First impression: Why are we watching this random dude swim, this is odd — oh my God he’s wearing a human suit. And he has a black ops team that kidnaps our agents and takes them to another monolith. But really, this episode was awesome and that guy was not nearly the biggest surprise.
The team (all but one member) is sent to an unknown place in space where they meet a few other very strange people, one of whom hails Coulson as the savior. Turns out, Coulson is expected, as are the others. It also turns out that more humans are on this space station with aliens called “roaches” that suck people dry.
Coulson and Mack met first, followed by Jemma and Elena. We start to get an explanation from a human named Virgil who has studied SHIELD’s history and says that the team is here to save humanity. Unfortunately, he’s eaten at a rather untimely time. As the team is running away from a roach, Daisy jumps in to blow it away. Unlike Coulson (who left his advanced robot hand behind), she came prepared. May sadly landed on the space outpost with a rod stuck through her leg trapping her in one spot. In comes a strange person wearing a space helmet (reminiscent of both Peter Quill’s and Darth Vader’s). He finds May (who finally managed to un-trap herself from the rod) and says “I’ve been looking for you.” In true May fashion, she starts beating the guy with the rod that had previously been stuck through her leg. He ends up winning the fight thanks to tech gadgets and puts something in May’s arm.
The rest of the team finds out that while the station was built for humans, humans may not be running it. Cue: Kree walking in with guns and stunning the whole team, dragging them off to jail. Luckily, Deke comes in, and, badly lying, manages to get them out of jail. Deke then reveals to Coulson that humans built the bunker at least 90 years ago – from his time. The Earth is all blown up. The monolith didn’t transfer the team through space, but through time.
The Kree came at some point after the Earth blew up and enslaved the human race. The Kree installed metrics in the arms of the humans which act as currency. They kill anyone who owes credits and anyone who stands up to them. May and Tess (a human born on the bunker who agrees to help them) stumble upon a “renewal” where several low-earning humans are selected and given a choice to either die or kill. Everyone selected tries to kill which causes mass chaos. The team realizes how far from humanity the humans of this place have fallen.
Jemma saves someone’s life which gets the interest of Kasius, the Kree in charge. He puts the “Kree” in “creepy” (let me have this one). Despite realizing that Jemma is clearly not from where she says she is (due to the lack of metric in her arm), he has her become one of the special servants of the Kree and puts something in her ear that appears to make her deaf to everyone except him.
Daisy stumbles upon Deke’s operation – a recreation of the framework that allows humans to experience what life was like, and keeps them complacent. Deke recovered footage from the old world and saw Daisy as Quake. He then informs Daisy that he believes she is the one who destroyed the world.
Overall this was a fantastic opener, possibly the strongest yet for Agents of SHIELD. Normally, shows on their fifth season feel like they’re going through the motions. Parts of season 4 felt like that, though it recovered well from its lags once the Ghost Rider and Madame Hydra plots amped up. Part of what made this opener so good was that the show is entering a genre we have not seen yet from Agents of SHIELD, and doing a great job. The team is completely out of place and that results in both humorous and terrifying moments. The first hour was more in the horror genre with aliens running around that were killing all the humans. Viewers were teased with information that slowly allowed us to put together where and when the team was, adding an air of mystery and suspense. The second hour depicted a post-apocalyptic, cramped, and morally corrupt world where humans are enslaved and desperate enough that they will turn against each other to save themselves. We get gory scenes of murder mixed in with the one-liners that AoS does so well. The post-apocalyptic scenario is by no means original, but the way it’s being done on Agents of SHIELD just may be.
The only thing that could’ve made the opener better would be the presence of our favorite physicist – Leopold Fitz. He got left behind on Earth in 2017, but according to a postcard the team found on Virgil, he is working on a way to save them. We can only hope that the next episode gives us his perspective in addition to theirs.
Virgil: Agent Coulson of SHIELD. You’ve come to save us.
Coulson: Yeah just to clarify, where is here, who is us, and from what?”
*After something appears to eat a man*
Coulson: Alright. That’s enough. I’d like to know, if you don’t mind, what is happening here. Please.
Virgil: Ok, yeah. Sorry I didn’t know how much you would know about our current situation coming in.
Coulson: Zero. Walk me through it like I am a child. A foreign child. What was that thing?
*After knocking out Vergil*
Mack: You ok? What’s going on?
Coulson: I was about to find out.
Mack: Oh my bad. I see a dirty looking dude hovering over you with a crazy looking gun. I acted on impulse. Where’d that rock send us?
Coulson: I don’t have any details, but I do know we’re in space.
Mack: I’m just saying what good is having a state of the art robotic hand if you don’t have it on you when you’re kidnapped by Martians?
Elena: He looks like he’s got both hands to me.
Mack: That’s just a silly hand. It’s just a prosthetic without all the cool doo dads. It should’ve been a hook! At least you can stab things with a hook!
Coulson: I thought I was going to be arrested!
Elena: So wait that one doesn’t have the blowtorch or the laser gun or anything?
Coulson: First of all, I’m not inspector gadget. Second of all, the authorities would’ve confiscated it. Prison is bad enough without being down an appendage.
Elena: I always thought [SHIELD] had people hiding on the moon.
*After Mack (being the smart one) insists that they don’t split up so the whole team ends up walking slowly and hiding behind Daisy*
Coulson: This has got to be the coolest we have ever looked.
(Author’s note: It’s not)
Coulson: You were right Jemma.
Jemma: *saltily* I figured it out using magic.
Mack: I love that I finally get some alone time with you, but I wish you’d used your super speed to run away instead.
Elena: You forget, it’s back to where I started. Sometimes it’s very useful. Sometimes it’s very annoying.
Coulson: I’m from Earth!
Deke: Yeah that would be the one thing I do know, wing-nut! But from where? What area?
Coulson: Manitowoc, Wisconsin!
Deke: Are you high on something? Can I have some?
May: We’ll have to find our own way back
*Everyone looks at Jemma*
Jemma: Well I’m a biologist but sure I can invent time travel, just give me a minute.
Deke: Daisy? Pretty name. Like the flower?
Daisy: Does that line work in the future?