Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Space, the Latest Frontier

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Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
ABC/Jennifer Clasen

*** Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 5 premiere***

Let me start by saying, if you’re not watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. you are seriously missing out.

I realize that the series had its growing pains early on. Heck, even I dropped it mid-season back in 2013 until Captain America: The Winter Soldier completely turned the show on its head. Episode 117 “Turn, Turn, Turn” was a game changer and the creative team’s been firing on all cylinders ever since. If you’re one of those Marvel fans that’s tuned out, I feel awful that you missed last year’s run. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 proved to be not only the show’s strongest arc, but I found it to be the most entertaining of all the current “comic book” shows on the air.

Not only do the writers manage to reinvent the series each season, but episodes like 305 “4,722 Hours” are worthy of award recognition. That episode remains one of my favorite in recent years. Hangin’ with Coulson (Clark Gregg) & Co. is like spending an hour with family, minus most of the relationship drama that bogs down shows like Arrow, The Flash and even Supergirl.

Whatever complaints fans might still have about the show, simply proves to me they skipped Season 4. The pacing was absolutely brilliant, with zero filler episodes. How many 22-episode shows can you say that about? By dividing the season up into three distinct “pods,” yet tying everything together at the end, the creatives gave us the most solid season to date.

Which brings me to Season 5. As hard as it was to predict Ghost Rider’s arc leading to LMDs and later The Framework, I’ve got no idea how the “space” theme will be split up into three pods. That thrills me beyond belief, because when a show becomes predictable it simply gets boring.

It’s ironic that the Season 5 two-part premiere is titled “Orientation,” because like our team of heroes, I felt totally disoriented when the first hour started. In retrospect, that intro with the agent shedding his skin and jumping in the shower has got to be one of the coolest starts to a season yet. It would have been obvious to kick-start things with Coulson staring out that window into space, right? Instead, the writers give us the other point of view leading up to the team’s abduction. That’s what I’m talking about… switch it up.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Orientation (Part One)”
ABC/Jennifer Clasen

How did our heroes get on that spacecraft? Why did Virgil (Deniz Akdeniz) recognize Coulson and know of S.H.I.E.L.D.? What was the deal with those killer “roaches?” Are the Kree behind the mysterious turn of events? All these questions are answered by the end of the premiere. Yet a whole new series of mysteries replace them. Bravo S.H.I.E.L.D. writers!

The fact Fitz was not on the list was unnerving. Perhaps our favorite genius will make his own way there? I mean, now that we know a monolith was used to transport the team not only into space, but the future, if anyone can unlock the monolith’s secrets it’s Leopold Fitzgerald. After all, he was responsible for bringing Simmons back home from Maveth in Season 3, and boy is she going to need his help now.

It wasn’t long before we met Deke (Jeff Ward), who resembled a Star Lord/Ant-man mashup. Since Virgil didn’t survive the hour, I’m assuming Deke will be the team’s ally moving forward. Though my Spidey-sense was telling me this guy’s not to be trusted, we’ll have to see how things play out. How do you feel about Deke?

The first episode took its time reintroducing the main players, which was fine by me. Again, only Fitz was unaccounted for. I loved the quick mention of Howard Stark, but the fact Coulson and the gang are in the future means it’s doubtful this season will connect with the events of Avengers: Infinity War. I know… I know, the minimal connections to the larger MCU are frustrating, but perhaps we’ll get a cameo by Samuel L. Jackson for the series’ 100th episode? That would so rock, wouldn’t it?

So, the Kree were definitely back and there was talk of an invasion. However, Quake somehow blew the Earth up?!? That was an insane reveal, wasn’t it? Didn’t see that one coming at all. I also didn’t realize Daisy was even that powerful. Did the Kree magnify her powers somehow? I need to learn more now, guys.

In “Orientation Part 2,” we realize Daisy caused this cataclysmic event and rather than invade, the Kree saved the survivors establishing a new order. Of course, humans are the ants in this scenario, which in a way reinvents The Framework but in a different context. By the way, Deke “selling escape” with his own Framework was a clever way of bringing that device back. Still, I’m hoping one of this year’s arcs doesn’t take place inside a virtual world. Been there. Done that. You know?

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Orientation (Part One)”
ABC/Jennifer Clasen

While the Kree have appeared on the series in the past, I found this latest cast of characters to be the most menacing. I love Eddie McClintock, but his appearance as Vin-Tak back in Season 2 was distracting. I was way too familiar with him from Warehouse 13, so it was hard to suspend my disbelief. Gemma’s going to have a tough time dealing with the creepy Kree leader. That said, I can’t imagine her storyline being anything but incredibly fascinating this year.

I had such high hopes for Marvel’s Inhumans, which ultimately turned out to be a major disappointment. The reason I mention Inhumans is because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’s budget kills everything the Inhumans series attempted. From the impressive visual effects, to the costumes and makeup, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. feels very much like part of the cinematic universe. The production team never cuts corners, so the series looks like a mini-movie each week. By comparison, although Inhumans premiered in IMAX, it looked like a very low-budget TV show.

Ultimately, S.H.I.E.L.D. tried to save the world after Quake tore it apart and the Kree rescued the survivors. That’s where we’re at leading into the next installment.

Where does the show go from here? I honestly, have no clue which makes me ridiculously giddy. Very few television shows are appointment TV for me. I tend to catch my favorite series a day or so after airing on the official app. However, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. makes me want to watch LIVE, it’s that terrific. The writers are doing something right.

There are rumors this might be the show’s final season on ABC, as ratings never recovered after Season 1. However, with Disney launching its own streaming network in 2019, that would be the perfect home for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I would gladly pay to watch this sensational series Marvel, just please keep it alive!

 

What did you think of the 2-hour premiere? Is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also one of your favorite shows? I plan to share a “Top Moments” post after each episode airing. I hope you will join me to discuss the season every week.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 9|8c on ABC and CTV.

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