The double-episode premiere got my attention a few weeks ago. Interesting premise: SHIELD in space, in the future; Earth destroyed. But, the premise began to get tired for me during episodes 3 and 4, at least until Fitz showed up at the very end of Episode #4, “A Life Earned.”
Leopold Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) had been missing from the series since the end of Season 4. Caestecker is in the forthcoming J.J. Abrams-produced supernatural Nazi flick, Overlord, but I don’t know if he was absent because he was shooting that or for some other reason. What I do know is that AOS wasn’t the same without him, and I was glad to see that his character was back.
In Episode #5, “Rewind,” Fitz wasn’t the only one returning to the series. Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) also returned this episode. Minus, sadly, Bobbi Morse (Adrianne Palicki), who is off galavanting in space with Seth MacFarlane. Hunter and Bobbi left the series early in 2016, supposedly going to their own spinoff series, Most Wanted, which never materialized. Now, Adrianne Palicki is a featured regular on The Orville, which was renewed for a second season, so it looks like Bobbi, at least, is gone for good. It was good to see Lance Hunter again, though.
“Rewind” was the break in the story that we needed. Oddly, for an episode that was fairly action-packed, this episode allowed the viewer to catch his breath and put the overarching story in greater perspective. It begins back at the diner again, when everyone but Fitz was taken by the alien we don’t know yet. We know that the other agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are seven decades in the future, in the rubble that remains after Earth is destroyed in something known as the Lighthouse. What happens to Fitz?
He’s detained by the military. The officer in charge is General Hale, who is portrayed by Catherine Dent. I remember Dent as Officer Danny Sofer on The Shield. She’s good.
Fitz is interrogated and submitted to lie detector testing. He offers to help the military locate his friends. He requests paper, pen, and access to books. Plus, a television set to watch soccer. Six months pass as he works on the problem, scribbling formulae on the walls of his cell, writing letters to a soccer magazine that he convinces his handlers to post for him, doing push-ups, and essentially getting nowhere on the problem. He tracks the days by drawing little monkey faces on the walls. Since none of his other theories have panned out, Fitz offers up the guess that the other agents were abducted by aliens. Even though this is the truth, General Hale is about to strip Fitz of all of his privileges as Lance Hunter shows up, announcing himself as Fitz’s attorney.
Of course, Fitz has been sending him coded messages through the soccer magazine. Hunter has been doing mercenary work in Bangladesh, so he missed the messages for a while. But, he’s here to rescue Fitz now. Fitz has a plan to escape, but Hunter cuts to the chase, blows a hole in the wall, and the two run. A friend of Hunter is supposed to be distracting the authorities in his helicopter, which he does, but only by crashing spectacularly. Hunter leads Fitz to their escape vehicle, a hulking RV.
Fortunately, the owner of the RV—the now-deceased helicopter pilot—was a paranoid conspiracy theorist who had sophisticated computer tech concealed in the vehicle. Fitz uses the equipment to track down the mysterious man who abducted the SHIELD team six months before. His name is Enoch, and he is an alien who’s been around for about 30,000 years. He is essentially an anthropologist, recording history, but got involved based on the prophesies of The Seer. It was the Seer who had Fitz left out of the plans to send SHIELD agents through time. Fitz wants to meet this person.
The Seer turns out to be Robin Hinton, a young girl Daisy swore to protect after she was unable to save Robin’s father. By going to see her, Fitz inadvertantly leads his military captors to her. It turns out that Robin left Fitz out of the great monolith sendoff because he’s the one meant to save the other agents in the future.
Enoch manages to engineer their escape from the military using the same tech he used at the diner six months before. He takes Fitz and Hunter to an actual lighthouse, which has a massive structure built underneath it, far underneath it, built by persons unknown for reasons unknown. No doubt this is the same Lighthouse from the future remains of Earth. Enoch has a plan to get Fitz to the future, but it involves stealing tech from the same base/prison Fitz and Hunter just escaped from.
Fitz and Hunter go back in, steal the object Enoch wanted, as well as liberating the SHIELD jet along with all of its SHIELD tech. Fitz conceals a lot of weapons in the Lighthouse, where he will be certain to find it in the future, then gets into the item Enoch wanted, which turns out to be a cryosleep chamber. As Fitz is going under, he and Hunter re-enact the Han Solo/Leia Organa “I love you”/”I know” sequence. AOS often understands its audience.
Fitz is awakened by Enoch seven decades later, on board a space vessel.
I know we’re getting back to future SHIELD on destroyed Earth when the next episode comes out, but this was a refreshing break that rekindled my interest in the story.
And, an interesting postscript to the General Hale plot as she shoots both of her senior officers in the head for failing her. Hardcore.