Look at me all set for tonight’s new episode of Agents of SHIELD by actually getting caught up while the season is still on! I’m loving the direction of this season so far and The Other Thing further shook up my expectations for the rest of the year.
There’s something about this season that feels more like a comic book. Maybe it’s just the very diverse nature of the various subplots, but on this episode we have May doing the SHIELD reverse interrogation thing where she’s getting more information from Sarge than giving; Mack and Benson learning more about the alien parasites and Daisy’s adventures in space. And like a good comic book those subplots came to a head this episode.
Let’s start with the most intriguing – May and Sarge. With Joco and Pax captured, Sarge’s unit is down to himself and Snowflake. Time for a recruitment drive. And May does make for a fine kick-tail recruit in any situation. Sarge is baffled that there was someone on another world that looked exactly like him and questions if Coulson was a robot, synth or something else. For some reason I liked that Sarge assumed Coulson was the fake, which further made him seem more fleshed out than the random villain he seemed in the earlier episodes.
This interrogation scene is interesting as May keeps having flashbacks from her final days with Coulson. This led to clips of Sarge and Coulson saying the same thing in totally different contexts like Sarge questioning if May killed Coulson based on her reaction to seeing him and then saying “oh, it’s the other thing.” In Tahiti, May thinks Coulson has trouble standing due to drinking and he says “no, it’s the other thing.” That could have come off a little gimmicky, but it worked here.
Finally, Sarge decides to stop talking and show May why he and his crew are on her Earth. Snowflake brings in a random dude and Sarge wants May to kill him. When she refuses, he shoots the guy in the head instead. But, that doesn’t kill him. He’s another of the parasite zombies and nothing May does have much effect. After failing to kill May, the man starts convulsing and crystallizing like Keller. May uses the dagger Sarge left to kill him for good.
Sarge and his crew have been traveling from world to world trying to stop this invasion from the Shrike, but have always come up short. On this Earth they’re further ahead and actually have a chance to end it for once. And maybe draw out its creator. Quick, which Marvel villain makes the most sense for that role?
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Benson is steadily coming to a similar conclusion that Sarge’s crew is here to kill the parasites. Mack tries to talk with Elena about losing Keller, but she’s not ready to talk about Mack’s feelings or her own. Maybe this romance isn’t as dead as I assumed at the start of the season? Elena has her doubts about Benson, but tells him about the monoliths and SHIELD’s experience with them. Benson theorizes the parasites might target ley lines, which act as energy convergence points and could be exactly the kind of power source they could use to crystallize all of the planet.
I don’t know how many shows are this good about keeping up with its continuity to this level, but this is impressive. Benson wants to visit some of these old monolith sites, but he needs a Quinjet and a pilot. Funny thing about that…
Out in space, Daisy, Simmons and the others get boarded by a group of Enoch’s fellow Chronicoms led by Altarah (Sherri Saum). She knows SHIELD has dabbled in time travel and wants their assistance in getting them back to the period before their homeworld was invaded. Maybe by the same parasites that Sarge is chasing? Again, you can’t do time travel without major consequences so I fully appreciate SHIELD having a new problem after screwing around with fate.
Enoch is torn between his loyalty to his people and his pals. With Fitz in Altarah’s custody and SHIELD in a bad spot, he tries to find a working solution by telling Altarah that Fitz will cooperate and build/track down a monolith as long as Simmons is in their custody. As for the rest of SHIELD? Altarah is fine killing them, but Simmons agrees to come along if Daisy, Piper and Davis are allowed to go home. This is a nice compromise.
Back on Earth, May suckers Snowflake into coming close enough to get knocked out and after a serious battle in the front of the semi, she knocks Sarge out and heads back to the Lighthouse. Just as Daisy, Piper and Davis return and Daisy is especially interested in learning who May is bringing back to base. Uh-oh.
The Other Thing kept SHIELD’s momentum rolling smoothly as more questions were raised and most of the team reunited just as the parasite menace becomes more of a threat.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Photo Credit: ABC