With the continuing build of consequence, the motivations of “Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.EL.D.” are distinctly becoming more plot driven rather than character driven as the episodes go on but that doesn’t less the consequence of what is being shown. When the last episode left off, the decisions that the team and specifically Mac needed to make they all believe were done for the greater good, but as this episode (“Adapt Of Die”) continues it all starts to unravel. There are some tender moments but also some revelatory moments. Like in the previous episode, Patrick Warburton plays a S.H.I.E.L.D chief in the 1970s and he plays it to a t with a bit of tongue in cheek styling. Some of the best moments though are still small character ones including some in between Daisy and a SH.I.E.L.D. agent from the 50s we have seen in the previous couple episodes. It captures almost old school romanticism with the modern storyline. The progress continues but any other spoilers would give it away though Coulson is quite enlightened in many ways throughout the episode. As with the continuing ideas of the season, it is about choice in different situations and what path it leads the Marvel Universe towards in the future.
By Tim Wassberg
Understanding the plot machinations of a large integrated story has always been the pantheon of comic books. Doing it in more long form structures is trickier because every scene, every shot can be looked at and dissected in current culture. That is why with “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in many ways and literally, it is acting as a bridge between two phase. It is an interesting quandary thrown into even more specific focus because of the corona virus where both the feature films and new series to Disney+ had to be paused. It is a dilemma which will be interesting to see shift. With Episode 5, “A Trout In The Milk” the plot becomes more dynamic because the story starts to see certain facts start to change. Doing a time travel storyline was always going to cause this and provides of course the plot mechanism necessary for a multi-universe where the aspects of all the events of previous phases still work because they were in a different timeline. The question becomes audience perception and acceptance and not treading over the same ground. This was the issue with the most recent “Star Trek” feature film franchise with its Prime and Kelvin timelines. People were willing to accept the new timeline but that meant the stories had to be better and more intricate without losing the nostalgia of the original. it is a high order. But what they did was redress a story…and it got called out. Here the Marvel people, especially Kevin Feige are much more intimately and innately in control of the storyline. Without giving any specific episode spoilers, this episode jumps to the 70s and like in the 30s, it comes down to choice. They already have one element out of the timeline but the idea it continues to refer back to is how much change can the timeline take before (like Dr. Strange sees it in a way) it starts to correct itself.
By Tim Wassberg
The progression of “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is based in the structure of an established history which is an interesting way of looking at story but also one that governed the ideas of consequence all the way through “Endgame”. The reasoning in the final season of this series is an interesting one because of the plateau that it sits on but also the interesting confluence of events that leads it to where it is now, specifically after the Netflix and Marvel split happened effectively ending many series except for one: “Agents”. This gives it a particularly bittersweet but interesting transmutation because of its position between phases. The more of this season passes by, the more it can be looked at in certain ways with the next movies in the progression and perhaps the series. That is the larger picture but beneath or above al that, depending on your perspective, is the aspect of choice, not just for the team members but for all those involved…mostly. This is inherently true with Episode 4: “Out Of The Past”. The other aspect that can be discussed since most of the entire episode is a spoiler is the genre it is playing to which in this one is more a noir. Almost the entire episode is in black and white which provides an interesting perspective of gray. While it is not uber stylized, some scenes give that texture which is in keeping with the ideas of the season. This episode compared to others is a bit more straightforward and plot driven and yet small details and reactions are important as the train continues on.
By Tim Wassberg