Thursday, August 15, 2019

Agents of SHIELD S06E11: From the Ashes

SHIELD tries to rise From the Ashes
Let's get to it already!
by Brandon Coulson

Was anyone else checking their phone through this one? After last week had such a strong bulk of an episode only to trip at the end, I expected things to really fly this week. Instead we got a slow plodding episode that barely moved the needle. All we really did this week was put the pieces into place for next week’s double sized finale.

It was nice that they remember about Benson and gave him something to do this week, though after having sidelined and basically forgotten him for so long, having him confronted with his dead husband just didn’t resonate with me. We never really got to know much about him or their relationship aside from the surface details.

This whole series of manipulation from Izel felt weak and obvious. The early trick where she was in Mack was so easy to see and Yoyo should have been smarter. Then while I did like Yoyo signalling Benson the threat from Izel, to kill his husband over and over in front of him, sounds like a horrible threat but I never felt it in the performances that this was enough to theoretically help her destroy the world.

Everything about Izel’s plan also feels a bit simple. A magic temple, a portal to another realm, needing Mack and Yoyo’s memories of the monoliths to rebuild them, it all seems a bit cheesy. Not to mention Izel has to be by far the worst big bad SHIELD has ever had. For someone who threatens to destroy everything in the universe, I couldn’t care less about her as a character. We’ve had Nazis and alien monsters, rogue agents and virtual gods, and while Izel is said to be the greatest threat of them all I find her utterly boring.

There were a few moments that made me sit up, mind you. Mack, possessed, killing an agent brutally was shocking. The way Benson gets dropped from the plane was a smart and well executed plan, but why didn’t Yoyo just hit the drop button with all three of them and the device in the cargo hold together? Perfect escape plan right?

On the other side of things, the team mulls over Sarge and whether or not he contains some vestige of Coulson. May as the hopeful side and Daisy sure he is only a monster but one they can use. Daisy pushing Sarge to use his power, and eventually killing him again seemed a bit extreme for her but I bought into it. I also really liked the way his power manifests with his skin sort of pulling away to reveal some other self underneath. The limits of his power are yet to be seen but he demolishes a steel door with ease so the inevitable battle for the finale should be fun.

Deke continued to become tolerable and even fun character as he and Fitz/Simmons figured out the whole harmonic resonance things and started designing a device to use against Izel. Tying the harmonics into the sword and knives was a nice touch.

I will say I called the Coulson resurgence as it seems Sarge is fully aware of Coulson’s memories as he calls Daisy Skye. Now while the scene itself was very nicely acted, the whole cheat to get Coulson back was my worst fear realized. He will definitely be sticking around next season.

This whole episode should have taken ten minutes tops but instead we were treading water and killing time until the finale. While I’m sure there will be some fun action, I don’t have the highest hopes for the finale blowing me away. The lack of focus and weakness of the villain are really wearing thin now.

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