This review contains spoilers.
5.16 Inside Voices
This week on Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD, HYDRA and Coulson’s crew must survive some infighting to reach the next level of their plans. Last week, we learned that General Hale is the head of a very different type of HYDRA, a HYDRA that wants to save the world rather than conquer it.
Hale’s HYDRA (still funny) has learned that a cadre of aggressive aliens is headed to Earth and she wants to use a device to combine Gravitonium with a badass warrior to save the world. Smart money had Hale’s daughter Ruby as the Gravitonium girl, but Hale seems to have her eyes on Daisy Johnson, which we know is a bad idea since the series spent the first half of the season showing us that a hyper-powered Quake will crack the world like an egg.
Well, this week we see Ruby take some aggressive steps to insure that she is the HYDRA saviour. Ruby is building her own little faction within HYDRA to make sure she gets to take the Gravitonium bath. Ruby is not the only HYDRA loyalist to go against Hale. When Crusher Creel learns that his old pal General Talbot is being held on premises, his old loyalties return and Creel turns against Hale and joins Coulson in a daring escape.
Earlier in the episode, Creed absorbs a bit of Gravitonium but also gains the feelings of an old SHIELD enemy. Remember Doctor Franklin Hall from, like, the third episode of Agents Of SHIELD? Yeah, the show’s version of the classic Marvel villain Graviton sort of returns this week as Hall’s hatred of Coulson and SHIELD threatens to bubble over in the increasingly unstable Creel.
All this might be effective if Hall had been mentioned at some point in the last four years since his one and only appearance. The episode doesn’t really give any background on Hall, how he got absorbed into the Gravitonium, or why Hall hates Coulson so much. Dude, that was like five seasons, like fifteen films, and a bevy of Netflix shows ago. But the Hall/Creel dynamic is front and centre all this week and it kind of weakens the episode.
We do get to see Creel go against Ruby during Coulson and Talbot’s escape which is a cool little Marvel treat. In fact, thanks to Creel, Coulson and Talbot teleport themselves out of HYDRA HQ while Creel and Ruby give us a nice little WrestleMania preview. Another storyline in the episode shows us how Coulson and the still-injured Talbot are going to be rescued. Daisy and May track down the precog Robin and after a shoehorned plot line dealing with the woman that cares for Robin, the little psychic girl reveals where Coulson will end up.
Oh, oh, did I mention Creel absorbs some electricity to defibrillate Coulson back to life after one of Hale’s robots stops Coulson’s heart with a punch. At least that was super cool, because the other than finding a story reason for SHIELD to know Coulson’s location, the Robin subplot went nowhere.
A plot that did go somewhere is the newly formed SHIELD legion of immortals. Fitz, Simmons, and Yo Yo think that they cannot be killed due to the events they are privy to from the future. They put these assumptions to the test by plotting to fee Fitz from confinement. I have to say, I’m not really buying the blame Fitz take on things. Yeah, he risked everything by operating on Daisy and giving her the Quake powers back, but he did so to close a gateway to a fear dimension.
If Doctor Who teaches us anything, it’s always to close the portals to hell dimensions. With Coulson missing and Earth in constant danger, wouldn’t it be better to have Fitz’s brain in the field? That’s why I was so happy when Simmons pretends to consume a caustic poison to trick Mack into letting Fitz out. Yo Yo uses her powers to lock Mack up and abscond with Fitz and Simmons. I must say though, when it is revealed that Simmons played a game of chance and could have very well drunk poison if fate didn’t intervene left me with a cold feeling. We have to ensure Deke’s birth you guys, let’s not presume immortality too hard, hmmm? And speaking of Yo Yo, her robot arms are all sorts of awesome.
So Coulson and Talbot escape and are in the exact location Robin draws, May’s bond with Robin continues to strengthen, Deke continues to be a welcome comic relief, all while Ruby is making a play to be the Destroyer of Worlds instead of Daisy. Since Simmons and Yo Yo disobeyed orders and freed Fitz there is a big break with SHIELD unity as well.
It looks like Coulson is on his way back to clean up this mess, but how will Ruby and Creel’s disloyalty impact HYDRA? I was totally ready for Ruby to take down Creel as the Absorbing Man protected Coulson and Talbot, but Creel survives the encounter and seems to still have a part to play before it’s all said and done.
This is a fun episode this week, but not essential viewing as the game board doesn’t move much during this non-essential but action-packed pot boiler.
Read Marc’s review of the previous episode, Rise And Shine, here.