Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 19: Option Two Recap

CLARK GREGG, ADRIAN PASDAR

The Gravitonium finally finds a body to act as a permanent home in this week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, and it seems much happier with its option two body than with option one, Ruby. There’s also an option two for keeping Coulson alive, now that time is running out on his option one, the TAHITI treatment. Virtually no one involved will be happy with what this option two entails, though. Then there’s the option two of the episode title, the choice Coulson makes on a Lighthouse menu of lockdown options. Yep, we’re locking down the Lighthouse already, to protect it from an alien invasion, which seems to be epidemic in the MCU this week.

The episode begins with Talbot on his cot in his cell, repeating a numerical sequence over and over to himself, even in his sleep, as Qovas’ ship approaches earth. Meanwhile, Coulson goes over the team’s plan to finish space-proofing the Zephyr. Then they’ll use the ship to destroy the bulk of the Gravitonium by slingshotting it into the sun.

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Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 18: All Roads Lead… Recap

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This week on Agents of SHIELD, the Gravitonium situation spirals further out of control, as things always seem to do when the Gravitonium is involved. Fitz and Simmons stay true to themselves and each other, having finally realized just how important they are to each other as anchors, not just as friends, lovers, and scientists. Back at the Lighthouse, love is in the air, but it’s confused and has taken a wrong turn or two. Plus, Talbot is still happy to comply.

As a matter of fact, HYDRAGlenn is riding the elevator and making his way to the armory as the episode begins, choosing a weapon while mumbling to himself that no one has to get hurt. He goes to the control room and checks for Robin’s location, plus messes with the surveillance cameras. Mack catches him there, but doesn’t act on any of the suspicious signals Talbot is sending.

In England, Fitz is working on repairing the infuser component while Ruby practices her aim with the chakram, narrowly missing Jemma’s head each time she throws. Fitz finally has enough of the circus sideshow, and insists that he needs Jemma’s help.

Ruby stares at them as they embrace for a moment, as if she’s never seen a couple express true emotions.

Ruby: Aw. You two are adorable. I ship it. I really do.

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Legion Season 2 Episode 3: Chapter 11 Recap

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Dreams come true in this episode of Legion, but not all of them turn out the way the dreamer hopes, as is so often true of dreams. My dream of SpyCatSyd came true, and was as perfect as I’d hoped. Ptonomy and Melanie were also quite happy in their garden and game dream mazes. The group dream of finding the Mi-Go monk also came true, and was a disaster. Lenny’s wish to be set free is as far from coming true as ever. The Carries appear to be in some kind of limbo. This is very much an example of “Be careful what you wish for…”

Chapter 11 starts with the parable of the week. Jon Hamm describes the “nocebo effect“, which is the opposite of the placebo effect. Instead of a fake treatment working as if it’s real in a good way, as with the placebo effect, in the nocebo effect the patient is given an inert substance, told it will make something undesirable happen, and it does.* We see an elderly man given sugar water by a nurse who tells him it will make him vomit. He projectile vomits. “Your mind had the power to create its own physical reality.”

This parable makes me want to projectile vomit. Be forewarned, I’m only writing about the rest of the parable under protest.

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Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 17: The Honeymoon Recap

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This week, the Invincible Three learn that invincibility, like magic, comes with a price, as the prophecy/time loop plays out all over again. Ruby’s dreams start coming true along the way, bringing her closer to becoming the Destroyer of Worlds. Deke confesses his feelings for Daisy, which doesn’t bode well for his long term survival, if history is anything to go by. But, hey, Ghost Rider was technically dead before he met Daisy, so he’s just banished to an alternate dimension instead. Maybe the guy from the future will get a creative send off as well.

It’s an action packed episode, with a few laughs, a few revelations and some heartbreak thrown in for good measure. With only five episodes left in the season, and possibly the series, we’re racing toward the big finish. Every episode feels like it’s part of the set up for whatever is coming in the grand finale.

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Legion Season 2 Episode 2: Chapter 10 Recap

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When watching Legion, it’s important to keep in mind the concept of the unreliable narrator. Jon Hamm is an unreliable narrator, no matter how much he sounds like the epitome of trustworthy patriarchy. David Haller is also an unreliable narrator, even though the audience finds him attractive and likable, and Farouk is supposedly no longer inhabiting his psyche. That means that we can’t trust much that we’re told in Legion.

This paranoid episode tries to determine if there’s anyone the characters and the audience can trust. Unlike season 1, when the sides and main conflicts became clearly established, in this episode it feels like everyone is gearing up for a war they don’t know is coming yet. Uniting Farouk and his body have become a means to an end rather than the end game itself. Jon Hamm’s discussion about perception vs reality vs paying attention to what’s in front of your face seems like it could be the theme of the season.

Of course, there is a 63% chance that I’m lying about all of this, and a 27% chance that this recap will blow up in our faces. But Melanie Bird has awoken from her stupor and is talking back to Fukyama, so something 100% good has already come out of David’s partnership with Farouk. Who am I certain we can trust? Melanie.

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Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 16: Inside Voices Recap

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This week Agents of SHIELD features two daring prison breaks by two death-defying groups of people who are being treated unfairly by their captors. The captors themselves feel that their prisoners betrayed them and their trust, and that the prisoners aren’t listening to reason, so they feel justified in containing the prisoners indefinitely, while they attend to other matters.

The prisoners also feel like they aren’t being listened to. They seek out unlikely allies and use their wits, skill and reckless bravado to pull off their escapes. Someone almost dies in each escape. Meanwhile, the leaders and seconds in command are distracted with their own plots and plans, so they underestimate their prisoners need to escape and deal with issues. The leaders don’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late to prevent the escapes.

Hale and Daisy are mirrored as soft-spoken leaders who fail to pay attention to what’s happening within their teams, and the HYDRA and SHIELD gangs both rebel as a result. Neither leader has either the history as team leader or the watchful muscle to back her up in order to be able to expect absolute loyalty from her best people. As a result, they lose the control they’re holding so tightly.

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Legion Season 2 Episode 1: Chapter 9 Recap

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The Monster still lurks. But who is the monster?

Our hero, David Haller, has returned to his Summerland friends and his lover, Syd Barrett, after his journey within the mysterious orb. He claims to have no memories of his time away, which he thinks was only a day, but was actually a year. His friends are now working with their bitter enemies, Division 3, to find Amahl Farouk, the Shadow King, their even bitterer enemy, who used to live in David’s head, and still might have some kind of hold on him.

Farouk is infecting people, normals and mutants alike, with a strange psychological illness that brings on paralytic catatonia and obsessive teeth chattering. Division 3 is being run by a basket-headed mutant cyborg with mustachioed female clones who speak for it. Welcome to Legion, season 2. You didn’t think things would settle down, did you?

The Division 3 headquarters has the best staff restaurant ever, so they can’t be as evil as they used to be. Everything will definitely be fine.  Continue reading “Legion Season 2 Episode 1: Chapter 9 Recap”

Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 15: Rise and Shine Recap

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Hale HYDRA! Hail the squid-bellied Destroyer of Worlds! Hail the Calamari Mata Hari, and the return of that silver-tongued devil himself, (former) General Talbot!

This week, we get a HYDRA history lesson and a nostalgic visit with some old friends. (RIP, Jasper Sitwell. I will always believe that someone saved you after the Winter Soldier crossed you off in the most spectacular of his on-camera assassinations.) We also discover just how deeply the misogyny ran in HYDRA.

After the Hydra background reveal, Hale takes Coulson on a tour of HYDRA and its goals as it stands today. The two leaders have a surprising amount in common, until Coulson slips and tries to give Hale orders based on his experiences in the future. Hale thinks that he’s just another male authority figure deciding that his gender makes him smarter than her, and shuts down in anger. Did they just bring us one step closer to the end of the world?

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Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Episode 14: The Devil Complex Recap

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This week’s episode confronts levels and layers of fear and loathing, and the ongoing question of when the solution becomes worse than the problem. How far is too far? At what point would it be better to die with your integrity or identity intact, rather than make a deal with the devil that potentially wipes out everything you thought you were or the good you were trying to accomplish?

These questions have been a core part of the show from the beginning, both politically, with the revelation that HYDRA and SHIELD had been interwoven since the beginning, and scientifically, as the question of the appropriateness of the use of the TAHITI protocol to revive Coulson has been reflected on by many characters through all five seasons.

The question of Fitz’ and Simmons’ genius, and when they need to rein it in for the good of the world, rather than following the science to its logical extreme, has also been with the show since the beginning, and explored in a new way each season. Season 4 seemed like it should be the peak of that issue, with Fitz helping Radcliffe create murderous LMDs and perpetrating genocide and mass torture on inhumans inside the Framework as his alter ego The Doctor.

Instead, we come back around to it again this week, in an even more chilling scenario, as Fitz needs to follow the science in order to save the world, but comes close to losing his own humanity while doing so. Cooperation with HYDRA is also on the table again, this time with SHIELD as a willing participant, with the goal of saving the world from a ruthless invading enemy. And, with the appearance of a Kree in the tag, the ethics and science of saving Coulson’s life using TAHITI or another advanced method, with or without his consent, are an issue once again.

This time, Coulson’s made his feelings on the subject very clear to everyone close to him, but he and everyone around him seem to be operating based on fear as much as on logic and reason. Daisy’s powers are also an important piece of the puzzle, with the science vs fear conflict driving her story as well. Fear anomalies continue to arise, and Hale continues to send surprises the team’s way. The situation is building in emotion and suspense and the team has 1/3 of the season left, about the length of the final pod in season 4, to prevent multiple catastrophes.

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