Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S05E20 The One Who Will Save Us All review
Airing Fridays in the US on ABC
Director: Cherie Gierhart
Writer: Brent Fletcher
Essential Plot Points:
- General Talbot, powered by gravitonium, takes control of the Confederacy vessel above Earth and visits its council.
- Daisy returns with the alien serum and her mother’s bones, to try and concoct something that will save Coulson’s life. Yo-yo squares up to her, knowing that will lead to the Earth’s destruction.
- Talbot takes the elder Kasius’ advice and wants more gravitonium to be strong enough to defeat Thanos. He makes Coulson kneel before him to demonstrate his loyalty and treats S.H.I.E.L.D as an enemy.
It’s impressive that with something as mighty as the Infinity War storyline playing out in cinemas, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can still compete. Barely pausing for breath, this episode kicks off with super Talbot heading for the spaceship that’s hovering above Earth. And he looks badass.
In recent weeks he’s been a shell of his former self having been broken by Hale’s Hydra, and his loyalties have come into question when he was activated by them to give away the location of the Lighthouse base, so it’s great to have him back. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has previously dabbled with having a boss who is superpowered heading up the team, as Inhuman Jeffrey Mace (actually faking his powers by using a serum, as it turned out) was in charge in Season 4 as Coulson stepped out of the spotlight. But this is a whole new level.
It’s nice to see a return for the odium, Kasius’s crazy strong death power potion from episode 10, but having Mack defeat the Marauder who’s taken it so easily is a little lame. What’s much better is the disintegration of his relationship with Yo-yo. From the pull back as she tries to comfort him to walking away with things left unsaid, there’s a believability to it that’s nice to see in a genre that often prizes effects over feelings. It’s a big episode for Yo-yo, as May also lays down the law. If she really believes saving Coulson is what leads to the crack in the Earth (and given that her future self told her that, why wouldn’t she?), then she may choose to abandon S.H.I.E.L.D. and do anything necessary to stop that from happening. Are we about to see another double cross?
But this episode it’s the Talbot show – even if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is clever enough not to instantly throw away a good bad guy, as Hale pitches in. Talbot’s takeover of the space ship, his vicious handling of the Confederacy, and his almost instant demonstration that absolute power corrupts absolutely, is impressive. When he refers to himself as Earth’s Mightiest Hero, his eyes tell you he believes it.
Still, one huge question hangs over the show, especially as we learn that Thanos is now attacking the Earth: will the events of Avengers: Infinity War – if you’ve seen the film you’ll know what we mean but don’t worry, no spoilers here! – come into play? Because, as with the rest of the MCU, that could be a game-changer here that rivals the demolition of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Hydra in Captain America: Winter Soldier.
- “How do I look?” “Pretty cool actually.” Super Talbot suiting up to go and schmooze the alien council of the Confederacy is proper comic book.
- Mack being the moral compass of the team puts him at odds with Fitz’s recent ‘any means necessary’ tactics. Is there more evil Fitz on the way? We feel bad for saying this, but we kinda hope so.
- Taryan, of the house Kasius, subtly putting forward his colleague to be dispatched by super Talbot is a masterstroke. Well done to writer Brent Fletcher for planting that little manoeuvre.
- No-one’s really tapped Deke for intel, which seems like a mistake. He bumbles around the Lighthouse, of which he has more knowledge than the rest of them, then goes on a space mission just to get some leave of the place, with no-one asking if he has any other specialist knowledge of what they might be facing. His place within the team feels a little weak right now.
- We really hoped the lemons gag would have more of a payoff.
- Super Talbot’s evil beard is a little far.
Super Talbot isn’t taking any sh*t from anybody:
“You and I are going to show these ETs who’s boss.”
Certainly not from the voices in his head:
“Bunch of dead losers raising a ruckus. Turns out they just needed a general to get them in line.”
Review by Matt Chapman