Agents of SHIELD: Leap

NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEY, CHLOE BENNET, MAX OSINSKI, HENRY SIMMONS

Ok, we all agree, Sarge’s smirk is annoying 

The end of the season is fast approaching for the Agents of SHIELD, and things are building to a head. After the stunning end of last episode, with May walking into holding and shooting Sarge over and over, everyone is at a loss. May is now in holding herself, and admitting to doing it. The others are trying to investigate and make some kind of sense of all this. The title, “Leap,” eventually makes sense on two levels.

Daisy takes first crack at her mentor, trying to get some of explanation or justification for her senseless act. May seems very unconcerned with the death and the repercussions, and argues with Daisy about Sarge deserving it. Daisy is at a loss, as is Mack. The Director goes to review the footage as Piper rushes in, also having just heard about the shooting and not believing it.

Simmons and Fitz are examining the body, since their temporary replacement Benson has vanished without a trace or any sort of explanation. I guess he really is out of sight, out of mind. The pair are rattled by Sarge’s appearance, and then even more when Simmons makes another surprising discovery. As they ponder on this, Sarge himself is experiencing some kind shadowy memories that leave him with more questions than answers. Daisy meets up with Yo-Yo and Piper, and all agree something’s off. If nothing else, May rarely uses guns and certainly wouldn’t need one to beat Sarge to death (although with what we’ve seen of him, even she might consider it). Yo-Yo goes in to talk to May, and things take a turn for the even stranger.

Piper has some kind of strange encounter while trying to carry out her assignment. Deke goes to talk to Fitz, which is confusing for them both. Thanks to the time loop, Deke knows Fitz, but the reverse isn’t true. Fitz, Simmons, and Deke talk over science, financing, Izel, Sarge, and all the other weirdness. Piper comes in, acting a bit strangely herself, and does something out of character. Yo-Yo and May continue to try and work out what happened, and construct a timetable of sorts, leading to another possible clue. Daisy finds more indications that all is not well in the Lighthouse, and Agent Diaz continues to have a run of bad luck.

Simmons calls Mack in to show him something. When he’s confused about her results, she gets a great line about “Are we expecting things to make sense now?” Mack and Simmons disagree a bit on how to handle the security implications of her discovery. Sarge has another strange interlude as Daisy and Yo-Yo pay a call on Davis, who was acting weird at the victory party. Davis certainly looks the worse for wear, tells them what he remembers of the night, and agrees some of his story sounds strange. Piper and Deke have an odd scene that explains what’s actually going on, while Davis, Daisy and Yo-Yo start putting the pieces together on their own. Yo-Yo goes to Mack with their conclusion, Deke has his own odd encounter with security, and Mack places the Lighthouse on lockdown. I’m reminded of Rorschach’s line about, “I’m not locked in here with you, you’re locked in here with me.”

The new developments lead to May being freed, and she joins with the others to try and do damage control and containment. May makes a chilling observation which leads to another great line from Davis. Deke joins them all in the control center, and the team comes up with a good idea to apply a test to see who’s who and who isn’t. With the first few cleared, Mack does something many of the others think odd, but May works out what he’s up to quickly. Finally, the current issue is revealed, but the revelation doesn’t really help a lot. What happens next is shocking, saddening, and honestly really annoyed me. It smacks of cheap writing to me, and I don’t associate that with this show usually. I’m really not happy about this decision by the writing staff.

Sarge gets some information from Simmons and works out what’s going on. He rages and demands to be released, which Simmons wisely refuses. Daisy undoes what Mack did, but with good reason, and the hunt is on within the Lighthouse. Deke briefs Fitz on some of what he missed that is really important to the issue at hand. They finally come up with a theory that explains Sarge and Izel both, and Fitz disses himself. Izel gets closer to what she wants, taking a few extra precautionary steps, and Sarge pulls a slick and painful move because his guard failed “Watch the Prisoner” school and is staring at Simmons’ gadgets with her. I agree, she’s cuter than Sarge, but still…

Deke and Fitz continue to theorize about what’s going on. Deke can be annoying and ineffective at times, but the man is brilliant when he bothers to stop and think. Sarge makes his way to Izel, and they have a long, pointed conversation that Sarge finds unbelievable. Izel makes a series of claims that Sarge denies and refutes, and they talk a lot. Izel is sure everything is going her way right up until it doesn’t, and she’s shocked by what happens. Yo-Yo, Daisy, and Mack meet up while Izel explains her past and the shrikes to Sarge. Surprised, but not deterred, Izel continues with her mission, causing more unpleasantness on the way out. Mack makes a decision that Daisy disagrees with, and I really do see her point here.

Simmons wakes up after her own misadventure, not looking her best. Sarge gets taken back into custody, not resisting, too stunned by what he’s learned. Daisy watches something she doesn’t like happen, and May explains some of the reasoning. There’s also some confusion, at least on my part, about which ship got blown up with the Lazy Comet, and who was where. Deke and Fitz have a long, rambling conversation that touches on Ghost Rider, among other things. I’d hope he was coming back to help, but he’s supposedly getting a series on Hulu. Sarge continues to pace and deny what Izel said, even as things start looking strange and possibly reinforcing her point.

What I liked: This was, mostly, a nicely written episode (see below). It was very suspenseful and kept you guessing a lot of the time. Izel’s revealed ability was clever, if one I’ve seen before (I won’t say who to avoid spoilers). I liked the team working together to puzzle out what was going on. The mention of Ghost Rider was a nice nod to the show’s past and the wider Marvel Universe. Deke and Fitz are funny as they interact and try and work out their currently unbalanced relationship.

What I didn’t: There’s an old rule of writing that says, more or less, “If your story/scene hinges on a character doing something stupid, you probably need to rewrite it.” That was the case with the guard who screwed up and let Sarge out. I really am not happy about the choice the writers’ made with regard to the team’s loss. There was a lot more they could have done there. Now that we know more about Izel and Sarge, “May” shooting Sarge made no sense at all.

I generally really enjoy this show, but there are some odd choices going on lately. I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5. I will miss the Agent we lost.

 

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