Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: A Life Spent Review
ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 5, episode 3, ‘A Life Spent,’ could be considered a case of how-the-other-half-lives, with the Wrinkle in Time Team split between two tyrants, at opposite ends of the food chain, and the Heavies that serve them.
Most of them wound up navigating the soot collared domains of Underboss, Grill (Pruitt Taylor Vince); where Heavy, Zev (Kaleti Williams) complicated matters for Coulson (Clark Gregg), May (Ming-Na Wen), the Yo-Yo Mack (Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Henry Simmons), and local, Tess (Eve Harlow). Daisy (Chloe Bennet), in the meantime, had to settle for dealing with Deke (Jeff Ward); but found it no less… frustrating.
As for life (and death) among the blue-is-the-new-white collared crowd, Overboss Kasius (Dominic Rains) was testing the merits of his latest acquisition, Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). Despite being forced to hear only when spoken to, Simmons seemed quite focused on the gravity to Kasius’ otherwise petty protocol priorities. This, even as Overboss Heavy, Sinara (Florence Faivre) seemed quite focused on her (quite rightly – personally, I’m waiting for the reveal that Simmons is a lip reader).
Say what you will, about the Fitz-Simmons curse, keeping Simmons constantly separated from the grunts keeps proving that her talents would be wasted on action set-pieces (they got Daisy & Mack for brain-brawn crossfitting). Slow & steady observation, processing, and formulation is how she gets results – a notion all the more relevant, with Lady Blue Balls watching her every move. She has also been an effective diplomat/ negotiator – a quality that continues to draw out details about Overboss Black Eyed Peeved.
To that last point, her deliberate & nurturing qualities were applied to Abby (Ciara Bravo), a showpiece Inhuman girl that Kasius had high hopes for, in a high-stakes meeting with a visiting VIP. Now, it’s been my understanding that there are ‘pink’ Kree, but they are considered low-caste undesirables; so I wasn’t sure what to make of the fact that the VIP’s entire delegation looked Human. Another alien species, maybe?
Sinara certainly conveys the value of that silence, Kasius keeps going on about – she has been a most evocative Heavy, with the least amount of verbal/ physical effort. Unfortunately, that worked against the subplot’s reveal. Between her throwaway smile to Simmons, and the sight of arena box seating, the nature of Abby’s presentation was telegraphed. Seeing Bane show up, for the other half of the ‘ceremony,’ telegraphed the outcome (c’mon – those odds, tho’); but a good deal of unsettling visuals came first. By the time the soundtrack in my head got to “Finish Him,” I was already hoping for a little more asphalt to Abby’s Road. Slow & steady Simmons needs a Slow Blade to work with.
On a side note: between a mention of Multiverse Theory, and the casual discussion of “larger segment” 616, I think source fans should be on high Easter Egg alert.
With the cast pretty much boxed-in, we may be getting more singular SFX moments per episode than in previous seasons. This will have to do, in the absence of big events/ villain-of-the-week moments; but we do get moments like seeing Yo-Yo go in slo-mo, though.
The other SFX-in-waiting, Daisy, was still dealing with a Destroyer of Worlds moniker & subplot – or, more to the point, Deke still pushing that angle, as part of their Rogue vs Rogue courtship. In the event any similarities to Lando Calrissian was missed, Deke made the kind of ‘better deal’ that should earn him a Wookiee choke-out; but remember how Lando turned out….
The most significant thread turned out to be the salvage run, however, and not just because it got some arc momentum going. Underboss was left significantly lighter, thanks to Yo-Yo; but a stark contrast was drawn, between Yo-Yo & Mack – regarding price & sacrifice – that’s likely to factor into their dynamic, going forward.
I also found it interesting that the events of the past three episodes all took place within the time between last season’s diner grab & final scene.
This season has been more about filling the space between action with devils-in-the-detail, than tender moments; and it’s been working, so far. The character breather moments are still there; but considering just how far out of any comfort zone things have been taken, some extra scrutiny might’ve been expected.
At this rate, I think we’ll be getting enough to work with. What Showrunner’s gonna go this far out, just to get Easter Egg to the face?
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