Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD 5.07 “Together Or Not At All” REVIEW
Airing Sundays on E4 in the UK at 9pm
Writer: Matt Owens
Director: Brad Turner
Essential Plot Points:
- Fitz, Jemma and Daisy make for Fitz’s space ship but it explodes before they get there.
- Faulnak, exasperated at his brother making a right mess of things again, sends his own champion, Maston-Dar, after the escapees.
- Fitz, Jemma and Daisy take refuge in a room that turns out to be the Lighthouse’s artificial gravity control room; the Kree are using Gravitonium to generate the artificial gravity.
- Maston-Dar tracks them to the room and shoots Fitz, wounding him.
- They manage to escape and then bump into Deke, whom Daisy refuses to trust. He says he only shopped her to Kasius for her own good and to stop greater bloodshed. We’re sure he believes that but Daisy remains sceptical, especially when he lets slip that he had to escape from the room Coulson locked him in.
- Reluctantly, Jemma, Fitz and Daisy follow Deke.
- On the surface, May (Ming-Na Wen) is saved from becoming Roach food by Enoch!
- Then Enoch and May are captured by masked figures with snazzy grappling hook thingies.
- Meanwhile, Flint – who’s in hiding with Coulson, Yo-Yo and Mack – is trying to come to terms with the fact that people are being killed because of him.
- Mack tries to comfort him but when Coulson and co are distracted by the sudden arrival of Jemma, Fitz, Daisy and Deke, Flint slips away.
- Flint gives himself up to the Kree Vicar, but it’s a ruse; he uses his powers to kill Vicar instead in full public view. Rebel hero in the making!
- Except Sinara takes him down and uses him as bait. She waits with Maston-Dar for Daisy to show up.
- Which she promptly does, but with back-up. Team SHIELD grabs Flint from under the killer Krees’ noses and then they make off, with “Mr and Mrs Boba Fett” in hot pursuit.
- When Team SHIELD evade capture once again using Deke’s anti-gravity buckle to float up a handy shaft, Sinara takes the opportunity to kill Maston-Dar.
- When Sinara reports to Kasius and Faulnak that the Destroyer and co have escaped, Faulnak chides his brother for being generally useless.
- Then Sinara admits she’s killed Maston-Dar. Faulnak, impressed with her ruthlessness, offers her a job with him.
- But Kasius has had enough, and stabs his brother in the back.
- Sinara’s happy. She didn’t Faulnak for a boss – she loves doing Kasius’s dirty work for him.
- Kasius says, “Think how warmly father will greet us when we avenge my brother’s death and bring him the Destroyer Of Worlds.” The cad.
- Flint decides he needs to help his people fight Kree oppression. Mack and Yo-Yo agree to help him. Fitz tells them about the stash of SHIELD tech he hid on Level Three. Unfortunately, that’s the level now infested with roaches.
- The rest of Team SHIELD steals a trawler and heads for the surface. Two problems: nobody knows how to pilot the thing properly and it’s not designed to land.
- May wakes up in the wreck of the Zephyr. Enoch is there too, plus a bunch of hooded figures, one of whom reveals herself to be the aged Robin.
Okay, hands up. We admit it. We misinterpreted the end of last week’s episode. Jemma didn’t kill Kasius, she just cut his cheek. Presumably because he’s so obsessed with perfection, she wanted to scar him to leave him with an imperfection. But even knowing all this now, when you look back at the moment Jemma wields the knife in the previous episode, it still looks like she’s slicing Kasius’s neck. Admittedly, there’s not much blood, but with this being an ABC show, there wouldn’t be.
But, anyway, our bad. Of course the show wasn’t going to kill off such a great baddie in such an offhand manner. This episode shows why. Along with Sinara, Kasius is once again one of the undoubted highlights, as he goes all Shakespearean villain on his bro’. There are some brilliant dialogues between the too, seething with a mutual loathing that bubbles and spits like lava before finally erupting at the episode’s end. Meanwhile, Sinara stalks the corridors of the Lighthouse like a dead-meat-seeking missile; you’re never in any doubt that Maston-Dar is on her kill list, probably at the top. Rarely has such an impassive face radiated such exquisite hate.
It’s lucky that the Kree are such good value, as the show’s stars have a distinctly underwhelming time this week. It’s yet more running around corridors, narrow escapes and bickering as they make their way to to the surface. It’s not so much a plot as a series of not particularly interesting obstacles to keep them occupied for the episode’s running time.
There’s an attempt to inject some heart into the story with Flint resolving to become a hero for his people (with Mack and Yo-Yo somewhat unconvincingly deciding to lend support) but it’s hardly the most groundbreaking drama. Flint’s transformation is so sudden, and we’ve known him such a short time, it’s difficult to get emotionally on board with this development.
May’s encounter with Enoch is more fun, because… well… Enoch. And the gravity storm helps, though it’s disappointingly brief. The revelation that the rescuers include Robin, the seer, among their number, is mildly intriguing but is a long, long way from threatening to break into the show’s Top 50 cliffhangers ever.
There’s nothing particularly heinous about the episode, but there’s little that really stands out either. After the excellent Fitz’s flashback episode, the show has quickly fallen into a rut again of dingy sets, pedestrian plotting and unremarkable action. Bizarrely, heading into space has narrowed the series’ horizons and dampened its ambition.
- Sinara being adorably evil throughout, and staying loyal to Kasius.
- The sequence with Maston-Dar blasting holes in the wall of room in which Team SHIELD is trapped, while our heroes are escape very, very slowly is brilliantly tense. It was also oddly similar to a scene in the 1973 Doctor Who story, “Power Of The Daleks” in which the Doctor (Jon Pertwee) and co have to inflate an improvised hot air balloon to escape up a ventilation shaft, while the Daleks are cutting through a door. However, we assume it’s a complete coincidence that Jemma uses the Tenth Doctor’s catchphrase, “Allons-y!” as she makes her escape with Fitz (he’s much more arty, quoting Shakespeare’s Henry V: “Once more unto the breach…”).
- Enoch is great fun again, especially his deadpan advice to May, “It may be time for a career change.”
- Coulson: “How did you escape?”
- Daisy referring to Sinara and Maston-Dar as “Mr and Mrs Boba Fett.”
- Flint flexing his new powers to kill the Kree, Vicar.
- An awful lot of dull bickering.
- The Kree still haven’t learned to put extra security on the trawler dock.
- A masked figure rescues May just in the nick of time; a masked figure rescues Coulson and co in the nick of time. Maybe it’s supposed to be a deliberate parallel, but it just comes across as trite plotting twice over.
- Faulnak offering Sinara a promotion because he’s impressed with her chutzpah for killing his champion is a tad corny. Did Kasius actually kill him because he found such clichés offensive to his sensibilities?
- Mack’s transformation into Flint’s father figure feels a little rushed. At least we were spared the “I lost my daughter…” speech which was constantly threatening.
- Fitz’s wound seems to clear up very quickly.
- What the hell was the point of Maston-Dar randomly killing some innocent bystander for not telling him where the Destroyer went? We assume it was supposed to make him look bad-ass, but it actually made him look like a complete idiot.
And The Random:
- Gravitonium, an element with unique gravitational properties, was last seen in a number of season one episodes – “The Asset”, “Providence” and “The Beginning Of The End”.
- Servant Girl #2 is played by Michelle Jubilee Gonzalez, whose name sounds wonderfully like she should be a Marvel comic character. She’s also been a stunt double on Runaways.
- Kasius mutters, “A life spent… a life earned,” as he kills his bro’ but we’re not entirely why, other than to give some resonance to two of the season’s earlier episode titles.
- Another Doctor Who parallel (we don’t think it’s a reference, just a coincidence) is that Fitz refers to having come the future, “The long way”. In the Peter Capaldi Doctor Who stories “Heaven Sent” and “Hell Bent”, the Doctor says that he “came the long way round” to the end of the universe having spent four and a half billion years in the Confession Dial.
- Flint’s stone, meet the Flint’s stone… (surely the character wasn’t named that just for that gag?).