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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Option Two - Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Option Two” was written by Brent Fletcher and was directed by Kevin Tancharoen. The episode shows the team starting to crack a bit under the pressure to change the future. We get a nice little shout out to Infinity War, and Adrian Pasdar (Talbot) becomes a superhero! Welcome Graviton! With the ABC upfront presentation scheduled for May 15, it’s looking likely that we won’t know whether the final episode – “The End,” airing on May 18 – is the end to the series or the end to the season until just before it airs. Presumably Jed Whedon and Maruissa Tancharoen do know as they have said there are two possible ways the episode can end (two options!)… With Infinity War being such a box office juggernaut, here’s hoping ABC gives us at least one more season…

As the episode opens, Talbot is still being tormented by his Hydra programing – and remembering what he did – he’s given the coordinates to the Lighthouse to Qovas (Peter Mensah). Meanwhile, the team, once again lead by Coulson (Clark Gregg) is planning to destroy the gravitonium by sending it into the sun – via the Zephyr, which needs to be made space ready. I loved the new agents being all “what…??” and Piper (Briana Venskus) telling them just to go with it.

Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) have been working on extracting the gravitonium from the machine. I loved Deke (Jeff Ward) chiming in that he’d been helping them to impress Daisy (Chloe Bennet) who seriously barely knows he’s alive! May has been talking to Tony Caine (Jake Busey) to get help for Creel and somewhere safe for Robin and Polly to go. Daisy volunteers to take them.

Hale is now missing and the discussion degenerates as Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) defends herself for killing Ruby. Everyone blames her – Daisy insists that Hale and Ruby were contained, but Yo-Yo still believes that she has saved the world because she thought that Daisy would crack the earth by quaking Ruby. She tells them that she’s not proud of what she did but that it was necessary, but Daisy insists that it was just revenge. Yo-Yo can’t even turn to Mack (Henry Simmons) for support.

Deke jumps in to support Daisy – who cuts him off. Yo-Yo rightly points out that they all have blood on their hands. Mack insists that that’s not what they do at S.H.I.E.L.D. – they protect – it’s a shield after all, not a sword! Simmons supports Yo-Yo’s assertion that Ruby was a psychopath – Fitz is clearly still feeling the effects of her beating.

Daisy’s motives aren’t pure either, and Yo-Yo points out that Daisy is just angry that they didn’t follow her orders – and her anger in denying it point to Yo-Yo hitting a sore spot. Yo-Yo also points out that they didn’t chose Daisy as their leader – Couslon did – and Coulson could have broken the loop simply by not bringing Daisy back in the first place.

Coulson finally puts a stop to the bickering. He tells them that he did make that decision – and will be making all of them today – he tells them to go do their jobs. Agent Kim (Chen Tang) asks Davis (Maximilian Osinski) if it’s always like this. Davis says yes to the weird mission – but points out that the bickering is new. I really liked how the episode just hinted at Davis’s own backstory, and I’m curious to see if that’s picked up in a future episode. Because I care about your story, Davis!!!

May (Ming-Na Wen) and Daisy have their own side project. May has been in touch with the Candyman – as we already know – but what she didn’t tell the others is that he’s looked into the Deathlok program at Garrett’s old company, Cybertech, and thinks he might have something that could save Coulson. May tells Daisy to go dark after she drops off her passengers. May is convinced that Robin’s saying that Coulson will put all the pieces together has to mean something. But what if he’s already done that by assembling the team? I liked how the title “Option Two” also resonated with everyone interpreting facts to mean one thing when they could also mean another…

As Fitz and Deke work, Deke makes a case for the multi-verse! It’s hilarious as he explains that there are infinite universes based on the various choices that people make. Fitz and Simmons’ theory of a time loop means that if they break the loop, Deke will simply blink out of existence. Deke insists that it’s science, but Fitz tells him that he’s a canary in a coal mine. Simmons tries to say that they aren’t sure how it works to soften the blow – but Deke is determined to pick option two here – because he’s so hopelessly in love with Daisy! Fitz and Simmons give him the gravitonium to take to the Zephyr to get it space ready. Deke is more worried that Fitz and Simmons honor their pledge never to leave each other’s sides.

Coulson finally goes to see Talbot who’s been calling for him. Talbot has figured out that he’s activated the landing assist beacon. And sure enough, Qovas’ ship has found them! Pasdar is just fantastic as Talbot’s tortured brain tries to make sense of what he’s done and do the right thing. To make it right.

By the time Coulson gets to the command center, the Lighthouse is in full red alert. May tells him the ship came out of nowhere and that the Lighthouse and River’s End are cut off from the rest of the world. Hilariously, General Rick Stoner (Patrick Warburton) has been activated again by this apocalypse-level event! Coulson finds him rather reassuring!

Stoner – how do you not love that name! – provides options for what to do next. Given how old the computer is, we can forgive Coulson for thinking that there were only two options available to them – who would have thought it could take that long for information to load? Besides he was being distracted by alarms and Agent Kim! I loved Gregg’s face when Stoner tells them all the doors will remain sealed for 15 years! Priceless! May is NOT happy.

Coulson makes an announcement, telling everyone that the lockdown is the Lighthouse keeping them safe. He also mentions the alien spaceship overhead – Mack’s face here is priceless. He tells them that they may be locked in for 15 years, but the good news is that the Lighthouse survives the earth cracking apart – so one alien ship is likely no big deal! And then, of course, the systems all start to fritz – and they may not be able to get out, but it looks like the aliens can get in… and Coulson finally remembers that they can go anywhere.

Coulson remember Qovas and asks if Hale sent him. Qovas ominously tells Coulson they’ll be dealing with him now – is that it for Hale? I’m betting she outlived her usefulness. I loved Qovas remembering Coulson as humanity’s shield. Qovas wants the gravitonium. I loved Coulson’s little dig at the “current political situation.” I loved Coulson turning to May at the end of his speech to Qovas and saying “Too much?” with a smile and May raising her eyebrows! There’s a reason “Philinda” is a thing – it’s the great chemistry between these two.

Yo-Yo goes to Mack to try to talk to him. She tells him that she was trying to save him. He’s angry about her locking him up and about her killing Ruby – he’s worried that she’s lost herself. Mack doesn’t want to know what future Elena said – he just wants to focus on what’s really happening. It almost seems as if he’s writing her off – that she’s gone through too much.

Yo-Yo thinks that Mack doesn’t look at her the same way, but he insists that she’s pushing him away. He insists that he doesn’t care about her arms, and she counters that he doesn’t care enough. She wants to know why he didn’t think that Ruby deserved to suffer for what she did to her – and Mack insists that he wanted to hurt Ruby – but that’s not what they do. And really, it is how you honor your own principles in the face of the worst challenges that proves your commitment to them. '

I know there’s been a lot of discussion about Yo-Yo’s comparing what she did with what May did in Behran. Frankly, I think this is a very valid point. We did see the alternative to May making that hard choice by the horror in the Framework. Yo-Yo is justified in drawing the parallel to what they saw in the future. Was she motivated by revenge too? Was it easier for her to kill Ruby than for May to kill the little girl? Probably, but that still doesn’t invalidate the comparison. Simmons and Cordova-Buckley are both terrific in this scene. It was quite disappointing when Mack told Yo-Yo that he might not be there for her.

May, significantly, doesn’t try to tell Yo-Yo whether she was right or wrong in what she did – it’s up to Yo-Yo to decide. Because Yo-Yo is the only one who can truly decide how much she killed Ruby for revenge and how much the decision was based on what she felt she had to do for the greater good – two options again! May warns Yo-Yo that the decision will change how people view her – and May would know.

May finally comes clean to Coulson about Daisy’s mission. Coulson insists that he doesn’t want them to save him – he’s been very clear – and Yo-Yo is suddenly consumed with guilt as she realizes that killing Ruby changed nothing! Yo-Yo is remorseful as she tells Coulson, and May insists that Robin is right. Coulson looks completely emotionless. As the two fight, Coulson suddenly realizes that the aliens can go wherever they want via the machine.

Deke uses his superior knowledge of the Lighthouse to evade the aliens and get to the command center. Deke knows that they are intergalactic marauders who have no planet of their own and just take from everyone else. Darkness follows them literally – Deke maintains that they are magic and can see in the dark to kill them better – he’s clearly terrified of them. Deke tells them that they didn’t beat them – they just gave them whatever they wanted and cleaned up the bodies after they left. This isn’t an option for them – they can’t give up the gravitonium.

Coulson gives the orders – it’s now an evacuation. He assigns Fitz and Simmons to override the nuclear lockdown protocol. Coulson tells Yo-Yo to get Talbot out of lockup. Mack and Deke go to get the Zephyr. Fitz and Wahl (Dominic Daniel) go to fix the lockdown while Simmons prepares the gravitonium to travel – and Deke objects strenuously to Fitz and Simmons splitting up!

Daisy meets with Caine – who has a nice shout out about Infinity War – “have you seen all the crazy stuff happening in New York?” But Daisy can’t watch the news… Caine tells Daisy about the centipede serum that was keeping Garrett alive. There was also a healing component that the Nazi’s developed. All he could find was a name – that he thinks is a place – but we find out was Daisy’s mother Jiaying – and in the last scene we see Daisy digging her up!

Yo-Yo goes to get Talbot, but he refuses to run. He’s taking responsibility and wants to fight. Yo-Yo insists on cuffing him despite his protests. He submits, and swears that he wants to make up for what he did. Yo-Yo tells him she believes him, but they don’t know who’s in control.

Fitz is on the radio to Simmons – which he insists means they haven’t split up. It’s kind of hilarious that Fitz declares that Deke is never right – just before Deke saves his life. They find out that the override has already been destroyed by the aliens.

Coulson is in full leader-mode – and I loved it. I didn’t realize how much I’d missed him like this! They determine that the aliens likely have a layout of the Lighthouse. I also loved that Coulson thought they’d make really great allies – except for the whole attacking for the gravitonium thing! Coulson prepares to make a stand and tells the others to make their way there, gathering whatever firepower they can. Fitz tells them that the aliens have some kind of EMP device that shuts down electricity. Coulson points out that they need light to fight them, and Fitz suggests fire.

Yo-Yo and Talbot are cut off from the command center and end up with Simmons, Davis, Piper and the gravitonium. Simmons takes heart from the fact that Deke has blinked out of existence. Yo-Yo takes Piper and Davis to run point and leaves Talbot, cuffed, with Simmons who is the last defense for the gravitonium.

Mack shows up to escort Deke and Fitz. Using the “darkness” for these aliens is really effective. It makes the effects super easy – because we can’t see them! It also makes getting screencaps for this review impossible – but it also plays on that childhood fear of the dark. There’s a nice parallel between Yo-Yo and her team and Mack with his. Also curious? When Piper remarks that Davis can’t be killed…. Davis does roll his eyes, but still….

Talbot is prepared to hold the line by any means necessary when he discovers the machine. He ices Simmons and climbs in after turning it up to 100%. Talbot actually makes it through the process and emerges as Graviton.

Meanwhile, in the command center, Fitz has prepared a light source of potassium, glycerin, and a dash of sugar! Coulson worries that his hand won’t work without power, so Mack gives him the shotgun-axe! AW! For his part, Coulson insists that May take a gun – for which she rolls her eyes. Things look bad as the aliens break in from every direction.

Yo-Yo, Piper, and Davis are lured far enough from the lab that the aliens get in behind them. Suddenly the door bursts open, and an alien crawls out only to be pulled back in – and a blood spray to hit the door – green blood! It’s Graviton! I loved seeing just his shadow – clearly floating out of the lab.

As the team goes hand to hand with the aliens, Coulson is knocked down and sees Talbot – now Graviton arrive through a haze. He’s really just in time – and I loved the effect of him crushing the aliens! Pasdar is terrific here. How much of Talbot will be left? Will he still be subject to Hydra control??? In the lab, Simmons discovers the machine has been used – and so has all the gravitonium.

Talbot walks up to Coulson and tells him – I told you so. That he could fix it – and then he creates his own elevator up through the lighthouse. Stoner chimes in to let them know that they’ve survived the nuclear holocaust – the atmosphere is now fine.

So do they now have an invincible weapon in Talbot or one they can’t control? How will his already fragile mind deal with Quinn and Hall fighting? Can Daisy save Coulson? Should she? So many questions raised in this episode!!! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Favorite Lines!

Deke: I’ve kinda been consulting…
Coulson: How was I supposed to know there’d be an alien invasion option?! May: You always listen to the whole menu! Always!
Coulson: Oh. Hey. I know this guy.
May: Not good food.
Coulson: I’m thinking in the current political climate it won’t be long before you’re blown out of the sky.
Yo-Yo: You know me. You know I may run away but I always come back to where I started.
May: Darkness? That’s a little vague.
Fitz: Let me be clear. Deke is never right.
Deke: Without you, there is no me.
Coulson: The let’s light ‘em up! I always wanted to say that.
Deke: Actually, it was a nice gesture.
Fitz: Deke! Whatever happens next – Never call me Gramps again.
Coulson: If you need a gun, you’ll take one, right? Here. Take this one.
Coulson: May, this probably isn’t the best time, but… May: It’s not!

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