Agents of SHIELD: 5.20 The One Who Will Save Us All

One thing most people would agree on when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic University is that its villains are the weak link; they lack a fearful, ominous presence and are often underwhelming and cheesy. Agents of SHIELD doesn’t have this problem, especially with this season. With only two episodes left to go, the future we saw from episode one is slowly coming to fruition. Characters are shaping new personalities, new superb bad guys are coming to light and, with Thanos making his assault on Earth off-screen, the stakes have never appeared higher.

Last episode saw General Talbot turn into the Marvel supervillain Graviton (though it is not mentioned by name) and this week, he took Coulson to talk with the Confederacy, which has previously formed an alliance with HYDRA. Frankly, I was in awe of this character the entire runtime; his descent from hero to anti-hero was superb to watch, all the while he still believes what he is doing is the right thing.

Adrian Pasdar's Talbot not only looks the part, but has the screen presence to really breathe life into this character. Even now, knowing that he has essentially doomed the world, you can’t help but feel some sympathy for him, given how many times he has been betrayed by Coulson and what HYDRA did to him. His actions although disgraceful (if somewhat cool looking), could be considered fair, as his intentions are still to save the world, only now he has the power to back it up (just like a certain Thanos).

Previously, I queried whether Talbot was now friend or foe and how much of him still exists. Although clichéd, I enjoyed his power hungry arc and the messed up way he feels he can save the Earth, but most interesting was the appearance of another split personality. It seems that Talbot is in control (for now) while in contact with the Gravitonium element which presents some really exciting, potential character developments that you would assume will be hit hard in the final two episodes.

The story element has come full circle. For so long, theories on the destruction of Earth have been all over the place, but they appear to be taking shape once and for all. Talbot becomes chummy with the Kree member of the confederacy, helming from the Kasius family no less. When he discovers the Thanos threat, he wants to harvest the remaining Gravitonium from the Earth’s core. Whether the Earth cracking is a result of mining, or Thanos, is yet to be determined, but it certainly seems that Talbot is at the epicentre of it all.

This season has been riddled with betrayal and scheming for the greater good. All have been well executed, if somewhat drawn out but the most shocking of them all was when Fitz, Simmons and Yoyo locked Mack up. The relationship between Fitz and Mack has been superb for so long, so watching Fitz confront Mack about recent events was actually really powerful and emotional. Their debate about the morality of heroism was well written and left an overcast of worry that friendship damage could well be permanent.

The fight sequence between Yoyo and Daisy, although therapeutic for the characters, kind of felt forced; even though Mack is angry with Yoyo and Fitz, he still respects their roles and SHIELD’s ways. Daisy simply acted on impulse and created undue tension that was inevitable but worthless.

This is shaping up to be a really effective finale: Hale is dead, Daisy’s powers have little to no effect on Graviton, half of SHIELD is prisoner to the confederacy and Thanos is currently wreaking havoc on the planet, all the while the remaining Agents struggle to work alongside one another. Will the events of Avengers: Infinity War have any effect on the season finale? I look forward to finding out.

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