BamSmackPow Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D – Past Life

Agents of SHIELD season 5, episode 10 review: Past Life

In the bleakest and most powerful episode yet of Agents of SHIELD, Elena stares into a dark mirror, Mack and Kasius fight, Daisy gets friend-napped, and Deke becomes a hero.

Much of this season has revolved around a buildup to the inevitable. We know the climax. We’ve always known. It’s only a matter of the path it takes to get there in Agents of SHIELD.

In this week’s episode, we see SHIELD take its biggest step yet in that direction – and it’s a doozy.

We open as Kasius, tipped off by inside information from his mysterious seer, storms the Zephyr hoping to catch his time-traveling antagonists unaware, but as has been the case in recent weeks they are one step ahead and all he finds is Sinara’s impaled corpse.

Kasius does not take her death especially…well. Having never been a bastion of mental stability and emotional tranquility, the death of his right-hand woman convinces the Kree tyrant to show-off his best Hamlet impersonation, as he talks at great length with his former employee about what he should do next, even as she decomposes on the slab in front of him.

Kasius, who already had a bit of a complex from being the black sheep of the family – and, presumably, always being picked last in space kickball – is pushed over the edge by this turn of events, and, after giving his lead doctor some badass medical advice about studying the condition more closely and then killing the poor schmuck, unveils his most dangerous weapon yet: a bit og liquid rage called Odium. He immediately administers this poison to an Inhuman slave who goes all Venum on a bad day, foaming black sludge at the mouth and itching for a fight.

Meanwhile, our heroes need everything to go right in order to reconstruct the monolith – with Flint’s rock wizard help, of course – and return to their own time. It’s all a bit complicated as Deke points out, but the plan is sound, if exceedingly dangerous.

Like all good plans, however, it doesn’t really survive contact with the enemy. Before long Coulson and Daisy are forced to throw down with Kasius’s hopped-up tar-warrior, whose resistance to pain and newfound strength make him quite an opponent, even for the two experts extraordinaire, but, nevertheless, Daisy is still able to deliver the killing blow and the obligatory one-liner in under a minute. 1000 points awarded to House Schwarzenegger.

In other news, Flint is able to examine the monolith fragment with his geomancy and detect its qualities in a show of power that would make any rock-type Pokemon trainer instantly envious. While this may not seem overly impressive, he redeems himself on the cool scale a few minutes later when he takes a space walk and then utilizes geokineses to gather a collection of asteroids and then use them to smash through a window of the station and crush a bunch of blade-carrying Kree guards in one swoop. Turns out rock beats scissors even in the future. After almost single-handedly defeating the majority of the Kree forces, repairing the monolith looks like child’s play to the budding superhero.

In one of the more brutal scenes in show history, Fitz sets a deadly wire trap that has the rest of the Kree guards losing their heads worse than their emotionally compromised leader. But not to be outdone, Kasius has a plan. A bad, stupid, pointless plan, but a plan nonetheless. He’s going to take Odium and …smash stuff. I guess. Hard, I imagine. Are we sure this guy isn’t the descendant of a United States senator?

Before Kasius gets to Hulk out, however, Yo-YO finally meets his secret seer. As some of us suspected, it is in fact a member of the team left over from a failed past and held captive by the Kree victors: none other than Elena herself.

In one of my favorite exchanges in the entire series, an emaciated and forcefully amputated past-future-Yo-YO explains to her other self that all of this has happened before, and will happen again. As Fitz feared, the gang is likely stuck in a time paradox. The scene is truly gut-wrenching, and Natalia Cordova-Buckley gives what has to be her best performance on the show to date, driving home the suffering and pain that has taken place between the narratives with depressing effectiveness. If there has ever been a darker more impactful moment on Agents of SHIELD, I can’t recall. Terrifc and horrifying.

In an even more heartbreaking turn of events, right before she is forced to flee, current Yo-Yo learns from her past/future self that Phil Coulson is dying, and that for the sake of the future, he must be allowed to die. Man, the future gets worse and worse!

The misery is only compounded moments later when Mack, who has gone off in search of his love interest, stumbles upon the once and future Elena held captive by a desperate, defeated Kasius, who kills the poor soul and imbibes all of the Odium in an effort to release a lifetime of second-rate son rage on Mack.

Although never much of a combatant, the roided-out Kasius proves to be too much for the only-human agent, and is right on the cusp of finishing him when Jemma comes to a surprising rescue, employing her former master’s own sonic technology against him. The distraction allows Mack to spear Kasius with his shotgun axe, ending the tyrant’s reign in a shower of blue ichor. A still-grieving Mack is reunited seconds later with a very alive current-Elena and the two share an understandably shaken hug.

Dark times are ahead, my friends.

Not to be outdone, while all this has been going on, Daisy has already attempted to heroically sacrifice herself for the good of the Earth by refusing to go back to the past, but has been tranqued and effectively kidnapped by team leader/former corpse/newly dying Phil Coulson/

Deke and Enoch, who don’t have the benefit of a loving Coulson to kidnap them, are forced t o consider laying down their own lives in a bid to power the monolith. In the end, the two are forced to hijack Enoch’s very battery for juice, a decision that proves as explosive as it is noble.

Okay, Deke. You won me over. Finally. No more Star-Lord jokes. *sheds tears*

Time is running out as Mack, Yo-Yo and Jemma race to join the others at the recently rebuilt monolith, but Enoch self-destructs before anything can be certain.

The episode closes with Flint and Tess admiring a still ruined Earth from space, toy globe in hand, talking about the past and hoping for the future.

Another stellar episode in a season that really seems to be finding its footing. Expect a bit of a slowdown next time when we go back to the past and take our first steps down an entirely new path toward the catastrophe we all know is coming.

Original article at BamSmackPow

Author: Cider

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