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MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: “Spacetime”

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Proceed with caution, agents. If you haven’t yet watched tonight’s episode, “Spacetime,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Then let’s go.

Hot damn, now that was one good episode!

After Bobbi and Hunter’s tear-filled goodbye two weeks ago, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. chose to take a breather last week for a more or less standalone episode focused on Mack’s background. While it was well-crafted, I was curious as all hell—and more than a little worried—about how the group dynamic of the show would shift without our ever-bickering lovebirds. Turns out I didn’t have much to worry about at all. Because “Spacetime” finds Coulson and his people in fine form, as they confront a new Inhuman with a clairvoyant power that he can transfer to anyone he touches, forcing them to witness the future death of someone in their lives. It’s a bit like Christopher Walken’s ability in The Dead Zone (by way of an X-Files episode), but with twice the storytelling potential. So when Sky confronts homeless woodcarver Charles Hinton (actor Bjorn Johnson), she sees Coulson shooting her and Lincoln’s face covered in blood. Prompting S.H.I.E.L.D., once Hinton is captured by Hydra, to rescue him ASAP.

This week, the villains are after an exoskeleton from the folks who manufactured Coulson’s artificial hand, so that Malick can equip himself with the same level of power the Inhumans are wielding. It seems the Hydra head is actually afraid of his cherished Hive, and by episode’s end has already lost his head of security/right-hand man to the ages-old being who now assumes the form of Grant Ward. I liked Brett Dalton’s performance as Hive in his first few appearances, but I downright love what the show is doing with him now. He’s not as detached from Ward as we at first believed. In fact, he harbors a lingering resentment towards Coulson for ending the life of the late traitor—and we all know that everything in S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s universe is better when it’s personal.

Take May, for example. Here she’s so hellbent on finding Andrew that she all but bites Fitz and Simmons’ heads off for using their servers to run alogrithms on finding Hinton, out of concern she won’t be able to use them to locate her ex. Thankfully, fate (and the writers room) steps in when Andrew turns himself over to S.H.I.E.L.D., upon realizing he’s about to turn into Lash forever. I thought the show had played all its cards when it came to the Cavalry’s former marriage, but there’s a genuinely choke-worthy moment when the good doctor reaches out for May’s hand from behind the glass window of his containment unit, before falling out of view, and her life, presumably forever.

There’s also plenty of great shadow-laden cinematography on display this week, along with another nifty handheld-camera-shot sequence of Daisy busting into a room filled with Hydra operatives in her mission to nab Hinton. What’s most impressive is how S.H.I.E.L.D. uses all of its cast in the planning and carrying out of this mission. May’s fight choreography—which incorporates an adorably over-her-head Simmons—when she stages the raid is funny, gripping, and shot differently each time we see it carried out. (I’ll warrant that Ming-Na Wen shouts the same “Bang” as she rehearses May’s moves every week on set.) And we’re treated to some choice but refreshingly non-heavy-handed discussions of fate and predestination, spearheaded by Fitz, who finally—albeit inadvertently—convinces his dream girl/soulmate that they are indeed destined to be together.

And we’ll soon see a new person enter Daisy’s life: Hinton’ daughter, whom she promises him she’ll look after before he dies. In S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s first season, I’d have feared for the melodrama that was bound to follow. But now? With every moment between Daisy and Coulson finally feeling earned, I’m at peace with the future even as I’m excited for it. Because this show’s writers and producers have convinced me they know exactly what they’re doing.

Agents of SHIELD

Declassified Deliberations

  • I’m usually meh when a show introduces an evil doppelganger of a cast member, especially when that doppelganger becomes a regular character. (I still roll my eyes over fake Locke in Lost‘s final season.) But everything about Brett Dalton’s Hive—from his enunciation to way in which the actor now carries himself—works for me.
  • “I never saw the original Terminator.” “You’re off the team.”
  • I love that May can be philosophical even when agitated: “Every move we make changes the future. The real feat would be changing the past.”
  • “Yeah. Day got weirder.”
  • “I think we’re supposed to hold hands now.” So. Many. Feels.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).

Images: Marvel

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