartender – Armstrong was recently killed off on Jane the Virgin, so I’m hoping we’ll see more of him. I loved the banter between him and Deke. Deke knows Daisy is there and tells her to sit down and have a beer. Deke is clearly a talented software engineer – something he has in common with Daisy! While the historical databases were erased, he was able to get hold of bits and pieces of the database and incorporate them in his version of the framework. This has all kinds of potential for the team to discover what Fitz is up to! And possibly what caused the cataclysm.

Deke tells her that he’s selling escape. She tells him that his customers are just selling one prison for another. He sets her straight. Prison would be nice compared to the Lighthouse. The Kree condone the framework because it keeps people placid. Daisy wants to wake them up to fight, and Deke loses it. They are on the brink of extinction. One wrong move and that’s the end of humanity.

Meanwhile, Simmons is in a completely different environment. Kudos to the set dressers and designers. The Lighthouse looks like the inside of every space in an apocalyptic sci fi/horror story. Dingy, cramped and dirty. The Kree levels are the complete opposite. I also loved the makeup and wardrobe for the Kree slaves. They wear blue – pleasing to the Kree no doubt, and have their faces painted – also more pleasing, no doubt. Sinara’s white eye makeup is an interesting touch – and reminded my of Pris’s black eye makeup in the original Blade Runner. Simmons is told to bathe and change by one of the slaves who doesn’t respond to her questions about the injured man.

Simmons is presented to Kasius, who is intrigued that she saved a life. Kasius remarks that she looks more dormouse than doctor. He remarks that she caused quite a stir – and it’s clear that that is not a good thing. Simmons tone is anything but dormouse as she tells him she was only trying to save a man’s life. He asks her name and where she’s from. She tells him Jemma and processing and that her mother taught her how to be a healer.

Kasius asks if her mother also taught her the price of interfering in his affairs. He tells her the law: “A life spent, a life earned.” Simmons tells him that she only did what she thought would make him happiest in the end. Kasius is impressed – that is the superior answer! He asks Sinara if the fight was over food, and when she confirms, he tells her to have the guards do a renewal – to give them breathing space. And if you thought that was to give them more food, you would have been wrong. Instead of more food, they make sure there are fewer mouths to feed. Kasius goes back to pruning his grape vines – cultivating the beauty – just as he’s about to prune the humans.

He offers Simmons some grapes and notices that she has no Metric. She says that she removed it, and he’s impressed there isn’t even a scar. He also doubts her story about Processing. He is intrigued enough that he wants to see how his servants fair under her care.

Back in the Bunker, there’s definitely something going on. Everyone is lined up and told to present their Metrics. YoYo suggests they put on the ones they have, but Mack is set against it – because they go through your wrist! Coulson goes to Grill to make a trade. He offers the Kree tablet in exchange for installing the three Metrics. Surprisingly, Grill says the tablet isn’t worth it, but luckily, the person who stole it is. He tells Coulson he’ll work for it – and it won’t be fun. Coulson agrees, and Grill is way too pleased.

Tess explains the “Renewal” to May, and it’s just like the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. Some must die to cull the population. In this case, rather than draw slips of paper, a low-earner is selected and their Metric turns red – and then they owe either their own life or someone else’s. Sinara presides over the chaos as the chosen ones fight for their lives.

Once Grill gets the Metrics on, he pins Coulson, Mack and YoYo to the wall so if they get in, they’ll find them first. Mack is not happy when YoYo makes a joke about the Ax-gun! Holt (James Babson) comes after Grill because his count was only low because Grill didn’t pay him. Grill tells him that the three are out there for him. May arrives in the nick of time and we get another great May fight. Tess ends the fight by killing Holt, and May is appalled. She had no intention of killing him.

When the Kree come in and check their Metrics – which are blank – Grill covers for them. Coulson says they work in Salvage. Nobody is happy about the outcome except Grill.

Back with the Kree, Reese appears and Kasius wants to know if he will heal completely. His serviters must represent perfection when they serve him. Simmons is appalled as it’s only been a few hours. He will heal. Kasius suggest that with his tunic on, no one will notice. However, there is also a mark on Reese’s face. Simmons pleads that it will be minimal and no one will notice, but Kasius will notice. Sinara sends her balls through his chest, killing Reese.

Kasius remarks that Simmons remains perfect, but she wants to know what’s wrong with him! And then Kasius also repeats the law – a life for a life. He puts some kind of liquid, like mercury, in her ear which deafens her. And goes a long way to explain why none of the servants respond when talked to.

Deke has been looking for information in the news left in the framework. He’s pieced the history together, and he’s the only one that has an inkling of what happened. There’s a news report on about Quake – Daisy. The force that tore the planet apart was Daisy! There’s a nice montage of Grill taking the team around and May with Tess, and Simmons being prepared. Deke tells Daisy to get used to her new life. S.H.I.E.L.D. destroyed the world the last time they tried to save it.

Simmons falls into her new role. Kasius’s voice is the only thing that she can hear – and only when he speaks to her. He’s thrilled with how she looks and that she’s learning well. He’s pleased because he has guests – and we see a huge ship pull up outside the window.

Once again, this two hour season premiere belonged in an IMAX theatre. Great writing, acting, and special effects. Fights, one-liners – really, what more could we ask for? Loving the thinky bits of this plot – what does it mean to be human? What is the cost of survival? The time travel element – fabulous – also opens up lots of possibilities. I’m not liking that Fitz is separated from the team, but I’m betting they will find creative ways to bring him into the plot. A hundred year old robot/framework Fitz still hiding on the surface of what’s left of earth? Messages through Deke’s framework? Can’t wait to find out! What did you think of Part Two? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Favorite Lines!
First rule of IT. Turn it off and back on again.
Well, I’m a biologist, but sure I can invent time travel, just give me a minute.
Look at their clothes. The matching buttons. Not exactly local.
The do whatever they want! It’s like herding rats!
The North-Korean dictator level of creepy…
Hello. YoYo. Master thief!
If you got it, flaunt it!
So far, any new development in this place is not a good thing.
Trying to preserve humanity. Feels like they lost it a long time ago.

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