Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: 6.03 Fear and Loathing On The Planet Of Kitson
Fitz and Enoch go to a space casino while Skye and Simmons get high in what I would generously describe as a filler episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Concentrating almost exclusively on the deep space storyline this time around, we follow Fitz and Enoch as they attempt to make some money to enable them to get back to our solar system so they can spend the next 75 years asleep in orbit around Jupiter. In pursuit are the Skye led S.H.I.E.L.D. agents that aren’t at all happy that Simmons has disobeyed orders and jumped them even further away from home in the quest to find her missing husband.
The main problem with this episode is that we spend a lot of time with Fitz and his Chronicom sidekick Enoch. Unfortunately neither character is particularly interesting. Both are essentially playing the “straight man”, but without a more charismatic foil to bounce things off and so it comes across a bit flat. Enoch can be quite an entertaining character when used correctly, similar in a lot of ways to Data in Star Trek: The Next Generation. His inhumanity and lack of emotion can be an interesting plot device when played against the more colourful members of the cast. However in Fear and Loathing On The Planet Of Kitson he is basically used as a sentient calculator when Fitz is required to gamble in a high stakes game in an effort to make some fast cash. Fitz doesn’t come off much better as his generally dour demeanour isn’t particularly engaging when he is the sole focus of attention.
In complete contrast to the unexciting exploits of our main antagonists is the technicolour drug fuelled romp of Skye and Simmons which somehow also manages to be fairly bland, and at times, downright embarrassing. Upon arriving on the planet Kitson, the duo, along with Agent Davis, decide to throw common sense to the wind and just randomly eat some alien confectionary they are offered by some dubious looking gents who have just hijacked Fitz and Enoch and stolen all their worldly goods. Nothing good can come from eating what look like garishly coloured space meringues and sure enough everyone is soon as high as a kite, or as Quake succinctly puts it, in the episodes best bit of dialogue, “I am trippin’ balls!”
What follows is an attempt to show a different side to the Agents as they head to the casino to get drinks while they experience drug induced hallucinations. I would best describe it as like the times when you are the designated driver and get to spend an evening in the company of very drunk people who are obviously having a much better time than you are. Skye and Simmons get to slur their speech and stumble around giggling as they reminisce about old times. Admittedly there is one funny moment where Simmons teases Skye about the big hair she used to have and the smelly van she lived in right back at the beginning of the show. Apart from this there is a lot of fake-high acting which Chloe Bennett pulls off slightly better than Elizabeth Henstridge, but not by much. If you haven’t got the reference to the episodes title by now don’t worry, as an internal monologue by Skye in the style of Hunter S. Thompson hammers home the point. If I’m being kind, I’ll call this a homage rather than a ill judged parody.
Usually Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. defies its small screen budget but it would seem that in this episode the producers were reluctant to spend the cash on creating Kitson as an imaginative and realistic world. Locations that should resemble the infamous cantina or Jabba’s palace from Star Wars are mostly empty. What few alien inhabitants there are a for the most part human looking. Dimly lit sets seem to be a way of trying to cover up inadequacies in budget whilst neon apparently screams futuristic space design. The stairway heading down to the casino looks to be just a hastily built wooden affair which might be fine if the shows makers didn’t choose to film a conversation between a drug addled Skye and Simmons here.
There are a few highlights; Fitz using a severed arm dripping sulphuric blood to blow open a door is quite amusing. We are introduced to some more Chronicoms, albeit hunters rather than the anthropologist class Enoch belongs to. They have a fancy teleportation device which they use to good effect to spirit Fitz away, just as Simmons is reunited with him. Right at the end of the episode we get a brief glimpse of Sarge and his cronies back on Earth. Little details are revealed about their mission and the episode just sort of fizzles out.
All in all, not one of the better Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes. Upon arriving on Kitson our heroes are told it only contains two things, casinos and brothels. It's a shame Disney are a family oriented company. I suspect the episode would have been a lot more exciting if they chose the other option.