Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 6, Episode 5 Review

After the baffling tonal inconsistencies of 'Code Yellow', Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. attempts to get back on track with 'The Other Thing' - an episode that feels like it's simply there to set things up for later.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. abandoned its villain-of-the-week format a long time ago, but it still feels somewhat dissatisfying when episodes feel like smaller pieces in a larger puzzle. It's as though the show is being produced for a streaming audience, bingeing the entire season in one go, as opposed to working as week-to-week entertainment. It's also at this point that I really started to feel the length of this season - and we're only five episodes in. I had thought that a shorter, thirteen-episode season would benefit the show, and while it might in the long run, I don't think that the story has gone very far in five episodes.

May has been captured by Sarge and his accomplice (whose name escapes me, but she keeps mentioning butterflies), and a good chunk of the episode sees her hallucinating flashbacks to being in Tahiti with Coulson - flashbacks that could have done a great job at exploring the two as a couple (something the show has never really explored) and/or showing Coulson's death in such a way as to confirm it to the audience. There is a moment that felt like it might have been Coulson's death, and perhaps it was intended as such, but I was struggling to remain interested.

The scenes between May and Sarge just didn't seem to go anywhere, aside from reinforcing things we already knew. Sarge does dump some exposition about "the Shrike" - a parasite that destroys worlds that he intends to stop - but it's a bit too muddled and vague to really help progress the over-arching narrative forwards. At the end of the episode, May apprehends Sarge and takes the truck back to the Lighthouse - hopefully for some good old interrogation exposition.

Meanwhile, Daisy, Simmons, Enoch and the two not-quite-red-shirts encounter a Chronicom called Atarah, who informs them that the Chronicom world was destroyed - presumably by the Shrike - and they want to use the team's time-travel capabilities to prevent this from ever happening. Upon realising that they have Fitz, Simmons agrees to stay, informing them that with Fitz's help they might be able to work out a way of saving the Chronicom homeworld. Oh, and Enoch betrays them for various reasons in such an odd way that just didn't really flow. Enoch's an odd addition to the series, working well in some episodes but feeling like a spare and unnecessary element in others. Anyway, FitzSimmons will get more focus next episode I'm sure.

So Daisy and the two not-quite-red-shirts return to the Lighthouse at long last, and the episode ends with every single thread left dangling.


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