Agents of SHIELD Principia review S5 E13

I wasn’t a huge fan of the Agents in Space storyline, but Agents of SHIELD has found its mojo again. Principia was another indicator that SHIELD just needed to be back on Earth in their own time to regain its Season 4 momentum.

In an ominous sign for folks who keep up with show renewals, the callbacks to earlier seasons’ characters and subplots probably isn’t the best sign. Shows with good writers, like AOS, tend to tie up all the loose ends before the series is cancelled.

The return of Eric aka Werner Von Strucker, Gravitonium and references to John Garrett definitely felt like bow tying is in process.


Werner has maybe the best and worst superpower of never forgetting anything. That’s great for conversations with the wife and not so awesome when he still remembers the pain associated with a particular memory. Naturally, what’s swimming around his head is of great interest to General Hale, who sends Ruby off to sell him on signing on. I’m not sure if Dove Cameron is intentionally playing Ruby like such an emotionally detached teen, but she’s easily the least interesting character at this point of the season. Ruby wants to overthrow her mother and in Werner, she’s found a great patsy ally to help her when the time is right.

I appreciate that Hale is the secondary threat, which allows SHIELD to focus on other problems. More comic shows need to take SHIELD’s example of not focusing 22 episodes one villain as it helps make the season feel less predictable.

Elena is healing, but Fitz needs some help securing prosthetics. It was incredibly refreshing that the writers actually took time to focus on Elena’s recovery. This wasn’t a quick — ‘hey, we’ve got new arms for you!’ scenario. Elena’s had time to grieve and try to emotionally cope, which was very important with her storyline.

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Equally significant is Coulson’s acceptance of his quickly approaching death and May and Daisy’s refusal to just let him die. This keeps playing in to Future Elena’s warning and as she predicted, even with the heads up, they’re still barreling down the path to the inevitable future.

Deke wants to spend more time hanging with Fitz as he’s fascinated with everything from the past, including a baseball and glove. This is a lot more tolerable knowing Deke’s identity and by the end of the episode, he figured out Fitz and Simmons are his grandparents. I’m curious if he’ll tell them or risk screwing up some sort of timeline. The one thing I wasn’t a huge fan of this episode was the random anachronisms — this time of his mother and a Kree. That could get old quick and I hope the writers won’t just toss them in to spice things up every episode.

agents of shield principia review - fitz and deke

To track down the Gravitonium, the team tracks down Tony Caine (Jake Busey), an old SHIELD academy pal of Mack. Busey had that same kind of fun guest star energy that Bill Paxton had back in Season 1. Hopefully he’ll make good on his promise to investigate the Deathlok program and show up later.

In a really fun scenario, the team found the Gravitonium aboard a ship floating in the air thanks to the substance. When SHIELD figured out a way to take it out, they had 90 seconds to leave before it plummeted back to the sea. That’s just a cool idea.

The writing team was on a roll this week as Principia had some great bits of dialogue from Mack getting called out for his ‘those aren’t the parts that matter’ line to Fitz complaining Deke hanging around is like someone let Scrappy Doo in here and Coulson’s “Mackhamer you can’t touch this’ bit. AOS does a great job working the humor in serious moments and even Deke is becoming less annoying.


agents of shield principia review - mack fighting

Thanks to Hale’s robo soldiers, Mack was able to find some arms for Elena. But why didn’t future Elena have them? I’m really enjoying this sense that SHIELD is on a path that can’t avoid no matter how much they try. Not that I enjoy seeing the heroes constantly getting stymied, but this concept that they can’t change their fate is challenging and one we don’t see a lot on these types of shows.

File Closed: Principia was another very strong episode for SHIELD as the series firmly feels back on track again now.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Photo Credit: ABC