As Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (AoS) winds down Season 5, I highly encourage you to revisit the MMCU (the mini-Marvel Cinematic Universe). Besides the injection of some good pre-Avengers: Infinity War Marvel juice, AoS hit a new stride in season 5 that delivers great characters, solid action and more emotional impact week-to-week than almost anything else on TV.
Five Reasons to Start Watching or Reconnecting with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
1. A lot of it takes place in space. In space, in the future. With the Life Model Decoy plot, AoS transformed into a meta-series that stretched the edges of credible parallel universe technology—and Season 4 also include Ghost Rider who just simply didn’t belong in the AoS universe. And yes, I know about W.A.N.D. (Wizardry, Alchemy and Necromancy Department), but—but—it takes place in space.
2. Great visual effects. The future Earth, the space station, the creatures, the aliens, the Inhuman capabilities—all very cool VFX. Mark Kolpack and team continue to bring big-screen level effects to the audience. And the sets and makeup far outshine Marvel’s Inhumans in oh so many ways.
3. The acting remains top notch. Regardless of any plot issues, the dialog and emotional elements are usually spot on, and the cast, which includes Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Ian de Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Henry Simmons and Natalia Cordova-Buckley, do a first class job of delivering believable scenes in often unbelievable circumstances.
4. Reconnecting to the MCU. Coulson is called one of “Earth’s mightiest heroes.” Coulson is an Avenger. He was saved using technology reserved for Avengers. Something is coming. Something is coming from space. As of this writing, we don’t know how connected the show will be with the MCU, but more connective tissue would be good. I appreciate that the creative team wants to develop their own mythology, but I would rather see a show about what was happening in the MCU between movies, a show that takes viewers down alleys and into backrooms of the MCU, rather than to end up in two very different universes that look like multiverse one-offs. The Netflix shows don’t have an issue staying in the vicinity of the MCU and still telling their own stories. Perhaps with Avengers: Infinity War Disney will find a way to reboot S.H.I.E.L.D. and tie this rogue property back into the mainline of the MCU.
5. Good plot twists. I’m not going to spoil, but if you watch, some clever twists await.
Connect with Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 here.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5”: Extra Goodness
There are some scenes with Deke (Jeff Ward) that just offer pure joy for living in our century. With all of the world’s woes, there are plenty of things to be thankful for—things that a person who grew up in a dystopian world would not take for granted.
Deke’s awareness offers a good reminder for us to appreciate what we have Many people already live in a dystopia. The United States remains a wondrous place. If we curtail immigration we diminish our ability to see through the eyes of others.
We need to be thankful, not regretful. We need to appreciate not bully. Negativity and bullying of others ultimately make us feel bad about ourselves, and that may eventually deprive us of our sensitivity to appreciate wonder through the eyes of immigrants. Deke is an immigrant to the past that the creative team uses as a lens for our ambivalence.
That AoS can remind us of wonder, and to wonder, offers enough reason to watch it.
“Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5”: Not without issues
OK, so the writing team created a fear dimension. Joss and Jed, I love Buffy The Vampire Slayer and would really like to see it back on the air, but don’t backdoor Buffy thinking in AoS. AoS works best as science fiction. Let’s leave the wizardry alone until Doctor Strange makes a guest appearance. And to repeat myself, yes, I know about W.A.N.D.!
The first couple of “return” episodes dragged under the weight of the fear dimension and the incongruity of the continued hunt for Coulson and team. Some sense making ensued in episode 14, but the episode 11-13 arc was a let-down following turmoil and drama in the future.
The fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. remains dramatically under-written across the MCU. It was clear from Captain America: Winter Soldier that not all of S.H.I.E.L.D. was Hydra. AoS keeps finding pockets of operatives still operating. And we know Nick Fury isn’t dead. The comic books explore the rise and fall of S.H.I.E.L.D., its transformation into H.A.M.M.E.R. and its roots as a Hydra coven—but I think the low viewership derives from the premise of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s irrelevance.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Viewership. Two perspectives. If you already watch AoS, you are part of an elite clique hovering somewhere around two million viewers. Plenty of people to hang out with, but also a pretty small television viewing audience when compared to the current highest television hero, Roseanne, with 15.4 million viewers the shows second night out. The second perspective. Come join us and create some momentum going into Infinity War.
Thought of the day: Time Travel and Space
I don’t know of any science fiction show that takes into account spacial displacement when delivering a time travel plot. As part of the expanding universe, not only would you need to dial-up the right date in the past or the future, but dial-up the right space. In some time travel, they acknowledge this by saying that the stars have moved positions.
There is no fixed location for Earth, so time traveling to a future Earth, in the same point on Earth would require recalculating all of Earth’s movements. These include rotation, orbit around the sun, orbit of the solar system around the galactic center, solar system movement through space and the expansion of the universe—and that does not take into account quantum effects. Time travel also ignores local changes such as ground level at the arrival point. Zap yourself back to Roman Jerusalem or a pre-1889 Seattle and you will likely materialize in a basement or building foundation.
So next time you think about time travel, don’t think just about time. Remember time is part of the fabric of space-time so to arrive at a future or past you desire, you have to account for space, not just time. That, I believe, makes the calculations even harder.
Find more of Dan’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. commentary using this post as a starting point.