SHIELD: Fitzsimmons

Agents of SHIELD reaction post

Emotionally, this is the best episode they've ever done. Again I say unto you, if you gave up on this show before, it's worth another try. You could probably start from 1 x 16 without missing anything.

1. Fitz! I love how the show uses him to demonstrate the emotional impact of SHIELD's collapse. Everyone else is keeping it together and focusing on the mission, and Fitz wears his heart on his sleeve. I empathized with him so much in this episode. He's felt lonely his whole life, and the number of people he lets in is very small. I can almost hear him counting in his head I only had this many friends, and now I have one less. I was glad to see that he had some normal time with Jemma at the end of the episode. I'm glad she's growing more independent, but I don't want their friendship to go away. And poor guy -- he's probably the one who's letting it suffer. He has so many insecurities seeing Jemma go off on her own, possibly with a new romantic interest, and he's so afraid to talk about them because they'll be confirmed. (Oh wait, am I talking about myself in high school or a character on a TV show?)

2. May! You go girl! Phil says he can't accept her friendship anymore, and it hurts, but she figures out how to win his trust back. Then she does it, calmly and methodically. I loved that little scene with her climbing out of a grave.

3. Maria. Eek. This one is the hardest for me to process. I love Maria so much, so it hurt that she might be that hard nosed and practical about turning over Phil's team. I'd like to think that she did exactly what she needed to do to win the Colonel's trust, then delivered a small team whom she knew Phil could defeat. On the other hand...I am always saying I like my characters flawed. Maybe I would rather think that she is just as hurt and confused as everyone else by SHIELD's collapse, and she's doing the best she can to stay afloat. She's thinking she'll get Phil a job, his team will plea bargain, nobody will get hurt and everyone will come out ahead. Phil's still clinging to his loyalty to SHIELD, but she's figuring out how to live without it. Doing that is messy.

4. Phil! I loved his moment of vulnerability -- "I have a major freak out coming soon." I honestly didn't see the big reveal coming, that Phil was in charge of Tahiti. Naturally, he would want to hate Fury for using the Tahiti drugs against his express recommendation...except that when Skye was dying, he made exactly the same judgment call. And also led HYDRA to Tahiti. Oops.

5. Mike! He's not a monster or a machine; he's a man in a tough situation following orders to survive. A man who's accepting a life as an automaton is so much more interesting than man who got turned into a robot. Emotional resonance for the win.

6. Saving the best for last: There is absolutely no one to trust. Usually on Joss shows, you feel like everyone might die. Now I feel like everyone might betray everyone else with no warning at all, which is even better. Ward was a traitor on the team. Is everyone else trustworthy? You might expect your old friends to come to your aid...but they might sell you out to the US army and expect you to be grateful. Your team leader can't trust himself anymore, and he should probably tell you about that -- but my money says he isn't going to. Skye might be a ticking time bomb as well. Also, congratulations, you don't work for an agency anymore and you're now homeless. Hope you had some money in the bank and that your assets aren't frozen! Skye is a pro at living like this, but the rest of the team, not so much. Ragged band of survivors + chosen family: two of my very favorite narrative kinks all rolled into one.
It was a great episode. I never gave up on the show and it really has caught fire in my mind. I love Maria talking to Pepper and Natasha. I think Chloe Bennett has done some really good work over the last episodes. It seems she's finally comfortable with being Skye.

Poor Phil, he's discovered that Fury betrayed him by using the alien drug on him, then erasing his memories -- though it seems Phil remembers quite a lot, including the Cellist. My lips got all wobbly at the end.

I think you're right about Maria. I think she was trying to find a way to make this situation a win for everybody, not realizing how deeply invested Phil is in his team. I really hope Cobie Smulders becomes a cast regular or semi-regular next year.

The season finale is going to be epic!