For some reason, this sixth season of ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has made me nostalgic. Maybe the small crew and new director are reminding me of the first few seasons. It could be that the prolonged time on the Zephyr brought up memories of the early S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes. With the crew spread around the galaxy, the Agents just seem to reflect their previous broken, lost selves a little more than usual. However, this week's episode "Toldja" reminded me even more of the old days of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – but not in a good way.
"Toldja" is a story of a group of Agents who are overconfident and underprepared – and because of that, get their asses handed to them after the rookiest of mistakes.
Major Spoilers – and major judgments – ahead:
This week, Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) is back at the Lighthouse and itching to kick some ass. Sarge (Clark Gregg), the not-Coulson, Jaco (Winston James Francis), and Snowflake (Brooke Williams) are being held separately at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) is attempting to interrogate Jaco while Mack (Henry Simmons) tries to use Sarge's interest in the real Coulson against him. In the end, no one gets any answers and everyone is ready to breathe fire, though Jaco is the only one that actually does.
It is possible that the lack of progress in the interrogations, and everyone's discomfort with non-Coulson's presence, cause Mack to jump into the mission to round up the two Shrikes without thinking. Because there is no other explanation for how stupid all of the Agents end up being on that mission. After spotting two Shrikes heading towards each other, the Agents split up and catch them. In a move worthy of the Darwin Awards, the teams meet up and throw the Shrikes into a containment pod – together.
How could they possibly think this is a good idea? "Hey, these aliens we know nothing about and are attacking the Earth are heading towards each other. Let's throw them together and see what happens!" All of this after carefully separating Sarge's team back at the HQ.
Mack has to let Sarge and his criminally insane crew go just to be told that the Shrikes don't like being cold and you shouldn't put them together. Gosh, I hope no one ever gives S.H.I.E.L.D. a gremlin.
It was at this point in the episode that I started to think that the Agents might deserve what is coming to them. Mack being in his own head keeps getting agents hurt. No one thought it was a good idea to have Deke (Jeff Ward), the space-going man from the future, help find his own grandfather – or even tell him that Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) died. Yo-Yo and May are suffering from the same trauma, but since they aren't talking about it, they don't know. Too much drama and not enough actual thought.
Luckily, FitzSimmons (De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge) are on their way back. After a very close escape from a deadly game of chance and being sold to an unknown alien named Izel (Karolina Wydra), the pair are finally headed for Earth. Hopefully the two geniuses will be able to knock some sense into their foundering teammates. Unfortunately, Enoch (Joel Stoffer) has decided to stay behind and help the remaining Chronicoms find a new home planet. I was sad to see Enoch go. The goodbye between him and Fitz was the best scene in the episode.
"Toldja" was disappointing in several ways. The FitzSimmons storyline continues to be entertaining, if dragging a bit. However, the rest of the Agents at HQ seem to have forgotten how to be good agents. I'm not really sure where the Shrike/Sarge storyline is going, but the fear that it will be Sarge saving the world when S.H.I.E.L.D. can't get its shit together is starting to creep in.
Are writers just using these last two seasons to pitch a spin-off show with Sarge and his crew? Because this is all starting to feel a little too much like the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
"As a fan who stuck with S.H.I.E.L.D. through thick and LMD, I'm willing to cut the show a lot of slack, but I am unwilling to see S.H.I.E.L.D. used as a vehicle to launch Gregg's next show. If that's the case, then I would hope for the network to decide against filming the greenlighted seventh season."
Right now, I am living in a state of cynical optimism: hoping that the return of FitzSimmons and the completion of the team will reinvigorate the rest of the season. The worst outcome, however, would be for the quality of the show to reflect the current quality of the Agents. As a fan who stuck with S.H.I.E.L.D. through thick and LMD, I'm willing to cut the show a lot of slack, but I am unwilling to see S.H.I.E.L.D. used as a vehicle to launch Gregg's next show. If that's the case, then I would hope for the network to decide against filming the greenlighted seventh season.
The next episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Collision Course (Part I)" airs Friday, July 5, at 8 p.m. on ABC.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6, episode 8 "Collision Course (Part I)": WHO PUT SARGE IN CHARGE? To face The Galaxy-Hopping Hate-Beast That Eats Planets, the team on Earth asks for help in all the wrong places. While back on the Lazy Comet, something weird is going on with Izel's crew, and it's not just the puffies. Written by Jeffrey Bell & Craig Titley, and directed by Kristin Windell.