Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in September 2018, our small and slightly less robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Jen, and Micah–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 5 of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (we previously recapped prior seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with panelist Kristen, who has since declared that she has jumped the shark). If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – the Season 5 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: Season 5 aired from December 1, 2017, to May 18, 2018, on ABC.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, previously directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons for most of the panel: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of a Marvel-type nature.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has covered Agents of SHIELD since the beginning, though in podcast format only starting in 2016.  If you would like to catch up on our SHIELD coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A

Season 3B 

Season 4A

Season 4B

Our SHIELD panel is back to talk about all of Season 5, given the unusual airing schedule for this season, what with ABC’s attempt to precede it with a dose of Marvel’s Inhumans, which was subsequently canceled by the Alphabet network.  With the delayed start and unusual airing schedule, in addition to a new Friday time slot, the break between half seasons was not long enough or in a logical span of time that would allow our panel to check in at mid-season (which fell somewhere around March), so here, we offer a longer-than-usual, and perhaps slightly more intense, dissection of Season 5.

Additionally, since last time, we have had a personnel change on our Agents of SHIELD panel.  The panel wishes to wave a fond goodbye to panelist Kristen, one of the panel’s original members, who left it because she “jumped the shark” watching SHIELD and was frustrated enough not to want to watch or discuss it further.  That’s how it rolls from time to time at CPU!  Don’t worry!  If you’re a Kristen fan, you can still hear her voice on many of our active panels, as she is currently our most involved panelist!

Our SHIELD panel then, now consisting of Jen and Micah, tackles talk of Season 5, including the SHIELD agents’ adventures to space, to the future, and through a time loop, as well as prognosticates upon possible future plot developments of the surprisingly renewed sixth season while speculating upon the likelihood that the show is facing its last hurrah, especially since the events of Season 5 led our panelists to believe that the show’s writers and producers expected Season 5 to be the literal and living end for the series. Listen to the podcast episode below, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in September 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the fifth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will stay in the MCU as, schedule permitting, our Marvel’s Defenders Series panel returns to the Water Cooler to discuss Marvel’s Luke Cage, Season TwoSweet Christmas!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1)  REPEAT QUESTION: Will we learn which planet it is (i.e. Hive’s home planet beyond Earth)?

NEW ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the lingering questions of the podcast panel (at least for Jen and for Kylie). We also may never know now, as the monolith that accesses that planet, which is apparently stored deep within the recesses of a SHIELD station called the Lighthouse – which is literally under a lighthouse – is destroyed. A device, planted by a ragtag group of people calling themselves Hydra and confiscated by SHIELD, explodes and destroys the Hive planet monolith along with two other space and time bending monoliths also stored there, creating a rift to a so-called #feardimension.  Please note: this is the show’s name for it, not ours. Listen to the podcast episode for details

2) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Kree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

NEW ANSWER: The Planet information may be impossible to know at this point, given the destruction of the monolith that accessed it.  The purpose of the Inhumans has not (yet) been addressed by the show, if it ever will be at all.

3) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we ever learn more about the Kree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

NEW ANSWER: This season, we meet actual Kree leaders, including Kasius and his father as well as soldiers and generals that report to Kasius.  While we do not learn much information about the Kree’s history and why they take such an interest in Earth, especially after, in the future, Earth is destroyed by the so-called “Destroyer of Worlds,” we do learn that Kasius rules over the remainder of Earth’s scattered population, housed aboard the Lighthouse station, which, in the future, floats as part of the debris evidence of Earth’s destruction in space.  There, he breeds Inhumans by exposing humans under his control to terra-genesis, trains them to use their newfound abilities, and sells them as slaves and generals to the highest alien bidders seeking soldiers with powers.  What we can also say, definitively, is that no Kree are related to the Avengers – at least, as far as we know.

4) REPEAT QUESTION: Is Nadir affiliated with Hydra?  Could Hydra be coming back – since it seems foolish to eliminate them from the MCU completely?

NEW ANSWER: Though Nadir is not a factor for this season, as our panel predicted when discussing the end of Season Four, Hydra as an actual entity returns via one flailing, growing head of the many-headed enemy.  Hydra is not at the strength of its heyday, but one should never count out Hydra.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

5) REPEAT QUESTION: What happened to the Inhuman undergoing terra-genesis that Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was blindfolded and squirreled away to help and, then, to abandon when the process was complete?

REPEAT ANSWER: Unknown.  We may never see this Inhuman again.

6) REPEAT QUESTION: Is Coulson (Clark Gregg) really attempting to position Daisy (Chloe Bennett) as a possible future SHIELD director?

NEW ANSWER: Though at the end of last season, it was hard to see this eventuality as truly possible, Coulson successfully advocates for Daisy’s leadership of SHIELD, with May’s (Ming-Na Wen) support, this season. At one point, Coulson abdicates his own position as leader and asks Daisy to lead the agents in his absence, as he leaves to confront what is left of Hydra, much to May’s chagrin.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) REPEAT QUESTION: Will we see any more Avengers or Avengers-related characters on the show?  The panel feels strongly that the show would benefit from an injection of movie-caliber quality, either in character appearances or in story reworking.

REPEAT (ISH) ANSWER: We have not seen show appearances of Avenger-type proportions so far, aside from Hydra as an abstract concept, though at one point, there is an oblique mention of Thanos’ invasion in Avengers: Infinity War, which was kind of surprising, as earlier in the year, it was rumored that Marvel Entertainment had disowned Agents of SHIELD, with much of Season 5 set in the future and in space, a departure for these characters from the comics.  I guess that’s why they call them rumors, though.

8) Will we see Ghost Rider again?  Or, is he being limited to this season?  The podcast panel votes for a spin-off for this version of Ghost Rider, with frequent guest appearances by Daisy.  They have a certain chemistry, we think… And Ghost Rider and Quake together are kind of bad-ass.  At the very least, he should simply return from time to time, as long as he is not used as a method of convenient last minute escape (lest his appearances feel cheap).

ANSWER: Ghost Rider does not appear in Season 5 in any way, except by mention of Coulson, who believes he is dying because of his deal with the Rider at the end of Season 4.  We do not know what Coulson means by this declaration; all of the panelists continue to ‘ship Daisy and Robbie, though.

9) Who captured the SHIELD agents during the season 4 epilogue?  Who are the shadowy figures really? Kristen predicts that the government is behind this abduction; Jen predicts Hydra is back and behind this abduction as does Kylie; Micah speculates that a group called “Sword” from the Marvel Comics or the Inhuman Royal Family or groups like “Raid” or “Aim” are all possibilities for the potential perpetrators.  Kylie also hopefully wonders if the Kree own the spaceship/space craft on which Coulson finds himself and if the audience will finally be given more answers around the mysterious alien race consistently referred to in the show’s earliest seasons.

ANSWER: We learn that in the Season 4 epilogue, an alien robot entity known as Enoch exposes all of the agents but Fitz (Iain de Castecker) to a monolith, which opens a portal and propels them toward the future, the year 2091 to be exact, when the Earth has been destroyed.  The shadowy figures are Agents of Hydra, as Jen and Kylie predicted.  They abduct Fitz and take him to an unmarked Hydra facility, where their leader (a spoiler covered in the podcast episode) attempts to shake Fitz down in order to suss out the location of Fitz’s teammates.

The Kree do not own the Lighthouse station, on which Coulson finds himself at the end of Season 4, but the Kree do control it and the remnants of Earth’s population inside it.  The audience, however, is not given much more information about the Kree beyond their sense of ruthlessness and materialism, their technology, and some of their cultural norms.

10) Where is Coulson?  How did he end up in space?

ANSWER: Coulson is aboard the Lighthouse station, still standing on a chunk of Earth broken away from the core planet after the Earth is destroyed in this bleak future.  Coulson finds himself there, and in space, because of Enoch’s endeavor to bring SHIELD and its agents into this future to help save the world and the past/timeline.

11) Where is everyone else?  How did Coulson get separated from the team?

ANSWER: Everyone but Fitz finds themselves in this spacey future with Coulson.  They all eventually find each other, 

12) How much will Marvel’s Inhumans, premiering in fall, affect Agents of SHIELD, if at all?

ANSWER: Unknown.  None of the panel watched Inhumans, at least prior to watching Season 5 of SHIELD and recording this podcast episode.  And then the network canceled it. So….I guess that’s all she wrote.

13) Will there be lasting effects of the Framework on the team, especially Fitz and Simmons and Coulson and May?

ANSWER: As for lasting effects –

Coulson: no.

May: no.

Simmons: no, except as it relates to Fitz (see below). 

Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley): no, except as it relates to Mack (see below).

Daisy: no.

Mack (Henry Simmons): yes, because raising an actual version of his lost daughter Hope in the Framework and losing her again is, according to him, more painful than if he had never raised her at all, which he confesses to Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) this season. 

Fitz: yes.  He experiences mass amounts of guilt and self-doubt, living with the specter of his shadowy Framework self, the evil, ruthlessly scientific Leopold known as “The Doctor.”  His focus on not repeating the mistakes of the Framework version of himself somewhat results in a self-fulfilling prophecy, however, when he suffers a psychotic break in the second half of the season and begins seeing what amounts to a hallucination of Leo the Doctor, his Framework self dressed in a suit, which influences Fitz to embrace his most ruthless and least compassionate instincts in a crucial moment.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

14) Will there be another time jump?  If there is, dear writers, explain it!

ANSWER: If being temporarily thrust into future time counts as a time jump, the answer is yes, though, fortunately, the writers do a great job of explaining it (more or less).

15) Did Nadir’s brother Vijay start a second terra-genesis when he fell into the water, as Micah observed?  If so, what does this mean for Inhumans, for him, and for our team?

ANSWER: Vijay does not return this season, and panelist Micah does not seem as bothered by what he believed he observed last season.  Who knows what the future will bring, though?

16) Will Coulson and May finally admit their obvious feelings for one another?  Will a romantic coupling between them feel weird?  They’re kind of like the mom and dad of the whole outfit.

ANSWER: Yes. No. And, mom and dad or not, you want to see your parents together and happy.  Plus, Coulson plants a kiss on May that is, frankly, kind of hot.  And the panelists rejoiced.  Yay (waving suddenly appearing flags).

17) Will SHIELD survive the move to Fridays?  We hope so!

ANSWER: If being renewed for a sixth season counts as survival, SHIELD defied the odds this year!

New Questions

1) Is General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) actually, once and for all, dead?

2) What really causes Coulson to begin dying?  Is it because he was exposed to the Kree substance odium when fighting Kasius’ trainer (who had consumed odium himself)?  Or, alternatively, does Coulson’s alleged deal with the Ghost Rider demon in Season 4, which he references in the latter half of this season, cause him to be in danger of dying because, as panelist Micah surmises, the Ghost Rider manages to undo the Kree resurrection technology that allowed Coulson to come back from Loki’s fatal stabbing at the beginning of the series, thereby righting the natural balance and duality of life and death in this universe?

3) Will Coulson remain dead, if he, in fact, dies off screen, since it is heavily implied at the end of the season that he will live out the rest of his days in the real Tahiti with the company of May, with whom he has mutually acknowledged and reciprocated romantic feelings (it’s about time they admitted it)?

4) If the SHIELD agents broke the time loop causality that leads to the repeated destruction of Earth and SHIELD’s trips through time and space to begin with, does any element of that future still exist?  For example, does Deke Shaw (Jeff Ward) still exist?  Are there parallel timelines running against each other? Did breaking the time loop cause a different paradox?  Time travel in science fiction: the riskiest of all storytelling devices.

5) Will Simmons find the frozen Fitz, floating in space?  How will she do that? She’s not known for building spaceships.  That was Fitz’s job (and, no, I’m not crying…now). If Simmons does find Fitz, will they have to be remarried, since frozen Fitz was frozen before future Fitz married present Simmons in the past?

6) What will SHIELD’s primary mission be, with Mack at its head, now that SHIELD has saved the world from this ominous, apocalyptic future?

7) Will the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 affect the events of Agents of SHIELD, Season 6?

8) If Daisy injected herself with all-healing Centipede Serum, does this mean that she is now invincible, as well as quake-y?

9) Since General Hale was destroyed by Talbot, empowered by the infusion of gravitonium, is there anything left of Hydra after all?

10) Though May and Deke successfully redirect missiles at Confederacy member Qovas’ ship, what is left of the Confederacy alien alliance, and will the SHIELD agents meet this alliance again?

11) Will the Agents meet the Kree again, either Kasius or his father, but in a different context?

12) If Coulson does die, what will May do then?

13) Are Mack and Yo-Yo okay as a couple, given the revelations and behaviors that occurred in Season 5 to complicate their relationship?

14) Is there an ending for SHIELD now that could possibly be as good as the fifth season finale?  The panelists are at a loss to predict what such an ending might look like.

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, our smaller again,  yet always robust, podcast panel believes that Agents of SHIELD took a gigantic risk in Season 5, one that courted the ire of the production company and fans alike, but one that also, ultimately, paid off in storytelling spades in the end, as it seems that the writers and producers, like so many of the rest of us, believed Season 5 to be the last of the series.  As a result, Season 5 offers some excellent action-fueled drama and emotionally resonant character moments that left our panelists feeling satisfied – so satisfied, the three of us cannot possibly guess where SHIELD might travel next season, except to possibly rescue the frozen, floating Fitz in space, if he is, in fact, still out there.  While the season presented some continuity and logic flaws, given the “bold move” (as panelist Micah called it) of engaging in time travel and time loops, all panelists also enjoyed the season heartily and plan to keep watching, even if the fifth season finale felt more final than other season finales preceding it.  The panel, however, is split as far as whether or not individual members would recommend tuning in to SHIELD at this point, and those that do suggest doing so advise that would-be new viewers begin with the first season, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing. Still and all, the panel regards Agents of SHIELD as entertaining and worth the watch, though the panelists, your Chief CP included, find themselves apprehensive about what Season 6 might bring in the wake of the apparent (SPOILER) deaths of two major characters.  Of course, to be fair, few really stay dead in the MCU in the end – whether or not the two characters to which I am referring do, all panelists hope beyond measure that any element of the new season’s story, including potential reintegration of seemingly lost characters, be as competently engaging as most of the first four seasons have proven themselves to be.

LOOKING AHEAD

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a sixth season by ABC, which is not expected to premiere until Summer 2019.  The Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next and likely reconvene following the complete airing of Season 6 of SHIELD, depending upon how many episodes are produced and whether or not the show is interrupted by a significant hiatus during a reasonably lengthy mid-point (in other words, will CPU! have enough time to record a reaction panel at some point in the middle of SHIELD’s sixth season? Time will tell).  No official premiere date for this show has yet been announced as of the publication of this post. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4B (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2017, our continuously small but newly more robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Jen, and new (to the panel, not to the podcast) panelist Micah–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focusing upon the “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs! If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Episode sponsored by: Curious Arrow’s production of “Lucid”

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 4 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: CURIOUS ARROW

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And their inaugural production of “Lucid,” a performance of original short plays

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Opening Friday, September 15, 2017, at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

For more information, visit Curious Arrow’s Facebook Page or buy tickets at http://www.eventbrite.com!

CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays at 10:00 PM (as of this past season).

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: The Season 4 finale aired on ABC on May 16, 2017, at 10:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, previously directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons for most of the panel: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of a Marvel-type nature.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has covered Agents of SHIELD since the beginning, though in podcast format only starting last year.  If you would like to catch up on our SHIELD coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Mid-season

Season 3B (post-finale)

Season 4A Mid-season
Our SHIELD panel is back to talk about the heady second half of the fourth season, with two sections subtitled “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra,” respectively.  What’s especially exciting is that our SHIELD panel has experienced some growth of its own for the first time since its inception (which could bode well for the show…maybe…).  Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie are joined “around the water cooler” by an individual new to the panelist but not to the podcast, namely Micah, most recently heard as part of our ongoing Once Upon a Time panel.  Our newly, slightly more robust panel of SHIELD agents tackles talk of Season 4B as well as prognosticates upon possible future plot developments of the fifth season and speculates upon the likelihood that the show has moved markedly toward the bubble of cancellation, especially since the network is delaying the premiere of Season 5 until mid-season and is moving the show to a precarious Friday night time slot. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in August 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the fourth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will stay in the MCU as a handful of familiar panelists gather around the water cooler to take a First Look while simultaneously Looking Back at the gone-too-soon but never-forgotten, girl power driven spin-off of the Captain America films, Marvel’s Agent Carter.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1)  Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is (i.e .Hive’s home planet beyond Earth)?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

2) Still a Question: Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

ANSWER: Still questions without answers. 

3) Still a question: Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

ANSWER: As above, still questions without answers.

4) Is Ghost Rider (GR) gone for good?  Why was he even brought on the show to begin with? What IS GR?  Who was the GR before Robbie Reyes? Is Robbie the last GR, should he never return from where ever he landed with his Uncle Eli? Does GR reap souls from the living?  How was GR able to touch the physicists trapped within the dimensional rift? Where do the souls or people slayed or reaped by the GR go?  Do they go to hell?  Why was the GR mythology not flushed out more on this show if such care and attention to bring him on the show was necessary to the overall story?

ANSWER: Robbie/GR returned in the season finale, emerging from some sort of portal to a hell dimension, bent upon recapturing the Dark Hold.  His appearance also served to provide Coulson (Clark Gregg) a way to defeat the ultimate Big Bad of the season – the android Aida (Mallory Jansen), whose interaction with the Dark Hold motivated her to aspire to turning herself into a human and to bolster a virtual reality/artificial computer-based matrix created by Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah), nicknamed the Framework.  Further explanation of Ghost Rider and what his mythology is and how it relates to the MCU overall was not provided this half season, perhaps expecting some reliance on knowledge from the comics.

5) Is Nadir affiliated with Hydra?  Could Hydra be coming back – since it seems foolish to eliminate them from the MCU completely?

ANSWER: Nadir funds and protects (politically) the Watchdogs, the ranks of which contain some former Hydra agents.  Hydra as an actual entity – this side of the Framework, that is – has not, as of yet, returned or does not seem to exist. Yet, events of this season may signal the return of some growing heads of the many-headed enemy.  So speculates the podcast panel.

6) Aida, Radcliffe’s newest android creation, seems to have created a double for May (Ming-Na Wen).  Is the real May being held captive by Ada (we see a bloodied May in Ada’s storage closet)? Is the doubled May, back at SHIELD headquarters, an android? Or, is she some sort of inter-dimensional echo created by Ada with the knowledge from Dark Hold? Or, is double May an alien?  Because, when in doubt – aliens.

ANSWER: The real May is the captive May.  The doubled May, indeed an android version, breaks open the precious bottle of scotch that Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May were saving for the right time to drink.  This half of the season dealt heavily in the notion of androids, as Aida became more proficient in creating them alongside her creator, Radcliffe.

7) What was the Dark Hold book all along?  Some sort of window into Hell?  Is it alien?  Is it Cree?

ANSWER: It is a book of dark magic that permeates the Marvel Comics (listen to the podcast episode for Kristen’s research).  The show does not explain the book’s origins beyond its presumed mystical properties.

8) What happened to the Inhuman undergoing terra-genesis that Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was blindfolded and squirreled away to help and, then, to abandon when the process was complete?

ANSWER: Unknown.  We never see this Inhuman again.

9) Is Mace (Jason O’Mara) going to remain SHIELD’s director?  Is he part of a new SHIELD Inhuman fighting force? What secrets is he hiding (since Simmons implied that there were secrets)? Will he be the “Big Bad” in the second half of the season as panelist Jen predicts?

ANSWER: Mace remains SHIELD’s director until he (spoiler) meets his heroic end in the Framework.  The only trouble is, as Jen predicted, Mace is hiding a shocking secret: his Inhuman powers are drug-induced and not actual Inhuman powers.  He is not an Inhuman but part of an experimental program spearheaded by General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), in which humans injected with a super serum develop superhuman powers; however, if those in the program do not receive regular injections of the serum, they suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms and eventual loss of the enhancements initially provided by the drugs.  Mace, however, always has his heart in the right place.  He wants to help people, particularly, he confesses, after he was recognized for being a “hero” when he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  The future of SHIELD, on the other hand, hangs in the balance.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Is Coulson really attempting to position Daisy (Chloe Bennett) as a possible future SHIELD director?

ANSWER: It’s hard to see this eventuality as truly possible as of the end of this season, particularly since the Framework fallout cast a gray cloud over SHIELD as an agency once again in the eyes of the judging fictional public.  There’s no question that Coulson is fond of Daisy, though.

11) Are Mack (Henry Simmons) and “Yo-Yo” aka Alana Rodriguez going to make a legitimate romantic go of it?  What pain is Mack nursing?  The loss of his brother?

ANSWER: They are, and they do, make a legitimate attempt at coupling (in all the ways), and it’s a true connection, filled with simmering sexual tension and consummated and mutual romantic interest.  The audience, via Mack’s revelation to Yo-Yo, learns that Mack lost a child, a daughter named Hope, a few days after her birth.  He and his ex-wife, Hope’s mother, mourns this loss annually and privately, wondering what might have been had Hope lived.  This loss haunts Mack more than any others in his past.

12) Will we see any more Avengers or Avengers-related characters on the show?  The panel feels strongly that the show would benefit from an injection of movie-caliber quality, either in character appearances or in story reworking.

ANSWER: We haven’t so far, unless you count Framework Hydra…which does not really count…

13) Was Aida truly affected by the Dark Hold?  Does her creation of double May mean she is evil or an insane robot now?  Will SHE be the “Big Bad” in the season’s second half? Does Holden know or having any inkling of what his creation has become?

ANSWER: There is no question that Aida is consummately affected by the Dark Hold – it gives her knowledge, ambition, and desire far beyond her initial programming.  “Evil” and “insane” are strong qualifiers that do not quite fit the situation, though. Aida is ruthlessly efficient, incapable of considering collateral damage and human cost beyond the calculations she completes, first to help Radcliffe build LMD’s like her as well as build the Framework, and then to help herself in terms of completing Project Looking Glass, which enables her to become human through a merging of science and mysticism from the Dark Hold.  As such, Aida’s increasing observance of Radcliffe’s ambitions (fueled by an unmistakable God complex) matched against her own desire to be human and to be loved – specifically by Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) – positions her as the season’s Big Bad and the ultimate force that our heroes must defeat this go-round.  Radcliffe surely knows that Aida surpasses her own programming but is forced to catch up to the realization that Aida has loftier aims than merely creating a Framework, which Radcliffe builds to preserve the consciousness of his real life, ailing wife Agnes, the physical/bodily inspiration for Aida.

New Questions

1) Will we see Ghost Rider again?  Or, is he being limited to this season?  The podcast panel votes for a spin-off for this version of Ghost Rider, with frequent guest appearances by Daisy.  They have a certain chemistry, we think… And Ghost Rider and Quake together are kind of bad-ass.  At the very least, he should simply return from time to time, as long as he is not used as a method of convenient last minute escape (lest his appearances feel cheap).

2) Who captured the SHIELD agents during the season 4 epilogue?  Who are the shadowy figures really? Kristen predicts that the government is behind this abduction; Jen predicts Hydra is back and behind this abduction as does Kylie; Micah speculates that a group called “Sword” from the Marvel Comics or the Inhuman Royal Family or groups like “Raid” or “Aim” are all possibilities for the potential perpetrators.  Kylie also hopefully wonders if the Cree own the spaceship/space craft on which Coulson finds himself and if the audience will finally be given more answers around the mysterious alien race consistently referred to in the show’s earliest seasons.

3) Where is Coulson?  How did he end up in space?

4) Where is everyone else?  How did Coulson get separated from the team?

5) How much will Marvel’s Inhumans, premiering in fall, affect Agents of SHIELD, if at all?

6) Will there be lasting effects of the Framework on the team, especially Fitz and Simmons and Coulson and May?

7) Will there be another time jump?  If there is, dear writers, explain it!

8) Did Nadir’s brother Vijay start a second terra-genesis when he fell into the water, as Micah observed?  If so, what does this mean for Inhumans, for him, and for our team?

9) Will Coulson and May finally admit their obvious feelings for one another?  Will a romantic coupling between them feel weird?  They’re kind of like the mom and dad of the whole outfit.

10) Will SHIELD survive the move to Fridays?  We hope so!

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, our newly expanded podcast panel believes that Agents of SHIELD remarkably rallied in Season 4B, paying off the doldrums and missteps of Season 4A with some excellent action-fueled drama. In fact, all panelists find new excitement in anticipation of the show’s fifth season, after the execution of the excellent “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs, which rejuvenated the story, our enjoyment of the show, and possibly the performances of the acting ensemble, as the story and pacing felt more energized and more cohesive in the fourth season’s second half. The panelists are more willing than ever, even eager, to continue watching the program at this stage, given that several disjointed story choices have since been corrected, including reintegrating Daisy back into the SHIELD team (the panel continues to regard the season starting time jump as anticlimactic and seemingly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, for the record). The panel now universally recommends tuning in to SHIELD, provided that would-be new viewers begin with the first season, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing, as the panel maintains that, despite a bumpy start and a rocky first half of the fourth season, Agents of SHIELD is entertaining and worth the watch, with these arcs and the third season “Hive” arc being the high points for this comic book adaptation.

LOOKING AHEAD

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fifth season by ABC, which is slated to premiere following the complete airing of Marvel’s Inhumans, on a new night and time, Fridays at 9:00 PM.  The Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next and likely reconvene following the complete airing of Season 5 of SHIELD, depending upon how many episodes are produced and whether or not the show is interrupted by a significant hiatus during a reasonably lengthy mid-point (in other words, will CPU! have enough time to record a reaction panel at some point in the middle of SHIELD’s fifth season? Time will tell).  No official premiere date for this show has yet been announced as of the publication of this post. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 4A, “Ghost Rider;” MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in December 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4A of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with particular focus upon “Ghost Rider!” If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 4 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for agents of shield season 4 title

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays at 10:00 PM.

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: Season 4 premiered on ABC on September 20, 2016, at 10:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, previously directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons for most of the panel: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of a Marvel-type nature.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has covered Agents of SHIELD since the beginning, though in podcast format only starting last year.  If you would like to catch up on our SHIELD coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Midseason

Season 3B (post-finale)

Our SHIELD panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, recently reconvened “around the water cooler” to discuss Season 4A and the introduction of “Ghost Rider” as well as to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments of the second half of the fourth season (and to speculate upon the likelihood that the show has moved markedly toward the bubble of cancellation). Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in December 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the fourth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will catch up on coverage of a CPU! favorite, in podcast format for the first time – and just in time for the program’s last season. Next week, CPU! introduces a new panel of old favorites as we talk about seasons three through five of NBC cult favorite Grimm.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1)  Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is (i.e .Hive’s home planet beyond Earth)?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

2) What happened in the six months prior to the third season time jump/epilogue?  How much could have really happened to change everything so much?

ANSWER: As we discuss in the podcast episode, not much back story was flushed out in this half season regarding the time jump.  In fact, the panelists universally felt that the time jump was largely meaningless and did nothing for the story.  What we do know is the following:

–Afraid that the events surrounding Hive, Lincoln’s death, and Daisy’s (Chloe Bennett) response to Lincoln’s death might lead the government to shut down SHIELD, even though the agency previously existed as a black ops division, Coulson (Clark Gregg) removed himself as director and appointed Jeffrey Mace (Jason O’Mara) as the new Director. Mace is (SPOILER) an Inhuman, as well as a public relations dream and a long-time camera-friendly politician, so Coulson felt that Mace was best positioned to legitimize SHIELD in the eyes of government figureheads and the public and to downplay some of the more high profile SHIELD missteps (or events that looked like missteps).

–Daisy, aggrieved by Lincoln’s death, went rogue and decided to go after Inhumans by herself, for reasons unexplained.  She used her powers openly and without discretion in the process, allowing the public to dub her, somewhat fearfully, with the “Quake” moniker.

–Coulson and Mack (Henry Simmons) searched for Daisy with Mace’s approval, but she consistently eluded them, trying the new director’s patience and vexing the paternal Coulson.

–Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) positioned herself to be promoted through the ranks at SHIELD and to earn the Director’s trust enough to be made an assistant within his inner circle.  As a result, she is subjected to random lie detector tests to ensure that she is not withholding secrets from him, which, of course, she is.  She’s also in the process of buying a place to live with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), which is nice.

–May (Ming-Na Wen), Mack, Coulson, and Fitz are all agents tasked with securing Inhumans, aliens, and, by extension, Daisy/Quake.

–Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) was pardoned by the government/SHIELD regarding his dubious cybernetics practices and is kept on as an adviser, though he is expressly prevented from working on robotics and cybernetic technology as part of his pardon. He doesn’t comply, of course.

In the end, not much happened in that ballyhooed six months, so none of the panelists understood why the jump was necessary or why a passage of time to demonstrate yet another chase for Daisy would add to the story.  Also, we felt that it was not executed well.

3) Is Daisy definitely “Quake” now?  What is her aim at this point?  Is she totally rogue?  Is she working undercover for SHIELD?  Is she off the reservation over mourning the loss of Lincoln?

ANSWER: Daisy is definitely Quake now, owing to the public’s Cisco Ramon (DC REFERENCE!) like ability to name superheroes.  Her aim at the start of the season is to track Inhumans and, particularly, Ghost Rider on her own.  She is totally rogue and totally off the grid and not working for SHIELD, finding the agency’s rules and bureaucracy “too confining.”  She is, in fact, or so it is implied by May later in the season, off the reservation because she is grieving Lincoln’s death.

4) If Coulson is no longer the director of SHIELD, who is?  Is May the new director? Why is Coulson no longer the director of SHIELD?  Did he break away over his personal (fatherly) feelings for Daisy or for another reason?

ANSWER: As above, Mace is the new director.  Coulson stepped down more to protect SHIELD itself from politicians who feel that SHIELD is sheltering (i.e. allowing to live/roam free) rather than containing Inhumans at humans’ expense. One side bonus of this move, however, is that he could track the hurting Daisy with more freedom as an agent under the radar than he could as SHIELD’s high profile director.

5) Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

ANSWER: Still questions without answers.  The Inhumans/Cree story lines and alien mythology were subverted this half season in favor of creating the “Ghost Rider” story arc.

6) Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

ANSWER: As above, still questions without answers.

7) Will we be returning to some “the team chases Daisy” motif as we already experienced in season 2?  The panel is against this idea.

ANSWER: The panel was not heeded, to a point, and the show was the worse for it (listen to us, man!). Some time was devoted to Coulson and Mack’s chase of Daisy. Fortunately, a frustrated Mace prevented Coulson from being distracted by this eventuality for too long, feeling that Daisy outmaneuvered Coulson and Mack every step of the way and to no avail and at a significant expenditure of SHIELD’s resources. Eventually, everyone catches up with each other in the end.  That’s usually how it works.

8) What or who will be the new “Big Bad” now that Hive has expired?

ANSWER: The “Big Bad” is as yet undefined.  It could be the Watchdogs, the anti-Inhuman terrorist organization that first appeared in season three.  It could be politicians like Senator Ellen Nadir, who seem to be funneling money and resources to the Watchdogs.  Or, it could have been Robbie Reyes aka Ghost Rider’s Uncle Eli, who toyed with quantum physics and got himself sucked into an inter-dimensional rift by playing with forces he did not understand.  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this half season was a bit messy.

9) Is Hydra really gone?  It can’t be, right?  New heads and so forth?

ANSWER: So far, so gone, though panelist Jen predicted that Senator Nadir could possibly be, or be connected to new heads of, Hydra, since she is holding captive Inhuman(s) undergoing terra-genesis for as yet unknown reasons (with Mace’s knowledge; listen to the podcast for details).

10) Will Bobbi and/or Lance ever be brought back to the show, since their purported spin-off was axed before airing?

ANSWER: So far, so gone, though it would be nice for SHIELD to accidentally bump into them at some point.  I can’t imagine they would stay gone for good, unless budgetary reasons prevent them from returning.

New Questions

1) Is Ghost Rider (GR) gone for good?  Why was he even brought on the show to begin with? What IS GR?  Who was the GR before Robbie Reyes? Is Robbie the last GR, should he never return from where ever he landed with his Uncle Eli? Does GR reap souls from the living?  How was GR able to touch the physicists trapped within the dimensional rift? Where do the souls or people slayed or reaped by the GR go?  Do they go to hell?  Why was the GR mythology not flushed out more on this show if such care and attention to bring him on the show was necessary to the overall story?  The podcast panelists felt that the GR arc combined with the several other story lines introduced or continued in this half season (Daisy as Quake, the humans vs. Inhumans, SHIELD as an evolving SHIELD) was ultimately a misfire in execution, mostly, on the part of the producers and writers.

2) Is Nadir affiliated with Hydra?  Could Hydra be coming back – since it seems foolish to eliminate them from the MCU completely?

3) Ada (Mallory Jansen), Radcliffe’s newest android creation, seems to have created a double for May.  Is the real May being held captive by Ada (we see a bloodied May in Ada’s storage closet)? Is the doubled May, back at SHIELD headquarters, an android? Or, is she some sort of inter-dimensional echo created by Ada with the knowledge from Dark Hold? Or, is double May an alien?  Because, when in doubt – aliens.

4) What was the Dark Hold book all along?  Some sort of window into Hell?  Is it alien?  Is it Cree?

5) What happened to the Inhuman undergoing terra-genesis that Simmons was blindfolded and squirreled away to help and, then, to abandon when the process was complete?

6) Is Mace going to remain SHIELD’s director?  Is he part of a new SHIELD Inhuman fighting force? What secrets is he hiding (since Simmons implied that there were secrets)? Will he be the “Big Bad” in the second half of the season as panelist Jen predicts?

7) Is Coulson really attempting to position Daisy as a possible future SHIELD director?

8) Are Mack and “Yo-Yo” aka Alana Rodriguez going to make a legitimate romantic go of it?  What pain is Mack nursing?  The loss of his brother?

9) Will we see any more Avengers or Avengers-related characters on the show?  The panel feels strongly that the show would benefit from an injection of movie-caliber quality, either in character appearances or in story reworking.

10) Was Ada truly affected by the Dark Hold?  Does her creation of double May mean she is evil or an insane robot now?  Will SHE be the “Big Bad” in the season’s second half? Does Holden know or having any inkling of what his creation has become?

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, the podcast panel believes that the show’s critical crossroads has come and gone, and that in the case of Marvel Agents of SHIELD, in the heretofore described “make it or break it” scenario, SHIELD may be close to breaking it.  The panel felt that the show hit a low point in this half season, comparable to the first half of its first season, while rebooting its trajectory post-Hive and post-departure of Brett Dalton.  The panelists, though still willing to continue watching, feel that the show has become stale and somewhat boring as it flounders to find a new focal point, though we still have numerous questions, as above.  In addition, though Daisy would be a logical choice for that new focal point, the panel also universally felt that the writers have short changed one of the more popular characters this season by creating Daisy’s petulant, somewhat flat response to her grief, while the character herself is mired in a repetitive story line centered on her developing powers and Quake persona.  Furthermore, the fourth season’s first half has only served to confirm another panel perception: the time jump was anticlimactic and seemingly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things and did not create an enticing enough cliffhanger to convince fickle fans to continue watching, resulting in lower ratings overall. The panel still thinks it’s worth tuning in to SHIELD, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing, though, for the first time, all three panelists felt hard pressed to recommend the show to others, as all panelists believed strongly that SHIELD might not be able to recover from its current, disorganized, post-Hive path. In fact, viewers who stopped watching the show much earlier may finally be justified in their quick prejudgments, though the panel still asserts that the first three seasons are worth the watch.

LOOKING AHEAD

A full season of Marvel Agents of SHIELD was ordered upon renewal, but both our podcast panel and other TV pundits believe that renewal for a fifth season could go either way, meaning that the show has unofficially entered bubble territory; thus, no official announcement about the show’s fate has yet been made.  Agents of SHIELD returns from its mid-season hiatus on January 10, 2017. The podcast panel will revisit this program at the end of season, so keep checking back with CPU! for all the latest blog posts and podcast episodes. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage. Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3B; MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all things Hydra, Inhuman, and Hive! If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!