Danny Hale reviews the season 5 premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D….
Since the finale of season 4 we have known that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be venturing beyond the stars for their next adventure and while we’ve had months to postulate on what this could mean for our characters I am so happy to have been met with genuine surprises and fresh ideas. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 4 was always going to be a tough act to follow but from what I have seen in the premiere Whedon and Tancharoen are on top form. The opening minutes of the episode exuded confidence, the writers clearly having found the perfect balance of action, drama and comedy. So much of the script (for Part 1 mainly) was full of genuine wit that had me laughing and reeling before the show’s title had eerily appeared on-screen. I am so happy the show is here for another year and cannot wait to see how this all develops over the next 20 episodes.
There is little time wasted before our team begins to regroup and have formulated a rough plan of escape; steal a ship, get a message to Fitz on Earth, find a way home etc. There was nothing new in this and I figured we would spend this pod with the team making a daring escape from a roach infested space outpost. What transpired was far more compelling. The reveal that our heroes are in fact years in the future and actually not very far from home at all completely took me by surprise; I was so fixated on the fact that they were in space that the reveal of the Earth being almost entirely obliterated landed with a great weight; it was a legitimate jaw drop moment for me. There is no option for an escape plan; there is no Earth to go to. It completely changed the scenario and suddenly our team find themselves needing to blend in, adapt to and live in this world. There’s a whole society of people who have no memory and nothing but a fabricated knowledge of Earth creating a rich and fascinating environment for our characters to interact with. Throw in some promising new cast members and there’s a massive potential for this arc. Newcomers Jeff Ward and Eve Harlow who play Deke and Tess respectively will likely have the most interactions with our team and due to their strong performances I’m genuinely intrigued to see how their roles play out.
My personal favourite development over the two episodes was Simmons; her character has become so strong and resilient over the years and her almost jaded attitude when put in front of Kasius was so refreshing. She knows she should probably be afraid of this man but she can’t seem to care enough to bow to him. Kasius himself seems really interesting and thankfully quickly is established as more than just “generic bad guy.” He seems to have a fascination with humans while completely underestimating them. He doesn’t even feel the need to reprimand Simmons’ disobedience; he just silences her as it’s likely been years if ever that he has dealt with a human who posed him any threat. It’ll be great to watch this pair on-screen and to see how their plot develops.
There’s a lot more that could be said about these two episodes, Mack was on flying form and got so many great moments this week. “Jeez Mack, how hard did you hit him?” “What do you mean? As hard as I possibly could.” Yo-Yo was stellar as usual and her chemistry with the whole team is really fun. Fitz also made no appearance which I think helped a lot to establish the atmosphere of the season. I think it was important to keep us inside the Lighthouse for the entirety of the premiere while still having the knowledge that he is working on a way to save them and presumably return them home. The stand out line for me though came from Coulson; “This has to be coolest we’ve ever looked,” while the team huddles together behind Daisy and her roach imploding powers.
Orientation ticked all the boxes for me, interesting new characters, a promising villain, great humour, awesome action and a real sense of threat in the form of the Kree’s “Renewal” system and the ever-so-slightly terrifying orb wielding Sinara. I am forever grateful that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. got renewed for a 5th season and I breathe a sigh of relief as this new season begins with a great start, carrying on the incredible energy and excitement that season 4 worked so hard to create. I am more invested than ever in these characters and I honestly cannot wait to see what’s in store this time around.