Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 2: Orientation Part 2 Recap

 

AOS502Earthshell

The second episode of this two parter slips in much more information than Part 1, and brings up even more questions, chief among them, WHERE IS FITZ??? One postcard in two episodes is not enough. While the world could always use another Nazi zombie movie, especially when JJ Abrams is involved, Fitz is sorely needed in the future, rather than the past. Shouldn’t Steve and Bucky be taking on the World War 2 era Nazi zombies, anyway?

Alas, the rest of the team is left to cope with the news that the monolith flung them 90+ years into the future, where the earth has been blasted into a debris field and a piece of shell, without the one member who might be able to work the problem. On second thought, maybe those sneaky showrunners sent him off to do a movie for a reason. As Jemma says, she’s not the kind of scientist who can whip up some time travel at a moment’s notice. But Fitz just might be able to do it, after working with Aida and Radcliffe. They needed to leave Fitz behind to slow the plot down a bit.

Part 2 picks up immediately after the end of Part 1. Jemma and May try to wrap their brains around what they’re seeing through the trawler’s windows: about a third of the earth’s surface remains, with atmosphere on top, some crust, and glowing red under the eggshell shaped curve of its underside. The rest of the earth has become the debris field we’ve been watching since the tag at the end of last season.

Meteors start impacting the trawler, so May tries to get the ship out, but the trawler’s stuck. Jemma turns it off, then turns it back on again (the first rule of IT- reboot). When it still won’t start, Jemma slams a fist into the dashboard (the second rule of IT- kick it). That boots up the engines, and they’re able to get back on track.

They compare notes with Coulson and realize that they don’t have any way back to the past. Jemma didn’t have any way back from Maveth either. They’ll have to wing it until they can figure something out. Everyone looks at Deke, who pulls out a handful of metrics. Coulson vetoes wearing trackers.

Just then, Maya from The 100 a woman comes around a corner. She’s looking for Virgil and yelling at Deke. She thinks Virgil was the one who took out the trawler without permission. Coulson tells her that Virgil is dead. Tess assumes that Deke caused Virgil’s death. They all try to explain what’s going on. Tess knows the stories about the Agents of SHIELD, even though she’s not a true believer.

Tess offers to pay Deke to help Daisy, Mack and Elena escape the Kree. Deke balks, but she brings him around. Coulson looks at Tess with respect. He’s found a trustworthy, capable local contact.

By the time Deke gets to Daisy, Mack and Elena, they’re trying to dispose of the Kree bodies. Deke is really, really not okay with killing Kree. When the deaths are discovered, the entire community will be punished. They decide to use the roof of an elevator to bring the bodies up to #3, the roach infested floor, and leave them with the rest of the bodies there.

Coulson asks Tess what happened to the earth. She explains that no one knows exactly what happened. The planet was torn apart in some cataclysmic event. When the Kree showed up and took over, they destroyed the historical record- books, databases, everything. They said they wanted the humans focused on the future. They restored order and oversee what’s left of humanity.

Destroying the historical record is the move of a dictator who wants absolute power over people. Knowing their military history would have given humans ideas about rising up to protest against the Kree’s treatment of them. Plus, the Kree are obviously hiding something. Either they didn’t want humans wasting resources by seeking revenge from a powerful enemy, or the Kree had a hand in destroying the earth.

The elevator doors open on a large, busy marketplace. Tess tells the team that the ship is, “called the Lighthouse. Back when the earth was round this was an underground survival bunker. This is the exchange. Need anything, this is where you get it.”

Tess says that when she and Virgil were kids, there were elders who would tell stories about the Agents of SHIELD, who would come from the past to try to help them. Coulson asks to speak to the elders. The Kree killed all of the elders and anyone else who believed the stories. Virgil was the only one left who believed, and everyone thought he was crazy.

AOS502Jemma

After they see a Kree abusing a human, May asks why they don’t fight the Kree. Tess says that they depend on the Kree to survive. Coulson says that the humans outnumber the Guards. Tess replies that the Kree have the weapons and military training. May wonders if the teams role is to fight, since they’re trained. Tess admonishes them to blend in. Keep their heads down, do what the others do.

The team is really having a hard time taking in the concept that there’s nowhere for humanity to escape to, nowhere to hide, no other human populations to carry on if they’re all killed. This is it. If they fail at staying alive, the species ends. That would make any population conservative about risks.

Tess takes Coulson to Virgil’s quarters to look for clues. They chat about life on the intact earth as they walk. He has to break it to her that sharknados are fictional, and air doesn’t have to be made.

A grizzled man named Grill stops them to harass Tess about the unauthorized trawler use. He’ll charge Tess double next time it happens. She tells him Virgil is dead and he asks if Coulson is the new pilot. May will likely get that job. She was able to fly the trawler with no instruction.

Deke and Mack argue over whether killing Kree is acceptable, and if they should come up with a better system for body disposal. Let’s face it, they’ll be disposing of bodies. These guys can’t stay out of trouble. Deke will be herding rats (TM him) for as long as they’re in the future.

Elena calls Daisy by name. Deke clearly recognizes it, but he just asks if it’s Daisy, like the flower. Daisy assumes he’s flirting. There’s some chemistry there. He could be her male companion of the season.

Virgil’s quarter’s are filled with artifacts from the past. Coulson asks if the surface of the earth will ever be habitable again. Tess says no. Coulson finds a notebook full of data and notes. He pockets it, hoping the data will be useful later.

May and Jemma remark on how low tech the humans lives are, while the Kree are technologically advanced. A few Kree arrive to reward the neediest humans with a handout of food pellets. A fight breaks out over the food. One of the Kree’s pet humans is injured in the fray. Jemma runs over to try to save him. She cauterizes his wound. Sinara, the female Kree who’s in charge of the operation, motions for the guards to bring Jemma back to the Kree section of the ship with them.

Deke and his group return to the exchange level of the Lighthouse. They meet up with everyone but Jemma. Deke pulls Tess aside to find out how Jemma was captured. Tess explains what happened, and says that the SHIELD agents aren’t like them. Deke says that they’re hazardous and will get everyone killed. Tess wants to believe that the stories could be real, but Deke thinks that they’re too dangerous and will only lead to a slaughter. Tess says that she knows what he lost due to belief in the SHIELD stories. Deke strongly advises Tess to get the SHIELD crew to blend in, then walks away.

The team tries to plan a rescue mission for Jemma, however they don’t know enough about their situation yet. Daisy will follow Deke, since he seems like he understands how the Lighthouse works better than anyone, but he has some scam running that keeps him from wanting to make waves. Elena will steal one of the Kree tablets for its intel.

AOS502Kasius2

Sinara escorts Jemma upstairs, then watches her as she bathes, playing with the metal balls that she uses as telekinetic weapons the entire time. When she’s clean, Jemma is brought in to see Kasius, the Kree in charge of the Lighthouse.

Kasius wonders how she came to be so different from everyone else. Jemma fields his questions gracefully. She tells Kasius the she only did what she thought would make him happiest in the end. He finds that to be the superior answer to any question.

Kasius: “Life is a fragile thing. We must cultivate the beauty and prune the rest.”

Then he orders a renewal.

Kasius is mesmerised by Jemma. His former favorite will never be physically unmarred again, so Kasius has Senara kill him. He takes a silver worm-like device out of the man’s ear. He’s decided that Jemma is his new favorite, but he insists that she learn silence. He puts the silver worm in her ear. It renders her deaf. She’s led away to be prepared for servitude.

Daisy follows Deke to an out of the way corridor, where he disappears behind a hidden panel. She vibes the panel open, and discovers that it’s a speakeasy for full spectrum light, and a refurbished Framework. When Daisy follows Deke under some lights, she also walks under the framework transmitter.

She collapses in the real world, and wakes up in his framework scenario. She’s in a cityscape created by someone who doesn’t know what a city looks like, with the same cloud repeated throughout the sky, and the same two buildings repeated up and down every street.

Elena steals one of the Kree tablets using her skills. The Kree show up to check metrics. Elena, Coulson, and Mack still don’t have their metrics installed. They run for it. When they run by Grill, Coulson takes a chance and offers to trade the tablet for three installed metrics. Grill says the job is worth more than that. They’ll have to work off the debt. Coulson agrees, and the metrics are installed.

The renewal consists of several people’s metrics flashing red. This means that they’ll have to kill or be killed. A life is owed for every flashing metric, and it doesn’t matter whose life is taken to pay the debt. It’s the Hunger Games meets The Lottery, in space.

Grill locks himself in a safe room and magnetizes the others to a wall, waiting for a killer to arrive. One does, but May makes her entrance with a flying ninja kick at just the right moment (!!!). They fight, until Tess shoots him dead. May doesn’t think he needed to die, but Tess says that someone had to.

The Kree guards come in to verify the last death for the renewal. Grill verifies the team’s employment with him.

Daisy follows Deke into a bar, where she finds him reading a newspaper and trying to joke with a bartender. He tells her to have a beer, but admits that he has no idea how beer tasted.

Daisy: So this is your racket, you’re pimping out the Framework?

Deke: I never called it that but, yeah. That’s the technology the hardware interface is based on. I had to rebuild the software from scratch because Kasius had the historical archives erased. but I was able to get my hands on the servers. I gathered bits of data here and there. The rest is guesswork.

Daisy: But your customers don’t know the difference. You got them addicted to earth as it was scenarios.

Deke: Among other simulations, yes.

Daisy: So this is the business that you’re protecting? Your creepy opium den of fantasy?

Deke: Well, I can’t get real opium. So I’m selling escape. The only other way out of here is the final exit.

Daisy- They’re trading one prison for another.

Deke: You think the lighthouse is a prison? Sweetheart, prison would be nice.

Deke and Daisy argue about rescuing Jemma and forming a resistance. She won’t take no for an answer, but Deke feels that it’s just too risky

Deke: The boat sank. Do you understand that? We are a breath away from extinction. One wrong move, mankind is gone, for good.

Deke finds Daisy on his local news loop. He’s pieced together what really happened to the earth. She destroyed it- Quake. SHIELD tried to save the world, but failed. She needs to make her peace with things the way they are. There’s no way to make them better.

He shows her the earth, as it is now, on a viewscreen. Earth can’t be saved. It’s already been quaked apart.

Jemma is washed, painted, dressed, and generally dolled up according to Kree beauty standards, then taken with the other Geishas to Kasius. He’s about to receive important guests. The only thing Jemma can hear is Kasius speaking directly to her.

AOS502Renewal

 


 

Tess and Deke would be the great great grandkids of the people alive in our time, the great grandkids of a baby born now. It’s likely that the only people they’ve known that were alive before the earth was destroyed were children at the time.

Did Deke somehow get the Framework servers and software from Fitz? What are the other simulations that are on the servers? Is the Agents of Hydra world still lurking? The Framework contained the brain patterns of every current team member, plus Aida, Radcliffe, Ward, Tripp, Fitz’s father, Agnes, Jeffrey Mace, Burrows, Hope, Bakshi- potentially any cast member we’ve ever seen. Are they all on the table again?

The news footage from the present day suggests more might have been preserved by the underground than we’ve been led to believe. The Hydra world seemed real to the people in it. Could they have convinced Deke that they hold the true history of the world? Or could he have combined elements of both histories?

Didn’t Aida write the original Framework software with the help of the Darkhold? How could Deke, with no formal training, possibly figure out how to rewrite it on his own? Did Radcliffe and Aida’s avatars help him, or the Fitz or Daisy within the Framework? Is the Darkhold on the Lighthouse??

Last time we saw them, the Framework servers were in Ivanov’s underwater lair at the base of the oil rig. How did they get to the Lighthouse? Or did Ivanov’s secret base become the Lighthouse? Could that be where the way back to the 21st century is? Will the team have to temporarily jump back into new bodies that Fitz printed for them, or LMDs, until they make the permanent fix to the timeline, when their own bodies should be reset to where they belong?

Deke is a Han Solo type, the street wise black marketeer with a heart of gold, willing to break the rules when necessary for survival, prone to losing faith and falling into depression. But, he’s also a techno whiz who can build whatever he needs out of spare parts. He’s Fitz’s descendant, with some of Daisy or Jemma’s practical ability thrown in.

Tess: “Virgil loved his artifacts” Coulson: “You should have seen my office.”  Virgil was a descendant of Coulson, loyal to a fault, obsessed with the history of the organization, a true believer, who kept the memory of SHIELD going, no matter what.

Tess is harder to place. Right now, I’d put her as at least the spiritual descendant of Daisy. She’s a natural leader, comfortable with the underground workings of the Lighthouse, but able to navigate the overall system effectively. Violence isn’t her first instinct. She’s empathetic but also savvy and shrewd. She knows when to push an issue with a friend, and when to keep her head down with someone who’s more powerful. Most importantly, she takes care of her people and honors her commitments. Though the narrative has made Deke’s usefulness to the team more flashily obvious, Tess will be a formidable addition as well.

In the comics, the Lighthouse space station is the base of operations for the Secret Avengers special ops unit. Comicbook.com posted an article about the Lighthouse and the Secret Avengers. They mention a couple of storylines that might be adapted for Agents of SHIELD:

Having a space station came in handy when the Avengers vs. X-Men event broke out and the Secret Avengers squad – along with some powerful core Avengers like Vision and Thor – were made the first line of defense against the oncoming Phoenix Force. The team wasn’t able to destroy the Phoenix Force like they had hoped, but they did manage to prevent it from destroying the Kree homeworld of Hala.

The team also went up against the Descendants, a race of robots created by Father, a scientist who worked for Weapon Plus, the same program that created Captain America, gave Wolverine his adamantium, and birthed Fantomex.

The Phoenix Force could be the enemy that was heavily foreshadowed during Inhuman’s as being on the way to earth, but too huge for anyone but Black Bolt to handle. Black Bolt could have been part of the destruction of the earth in a battle with the Phoenix Force. If Earth’s fighters help save the Kree homeworld, it would explain why the Kree keep humans alive. It’s their way of paying back that debt.

Black Bolt’s powers are similar enough to Daisy’s that Deke could have put the pieces together wrong. The Kree could have fed him misleading information, or Daisy could have been with Black Bolt at the end, leading to the confusion. The oral histories may have become garbled with time.

We saw a race of robots with a father who’d created them at the end of last season: Ivanov/The Superior and his LMD army. Unlike Aida, he and his robots all got away safely. He has a fleet of Daisybots who could be positioned to take the blame for the destruction of the earth. In the Descendants storyline, Father creates an underground city for the robots to live in. The Secret Avengers infiltrate the city, causing Father to order the robots to take over the world instead.

Ivanov already has submarines and underground bases. He was creating LMDs at an alarming rate last season. He also spent time with the Darkhold, so he likely has OTT evil on his mind. An underground city would be an easy starting point. He could have his own undisputed kingdom to store his brain in. Then, when the world decides he’s an imminent danger, or he decides to take over the world, he’s prepared.

Ivanov’s underground bunker city would then be lifted off into space at the end of the world to become the Lighthouse. Could Ivanov’s brain still be alive somewhere in the Lighthouse?

Or Thanos could have destroyed the earth in a different version of the Infinity War timeline. In that case the team will have to fix the mess, then get a message to Fury so that he can make sure the Avengers try a different way in the new timeline/movie.

Or some combination of two or three of those. Inhumans brought the royal family to earth, and showed the throne activating with a message at the end, after the foreshadowing about a major threat coming to the solar system from space. So that’s happening. Ivanov and his LMD army are definitely still out there, and still a threat. There are still remnants of the various factions of HYDRA, AIM, the Hand, the Triad, etc. to help out a Big Bad. Wouldn’t a Madame Gao crossover cameo to share some cryptic prophecy be amazing?? (She would improve every Marvel show.)

It’s very amusing that, on The 100, Eve Harlow/Maya died underground in the tunnels of Mount Weather, and has now risen to live in the Lighthouse, tunnels in space. At least in Mount Weather they had cake.

Sinara, the female Kree, is played by Florence Faivre, who was also Julie Mao on The Expanse.

 

Deke: That fairytale was toxic. The morons that believed it were eaten alive.

Tess: I know Deke. I know what you lost. But maybe they didn’t die in vain. Maybe it’s real.

This sounds like it might have something to do with the drained bodies in section 3, and like there’s more to the story than just territorial giant bugs.

 

Jemma has spent time undercover and in great danger at the HYDRA facility in season 2, and in season 3 spent months on Maveth fending for herself with no help and no preparation, then made friends with the local population of one.

She’ll be fine as a spy in Kasius’ court. He won’t expect her to be able to pick anything up, since she won’t be able to hear conversations, but she could learn to lip read. Plus, people get sloppy around those they think are incapable of betrayal. She can pick up a lot through observation, without sound.

CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, CHLOE BENNET, IAIN DE CAESTECKER, NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEY, HENRY SIMMONS

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