Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD S03E10 “Maveth” REVIEW

Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD S03E10 “Maveth” REVIEW

Holding the Portal Room

stars 3.5

Airing in the UK on: E4, Sundays, 9pm
Writer: Jeffrey Bell
Director: Vincent Misiano

 

Essential Plot Points:

• Stargate SG Scumbag

  • We’re back on Planet Craphole, where Fitz and Stargate SG Scumbag are looking for “It”. Along the way, Fitz tries for a gun, gets beaten down and gives precisely zero damns. They also find a shrine, in the shape of a very familiar skull-faced octopus…

• zephyr 1

  • Back on Earth, SHIELD regroups and Mack makes the c all to take the castle and open the portal. Along the way they’re going to rescue Gemma, hold the line long enough for their people to get back and rescue the Inhumans Malick has stockpiled onsite. Mack, by the way, is very good at being director.

• Gemma

  • At the castle Gemma is charmingly British and snotty about Malick’s team screwing up their calculations. Malick responds by pointing out the word “Maveth”, Hebrew for death, scattered around the castle and reminding Gemma’s she’s an offering to his God.

• Will

  • Back on Planet Craphole, Fitz locates Will’s bunker and drops into it. Will’s alive! Ward follows him and holds Will at gunpoint, but Fitz persuades him to use the astronaut as a guide.
  • Back on Earth, Daisy finds an old aqueduct running through the castle and the team use that to break in. They split up and aim for their various objectives. The first of these is May kneeing a Hydra guard’s face into low Earth orbit.

• Phil in space

  • Back on Planet Craphole, Phil dreams of Rosalind. She’s alive and happy and… telling him he needs to wake up. He does, finds Fitz’s jacket and sets off on their trail.

• Gemma and Andrew

  • On Earth, Gemma breaks free as SHIELD kills the power to the Hydra fortifications. As the alarm sounds, she finds the stockpiled Inhumans and Andrew. He pleads with her to let him out, promising to protect her if she does. With guards closing in, she has no choice and looks away as he switches to Lash and kills them.
  • On Planet Craphole, Fitz fills Will in and Will tells him to wait for his play. Interestingly, Will also talks to Ward about what Earth is like…
  • When a dust storm hits, Will kills two Hydra guards, to Fitz’s horror, and they escape. Will doesn’t need goggles in the storm…
  • Daisy makes her move back on Earth and faces Giera. Joey, who’s been worried about his powers finds out to his delight he’s bulletproof (he melts them) and Linc then knocks out Giera. They do nothing else with him which could, politely, be referred to as tactically unwise.
  • May rendezvous with Simmons who tells her Andrew saved her life. She takes the younger agent back to the portal room. There they share what they know and realise they have to hold the room until the portal opens and if necessary destroy whatever comes out of it. Then, Mack notices May is missing.
  • Nearby, she finds the room the Inhumans were kept in. Andrew has killed them all and vanished.

• Serene Ward

  • On Planet Craphole, Phil catches up to, captures and shoots Ward. He force marches the other man across the planet. Ward is serene, happy to be where he is but Phil’s having none of it.

• Alien City

  • Nearby, Fitz and Will find the ruins of a city. Will explains it was one of nine and the planet’s populace tore themselves apart through war. As Fitz asks how he knows this, he unpacks Will’s wound…
  • The bone is visible. Will says, “I was there.”
  • He’s the god Hydra came for.

• Phil v Ward

  • Near as they are to the portal, Fitz runs for it but the thing wearing Will catches him and they fight. Phil and Ward arrive just in time to see this and Ward tries to kill Phil. The portal opens. The Planet Craphole contingent have 60 seconds left to get home.
  • Back on Earth, Mack has ordered everyone but Daisy to pull out. They hold the portal room as Hydra prepare to breach. Daisy battles the disruption in her powers from the portal opening but passes out as…
  • …Back on Planet Craphole Phil shoots Will.
  • Who promptly gets back up.
  • And gets shot by Fitz.
  • And gets back up.

• Incinerated Will

  • Whatever “it” is stumbles towards the portal. Fitz, with no other option, shoots him with a flare gun, incinerating him. The awful, coiled thing inside Will’s body is still alive, but Fitz is a little too busy to notice.
  • Phil beats the hell out of Ward and Fitz screams at him to come as the portal is closing. Phil crushes Ward’s chest with his robot hand, killing him. Then he leaves the hand and runs for it.

• Gemma and Fitz

  • On Earth, Mack orders May to destroy the castle. She does as the extraction room Andrew was held in lifts for Zephyr 1. There, Mack, Daisy, Fitz and Phil emerge. Realising Will’s gone, a tearful Simmons hugs Fitz as May embraces Phil. They’ve won. Or at least got their people back.

• The thing wearing Ward

  • Later, Malick is being driven from the scene when his car is stopped. A man is standing in the middle of the road. Or rather, something wearing a man. Ward and the thing inside him made it back too…

 

Review:

SHIELD tends to do midseason finales very well and this is no exception. We get a ton of answers, a ton of catharsis, a ton of set-up and, less happily, a sneaking suspicion that not much has actually changed.

Answers first. The “Hydra!In!Spaaaace!” plot has been a joy and we get a clear idea of what Maveth is this week as well as what it does. Planet Craphole was haunting before but now it’s positively terrifying. Also Maveth is clearly very intelligent, almost indestructible and it’s now riding in the one person who hates Phil Coulson the most in the whole world.

Which brings us to our other answers. Phil gets closure for Rosalind’s murder and it’s an ugly, brutal closure. The jovial badass of the early Marvel movies doesn’t strike me as a man who’d crush an unarmed opponent’s chest but Coulson has been through a lot. Plus the murder doesn’t feel out of context or unearned. Rather it’s a sense of Phil being pushed too far and, symbolically, stepping back from that by leaving his hand behind. He’s not been comfortable with the hand since he got it. Leaving it, and Ward, behind is a clear sign of him wanting to start over.

Not that he’ll get that chance of course.

• Director Mack

So what now? Well, based on this episode we have a very large SHIELD team whose members are finally all on the same page. The Inhumans all show up for work and Joey’s hero moment is especially adorable. Likewise, Bobbi and Hunter get some great moments this week but it’s Mack who impresses you. The stoic, occasionally kind of dull man of principles is a very good director. He listens to his people, knows when they need to stop talking and doesn’t have them do anything he isn’t prepared to do himself. I’d be interested to see Mack take over full time at some point. Likewise, I’m really looking forward to seeing the “Power Rangers” as he calls them come into their own.

They’ll have the opportunity too and that’s both a good thing and a bad one. It’s good because this show is doing really interesting stuff with the Inhumans, the marginalised community metaphor they represent and the exploration of humanity’s slow, odd superhuman singularity.

It’s bad because for an episode with huge epic plots and vast events galore, nothing much is really resolved here. We get closure for poor Will and Maveth on Earth certainly but that’s not so much closure as it is stage clearing for the next act. There’s an undeniable air of, “I’ll get you next time, Gadget!” to the villains in particular. Andrew escapes, Malick escapes, Giera escape (we think?) and the thing wearing Ward reaches Earth. None of that’s a bad thing but a little more closure would be welcome.

Nonetheless, this is a hugely fun episode and a great escalation and (mostly) conclusion of the Planet Craphole plot. And at least we don’t have to wait two months like the US did for what happens next.

Malick

The Good:

  • Mack! Director Mack is huge fun and it’s nice to see a man who was previously head of SHIELD’s Needlessly UpTight Division relax into the role. I especially love that he calls Daisy “Tremors” and the Inhumans the “Power Rangers”. I also love that it’s just a little ambiguous whether he’s being mean or informal even more. Nice to see this show play with its core issue at a very subtle level.
  • Fitz! Seeing Fitz stand up on his anger and use it as a more effective weapon than anything other than his brain was great. I love his complete refusal to back down in the face of Ward.
  • Minimal Angst! This is the first time in a while the entire team have been on the same page and it pays dividends. Everyone gets a moment and all those moments are good. The Secret Warriors may not have a name or a full roster yet but they’re definitely coming into their own.
  • Space! The extraterrestrial focus of Hydra is honestly one of the best decisions the show’s ever made. This season has felt driven and fresh in a way neither of its predecessors did and the central plot is perfectly designed to give everyone something to orbit around. And yes, deliberate pun.
  • The episode trusts its audience too. Nice that we don’t need to see every fight to know these people are very good at what they do.
  • “I’m not saying it’s going to be easy.”
    “I wouldn’t mind hearing it was going to be easy.”
    “It’s going to be easy.”
    “Doesn’t work when I know you’re lying.” If Marvel’s Most Wanted contains more exchanges like this, we can’t wait.
  • “I’ll be damned. Tattooine.” Line of the episode! And nice to see that under the vengeance seeking Phil is still an adorable nerd.

Ward and Will

The Bad:

  • No more Will! Boooo! He was ace!
  • No more Planet Craphole! Maybe! All that stuff about the nine cities did seem to imply there was more to come…

The Random:

  • Phil’s visions of Rosalind seemed to be a stylistic call back to the excellent (if zoologically irresponsible) Joe Carnahan movie The Grey. In that, Liam Neeson is an oil company security officer, running from what seems to be a horribly violent past. When the plane he’s on crashes, he and the survivors are menaced by a pack of wolves. It’s an interesting movie and by interesting I mean heartbreaking, intensely smart and one of the best looks at the male psyche’s inability to deal with grief I’ve ever seen. It was marketed as, “Liam Neeson! Wolfpuncher!” Not an easy watch and odds are you’ll only ever see it once but it was nice to see an underappreciated movie get a subtle tip of the hat this week.
  • Shot of the week is this. Andrew, calm, reasonable, backing away and switching to Lash with no effort at all.

• Andrew Hulks Out

Review by Alasdair Stuart


Read our other Agents Of SHIELD reviews

 

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