Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Season 5 Premiere “Orientation, Parts 1 & 2”



I was happy that Agents of SHIELD was picked up for a fifth season. The series has a cast of characters whom I genuinely like, which means I’m willing to watch them doing almost anything.

Almost anything.

The LMD story line in the middle of Season 4 was a bit on the weak side, and I wasn’t exactly over-the-moon about the whole Framework plot, with the Evil Fitz and the omnipotent Aida. I guess the only story arc I really liked a lot last season was the Ghost Rider one. Until the show was renewed, I was worried that it was about to be cancelled. Maybe I’m wrong for still feeling this way, because this season feels like a last-ditch effort to get the ratings necessary to stay on the air. The show was also moved to Friday nights, which isn’t always a good sign. It isn’t known as the “Friday night death slot” for no reason.

Whatever the case may be, AOS kicked off its fifth season with a bang. The two-part premiere, “Orientation, Parts 1 & 2,” began where the last season ended. Coulson and his agents were kidnapped from a diner and Coulson woke up in outer space, with what appeared to be an asteroid field outside his window. Okay, it didn’t begin exactly where Season 4 concluded. The final scene last season showed Coulson waking up, alone, opening the shutter on his window, looking at the debris field and telling himself it was time to get back to work. We don’t begin this new season with a Coulson who seems so accustomed to his new surroundings. And, he’s not alone. In this premiere, we get to see Coulson and his diner guests get frozen and abducted MIB-style. The leader of the group that abducts the agents is some sort of alien who is masquerading as a human. I didn’t learn anything else about him in this first episode. I look forward to finding out more. At the moment, I’m getting an Herr Starr, from AMC’s Preacher, vibe from the man. All of our agents except for Fitz are taken to a room where there’s another of those alien monoliths, and are all transported. Where are they transported to? Ah, that’s one of the mysteries set up and later answered in this premiere.

Our agents all reappear on what seems to be a spaceship of some sort, but they don’t all reappear in the same place. At first, it seemed like we were just going to see another riff on the movie Alien. Creatures known as “roaches” are killing off the humans Coulson first meets in this new setting. One of the newcomers, a man named Virgil, seems to know a lot about Coulson and SHIELD, but he—uh—exits the show before he can tell Coulson anything of substance.

May meets a man we later learn is named Deke as he is salvaging some sort of gadget from one of the many dead bodies lying around. The two fight, but May ends up losing because she was injured when she materialized with a metal bar sticking through one of her legs. Deke then cuts open her wrist to put one of the gadgets he was salvaging inside of her. It’s called a metric. Not having a metric, which is some sort of tracking device/enslavement tool, is apparently a huge crime.

It turns out that this ship or station is under Kree rule. Our agents end up getting back together, saving Mack and Yo-Yo from Kree interrogation. They kill a few Kree in the process. May and Simmons borrow a space trawler, wanting to get above the asteroid field to send a message to Earth, where Fitz apparently remains. Only they discover that the debris field is what remains of a destroyed Earth. They traveled through time as well as space, into some distant future.

This is where Part 1 ended. I gave a Charlton Heston yell of “You maniacs! You blew it up! Gosh-Darn you all to Hell!”  Or something like that.

Okay, I’m interested. Show me more.

It turns out that the late Virgil had hired Deke to help hide Coulson and his agents. Virgil was the last person who really believed in the legend of SHIELD, it seems. A population of humans has survived on the ship for generations under Kree rule. The humans don’t fight because they have nowhere else to go. Earth is no more.

Coulson searches Virgil’s room for any clues to what the dead man might have known. He finds a hidden journal. Elsewhere on the ship, Simmons is apprehended by the Kree after she uses her medical knowledge to save a stabbing victim. Simmons is taken to the high-roller Diamond Platinum floor of this space hotel, where she meets the warden, a Kree named Kasius. It seems that Kasius is determined to make Simmons his new human pet. Kasius puts something in Simmons’ ear that makes her deaf except when Kasius speaks.

And yet again elsewhere, Daisy follows Deke to what she calls an opium den, only one where the drug of choice is an escape into another virtual world (like the Framework) that attempts to recreate Earth. Deke is the man who created this and he tells Daisy that the Kree are aware of it and allow it to exist because it placates the humans. I hope this doesn’t become an overwhelming part of this plotline. I don’t want more Framework.

Coulson makes a deal with a human named Grill to get metrics for him, Mack and Yo-Yo. Grill is played by veteran character actor Pruitt Taylor Vince, who’s been in just about everything I’ve seen in the last few decades, including roles in the movie Identity and the television shows X-Files and The Walking Dead. I don’t think Grill is necessarily a good guy in this story.

As the episode ends, another spaceship is docking at the station. I guess we’ll have to wait until next time to see who’s on board.

My takeaway from this double-episode premiere: It was a fast, entertaining watch that left me wanting more. I’m looking forward to discovering how Coulson and his team will get back to their own time and prevent the Earth from blowing up. I assume that has to be the endgame here.

One major gripe for these episodes: No Fitz. This aggression will not stand, man. Leopold Fitz has to be a part of this series.  

Which I’m sure he will be. He’ll probably be one of the major factors in the team’s rescue and return to our timeline. At least, that’s how I would write it. I don’t like it when they separate Fitz-Simmons.

I’m wondering how long our AOS space adventure will last. This is another 22-episode season. While I do like the change in setting, and you know I’m a sucker for good science fiction, I would like to get back to find out what sort of deal Coulson made with the vengeance demon responsible for Ghost Rider. That has to be addressed this season, don’t you think?

A man can hope.

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