Agents of SHIELD: 5.12 The Raw Deal
The Raw Deal marks the 100th episode of Agents of SHIELD, which is a fantastic achievement, especially when you consider that the viewing figures dropped dramatically between seasons one and two. The show has impressed season after season, with new exciting and immersive characters, villains and stories. It has surpassed what anyone thought it would do; certainly after all seemed lost during Captain America the Winter Soldier. It has since found its place between being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe while still distancing itself from the main plots and characters.
Now to the episode itself, and what a fantastic one it was for such a massive occasion. Taking a step back from the main story arc (it doesn’t have a great deal of General Hale or Ruby) left time to pay homage to previous foes, and rather than feel forced and pushed upon the viewer, the idea was written in beautifully. The concept that a space rift has opened up causing the Agents to literally face their fears was both believable (in the realm of the SHIELD series), and well executed. Even if it was all fake for the most part, nobody could deny the excitement of seeing Lash, Deathlok and Hydra, all in one episode.
The story was superb; I loved how it has come full circle. The series began with Coulson being revived from the dead thanks to Kree technology; the idea that it was stripped away last season with Ghost Rider made for some excellent story-telling. There were several emotional and heart-wrenching scenes, and never before have I feared for Coulson’s life more. For a while there has been an interesting fan theory that Coulson is actually still dead and this has all been a manifestation of his hopes and dreams, training new recruits, saving the world and being a beacon of hope. This was heavily discussed in this episode which I thought was really engaging and thought provoking.
Perhaps the only aspect I still can’t quite get my head around is Yoyo’s predicament, being without her arms. The progression is great, and the ever-growing relationship between her and Mack is nice to watch, but why can’t Fitz make her a set of arms much like he has made Coulson’s hand in the past? I understand he has more pressing matters to attend to, but you could at least tell Yoyo you’re working on it, to give her hope for the future, regardless of how she feels about it.
Deke once again acts as the comedic relief and he does it very well. When the team are discussing self-sacrifice and who should risk it all to close the breach, the attention moved to Deke; his response was perfect and eased the tension of the scenario, which surprisingly worked well. If not for him that scene could have felt very tedious, with all members offering themselves and complaining at those willing to take on the task.
The episode finishing on such a heart-warming moment, with Fitz and Simmons finally tying the knot, was the cherry on the cake for such an amazing episode. We’re used to seeing them use their brains in highly tense and risky scenarios, so it was nice to finally see, after five long seasons, turn down the heat, relax and officially profess their love for one another… no I’m not crying … you’re crying.
It’s then learned that Deke is the lovechild of that marriage and quite how he can be as stupid as he is, is itself a brain teaser. I’ve noticed over the past few weeks the discussion around Deke’s lineage taking place. I can’t quite understand why this is so important; it takes me back to the whole Star Wars/Rey situation and people speculating who her parents are. Surely if the character is well written and provides something to the story, it’s not important.
The timeline is also hurting my brain; the dystopia the Agents went to was 70 years (ish) in the future, Fitz-Simmons are currently around 30, Deke roughly the same. Deke knows nothing of trees, ice cream or birds, so either the world being destroyed is imminent or they have a baby super old and teach him nothing, including the names of his parents. It’s all very confusing and perhaps not even worth thinking about, but I can’t help it.
Overall this was a superb episode; it has shocking reveals, heart-warming and emotional stories, as well as an intense mission that threatened the very existence of a great and powerful character. Over the course of 100 episodes, SHIELD has been through ups and downs and no matter what, it has always managed to come out on top. Here's to 100 more.