Agents of SHIELD Season 6 Episode 3 Review: Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson

With an emotional reunion and a humorous and entertaining casino adventure, Agents of SHIELD focuses on its deep space storyline.

Fitz and Enoch in Agents of SHIELD

This review contains spoilers for Agents of SHIELD.

Agents of SHIELD Season 6 Episode 3

After a couple of fairly dire episodes, Agents of SHIELD lets its hair down in “Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson,” an episode which, although undeniably fun, does have some confusing details that, although they may eventually lead to intriguing plot developments, feel a bit clunky in the moment. That being said, we shouldn’t be too surprised to find that Enoch’s Chronicom peers are concerned with time stream violations rather than just anthropological studies of developing species given that “chron” is right there in their name. Foiling yet another Fitz-Simmons reunion was both painful and poignant, but it was still enjoyable and is practically expected at this point in the series.

In the meantime, the drug-addled adventure of Daisy and Jemma was such a joy, especially on the heels of the inevitable conflict springing from the hijacking of the Zephyr to continue the Fitz rescue mission. Agents of SHIELD found a brilliant way to defuse the argument over returning to Earth without betraying either character’s integrity, and it made perfect sense for the crew, low on resources, to be hungry enough to eat a mysterious alien hallucinogenic that looked remarkably like a meringue cookie. Even the Davis and Piper dynamic benefited from the momentarily unguarded behavior.

It wasn’t entirely clear what Piper caught the Chronicom hunter doing to the Zephyr, though, and the hunters’ motives in general were difficult to grasp. On the one hand, Agents of SHIELD chose to mask the identity of the silent teleporter for most of the episode in a clever way, and saying the Fitz’s friends are “out of time” is an apt turn of phrase. However, this iteration of Fitz is technically the correct version from this timeline, not the dead version from last season, so why go after him? Daisy and Jemma are the ones that changed things along with all of the other time traveling members of the team in season 5. Why not arrest those who remember a different reality and actually used an obelisk to jump between present and future?

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The decommissioning of Enoch, of course, makes much more sense given his unorthodox befriending of Fitz outside the scope of his 30,000 year mission of observing humanity without interfering except to avoid an extinction level event. The anthropologist’s attempt to earn money through gambling, a familiar trope, created audience expectations that were expertly subverted by the acknowledgment that he doesn’t understand bluffing, and the juxtaposition of human deception with the idea of him being best friends with Fitz was well played. Although his nihilistic despondence upon being rebooted seemed a bit much, Joel Stoffer is turning in the best space android performance since Brent Spiner’s Data in Star Trek: TNG.

Further Reading: Agents of SHIELD Season 7 Likely to End Series

It almost seems cruel to give us only a moment of face-to-face time with Fitz and Simmons together, but what a magnificent moment of bewilderment that must have been for Fitz, expecting the love of his life to be in the far-flung future in need of a cryogenically frozen savior! Not only does the reunion further assuage Simmons of blame for jumping the Zephyr into deep space; it also reinforces the now familiar “curse” that Fitz has often referred to in reference to their disrupted relationship (last year’s marriage ceremony notwithstanding). In that sense, it was nice to see so many great moments of humor from Fitz, whether he was using a Craptolian’s detached arm to escape prison or trying to buy time while playing an alien version of blackjack, just before fate snatched him away from Simmons yet again.

But honestly, the best emotional turn came from Daisy and Simmons in the bar, tripping balls, reminiscing about big hair and smelly vans, and determining Jemma’s status as a Ravenclaw, thank you very much. Long have we realized, as Daisy does in her uninhibited stupor, that these two are “two halves of the same cosmic being.” The so-called “Skimmons” ship is so long-established that it still contains a fragment of the name “Skye” rather than Daisy. Whether the talk of soft skin and mutual admiration counts as fan service is up for debate, but the audience was no doubt filled with smiles during these psychedelic scenes.

And naturally the epilogue was once again filled with implications even though Agents of SHIELD did not otherwise visit Earth in this episode. We’re still not quite sure what the PEG-powered device that Sarge fires off into the star-filled heavens does, but the unexpected nature of the dimension-hoppers’ journey has been a real source of intrigue this season. Against expectation, the light show isn’t destructive but appears to be more of a detector field, leading to worldwide readings which Sarge reacts to with an understated, “Seen better, seen worse.” Are these incursion points for the flying beasts we’ve had glimpses of, or is something more nefarious going on?

The emotional beats and lighthearted moments in this week’s Agents of SHIELD certainly make up for any narrative shortcomings that the space plot contains, and the fact that the team may end up reuniting sooner than we think despite Fitz’s capture gives us hope that the stories may even merge at some point as they often have in previous seasons. Season six continues to exhibit fast-paced story arcs befitting its smaller episode count, and being able to enjoy the series during the summer has been a welcome diversion during finale season.

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Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). He co-hosts our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast and coordinates interviews for The Fourth Wall podcast.

Rating:

4 out of 5