Things are picking up steam quickly in “Together or Not At All,” the next installment of the saga of the Agents of SHIELD in the future. It’s an interesting title considering the team isn’t actually quite back together yet. But there are a lot of interesting turns and surprises along the way, and we finally learn a little bit more about the surface of the shattered Earth.
The episode opens with Daisy, Simmons, and Fitz on the run after their hasty departure from Kasius’ gladiatorial games. Daisy got fairly banged up during the fight and the escape attempt, which isn’t good as she’s the only real fighter in the group. Fitz is trying to lead them back to the ship Enoch got for him as part of his cover, and they are hiding as best they can. Along the way there are complications from Kree soldiers and Simmons’ implant from Kasius, among other things. The plan to escape on the ship gets dealt a major blow as they pass a viewport.
Kasius is getting treated after the agents’ escape, and being berated and mocked by his brother, Faulnak. I don’t like Kasius at all, but they manage to make me like Faulnak even less, which is impressive. They bicker a bit about how to handle the escaped agents, and then Faulnak takes over and says he will send his own elite warrior, Maston-Dar. Even the warrior’s choice of weapons is cocky and over-confident.
While the Kree take away Tess’ body and mouth more threats, Kasius and Sinara talk about what to do next. Sinara is clearly not happy about Faulnak taking charge. Kasius raises some good points, and calms her with a combination of logic and flattery. Kasius is trying to use all this to end his exile, and urges Sinara to figure out where the SHIELD agents would go.
Trying to figure out what to do next, Fitz and company get stuck when Maston-Dar kills the power to their elevator. Like any action hero knows (there’s probably a class on this at SHIELD academy), when the elevator stops working, you climb out the hatch on the roof. This actually leads to the best dissolve of the show, as the scene shifts from them escaping to May on the surface. It’s nasty looking, dark, windy, leaf-littered, and May’s being stalked by something. The monster after her is, in turn, killed by Enoch, who introduces himself. May’s reaction goes from disbelief to sarcasm to rolling her eyes, but before they get much talking done, a gravity storm shows up and the two are menaced by two figures wrapped in layers of cloth.
While Maston-Dar hunts, and kills anyone unlucky enough to get in his way, Coulson’s team debates what to do. They’re worried about people being hurt, and Flint is increasingly concerned about Tess, since the others haven’t told him. Once he figures out she’s dead, he stalks off in a swirl of rage and guilt, and Mac goes after him.
Kasius and Faulnak go over a collection of old weaponry from Earth. This, too, is another excuse for Faulnak to slam on Kasius more. They don’t exactly share brotherly love. One tidbit we do learn is Kasius was exiled for abandoning his post in a battle. Kasius claims he was in a position where it was flee or die, and Faulnak, of course, tells him he should have died.
Fitz’s group ends up at the Life Support Section. They make a disturbing discovery about the Lighthouse’s power source, but before they can really process that, Maston-Dar turns up with weapons and ultimatums, after wounding one of them. Daisy manages to fight back long enough for a steam pipe to get ruptured and the team to ninja away. May would be proud. Escaping Maston-Dar, they run into Deke, who Daisy isn’t really inclined to trust, understandably enough.
Flint and Mac have a heart to heart about Flint turning himself in versus using his powers to protect people. They get interrupted by a banging on the door, which ends up being the Daisy/Fitz/Simmons contingent, and now almost everyone is back together finally. Unfortunately, Flint slipped away during the confusion and reunion.
The young Inhuman goes to find the Kree that have been looking for him, and has a confrontation. They’re overconfident and expecting a surrender, but Flint has other plans. He’s fairly effective, briefly, but Sinara skulks up behind him and knocks him out. She has her own plan underway. The rest of the team comes along about then, and, after Daisy gets a quick briefing on Flint, she moves ahead. There’s a lot of fighting, Sinara gets wounded, and everyone retreats. This is the worst shot I’ve ever seen Coulson take and mostly miss, and at one of the worst times. As the team gets away, Maston-Dar almost admiringly calls them scrappy.
Back at Grill’s, or whatever we’re calling it in the wake of Grill’s death, the team regroups. Daisy has a great nickname for Maston-Dar and Sinara, which cracked me up. They are splitting their time between planning and arguing about Deke being there, mostly with Deke. The Kree show up, pounding on the door. Flint buys them a bit of time, but then the Kree break out a new weapon. So much for only using human weapons.
As the Kree blast away at the walls, Deke actually comes up with an idea. With no options, they sort of trust him, but there’s more arguing about how much. Fitz and Simmons end up going first, with some more great geek lines for their exit. As the Kree breach the room, Sinara takes some surprising action. Flint refuses to leave and abandon his people, and Mac and Yoyo agree to stay with him. Fitz gives them some news that could be good, but there’s a complication that leaves Fitz comically frustrated.
The first complication with the team’s escape plan is a lack of a particular skill among the “superheroes, spies, and scientists,” as Coulson described them. Doing the best they can, the team moves ahead, trying to get to the surface to find out who Virgil was communicating with and reunite with May. SHIELD is used to improvising, but Deke isn’t as confident as they are.
Faulnak slams on Kasius more, which is even getting old for me, so I can imagine how Kasius must feel. Sinara returns with surprising news, and Faulnak makes some mistaken assumptions. Faulnak gets a sharp reminder that not everything goes the way he expects, and Kasius and Sinara work on their own plans.
As the team flies toward their hopeful meet up with May, things aren’t looking great for them. Meanwhile, May and Enoch find themselves in a new place, and get a surprise visitor. Hopefully, this will be the start of learning what exactly happened to Earth, how the team can get back, and what they can do to prevent this from happening.
What I liked: Flint is having some very realistic reactions to the huge amount he’s going through in such a short time. The humor even in the midst of chaos is a nice touch. The machinations among the Kree are interesting, as is the slowly revealed background of Kasius. Fitz and Simmons got a lot of great lines and moments in this episode. Enoch’s unflappable presence is amusing.
What I didn’t: I get it was a big dramatic moment, and that Sinara is important to this season, but that was about the worst I’ve ever seen Coulson shoot. I’m not sure Flint going off against the Kree is a great idea, and Mac and Yoyo helping him is understandable, but a bad time to split up.
It was a good episode, and I’m enjoying this story. I’ll give this a 4 out of 5.