The Knightly Scroll

MARVEL’s Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Review

Matthew Demchak, Opinion Editor

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Hello again, True Believers!

It’s been a big year for Marvel Studios. We not only got massive blockbuster movies such as Black Panther and Avengers Infinity War, but we also got the most surprising, jaw-dropping, most heartbreaking season of the MCU’s greatest (and with the cancelation of that mess they called Inhumans) TV show.

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returned for a fifth season as the team once again tried to save the world from being destroyed/taken over. And with the season finale now aired, I can finally write a review over the season.

As always, there will probably be spoilers lurking around this article. If you haven’t seen the finale, or any of the season if you’re waiting for it to come out on Netflix, stop reading now. This is your only warning.

Still here? Okay, here’s the rundown.

After the cliffhanger ending of the previous season, in which we saw the team—Agents Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), Melinda May (Ming-Na Wen), Daisy Johnson (Chloe Bennet), Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Alphonso “Mack” MacKenzie (Henry Simmons), and Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley in her first season on the Main Cast)—get abducted by a mysterious group, which led to us seeing Coulson seemingly in space. Well, in the season premiere, we learn what happened.

Most of the team were taken to a Kree Monolith that caused them to travel through time to the year 2091, where they learn that the Earth had been cracked apart in 2018—and Daisy was responsible. She is referred to by people in the future, including local citizen Deke Shaw (Jeff Ward) as “The Destroyer of Worlds.”

Fitz was not originally taken with the others, however. Instead, he was captured by a military force led by General Hale (Catherine Dent), and later had to escape with the help of Lance Hunter (Special Guest Star Nick Blood). They then find the man responsible for the team’s disappearance—an alien known as Enoch (Joel Stoffer), who later helps Fitz get to the future by cryo-freezing him.

So basically in the future, the last remnants of humanity are being ruled by everyone’s favorite blue aliens, the Kree. The leader of this faction of Kree, Kasius (Dominic Rains), is basically trying to prove himself to his father and be welcomed back to their homeworld. He makes a lot of money by creating and selling Inhumans. Right from the start, he deals several blows to the team, enslaving Simmons and Daisy, who eventually have to be rescued by an undercover Fitz.

Everything comes full circle when the team encounters an aged version of Robin Hinton, the daughter of an Inhuman the team encountered in Season 3 who could let people see their futures. Robin’s Inhuman abilities allow her to see the future randomly. She tells the team that Coulson is the one that will put the world back together, and the key to them getting back to their time lies in a young Inhuman boy named Flint (Coy Stewart).

This first block of the season ends with the team returning home, but not before Yo-Yo encounters a future version of herself, who warns her that Coulson is dying…and for the future to be saved, they have to let him die.

Why is Coulson dying? Well, at the very start of the series, it was revealed that after he got killed by Loki in The Avengers, he was revived with a drug known as T.A.H.I.T.I, which was made partly from a Kree. Fast forward to Season 4, where Coulson made a deal with the Ghost Rider to briefly take on the Spirit of Vengeance to defeat a crazy LMD. The deal involved something that Coulson had to give up, which we found out in this season was his life, for the Spirit of Vengeance burned the T.A.H.I.T.I drug from him.

So back to the season, the team gets back to the present—joined unexpectedly by Deke—and attempts to change the future and prevent the world from splitting apart. This leads them into confrontation with General Hale, who is—big surprise—one of the last members of HYDRA. As the last half of the season progresses, it is revealed that Hale and HYDRA made a deal with a group of aliens known as the Confederacy to protect Earth from a grave threat (cough cough Thanos). In exchange for protection, the Confederacy requested both Inhumans and the mysterious element called Gravitonium. Last seen in Season 1, Gravitonium basically can manipulate gravity. In the wrong hands, it could lead to the end of the world (which it does).

But neither the Confederacy nor HYDRA are the final, ultimate antagonist of the season. That role goes to someone completely unexpected: Glen Talbot (Adrian Pasdar).

We last saw Talbot getting shot in the head by an LMD of Daisy. Since then, he has recovered but has severe mental trauma. Hale even brainwashes him into trying to kidnap the present day Robin for HYDRA’s Plans.

But eventually, when SHIELD staves off an attack from the Confederacy, Talbot infuses himself with Gravitonium, turning him into Graviton.

Previously the Gravitonium had absorbed both Franklin Hall and Ian Quinn (the latter revealed to have been tricked by Raina into getting absorbed into it). So having those other voices in Talbot’s head really didn’t help things out. Eventually, he believes that the only way to save the world from Thanos is to dig down deep into the Earth and uncover more Gravitonium to supercharge himself. This drives him insane, more or less, and he begins racking up quite the body count.

Throughout this big save-the-world-from-splitting-apart thing, the team also secretly work to find a way to save Coulson’s life, eventually uncovering the last bit of the Centipede Serum (another plot device from Season 1). However, right before the season finale, the team learn that they can either use it to save Coulson’s life, or kill Talbot. And that’s the choice they had to make going into the finale.

I won’t tell you exactly what happened in the finale, but I will tell you that it’s an emotional end. You’ll want tissues. Trust me.

And now that I’ve gotten that summery out of the way with, let’s talk about how amazing this season was.

We had the overall plot line of saving the world from getting blown to bits. We had the smaller plotline with the realization that Coulson is going to die. We see the team have conflicts with each other, but eventually, they stand strong against Graviton. And when it was time to say goodbye to one/some of their own, we clearly see the bond that this family has created with each other, which makes the finale so emotional in the first place.

We also saw a whole bunch of returning characters. In flashbacks, we saw Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond), Jasper Sitwell (Adam Faison), Wolfgang von Strucker (Joey Defore), Raina (Ruth Negga), and Ian Quinn (David Conrad), who have all appeared before in the series. Also returning from past seasons include Carl Creel (Brian Patrick Wade), Werner von Strucker (Spencer Treat Clark), Anton Ivanov (Zach McGowan), and SHIELD Agents Piper (Briana Venskus) and Davis (Maximillian Osinski). And if that wasn’t enough, we also see the brief return of Mike Peterson (J. August Richards), who was the subject of the team’s first mission.

Just seeing all these characters coming together really brings back nostalgia. Some of these characters we haven’t seen in years, and here they are still kicking evil back to the shadows that it crawled out of.

I also have to praise the way they tied this season into the MCU. Last season, they didn’t really touch on the MCU in general. However, the threat of Thanos coming to Earth had everyone scrambling—including the agents of SHIELD. HYDRA’s deal with the Confederacy was to help prevent Thanos’s attack. The Mad Titan himself is even mentioned by name in one episode. While we do not see Thanos or the effects of his quest for the Infinity Gauntlet, we are led to believe that the final few episodes take place during Infinity War, as we see the destruction in New York due to the fight between the Black Order and Iron Man’s group of heroes on the news in the background.

But I think that overall, what really made this season great was the emotional ties throughout.

They made it very clear that Coulson was on death row, and he was perfectly happy about it. What really sets hearts on edge is him making final advice and amends with his team. He and May even admit their feelings for each other with a kiss right in the middle of a fight, which makes the finale all the more emotional.

Overall, I give this season a 9.5/10. If you haven’t watched this season yet, I highly recommend it. It was a roller coaster ride all the way to the end. And don’t miss out: Agents of SHIELD will return for a sixth season next summer.

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