Kudos to all of you out there who predicted the coming of the comic book character Graviton! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Episode 19 revealed the character quite unexpectedly in the final minutes.
That's not to say his existence was unforeseen, obviously. But how many of us guessed that Talbot would be the one to take the plunge and absorb all the gravitonium?
I confess that I'm not overly familiar with Graviton's comic book version, aside from a few broad brush strokes, but I'm reasonably concerned that this will not mean a happily-ever-after for my favorite quipping partner for Coulson.
The whole thing has the makings of a tragedy. Poor Talbot, already broken by Hydra's tortures, tries to make things right. But how long can his fractured mind contain the screaming essences of Franklin Hall and Ian Quinn?
To make matters worse, what if it turns out that Talbot is the real Destroyer of Worlds now? Or are we so caught up in what we learned in the future that we the viewers are overthinking things?
The conversation on that very topic between Mack and Yo-Yo was painful but heartfelt on both sides. Both actors played it to the hilt, with their characters convinced of their choices.
But while the story initially started with a focus on the characters and relationships, as in previous installments, it soon transformed into a much more adrenaline-pumping action thriller. Or perhaps a slasher flick.
Starring parkour aliens in the dark, apparently.
The invaders made decently effective jump-scare villains, though the convenient "darkness follows them" bit was merely an excuse to cover for the fact that they spent their SFX budget on turning them into piles of goo at the end.
Which, admittedly, looked pretty good. If you enjoy watching living beings squished to death by gravity powers. Curiously, the effect reminded me a bit of the fate of the villain in Ant-Man.
Likely unintentional, but still. Also, yuck.
Unfortunately, the attackers just seemed like generic immune-to-bullets lurking-in-the-dark bad guys with little to distinguish them aside from apparent invincibility until, well, Graviton.
The episode also ran into some awkwardness with the very, very obvious handling of Robin, her mother, and Carl Creel. I totally understand the motivation to save money, but as the old saying goes, Show, don't tell.
I'm not quite sure how else they could work around the characters with this setup, but simply talking about them the way they did felt very stilted.
One of the best moments of the episode, surprisingly, came courtesy not of any of the main characters but from supporting players Piper and Davis:
Piper: That is insane! I mean, it’s a miracle you survived all that with just one scar!
Piper: You tell everyone that story?
Davis: I don’t think they care!
I couldn't help but laugh at how meta that exchange felt, especially since a number of unnamed agents (presumably just as trained and skilled as Piper and Davis) died horribly and unmemorably during the attack.
The red shirts are heroes, just as much as the main characters, but does anyone bother to ask them how things are going in their lives?
The exchange between Piper and Davis lampshaded a particular sense of absurdity that usually falls under acceptable breaks from reality. No one cares because they aren't the stars of the show!
(Ironically, I did wonder how Davis survived his predicament at the end of the previous season!)
Let us take a moment of silence for all those unmourned, unnamed red shirts from all works of fiction. They may not be remembered, but they certainly played their part!
Here are a few miscellaneous thoughts before I turn the discussion over to you:
- The shotgun-ax returned! That thing is incredible, and it makes me smile every time it comes out.
- Did anyone else get a sense of isolation from the greater MCU when the sole mention of the events of Avengers: Infinity War was a brief offhand reference to weird stuff in New York?
- Why does Fitz continue to treat Deke like a complete idiot? Deke lived in a dystopian future where he didn't even know what a canary was, but still knew enough to be familiar with the multiverse theory. In short, not an idiot.
- Centipede serum, John Garrett, Jiaying, even Davis' miraculous escape (with only a scar!). I love a good callback.
- There are some great lines from this episode, and Coulson unsurprisingly got some of the best. Stop by our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. quotes page for a rundown.
What did you think of "Option Two"? Were you surprised that Talbot absorbed the gravitonium? Where will this lead? Will Mack and Yo-Yo ever make up? Let us know in the comments section below!
You can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online as the countdown to the finale begins! Only three episodes are left this season.
Check in after watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Episode 20, "The One Who Will Save Us All," slated to air on Friday, May 4, 2018, at 9/8c on ABC.