Sep 21, 2020
Get Your Serious Rube Goldberg On In This Week’s Episode Of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
It probably isn’t a good sign that I had to look up my own recap before settling in to this week’s SHIELD. Oh, yeah. Last week started with planes and vans. This week starts with a giant semi truck. Thanks for the trains and boats and planes shit you have going on here, SHIELD.
Ohai, stereotypical trucker in dirty jean jacket, five-day stubble, and grimy gimme cap, talking on your ceebee radio with some mysterious lingo. How you doin’? Apparently not so good because one of your mysterious black SUV escort vehicles just got blowed to kingdom come.
Oh! Grimy trucker is a SHIELD dude with a super secret super special cargo that is under attack by some unseen entity that can just fling his truck straight up in the air and smash it to bits. After a long lead up and some hot hot acetylene torch work, we see that the precious cargo is a dude who has been welded into the truck itself so he could be safely hidden. No real reason to use a giant semi for that, people. Could have welded him in a much smaller ride. Oh well.
Oh look, a plane. SHIELD has a plane again. It has a convenient fitness center so that ManMachine Agent Ward and Skye can engage in Friendly Bickering as he tries to get her to get her fitness on.
OK, enough of that. Time to explain that precious cargo dude is famous physicist, which leads to a swoon from Fitzsimmons, and also comes with an explanation that the attackers are invisible. Skye thinks “invisible” is pretty dope, which is cause for some ManMachine frowny-face.
I’m not sure why this show is so terribly clunky at exposition. Coulson and company go out to the field to interview truck driver what got done tossed up in the air like a rag doll (but still survived! Yay truck driver!) and the whole point seems to be a heavy-handed Q&A so that Coulson can elicit that his cargo was very valuable indeed and that the truck-flingers knew his exact route so it is someone in SHIELD being all snitch.
Fitzsimmons deploys some characteristic brand new made up tech to find a tiny mysterious sphere that they can then take back to the lab and look at very intently.
Meanwhile Coulson is going to get his stern on and try and figure out who is the sieve within SHIELD. Skye wants to do something all data searching sexy but gets stuck reading a giant hard copy printout of all of the communications about Precious Cargo Physicist, because apparently printing out like 2000 pieces of paper was way more convenient than just giving her a thumb drive.
Coulson and Manmachine have traced down an Old West dude who sold the excavator that tore Precious Cargo man out of his semi truck cocoon. Dude literally got paid in gold. Big bricks of gold, which are going to lead us to the next phase of tonight’s show, Evil CEO who is rival to Precious Cargo Physicist. Except not really rivals? Evil CEO kidnapped physicist out of love to drag him to Malta so that they can do big physics stuff together, which Precious Cargo seems totally cool with. I’m not sure I’d be all like “hey, bro, let’s work together” with someone who blew up large-ish vehicles to get to me, but maybe that’s just me.
The big physics deal gets explained in far too much detail by Fitzsimmons AND by precious cargo and evil CEO. It’s gravitonium! (No, really.) It is very unstable but it is new and exciting. The more you know.
Oh god of course the only way SHIELD can get at Precious Cargo is to send in the only person – Skye – that has literally NO training whatsoever physically or mentally for the gig. Makes sense, and is probably totally how shadowy quasi-governmental agencies are run. She’s sent off with a bunch of James Bond-esque gadgets, including a high-tech powder makeup case that will tell her when wifi is near. Huh??
In another Bond-esque twist, Skye has to go to a really fancy party in Malta to meet Evil CEO Ian Quinn. She’s there as a member of Rising Tide and showing off her superhacker skillz and now apparently Evil CEO wants to hire her. Evil CEO gives a deeply ponderous speech about how he is good and full of love and innovation and SHIELD is bad because they stop him from thought leadering.
Tense Quinn-Skye standoff where he busts her trying to get in his office or hotel room or secret lair or something, which gives Skye the opportunity to let him know that SHIELD is listening in. So she’s a…triple agent? Double double agent? Posing as Rising Tide but working for SHIELD but secretly undermining SHIELD to Evil CEO. She must keep some sort of spreadsheet or database to track all this.
I know that the Is Skye Good Or Evil aka How Deep Does This Conspiracy Go thing is supposed to keep me hanging on, but it just isn’t. I can’t figure out if it is just that I don’t like Skye. Skye is the girl at the party that sort of weirdly inserts herself into conversations by insisting she can do big things. She’s basically Penelope from the Kristen Wiig SNL sketches:
Skye’s spilling her whole master plan to Evil CEO where she spells out in excruciating detail what she is done and what she is going to do. Seriously, Joss, most of your viewers are going to have enough deductive reasoning capabilities to sort out that she’s sharing her SHIELD secrets if you drop us in the middle of this convo rather than the entire History of Skye. But wait! It was a all a plan to gain his confidence or something because now she has used the Secret Makeup Compact to figure out there’s wifi …
… to send a signal to SHIELD or to hack the Evil CEO network or something so that SHIELD can bust in and grab Precious Cargo Physicist. Seriously, this plan is so complicated. It’s the Mouse Trap of plans.
Aaaannnnnddd Precious Cargo Physicist doesn’t want to leave. Physicist dude has his own super secret double cross in store, though. He’s not hanging about because he loves Evil CEO and wants to work for him. He’s set this entire thing in motion so he could get captured by Evil CEO and destroy the super unstable gravity generator thing. Wheels within wheels, people.
Everything’s going to hell now. Precious Cargo Physicist needs to destroy Evil CEO village in order to save the world and Skye is running away from Evil CEO and there’s fistfights and Manmachine and oh Christ who cares. The only interesting part of the everything falls apart portion of our show is that the music is really really really reallllllyyyy tense.
Somehow the super graviton thing of terror can be stopped if you just pitch something into its gaping electrical maw, so Coulson tosses Precious Cargo in there. He gets swallowed up by some cheap special effects and is no more.
If the terrifying unstable orb of gravity could be shut down by something this simple, couldn’t Coulson have thrown, say, a lab table at the thing ages ago?
End scenes are all about People Connecting. Silent ninja-like fighter pilot chick bonds with Coulson, Skye bonds with ManMachine. We see more of the giant plane hanger and are still amazed at the sheer size of the thing.
Scene after end scene is that we’re shutting the gravity machine in a safe where it can apparently just keep gobbling up that physicist forever because oh look, there’s his hand.
This thing is going to be SHIELD’s version of the X Files black goo and I loathe it already. I’m not hate watching this show yet, but I’m definitely meh-watching it by this point. Get more better more sooner please.