Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Return” Review
Shame on anyone at this point who has slept on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this season. This is the best this show has ever been in a long while. It took some time for them to figure out what kind of show this wanted to be, but when they did this was a must watch every week. Darker, less restricted, more risks, and a stronger focus on what makes this a show centered around agents. We now find ourselves out of the Framework setting up for a final confrontation, and one which keeps you at the edge of your seat knowing that being this close to season finale time means they are even less inclined to hold back.
The sense of urgency following the escape from the Framework was real. Coulson takes the words right out of your mouth when you sit there wondering when these agents will catch a break. If it isn’t one enemy, it’s another. If it isn’t one threat they are already taking care of, there’s another they don’t fully understand. But these situations are when they are at their best, no better time to rise to the occasion than when their backs are against the wall. First off we have Coulson and May dealing with their predicament aboard the Russian submarine. Despite the fact that there is awkwardness between these two after everything that has happened up to this point, I like that there was an awareness of timing and pacing for them to talk and walk. There was catching up while also a crank in intensity when you know there is a certain someone still aboard the ship who will go to great lengths to see the end of Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. as a whole.
On the other hand we have a situation which gets no better than Simmons and Daisy waking up to a jet that is barely holding up against an air assault. The fear for what could go wrong here pulls you in, but what also grabs your attention are character interactions we don’t normally get to follow. If there’s one thing you appreciate about this season as well, it is that there are more personalities put to faces of agents outside of this team. Each of them were handling this different from the other which created a tense atmosphere of who was helping or just making things worse. Yo-yo’s reaction you were anticipating most and the execution hits you when part of you does feel that more could have been done to bring Mack out of the Framework. I mean I surely did think so in that moment. There’s no way Daisy couldn’t have thought to knock Mack out, he would have gotten over it eventually.
For Fitz and Aida, this was a point of interest because these two are processing a lot. The contrast between these two was very emotional seeing as Fitz is letting everything he did sink in while Aida is embracing her new chance at life. It was pretty painful This experience of hers really left you uneasy when she isn’t quite understanding the trauma that everyone is suffering as they sort out the two lives they were living. Part of you has sympathy towards her and her desires, yet they did right creating a struggle between that and knowing that she is still someone who must be taken down. With that said, this was a well handled interaction from start to finish. Mallory Jansen as Aida was perfect casting as someone with such range. No matter how this ended for her she would be memorable compared to any other who called themselves villain for a season.
Everyone processing these two lives was gut-wrenching. People can say what they want about this “What If” situation, but there was no reset button when they stepped outside of the Framework. They all had to deal with the things they did, the loss, and the sorting out of what’s real from fake.
Now for this second to last episode, one had to really question what exactly would drive Aida to such madness to end the world. She was enjoying this real life in a real body, so what on Earth could have triggered such a drastic change in plans? When the answer came, that is when things really started to pick up. Again I was blown away by the performance of Mallory Jansen because you could believe the way she reached this point where she might want to watch the world burn rather than deal with the hand she has been dealt since her creation.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “The Return” was a lot to take in and serves as the perfect set-up towards an all or nothing encounter. Aida might be doing the cliche villain thing involving the world on a massive scale, but what she plans to do at least makes sense for her when you have other villains in her position who might do it just because they can.