Agents of SHIELD: 5.13 Principia

This episode should forever be the benchmark for what a filler episode should be. After the excitement and reveals of last week’s 100th, the natural progression was for something a tad less entertaining. Nope! Although still taking a breather from the overall plot, Principia still managed to deliver something highly exhilarating.

Focusing on finding more Gravitonium, to keep that space rift thing from manifesting everyone’s fears at bay, the story continues to develop at a pleasing pace. Deke takes centre stage as the outsider who is amazed by everything he sees. Frankly, I am super surprised by how much enjoyment his presence brings; I thought he’d be irritating and out of place but instead his childish, comedic ignorance fits perfectly, and his performance so far has been great.

After the audience found out last time that Fitz and Simmons are Deke’s grandparents (yes I was wrong, apologies), it was refreshing to see Deke come to that same conclusion so quickly, rather than it be dragged out for the sake of forced drama. The space rift thing manifested his deceased mother, and by speaking one of her favourite sayings, that Simmons later says, essentially revealed to him his lineage. This was fantastic writing and watching it develop was a pleasure, it didn’t feel forced, extended or cheesy, just clever character work.

Speaking of not dragging things out, let’s talk about Yoyo. Last week, I questioned why Fitz wasn’t making her prosthetic arms and, lo and behold, it’s fully explained. This is yet another refreshing story development that could easily have been prolonged; instead, it was tackled almost immediately. Her and Mack’s relationship continues to develop, which is always pleasant, and the chemistry between the two is fantastic. Her performance as someone who is missing limbs is addressed delicately but powerfully.

The search for Gravitonium played out like an enjoyable detective thriller. However, I must say the idea that it was floating in a boat in the sky was a tad far-fetched. I appreciate we’re talking about a show that has people with super powers, aliens and time shifts, but this was a little silly, if somewhat cool. In another great writing effort, the boat was filled with General Hale’s robot soldiers, which gave Mack the opportunity to once again show his fighting talents and brains, knocking out the soldiers and taking them back to Fitz in order to make Yoyo some new arms.

The opening sequence to this episode re-introduced Alex Strucker from a few seasons' ago. This admittedly wasn’t so amazing, but him ominously speaking with a shrink, followed by stabbing the shrink in the hand with his pen, was shocking and firmly gripped your attention. The story developments thereafter nicely set up future events. Enough information was teased to keep you intrigued, but not too much to bog down other episodic advances. Alex and Ruby seem to have a developing chemistry and as both have proven themselves in terms of presence and abilities, I look forward to this progression. General Hale’s super team, it would seem, will be a formidable opponent for all of SHIELD.

Agents of SHIELD is firmly through half of the season and, although these filler episodes have been great television entertainment, I would like to see more main plot developments. A little more on Daisy getting her powers back and more on tying together events from the future, with the present. There is little to be negative or disappointed with thus far, but when you list it out there’s an awful lot to digest; Coulson is dying, Yoyo is incapacitated, Deke is working with his Grandparents. General Hale is building a super army, and of course SHIELD is trying to fix the rip in space reality.

Regardless of how they proceed, I have faith that the second half of this season will be just as entertaining as the first, and lead us towards an exciting finish.

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