Monday, June 17, 2019

Agents of SHIELD S06E05: The Other Thing

SHIELD takes care of The Other Thing

You can go make a sandwich during this one.
by Brandon Coulson

This week on SHIELD we got a lot of things done. People were reunited and pulled apart. Battles won and lost. The pieces set up for the rest of the season. All necessary steps and done in a fairly entertaining way.

All this being said, the episode itself was very, very ... okay. There were some great moments sprinkled throughout, mainly our MVP May, but the exposition and a flashback framing device felt forced and old hat. It was jarring enough to make me wonder who directed 'The Other Thing'. I was surprised to find actor Lou Diamond Phillips was in the big chair this week and with only ten directing credits to his name it became clear there might have been a weak hand guiding the ship.

Now let me say again I enjoyed the episode overall, it wasn’t boring per se, the action moved and was well choreographed. There are even some really well done scenes between May and Sarge that get intense. Those scenes are without question the strongest part of the episode, credit to the actors and the director for that.

We set up that Sarge and company are trying to stop the parasitic bat things and that they share some similarity / connection to the obelisks from seasons past. We also got teased on a big bad who created these things.

On the other side of our story out in space, Enoch’s people have come for Fitz to get the secret of time travel because their world has been destroyed by some mysterious force. My guess is the same threat currently on Earth. Through Enoch’s multiple stupid comments we end up with Fitz and Simmons staying to design a device under duress while the rest of the crew go home.

With this setup there are a few theories moving forward. The number one floating around that struck me as well was that Fitz will end up inadvertently creating the threat on Earth in the past with time travel being the catalyst. I will say I’m a bit bored of the 'Evil Fitz' idea we keep getting pushed towards (spoilers per the previews, next week his evil side resurfaces). If it isn’t Fitz though, the vague way Sarge talks about the big bad seems to be setting up for some kind of big reveal, otherwise why not give him/her/it a name? So we have to think about who else might be a big surprise reveal. Another doppelganger, perhaps evil Simmons this time? Or, god I hope not, Ward? It will be tough to wow me on this reveal but I want them to succeed.

Largely though outside of May’s close quarter combat and all of her scenes with Sarge I was not terribly invested in the other scenes. Mack and Yoyo’s talks about last week’s death felt flat and emotionless, and the professor's discovery about the parasite was literally telling us the same info May got from Sarge, serving only to make sure all parties are aware of the threat and what Sarge’s crew are doing, but it felt repetitive.

Again back to May her fight with one of the parasites was fantastic, the effects and stunt work top notch. But marring May’s sections were these strange flashbacks to her time with Coulson before he died. Feeling forced and not in keeping with May’s character they should have been removed entirely.

Then Quake barely got to kick and butt at all. In fact all of stuff with Altarah, Enoch’s former lover apparently, was just odd tonally. Their weird robotic sex talk was supposed to be funny but I just found it creepy, and her personality was non existent.

This was very much a bridge episode. Setting things up to hopefully pay off bigger things down the road. While not the worst the series has had to offer definitely the weakest of this season so far.

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