Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S05E18 “All Roads Lead…” review
Airing Fridays in the US on ABC
Director: Jennifer Lynch
Writer: George Kitson
Essential Plot Points:
- Having been activated by Hydra, Talbot sets out to complete his mission, going after young seer Robin.
- Fitz and Simmons have a choice to make: complete the device and destroy the world or die and break the loop.
- Yo-yo is still in a bad way, as her new robot arms aren’t compatible with her super speed.
- The S.H.I.E.L.D. team find Hale’s Hydra base and attack it. Hale surrenders and asks them to join forces to stop Ruby. They all head to the facility to stop her powering the machine.
Things are coming to a head as we reach the business end of this season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For starters, Ruby and Strucker have the gravitonium and the scientists they need to assemble all the pieces of the machine to create the Destroyer of Worlds – a metahuman with incredible powers. Neither seems to believe – or care – that the process might crack the Earth into pieces, seeing only the power they want and the means to get it.
Minor plot points aside (although Deke’s love interest is a fun diversion), the focus builds to that event in this episode, as it has done over the entire season. And at first it looks like it’s going to deliver everything we want to see. Ruby’s instant power-up is a great moment, and she only took on eight per cent of the gravitonium!
And what a bunch of power-ups she gets! From that moment of flight as she hangs in the air and the deadly Midas touch that means the end for Strucker to her dark Jedi powers as she flings Fitz and Simmons against the wall and force chokes Daisy. It’s therefore a huge disappointment to see it over so quickly, without even a decent scrap.
We’re pretty sure that release of power at the end, as her body hangs in the air, will have repercussions: is that how Daisy amplifies her powers? And if so, will Yo-yo being in the blast radius also trigger new abilities in her, or amplify her existing speed? But we didn’t want to be contemplating what might happen, we wanted to see Ruby go toe-to-toe with multiple enhanced opponents as her mother tried to talk her down. It feels as if we’ve been denied that, which can’t help but be a let-down.
- Ruby using Simmons like a partner in a knife-throwing act to keep Fitz motivated as he works on the device is a lovely villainous touch.
- Coulson and Mack having fun at Deke’s expense as he admits his love for Daisy is pretty good light relief against the darker issues this episode.
- It’s been great seeing Creel actor Bryan Patrick Wade actually having some lines and being given more to do than just being muscle in the last few episodes. The visitors in his head from the gravitonium have unfortunately put paid to some of that.
- Ruby’s constant threatening of Fitz and Simmons as they work too slowly on the machine, without backing that up with more extreme violence, is out of character for someone who has no qualms about killing and maiming. We feel she’s more at the practical level of Mr White in Reservoir Dogs, who says: “If you wanna know something and he won’t tell you, cut off one of his fingers. The little one. Then tell him his thumb’s next. After that he’ll tell you if he wears ladies underwear.”
Mack’s words to a pent-up Talbot could be a dig at the fact a man more known for wielding a shotgun axe has somehow magically gained medical skills over the past few weeks:
“Rest up. Doctor’s orders.”
Fitz trying to convince Ruby not to go through with the process… and failing:
“Everyone you care about will die.”
“Not a long list.”
Review by Matt Chapman