Saturday, June 29, 2019

Agents of SHIELD S06E06: Inescapable

SHIELD has an Inescapable good time!

Just watch it already...
by Brandon Coulson

Did we just get one of the best episodes of Agents of SHIELD ever? I think we may have. 'Inescapable' was a very small episode with some big ideas. Literally taking place over six minutes in the real world the episode took place mainly inside the joined minds of Fitz and Simmons.

I was nervous at first as the introduction into the episode was very exposition heavy. We got the stage set and basically our duo has been plugged into a virtual world, think of Morpheus’s White Room in The Matrix. Every tool at their disposal as well as all of each others memories.

After an adorable yet sad second proposal from the still out of the loop Fitz, we started to see where the drama would come from. As confronted about what happened in the future, Gemma regresses to a child state and retreats to her childhood bedroom. I loved the way we got to finally see a bit more on what makes her tick in this episode. The bedtime story she asks Fitz to read is adorable, and while avoiding the memory of future Fitz’s death we get a series of flashbacks detailing the arc of their relationship.

These scenes were sweet, informative, and incredibly well acted. Drifting in and out of memory and commentary, both actors impressed me with the smoothness they transitioned from their naive selves to mature personalities. I also have to say the direction and something in the writing made me think of the final season of Angel in all the best ways. The emotional beats just hit in all the right ways.

The first meeting was perfectly awkward and nerdy, the first meeting with Coulson struck just enough of sadness for his passing as well as reminding us of Season 1 FitzSimmons. Then in a turn to absolute horror, their worst selves coming out in the form of Fitz’s framework Nazi self and Gemma’s repressed rage in the form of, as Fitz put it,'A Ringu monster.' I found moments creepy and disturbing one second and then laughing at the bickering back and forth. Fitz’s 'You are so English' line just beautifully delivered and the whole thing just weaved from horror to comedy to action without feeling a bit jumpy.

If anything, the weakest part of the episode was when they called for mental backup conjuring their friends into the world. If only because the two of them, playing four roles total, were far more interesting and compelling to watch than Mack and Quake just being badasses. Also for the same reason every time we cut to Altarah and Enoch, however briefly, I found myself just wanting to get back to the main event. Also because the Chronicoms are idiotic and dull to boot.

Even as I watched Fitz and Simmons get funneled into the containment cell, I knew we were getting a call back to the trapped in the ocean plot but it still worked even with my expectations. The capper of course was after they triumphantly overcome their doubts and fears and head out to confront their inner demons given shape, we get the greatest/most disturbing twist as their evil selves are also quite compatible and are in the throes of evil passion outside the cell. Their comments of 'Didn’t know you’d like that' and 'Didn’t know you’d do that' could have played cheesy but they have just the right chemistry together to sell it.

After it was all said and done Enoch saves the day at the last second in a disappointing turn after so quickly betraying Fitz so recently and now his people. Enoch needs to defragment or something cause that bot is bipolar. So they get saved and whisked away to another place for presumably another adventure and we are left to wonder if the remaining Chronicoms will reboot and come after them.

The ninety percent of the episode that centered on Fitz and Simmons was damn near perfect and made me remember why I loved them when this series started. It almost refreshed what had become a bit old hat and repetitive. The other ten percent of the episode was frankly kind of boring but with so much good a little bland can be forgiven.

Agents of SHIELD airs Fridays at 8:00 PM on ABC.

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