This review contains spoilers for the episode and Avengers: Infinity War
5.20 The One Who Will Save Us All
The Infinity War comes to Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD (sort of) as Graviton finds that with great power comes great madness
Okay, there’s going to be some Avengers: Infinity War spoilage in this Agents Of SHIELD recap so be warned. And for frak’s sake, what are you waiting for? See the darn film, it’s really good.
Anywho, we now know where on the timeline the current episodes of Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD take place. According to Qovas, Thanos and his invasion is taking place concurrently with the events on Agents Of SHIELD. Of course, Coulson and his crew are removed from these events because half of SHIELD is underground in the Lighthouse while the other half are in outer space, but the happenings of Infinity War do have an impact on the SHIELD proceedings.
We learn this because of Glenn Talbot. Last week the no longer good general became the classic Marvel villain Graviton. This week, Talbot wants a word with the Confederacy of aliens that have formed an alliance with General Hale and HYDRA. Coulson is along for the ride and witnesses Talbot’s new powers.
Agents Of SHIELD turns the grue up to eleven as Graviton makes it a habit of folding his enemies, both human and aliens, into neat little packages. Talbot does so to one of the council members that leads the Confederacy and takes the alien’s place. In a brilliant bit of circular plotting, Talbot becomes chummy with a Kree member of the council and if you guessed that this Kree was none other than the father of Kassius, go to the head of the alien cadre.
It’s been pretty unclear whom the big bad of this season of Agents Of SHIELD was going to be. For a while, it looked like it was future Kassius. After ‘ol blue was dispatched, it looked like young Ruby Hale would have the dishonour. When Yo-Yo took out Ruby, it looked like Mama General Hale would be the vengeance driven arch villain, but the real villain was hidden in plain sight all along. Talbot.
Now, as Graviton, Talbot is the most powerful threat SHIELD has ever faced. And as we all know, Earth needs power because of a big purple Titan named Thanos. When Talbot learns of Thanos, he instantly looks for a power up. He wants to bond with all the remaining Gravitonium on Earth, a prospect which is pretty dire when one considers the future we saw in the first part of the season.
So one wonders how things play out. Did Thanos wipe out half the planet and then Earth was cracked in half by the Destroyer of Worlds? That’s so bleak even Zack Snyder would blink! Whatever the case, Talbot is powerful and power hungry and he wants to prove himself against Thanos. No, Thanos doesn’t make an actual appearance in this week’s episode, but his presence is palpable and that’s how I dig my MCU synergy.
So I mentioned General Hale earlier. Well, she’s dead, folded into a wee little geometric shape by Talbot. By Odin’s bristling beard, there’s been a shit tonne of violent death in the MCU these past few weeks. Now, Talbot is leading the Confederacy, but from what we know about Kassius, who else thinks that the Machiavellian Kree is playing Graviton?
And it’s not like SHIELD is functioning as a tightly knit team. Mack is pissed at Yo-Yo for her killing of Ruby, everyone except May is pissed at Daisy for going off on a side mission to find a cure for Coulson while, like, 1400 alien species invade the planet. Daisy is pissed at SHIELD for not doing enough to save Coulson and forces Simmons to perform experiments on Daisy’s Inhuman mother’s corpse to extract the DNA that may save Coulson. All this while good ‘ol Deke is mooning over Daisy. Hey, with Peter Quill turned to ashes, does that make Deke the dopiest but most lovable space rogue in the MCU? Lemons, ya’ll, lemons.
SHIELD splits up with Daisy, Deke, and May going into space to face down Graviton while Fitz, Simmons, Mack, and Yo-Yo stay planet side with Simmons hopefully trying to find Coulson’s cure. Or maybe not hopefully because we already know that Coulson’s cure brings about the end of the world. Damn man, even if Coulson does survive and SHIELD somehow saves the world, half of them will still turn to Thanos dust. The MCU has become complex lately, huh?
With all this going on, Fitz still remains the most fascinating character on the series. Mack confronts Fitz about Fitz’s recent shades of grey actions and the two have a long debate about morality and heroism. Fitz takes the darkly pragmatic side of sacrificing the few to save the many (and there are some uncomfortable parallels with Thanos there) while Mack takes the altruistic stance that a hero does everything he can to save everyone. That’s an ironic statement when half the planet turns to cinders.
But SHIELD tries to play heroes with very little results. Hale is dead and Daisy’s mighty Quake powers have very little effect on Talbot. Thanos may be the most powerful being on the planet, but Glenn Talbot is interested in dethroning the Titan, and that can lead to the end of everything. Truly, this week’s Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD is the perfect dessert after the Infinity War main course. Man, we’re really just going to have to watch Simmons turn to ash in Fitz’s arms, aren’t we?
Read Marc’s review of the previous episode, Option Two, here.