Orientation Part 2 is the continuation of the season premier of Agents of SHIELD, and they aren’t starting in a great place. They’ve managed to figure out they’re in the future, Earth is shattered, and humans aren’t doing well overall. When the ship they “borrowed” starts acting up, Simmons pulls the oldest IT trick in the book to get it going again. She gets a little snarky, understandably so, when they look to her to find a way home, pointing out she’s a scientist, yes, but a biologist. Deke offers them implants, the metrics referred to last episode, and says the only way to not die is work hard, blend in, and they can’t do it without these. They run into a new woman, who apparently did care about Virgil, and is not happy about recent developments. She and Deke argue for a bit before she sends him off to find the others. She is stunned to learn the agents are SHIELD and from the past.
Deke manages to find the others, and is appalled they’ve killed two Kree. He’s worried about retaliation against the other humans. They come up with a plan to deal with the bodies, and, when pressed, Deke says there are a lot of different stories about what happened to Earth and he doesn’t know. The planet was destroyed, the “blues” showed up, restored order, and wiped out their history to control them. The team finally reaches a populated area, which isn’t a happy looking place, and May comments, “Welcome to the end of the world.”
The place they all live is called the Lighthouse, and the woman is Tess. The team learns that some of the elders believed SHIELD would come and save them, and the blues killed them all. May wants to fight, and gets told humanity depends on the Kree to survive at this point. Tess takes Coulson to Virgil’s place, and cautions the others to keep their heads down. Yeah, that’ll happen.
Watching Tess trying to figure out what life on a planet is like is both humorous and tragic. She’s puzzled about how they make air, and worried about things like earthquakes, storms, and sharknados. Of all the things to last to the future… She just can’t comprehend open spaces, which makes sense if she’s spent her entire life in the Lighthouse. While Tess gets in trouble with her employer, Mac comments that they need a better system to get rid of Kree bodies. Deke snaps the system is no more dead Kree. Deke tries flirting a bit with Daisy, which doesn’t work out as he hoped.
Virgil’s place is a hodgepodge of items from Earth’s past, and a few plants. Tess comments she’s never seen rain, and that Earth will never be livable again. She has a little globe that Virgil hoped would one day represent Earth again. Coulson searches the place and finds a hidden book, which Coulson hopes will give them some clues.
May and Simmons see a Kree go by with the only tech they’ve seen, and joke that Fitz would be going out of his mind. Simmons doesn’t doubt for a moment that Fitz is working to help them. A female Kree shows up with a few thugs, and May and Simmons can tell that something’s about to happen. There’s a weird little speech that Kasius has chosen to feed the weak, and bins open that spill out what looks like kibble. There’s a predictable scrabble for food, which turns ugly. The Kree woman uses some kind of weird spheres she can control to kill a man and restore order. An attendant, human serving the Kree, gets hurt in the chaos, and Simmons, of course, rushes to help him, attracting all sorts of attention. They end up taking Simmons and the wounded man with them, and May, warned off by Simmons, watches them go.
The two groups reunite, comparing notes, and Deke comments they’re all hazards. Tess wonders if Virgil was right bringing the agents to them. Deke throws up his hand at this point and wanders off, Daisy deciding to follow him. Before he goes, Deke warns Tess to get the others to blend in. Tess tells them Simmons has been taken someplace she’s never been, and she can’t help them get there.
Simmons, naturally, ends up in Kasius’ chambers. He’s impressed with her healing skills, something most humans don’t have at this point. The Kree woman with the spheres turns out to be called Sinara, and she rarely speaks. Simmons is told to undress and clean herself, and ends up with Kasius, who looks out on the shattered Earth and comments that even Hala (the Kree homeworld) doesn’t have a view like this.
Daisy follows Deke and eventually ends up in a strange place. It looks a bit like an old style Opium den. She finally finds him under some strange ray like a sunlamp. When she gets too close, she passes out. Even more confusing, she wakes up in an old town square on Earth. Finally, she sees Deke going by and follows him. Again.
Kasius, who projects that smug, overconfident aura that really makes me want to punch him, questions Simmons about her healing skill. After a few false starts, Simmons claims her mother taught her. He notices she doesn’t have a metric, and that causes a few more lies. He calls in the servitor Simmons healed to check her work.
Yoyo, reminding May she’s a master thief, steals a Kree tablet when Tess is distracted. Yoyo is gone and back in no time thanks to her powers, and comments that the others should see their faces in slow motion. Just after they get it, the Kree suddenly show up and start bellowing about an inspection. Mac comments that any new development isn’t a good thing at this point, and he’s got a point. Desperate, Coulson cuts a deal with Grill, the man who was harassing Tess earlier.
Deke gets into an argument with the bartender in his place, and then tells Daisy he knows she’s there. He warns her of the limits of the beer here, and they argue about what he’s up to. He sells periods of escape, hijacking some of the computers that run the Lighthouse to make it work. When she compares the Lighthouse to a prison, he responds that prison would be nicer. Where they are turns out to be a version of the Framework, and Deke is quite the skilled coder.
May watches the Kree scanning people, and asks if it’s about her team. Tess says it’s worse, it’s a Renewal. In what I guess makes sense to them, the Kree toss out a shotgun and people scramble for the weapon. Tess tells May that a low earner will be selected and owe a life. Coulson, Yoyo, and Mac get magnetized to a wall by Grill, who runs to hide. May and Tess show up at the last minute, and the team gets a nasty lesson in how things work here.
Kasius is amused by Simmons being worried about the man she healed being on his feet already. Their conversation veers around, and then Simmons find out how much Kasius values aesthetics. When Simmons complains, he uses a really odd punishment on her.
Deke acquaints Daisy with a few harsh truths about how things work here and now. He says they can’t help Simmons if she’s with Kasius. He also makes a really colorful analogy about how the place works and what her actions are like. He makes excuses for his business, and laughs at her threat to reveal it to the Kree. Then, the tv in the back of the bar shows a news clip, and he figures out who she is. She gets an even uglier bit of knowledge about what happened to Earth. The episode ends with a kind of lecture from Deke about what happened in the past, and Simmons in her new place with Kasius.
What I liked: No matter what’s going around them, SHIELD won’t give up. They’ve got an indomitable force of will. You can see their friendship and how much they care for their fellow humans. They’re never going to be the “keep your heads down” type. The revelation about what happened to Earth was a big surprise. The “escape” Deke sells ending up being part of the Framework makes a lot of sense.
What I didn’t: I just don’t like seeing the Earth broken up and humans in such dire straits. Is there ever a good future for people in superhero comics? The weird, Hunger Games-like struggle for food and then lives was something I could’ve done without. I’ve seen that before, and I expect more from these writers.
It was a good episode and a nice wrap up for the season opening. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5.
I wonder if Iain De Caestecker, who plays Fitz, is getting paid for not being in the season (at least it seems that way). I hope so. Poor Fitz.