Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD 5.08 “The Last Day” REVIEW
Airing Sundays on E4 in the UK at 9pm
Writers: James C Oliver, Sharla Oliver
Director: Nina Lopez-Corrado
Essential Plot Points:
- Coulson, Daisy, Fitz, Simmons and Deke survive the crash-landing on the remainder of Earth’s surface and reunite with May (Ming-Na Wen) in the Zephyr. They’re also surprised to find Robin among the surface survivors, still talking in riddles and drawing her pictures of the future.
- In flashbacks to a possible timeline (that presumably the SHIELD will travel back in time to make it happen) Team SHIELD is dealing with the fall-out of some massive, undisclosed global disaster. May becomes Robin’s adoptive mum after her real mum dies. Fitz and Simmons design a time machine, and pray somebody can understand their schematics and actually build it after they die. And the rest of SHIELD tries to prevent the destruction of Earth (but could possibly be the cause of it). Throughout, Robin tries to give them clues of how to avert disaster but only May continues to believe in the girl.
- Back in 2091, Kasius commands Sinara to go to the surface and bring back the Destroyer dead or alive. He then petulantly demands retribution on the humans in the Lighthouse.
- Accordingly, the Kree cut off power and water and herd the roaches up from Level Three to the human-inhabited levels for a slap-up meal.
- Handily, this enables Flint, Mack, and Yo-Yo go to retrieve the weapons hidden by Fitz on Level Three. Yay, Mack has his shotgun-axe back.
- Flint, Mack and Yo-Yo round-up and kill the roaches. Now all the humans unite behind their new hero, Flint. Yo-Yo uses Grill’s tech to remove the humans’ metrics from their wrists.
- On the surface, Fitz and Simmons find the time machine, though they’re not sure what it is.
- They also try and fail to remove Daisy’s power inhibitor.
- Coulson finds a shard of the monolith; Fitz and Simmons figure the monolith powers the machine, but they’ll need all the shards.
- Deke is suspicious of Vos, one of the surface survivors who knew his dad. Vos says Deke’s dad – who built the time machine from the schematics without even knowing what it was – is on his way back to the Zephyr. However Deke knows his dad guarded the monolith shard jealously, and would never have left it behind. Voss – who it turns out killed Deke’s dad – responds by knocking Deke out.
- Vis also locks up Fitz and Simmons and then he and the other surface survivors try to kill Daisy, apparently to stop her returning to the past and destroying the world by “putting up a fight”.
- Vos also stabs and kills Robin to prevent her from giving the team any more clues.
- But as she dies she whispers to May the way the world can be saved, and crucial to that is… Flint.
- Sinara arrives on the surface, ready to kick ass.
Somewhere, under a lot of stodge, there are some good ideas buried in this episode. Finally, we’re getting some serious clues about the mysteries at the heart of the season. Cynics might point out that what we seem to be getting is yet another version of “Days of Future Past” (heroes from a dystopian future travel back in time to prevent that future), but we’re holding out for an extra twist. The key could be the nature of the disaster that befell Earth between at some point in the mid 21st century – if it’s jaw-dropping enough, then Agents Of SHIELD may not just be plagiarising X-Men.
All of which would be fun to ponder if the flashbacks we get in “The Last Day” weren’t so spirit-sappingly dull. Presumably, the producers want to tease what’s happening rather than let the cat out of the bag just yet, but the flashbacks are so cynically vague, with all the action off camera, and the dialogue so pointedly vague it sounds laughably unrealistic, that they merely become frustrating. There’s also no logic to them. They’re just a random selection of stuff. Perhaps if the episode made it clear that the flashbacks are all from Robin’s point-of-view, the fractured feeling would have made some kind of sense; there would have been a story-telling reason then to withhold information. Instead, it just comes across as the showrunners setting us a puzzle challenge.
Having said that, at least we’re finally seeing some proper forward motion in the arc plot after a lot of escaping and running down corridors (it’s like late ’60s Doctor Who all over again!). Finally, there’s a feeling that we’re building to something. And as much as we love Kasius and Sinara, we hope that Sinara arriving on the surface at the end doesn’t mean that the next episode becomes yet another detour into near-miss captures. Let’s see something surprising happen as regards the henchwomen of the century.
The May/Robin relationship provides some tender heart to the episode, while Mack, Yo-Yo and Flint’s battle with the roaches provides some exciting action highlights (and some gunny lines – we loved Yo-Yo giving up on saying, “Vrellnexians”). If Flint is so important to the arc, though, we’d like to see him using his powers more.
“The Last Day”, then, provides some significant steps forward and promising signs of some new life being injected into the season arc. Sadly it doesn’t achieve it with much in the way of elegance.
- The Yo-Yo slo-mo scenes on this show are always good value; the way she disposes of the roaches is the episode’s visual highlight.
- Flint coming to understand the usefulness of a shotgun-axe.
- The very sweet relationship between May and Robin.
- Fitz and Simmons haven’t bickered for weeks – hurrah!
- The smile on Sinara’s face when Kasius says, “You want to go after her?”, meaning the Destroyer. She’s seriously in the running for best henchperson ever
- The flashback scenes are more confusing than they are intriguing. There’s way too much happening off-screen that isn’t explained.
- The “last footage” of Quake that Vos shows Daisy is really dull. What was the point?
- Is Deke’s “Framework” ever going to get mentioned ever again?
- Why does May keep ignoring Robin when Robin’s trying to show her the pictures of the spaceship, especially after it’s been made perfectly clear that May takes Robin’s drawings very seriously?
- Vos’s betrayal would have had more impact if we’d known him for more than a dozen lines and the actor who’d been cast didn’t have “dodgy geezer” written all over him.
- Random human: “The roaches – they’re everywhere. I don’t know how many.” Like, in her situation, she’d be bothered counting. A truly clumsy and inane piece of dialogue that wasn’t even necessary; “They’re everywhere!” would have done fine.
- Why are we shown Mack and Flint waiting for Yo-Yo to return at one point? The whole thing about her powers is that she’s there and back in a heartbeat.
And The Random:
- Is Sinara really wearing a tartan travel rug over her shoulder in that final stinger scene? If not for the mask, she’d look like she had just wandered in from Outlander.
- Is that Tahiti? It’s a magical place…
- Did anyone else assume this guy was setting up for a heavy metal video shoot?