Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
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.
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):
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!
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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 Two. Sweet Christmas! Stay tuned!
Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations
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 –
Simmons: no, except as it relates to Fitz (see below).
Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley): no, except as it relates to Mack (see below).
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!
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.
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.
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!