The Agents of SHIELD stir the pot. Steven Slatter reviews the latest UK-paced season five episode.
I suppose it had to happen at some point. Inside Voices was a little mediocre, lacked structure and on occasions was downright confusing. There’s still plenty to enjoy, and plenty to continue the story; the issue is that the episode is filled with sub-plots and side arcs that struggle to keep your attention for long enough.
The last instalment established that General Hale’s HYDRA (hehe) has the same objective as SHIELD; save the world from impending doom. Ok their intelligence and execution may differ, but at least their objectives are the same. This was an interesting dynamic with a lot of potential. While I still believe that will develop further, this episode concentrated on the giant ball of Gravitonium Hale has to create her version of Captain America. Here is where the confusion really started.
In order to understand it better, Hale had Creel absorb some of the material; this gave him flashbacks of past foes that would seem you’re expected to remember. It wasn’t until I looked into it that I found out it was about Franklin Hall, who appeared very briefly in the first season. Outside of imagery during the “previously” section, this is never mentioned or explained, so I spent so much of this chapter wondering if I had missed an episode or something.
The fight sequence between Creel and Ruby was very exciting, nicely depicting Ruby’s instability in controlling her emotions. This lead to Coulson and Talbot’s escape which would have been an intriguing little side-plot for future instalments, but this was quashed by the introduction of Robin, which was unwanted and didn’t work. Her whole side-arc is completely pointless; the attempt at generating emotion with her biological mother fell flat and didn’t match the overall tone. It felt cheap and tacked on so they could reference the future, and tell the team where Coulson and Talbot teleported to.
For the past few episodes it has been clear that the heart and soul of this season belongs to Fitz and Simmons, and Inside Voices is no exception. Their side-plot with Yoyo and Mack created serious tension, emotion and excitement; I love where this arc is going but given that they each believe they are invincible due to supposed future events, it wouldn’t surprise me if by the end of this season one of them dies…for real.
It was nice to see Yoyo up and about and even better with some awesome looking robot arms. Her character arc is really intriguing and I can’t wait to see where she ends up. Additionally, the performances by the Invincible Three were excellent and believable.
Deke’s character continues to be the welcome comic relief, it’s only a shame he was lumbered with May and Daisy on their little venture to rescue Coulson. I appreciate it must be difficult to place him as he doesn’t truly fit anywhere, but surely in this instance he would have been better served staying on base? Speaking of confusion, why on earth, in Coulson’s absence is Daisy in charge and not May? It’s nonsensical, especially given the trauma she’s been under and her current feelings for Fitz.
Although this episode was a mix match of stories and characters, it has firmly set in motion plenty to keep things interesting until the end of the season. There is clearly a divide in HYDRA, with Hale’s lack of knowledge of the future and Ruby knowing her mother doesn’t want her to be the Destroyer of Worlds. Yoyo, Fitz and Simmons will have to face some backlash after disobeying orders and going rogue, and Coulson will no doubt have new obstacles to overcome, what with having to deal with an injured Talbot. Not to mention Robin will undoubtedly play a significant role.
This may not have been a top ten episode but it had enjoyable elements, individual moments that showed a glimpse of what’s to come, and keeping the excitement alive. The action certainly took a back seat but that’s ok, considering it wouldn’t have fit much into the story anyway. Keep doing what you’re doing and we will end up with an epic finale.
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