Agents Of SHIELD S05E01-02: Orientation – Recap & Review

All they wanted was pie and now they have found themselves in deep space, but that was only the beginning. Here is a review of the fifth season’s two-episode premiere titled Orientation.

Warning: Possible spoilers ahead!

CLARK GREGG, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE

Plot Summary

Episode 1 –

  • Picking up where the fourth season left off, Phil Coulson, Alphonso ‘Mack’ MacKenzie, Jemma Simmons, and Elena Rodriguez/ Yo-yo find themselves in outer space after having passed through a Monolith portal. They encounter a man named Virgil who claims that he has been studying them for years and that they have come to save humanity. However, their time with him is short-lived when the man is taken from them. While there, they also cross paths with Daisy Johnson/ Quake, who comes to their aid and joins them. Meanwhile, Agent Melinda May finds herself inside the same space colony but in a bad condition. Eventually, they all discover that the outpost is really a staging ground run by that of the Kree. They are rescued by another man named Deke, who has the some of the answers they have been searching for.

Episode 2 –

  • Coulson and the group learn more about how they arrived in deep space, and along the way, meet an associate of Deke, a woman named Tess. As time progresses, they learn that the human settlers have lost their humanity when their currency is run on life. The only way to get paid is to fight Hunger Games-style.

JEFF WARD

Discussion

This two-part premiere has its comedic moments through the use of inside jokes and self-references. From comments of Coulson’s prosthetic hand, to Yo-yo triggering the group’s traumatic memory with the Framework, to deciding not to split up like characters of Scooby-Doo, to Yo-yo cracking a joke about Mack’s signature weapon, the show sheds light on what the group has been through over the years and teaches viewers that it is okay to look at the bright side no matter how dark the situation may be.

Phil Coulson and his teammates have found themselves in what very much might be the future. They are taught that “the only way to not die is to blend in and work hard, and you can’t do either of those things” without the technologically advanced devices that everyone else is wearing.

As they uncover how they arrived on the staging ground, Simmons suggests that the team came through “a gateway, some sort of temporal shift.” They surmise that they must be in the future, one in which Earth was wiped clean, but by what or who? If this is the repercussion of Infinity War, then it is implied that Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet to create earthquakes, floods, and Sharknadoes. (Although, that third effect could be untrue.)

As the second half of the season premiere progresses, we learn that the people’s way of life relies solely on savagery, and this means having to endure Hunger Games in Space. The only way to survive is through the motto, “A life spent, a life earned.”

Kasius claims that scars and bruises render a person imperfect and that people such as Jemma Simmons are perceived as somewhat pure and immaculate. He suggests that “life is a fragile thing; we must cultivate the beauty and prune back the rest.” That is, he believes that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but this is not true at all. Rather, it is having skill and knowledge that makes us strong, courageous, and confident, not looks.

Overall, Orientation is a great start to the fifth season of Agents of SHIELD. With no diplomatic affairs or fights against domestic enemies, the show instead provides us with a new story arc that takes our characters where they have never really gone before, which is outer space. Encountering a small society of people that rely on survival instincts, the SHIELD team learn that “[these people were] trying to preserve humanity, [but it] feels like they lost it a long time ago.” These first two episodes show somewhat a lack of character development but some pretty good writing. For that, this receives a 7.8 out of 10.

CHLOE BENNET, ELIZABETH HENSTRIDGE, CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WEN

Easter Eggs, References, and Trivia Facts:

  • Episode 1: Orientation Part I –
    • Captain Hook and Inspector Gadget –
      • When Elena and Mack ask Coulson about his specialized prosthetic hand, he says that it apparently has no special features. In the heat of the moment, Mack suggested that a hook would be a more feasible tool that could help them get out of their predicament. This could very much be a reference to Peter Pan’s nemesis Captain Hook.
      • Elena then asks if Coulson’s specialized prosthetic hand has any blow torches or laser guns to which he says, “First of all, I’m not Inspector Gadget.”

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  • Season 4 Story Arc #3 Shoutout –
    • Mack says he has dealt with too many out-of-this-world situations, mentioning that he and the group just got out of the Agents of Hydra situation. He references the Framework as the “Computer-generated mind prison.”

MALLORY JANSEN

  • Inhumans shoutout –
    • Phil Coulson tells the group that there was no secret intel whatsoever regarding space in Nick Fury’s Black Box. Elena Rodriguez/ Yo-yo said she thought there was a space division for SHIELD then says, “I always thought you guys had people hiding on the moon.” This is a reference to the short-lived Marvel television series that aired earlier this fall in which a society of Inhumans inhabited part of the surface of the moon.

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  • Papa Smurf –
    • When Mack asks the Kree if they know English, they reply in English and proceed to hit him like a punching bag. He speaks to Yo-yo in Spanish and tells refers to one of the Kree as ‘Papa Smurf.’ This is a reference to the cartoonish character who–like the Kree–has blue skin.
  • Episode 2: Orientation Part II –
    • No second Monolith when Simmons landed on Maveth –
      • Simmons makes a reference to the former half of the show’s third season, a story arc in which the character was stuck on a deserted barren alien planet inhabited by the Inhuman villain Hive. She says that there was no other Monolith on the planet aside from the one that brought her there.
    • Sharknado –
      • Tess asks about the earthquakes, floods, and Sharknadoes that occurred throughout the Earth. Coulson tells her that that last part is just for entertainment, that putting a shark inside of a tornado was all part of a fictionalized film.

show_art_Sharknado_3

  • Singing in the Rain
    • Coulson asks Tess if she knows what Singing in the Rain is, which was a 1952 film that featured Debbie Reynolds, mother of Star Wars legend Carrie Fisher. This “classic cinematic musical in a futuristic setting,” if thought about deeply, is almost reminiscent of the Pixar film Wall-E. In that film, the titular character watches a classic cinematic musical titled Hello, Dolly! in a futuristic yet desolated Earth.
  • WHIH World News –

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What do you think caused the end of the world? Do you think the team will make it back to the past? Will Fitz ever meet them again? Let us know! For more Marvel Cinematic Universe and Agents of SHIELD-related news and reviews, follow Geek Motivation on Twitter (@GeekMotivation) and Instagram (@geekmotivation).

Written by: John Tangalin

 

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