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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - The Other Thing & Inescapable & Toldja - Review - "Catch up and Scene Polls"

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I’m back with a quick catch up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and apologies for my absence. “The Other Thing” was written by George Kitson and was directed by Lou Diamond Phillips! Of course, Phillips is better known as an actor, but his other directing credits include Fear the Walking Dead, The Outer Limits, and Longmire – on which he also starred. This episode takes us back to Tahiti through May’s (Ming-Na Wen) memories. Clark Gregg does double duty as Sarge and Coulson. As this episode plays out, we finally discover what I’ve suspected all along – that Sarge and company aren’t actually the bad guys. Sarge’s ominous “I’m going to turn you” to May doesn’t mean that he wants to turn her into something – it means he wants to turn her to their mission and get her to join their team.

Sarge is a little unnerved by people recognizing his face. May is channeling her discomfort into hatred. He also reveals that Snow (Brooke Williams) may like her job a little too much… Sarge thinks that May might have killed Coulson – but quickly figures out it was the other thing. Sarge presses to know what Coulson was – shapeshifter? Sent? (Sentient?) May tells him that Coulson was decent – everything Sarge is not. He shoots back that every dream is someone else’s nightmare. May insists that Sarge is the imposter. May tells him that she knows where Coulson was born – and every detail of his life. Gregg is fantastic here as you can see the doubt creep into his eyes.

Snow’s “snag and bag” turns out to be May’s “initiation” as Sarge kills the host to release the shrike. We get an amazing fight scene with May – like there’s any other kind – but also kudos to the stunt team. May is forced to use the knife when the Shrike goes all spikey. Sarge and Snow think that May is now officially on board… but of course May IS loyal – to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Sarge explains the Shrike to May. The Shrike are simple, primal beings from another world. They take over a host and if the host dies, they go berserk in search of a new one. May isn’t pleased, but Sarge points out you have to see it to believe it. May asks about it screaming and changing when it couldn’t get to her. Sarge calls it super-charging. Turns energy into pure destruction. May finally realizes that they are trying to stop them. I loved May describing Deke (Jeff Ward) as exhausting when Sarge asks what he is!

Sarge tells May that he’s seen the Shrike destroy world after world. Sarge tells May that the Shrike are singular in focus, serving only their creator. So now there is a new big bad! I loved this scene as it reminded me of the terrific scene at the end of Blade Runner and Rutger Hauer’s monologue. He tells May that he remembers hunting for a hundred years and will be alive for another hundred. We get a beautiful transition from Sarge to Coulson, saying “the tick of the clock is only getting louder.” But in the flashback, Coulson is telling May to start the Academy again – and when she says it sounds like hell, he says “every dream is someone else’s nightmare.” Dovetailing us back to Sarge’s earlier remark. How ARE they connected??? Sarge tells May that his ultimate plan is to “burn it all down” when the Shrike’s creator finally arrives.

As Sarge drives, May baits Snow and takes her out with a simple headbutt. She then fights Sarge for control of the truck – and he proves a little more difficult, but not impossible for the Calvary!

Back at base, Deke makes it through surgery fine. YoYo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) is still trying to deal with Keller’s death. Mack (Henry Simmons) checks in on her, and she tries to deflect him by telling him she’s interrogating their prisoners. He won’t let her and tells her that it’s never easy to lose someone – she fires right back that she’s getting used to losing people, and what goes unsaid is that they don’t have to die: she’s lost Mack. Mack tries to explain that he didn’t think he could be Director and maintain control if they were together. YoYo insists that their relationship wasn’t getting in the way of his doing their job. YoYo wants more, but Mack doesn’t seem to be able to give it.

Mack asks YoYo if she thinks that Benson (Barry Shabaka Henley) is up to the job and if he made a mistake with Keller. YoYo isn’t sure but tells Mack to keep an eye on him. This is a great scene between Simmons and Cordova-Buckley. I know I’m not the only one who wants to see them back together, right?

Mack checks in with Benson – who’s doing his best, but tells Mack that he never got certified for parasitic, alien birds! He’s definitely getting a lot of the best lines! I’m very much enjoying Henley – and I can’t wait to see him with Fitz and Simmons! Mack checks on Benson. His hands are shaking and he wants a night off. Mack tells him that people need to know he has their backs – and Benson knows that the doubts are coming from YoYo. He also knows that he’s an alcoholic and Mack’s “talk” isn’t going to change that. Benson admits that YoYo was right about the knife – and that he did make a mistake. But it’s also pretty clear that he’s going to try to do better – though he doesn’t hold out much hope. Wouldn’t Fitz and Simmons be analyzing the knife by now? And isn’t killing the Shrike one at a time pretty inefficient anyway?

YoYo also pays Benson a visit. She points out that she killed Keller to save his life – he points out that she saved the entire Lighthouse. She tells him that she’s made hard choices before and that being right doesn’t stop it from feeling wrong. Benson is an unexpectedly sympathetic listener. Benson tells her about getting the phone call about the car crash that his husband went through. He was brain dead – and Benson had to make the call to take him off life support. He tells her to take comfort in knowing that they made the right choice.

Benson tells her that the blade paralyzed the Shrike and after 6 hours it took on a hardened crystalline structure – like the spikes. He doesn’t recognize it – but YoYo does. It’s linked to the monoliths – we’re reminded that one controls space, one time – and they aren’t sure about the third – but it seems to be life and death. Benson also says he would have thought the lay lines were “hippy-dippy stuff” – but they are the convergence of energy – and if the Shrike get there it could be catastrophic. I loved how this scene dovetailed back to Sarge explaining the “death of everything” to May.

We also catch up with Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and the team in space. A despondent Enoch (Joel Stoffer) isn’t much help in finding a missing Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), who he thinks is his only friend. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Daisy quickly tell him they are his friends too – and that he was instrumental in saving the earth! Enoch tells them that the Chronicom Hunters will never release Fitz, and Simmons tells him that she’ll never stop either.

When they are surrounded by ships, Enoch realizes it’s not the Confederacy, but Altarah (Sherri Saum) is much worse – and Enoch’s superior. She tells him that he is to be judged for tampering with the universe. I have to say that I am totally over Piper (Briana Venskus) and Davis (Maximilian Osinski). Altarah tells them that the Chronicom home world has been destroyed. She describes it as minor distortions in the fabric of space that released a plague. Simmons is immediately in science mode. Altarah also tells them that they defeated and took the Confederacy warships. Altarah wants to know how they travelled through space so that they can save their world.

Daisy tells them they won’t help, and Simmons tells them it’s not that easy to time travel. Altarah, however, has Fitz being held on another ship to use as leverage. Enoch tries to get Altarah to release Fitz because they are best friends. Enoch admits that he’s changed, but one must change to grow. It seems like the two have a previous “history” – which is hilarious.

Altarah threatens to kill Fitz, and Daisy and Simmons tell her what they know. Enoch tells Altarah that if anyone can solve the mystery of time it’s Fitz. Simmons agrees but points out that Fitz would need his entire life and the end of the world as motivation. Enoch tells Altarah that if she puts Simmons in danger, Fitz can do anything. Daisy’s had enough when Altarah says kill the others and “kicks her ass.” They rescue Piper and Davis but are trapped by Altarah. Simmons won’t let them fight and sends Daisy and the others back. It’s enough for Simmons to have Fitz. I loved Daisy not wanting to leave her – Bennet and Henstridge are great in this scene.

Finally, Benson comes to Mack and asks for a favor. He wants to go to where they found the first monolith. Before Mack can say yes or no, the Zephyr and team return. Mack and YoYo share a quick moment before the door opens and they welcome back Daisy, Piper, and Davis. And then they get the report that May is on the way back – with “him.”

The final scene leads us straight into the next episode as Enoch tells Fitz that the others have gone, but Simmons is still there to act as motivation for Fitz to develop time travel. Fitz is furious, but this was the only way for Enoch to save both Fitz and his planet.

“Inescapable” was written by DJ Doyle and was directed by Jesse Bochco. This episode is simply a tour de force for Henstridge and De Caestecker. Altarah traps the two in their minds to force them to solve the time travel problem. Simmons is particularly concerned that all her memories will be shared with Fitz – before she can prepare him and tell him everything that’s happened.

I loved that we got another sweet proposal from Fitz – and this time Simmons doesn’t hesitate. She also agrees that they are unstoppable together. I also loved them catching up with a proper British tea. Although I have to say, their scones look like rubbish! Simmons does try to avoid telling her adventures. But Fitz wants to understand – although having the monolith suddenly appear is a bit unnerving. Even better is when Simmons retreats to her childhood (Ava Mireille) and Fitz screams – or squeaks is a better description!

Fitz follows Simmons all the way to her childhood bedroom. I loved that she was clearly inspired by Jane Goodale – and it takes us back again to Fitz’s desire for a monkey! The set dressers get full points for the detail of a British childhood – and Simmons past. Fitz, however, begins to realize that their minds aren’t the key to unlocking the prison – their minds ARE the prison.

Fitz is right, of course, and Enoch worries about the danger of the procedure to Fitz and Simmons. Throughout the episode, he tries to dissuade Altarah. Fitz himself warns Altarah how dangerous it is. It’s clear that Enoch understands humans much better than the others.

Mireille does a wonderful job as the young Simmons. I also loved De Caestecker with her – who doesn’t want to see Fitz and Simmons with their own kids now??? Young Simmons tells Fitz that she locks up all her troubles in the music box – and then asks Fitz to read her a bedtime story. Also? Who doesn’t want to be able to buy that book??? I love that the book is actually Fitz’s story and then turns into the Darkhold – a bad book, very poorly written!

I loved that young Simmons cooks up the precursor to TNT to blow their way out of their prison – which Fitz points out won’t work as they are in a mind prison and suggests that cocaine or unicorn tears would work better! Fitz resorts to threatening to call on Ada to get Simmons to literally “grow up.” Fitz presses Simmons on what she’s so afraid of – and suddenly Mack is there with the memory that Simmons did not want to share.

Fitz doesn’t even wait for Simmons to explain the scene – and we get a flashback to just after Fitz’s death. Like the previous episode, it helps to fill in some of the gaps from the time jump. Fitz is shocked – of course – and Simmons says this is one of the many paradoxes. Simmons tells him that Mack took his death very hard and was the first to help retrofit the Zephyr to go after him. Simmons is devastated when Fitz sees Daisy give her back his ring. He’s distraught that he’d already proposed – and missed his own wedding. But it’s just one gut punch after another as Fitz witnesses Coulson come out to see his body – and learns that Coulson has also died. And that’s too much for Fitz. But we get to see Coulson tell her to go after him.

Simmons seems to wander into a random memory that leads her to their days at the Academy. They did a particularly good job of aging down De Caestecker. I loved getting to see Fitz and Simmons at this point in their relationship. I also loved them going from being in the moment to discussing it as a memory. Simmons knows when Fitz starts to spiral – and his mind has been through a lot. And then we get De Caestecker once again as Leopold! They take refuge in Simmon’s bedroom, but as they both start to come unglued, her music box opens itself. Was I the only one who didn’t recognize Henstridge until she spoke?!?!?!

The evil ballerina looks like a cross between The Ring and The Exorcist. At first, I thought the gold on her face was because she came out of a jewelry box, but then I realized it’s a throwback to when Simmons was a slave to the Kree. I loved Simmons describing her father’s advice to keep all the bad emotions in the box, and Fitz telling her that she needs therapy – and remarking on how English it is just to suppress them!

And then we get the memory of Coulson recruiting them. And of course, now I want to watch the first episode again. It’s clear that Fitz does not want to go into the field – and Simmons can’t wait. Coulson sees it all, but tells them that while being in the field isn’t for everyone, “but to be out there, seeing the lives you’re changing. You end up being the one most changed by it.” Simmons found Coulson inspiring. Fitz remembers Simmons continually telling him, “chin up, there’s nothing to be afraid of…” and then Fitz turns to be confronted by Evil-Simmons!

        She chases him, while Leopold goes after Simmons. Leopold tells her that he was comfortable once before Simmons ripped him out of the Framework. He’s planning on taking all her memories – painfully. Evil-Simmons accuses Fitz of causing pain – and proceeds to return the favor.

It’s Leopold’s taunting and both Fitz and Simmons realize that they don’t just have each other that saves them. They call for back up and Mack and Daisy are there to save them – so we get some bonus fight scenes!

Fitz and Simmons end up in the containment pod and have the fight of the century. Simmons tells Fitz what Leopold was doing to her – and he calls it revenge for her killing his father – but he’s completely lost as to why he deserves the horror movie that is Evil-Simmons. She tells him that she never knew pain until she met him! The two dredge up the memories that caused them pain. Fitz insists that they are the same. They even fight over who is always saving whom. And realize – at the top of their lungs that it’s because of their love for each other. They steel themselves to face their evil selves…. Meanwhile, outside the pod, Leopold and Evil-Simmons find that they are attracted to each other.

Simmons gives Fitz back his ring, and then Altarah show up again. They tell her that time travel is a nasty business and they’re prepared to spend the rest of their lives together in the mind prison. She tells them that they won’t be together – and then suddenly collapses before she can say anything else. Fitz and Simmons wake up and Enoch tells them that he’s “taken bold action” – and they must go! The three jump through a travel disc – and Simmons tells Fitz that he’s a grandfather! Is Deke’s continued existence a paradox or proof that Fitz and Simmons will live to have that daughter?

In the end scene, Daisy briefs Mack on what happened in space. Mack is beyond thrilled that Turbo is still alive. He has complete faith that Simmons and Fitz together can defeat anything. Mack tells Daisy that he can’t let her go after them. I found this scene a bit tonally jarring. When Daisy but in with “they’re here” – and “steps on” Mack’s big reveal, it seemed like clunky fourth wall breaking.

“Toldja” was written by Mark Leitner and was directed by Keith Potter, who moves up from First Assistant Director. The action picks up on Kitson in the Casino where Izel (Karolina Wydra) is trying to recruit Wayne (Douglas Bennett) to join her crew. The two are interrupted by the sudden appearance of Enoch with Fitz and Simmons. The Inter-planetary Conveyance Disc took them back to its last jump – and of course Enoch loses it and they are stranded again – and still wanted on Kitson!

May arrives back at the Lighthouse with Sarge and Snow. As the two are separated, Sarge tells Snow not to let the fire go out – and at the time, it seems like a random comment…. Everybody stares at Sarge as he’s lead through the hallways, and he smiles like he thinks he can use it to his advantage. Daisy can’t even deal with Sarge having Coulson’s face and excuses herself. Sarge proves that he is a pretty good judge of character by seeing the father/daughter bond. Part of me wonders if Sarge is actually a time paradox of Coulson somehow…

May fills everyone in at Sarge’s prompting. YoYo tells May about Keller – and Sarge blames her for taking the knife out too soon. Sarge tells Mack that he needs to let him go or everyone will die – not a threat. Just a fact. Mack fills May in about Simmons and Fitz.

YoYo tries to get through to Jaco (Winston James Francis), who is clearly not well. Jaco finally talks when he finds out that Sarge is there. It turns out that Jaco came from a big family – and was the runt of the litter. His family were bakers, and they were all killed by the Shrike. He tells her that Sarge has to be released – and he won’t take any medicine unless they do release Sarge.

Mack and Sarge talk, and this is a great scene. Mack asks about the “monster” who is the Shrike’s creator. Sarge says it’s more like a god to Mack, and Mack tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. has dealt with a lot of monsters who thought they were gods – but there’s only one God. Let’s not forget that Mack is religious. Sarge is dismissive of “this” kind of planet. One God controlling everything – benevolent. Sarge tells Mack that he’s not prepared to face a god. He also tells Mack that he should get used to all his people looking at Sarge – because he’s going to be in charge by the end of the day!

Deke still has it bad for Daisy, and it’s hilarious as he follows her around, trying desperately to impress her while she’s trying to work. She barely gives him the time of day! The conversation turns serious, however, when Deke finally gets around to asking about Daisy’s space adventures and brings up his grandparents. He tells Daisy that Mack hasn’t told him anything… so when Daisy says that the important thing is that they found Fitz, Deke is completely oblivious…

May and Mack examine Sarge’s equipment. Mack isn’t sure how to get more out of Sarge, so May advises Mack to use mindgames – like Sarge is trying to use against them. May is, as always, an astute judge of character. She knows that Sarge is also curious about Coulson. They are interrupted by a furious Deke who wants to know why Mack didn’t tell him that Fitz died. Ward and Simmons are both great in this scene. It’s also nice to see Ward get to do more than simply be comedic relief.

Mack is clearly unhappy that Deke left the team. Deke tells Mack that he would have gone on the mission to help find him. Mack tells Deke that as soon as they get things settled on the homefront, he’s committed to pouring all their resources into getting Fitz and Simmons home. Until then, Mack asks Deke to help fill their shoes by trying to figure out how Sarge’s tech works.

Mack takes May’s advice and brings Sarge face to face with his Coulson’s hologram. Sarge asks if Mack is trying to make things personal. I loved Mack’s comeback – you have to be a person for that to be a thing! Mack wants to know what Sarge is. Mack tells Sarge that Coulson taught him to do the right thing – saving lives. Coulson put a value on life and especially cared about the loyalty of his team. However, we already know that Sarge also values loyalty.

Mack tells Daisy that Sarge is a DNA match to Coulson. She’s eager to get back out after Fitz and Simmons, but she’s sure that Mack is fine. He admires Daisy’s directness – and she immediately calls him on what’s happening with YoYo. He tells her that he doesn’t like to think about it – he needs to compartmentalize. They are interrupted by Deke who has cracked the tech. He’s seen two Shrike that are moving closer to each other.

May and YoYo take off in the Zephyr to try to catch them both. The bag and gag both Shrikes. Did anyone think putting them in the same containment pod was a good idea? They start shaking and screaming immediately.

Khan (Shainu Bala) checks on Jaco, who doesn’t appear to be breathing… and then he’s smoking… and then he’s breathing fire!!!! He actually doesn’t try to kill Khan, he just tries to get out. And of course, this dovetails back to Sarge’s comment not to let the fire go out. I loved Daisy asking for permission to destroy the door!

Mack takes another crack at Sarge. He tells him that Jaco isn’t going to be breaking him out. He also tells Sarge that he got his tracker working – but Sarge immediately knows that two at once is not a good thing.

As soon as things go south, May calls in. Mack tells them to try to sedate them. Mack immediately knows that Sarge knew. Sarge tells them to get used to trouble – more is on the way. Sarge tells them that it’s too late just to stick a knife in them – all because Mack wanted to save lives. The two hosts go crystal – and take out an Agent. May asks if they should jettison the pod, but Sarge tells them that it feeds on life. Before he helps, he gives them his list of demands.

I loved how May remains perfectly calm throughout. May tells them that YoYo is in with them and that’s it for Mack – he concedes to Sarge’s demands. He tells them that it can’t survive cold. Which makes you wonder how they got there in the first place… but anyway, it’s too late for YoYo and Agent Diaz (Geri-Nikole Love) to get out before May depressurizes and opens the hatch. While YoYo and Diaz grab oxygen – YoYo’s super hand manages to save Diaz from a spike – it’s still a mystery as to how they didn’t also freeze….

When Daisy asks what they do next, Mack has no answer. He turns to Sarge, who says “Toldja.”

I’m definitely over Kitson too. It is a bit hilarious listening to Fitz and Simmons’ very different experiences of the casino. Naturally, when Enoch thinks the coast is clear, it most definitely isn’t. They are taken to Mr Kitson (Anthony Michael Hall) who is not happy that Fitz and Simmons brought in a synthetic to cheat and bounty hunters. Fitz offers to work and Simmons chimes in to demonstrate that all three of them can be of use. Killing them, however, in a game of chance, is a way for them to be of use to him. Enoch, however, is being sent to the brothels! He’s not sure how to feel about that!

In a nice dovetail from the last episode, Kitson asks if they’re really attached to their heads! The game has three contestants who have to hold a guillotine up to prevent it decapitating them. Wayne ends up being the third contestant. Betting is based on the order of decapitation. I loved Fitz telling Wayne off and then screaming when his blade slips!

Izel shows up and tells Mr Kitson that she wants to buy the Terrans! The game is rigged and Kitson sends an electrical charge to make Wayne drop his blade. Izel takes Fitz and Simmons for a drink. She also buys Enoch out of the brothel. Izel tells them that she’s searching for valuable artifacts that were stolen from her. She needs their help to get them back. Fitz and Simmons say they aren’t interested in joining her crew – until they find out she’s going to Earth! Any guess that Sarge has the artifacts? Izel doesn’t have a ship – but she does have the jump drive.

They all go and take back the ship that Enoch and Fitz arrived on. Izel is prepared to pay for the crew. Fitz and Simmons are happy to be heading home. Enoch, however, leaves! His mission is complete: Earth is safe – and now Fitz and Simmons are on their way back. Enoch needs to save his own world now. Fitz thanks and hugs his friend goodbye. But Enoch also leaves them with a device – and tells them not to be afraid to call! He tells them to use it only as needed – because he will not miss Fitz much…. And then he tells him that he’s bluffing! Another nice throwback to a previous episode. I’m definitely going to miss Joel Stoffer until we see him again!

With so much dovetailing between episodes, I’m sure we’re going to see all the threads of this season come together in an unexpected way. I’ve really enjoyed the really outstanding performances we’ve been treated to in these last few episodes: Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, and Henry Simmons really jump out. How are you enjoying the season? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! But first - choose your favorite scenes....

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