A few different stories finally came to a head this week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as Fitz lands in the far-flung future and starts working out a plan to save his friends. Like most of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s best-laid plans, things go off the rails by the end — but the journey is one heck of a ride.
Spoilers ahead for “Fun and Games,” the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which aired Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, on ABC!
“You and I, we are unstoppable together.” - Fitz
The lab geek duo of “FitzSimmons” has evolved into one of the most heartbreaking and star-crossed love stories in genre fiction the past few seasons, and “Fun and Games” kept yanking on those heartstrings.
After spending the first several episodes setting up the stakes in space, these past two episodes have shifted the spotlight back to Fitz and his mission to rescue the team — and specifically the love of his life, Simmons. When he finally does find her, she can’t even hear him or realize he’s there. It’s a touching moment as Fitz lays his emotions bare and asks Simmons to marry him, while simultaneously serving as a tangible example of how fate seems to constantly conspire against them. But as Fitz notes, they’ve faced everything from the bottom of the ocean to being lost on an alien world — there’s no way a few decades of time travel could derail this love story.
Instead of trying to force love stories around characters like Coulson and Daisy (though they’ve admittedly had some along the way), there’s only one relationship that has lasted the series’ run: FitzSimmons. The creative team took two relatively second-tier characters and turned them into the bleeding heart at the center of this show, and it’s a sight to behold when their paths finally cross once again in this broken future. The team has had a lot to deal with, sure, but having Fitz back on the roster is a quick reminder of how integral the character has become to the ensemble.
Beyond his relationship with Simmons, this episode is also a testament to just how far Iain De Caestecker has taken the character of Fitz during the show’s five-year run. He started as a lab tech with nary any field experience, and now he’s holding his own with the galaxy’s worst, and pulling out action-movie star moves when the plan goes sideways. All of these characters have grown a lot along the way, but arguably no one as much as Fitz.
This episode was loaded with action, but dropping the engagement of Fitz and Simmons into the narrative was an excellent way to ground the story and bring about something fans have been waiting to see for years. As the team continues to face the longest of odds when it comes to escape, it provides hope that things really can still be set right. Even if it’s not in the ways we might expect.
*This episode marked star Clark Gregg’s directorial debut on the series (he's also directed some indie projects over the years). Gregg’s creative eye can be felt right from the jump. He brings some fresh angles and clever transitions to the show’s look, while still remaining true to the Marvel aesthetic. Considering how well this episode turned out, here’s hoping he jumps behind the camera again at some point soon.
*Enoch’s role is still a bit of a mystery, and that mystery deepened with the post-episode stinger scene. He might be there ostensibly to help Fitz, but it’s clear Enoch has his own agenda. What is it? Hopefully, next week will provide some answers.
*We also get a deeper dive into Kasius’ history as his brother shows up to bid on Daisy as part of his Inhuman fight club; it’s made abundantly clear that Kasius is on Earth because he’s been banished by his family. We already knew Kasius hates being on Earth, and now we know why: It’s his punishment.
*The world-building here continues to be absolutely fascinating and appalling, all at the same time. As Fitz points out, we get to see more of how the Kree have ritualized Terrigenesis to push kids into going through the process, and it puts a chilling new perspective on the “a life is owed” edict that drives this world. Kasius’ population control is to trick humans into killing each other, and it works.
*Things are still looking pretty awful for May, though now the team will at least have an agent on the surface after she’s banished at the end of her cage match. Might she finally meet up with these mysterious survivors sending radio signals? Here’s hoping the roaches don’t get her first.
*This episode thinned out the supporting cast in a very big way. Both Grill and Tess are apparently dead, with Tess’ apparent death an absolute shock. Considering this future arc obviously wouldn’t last forever, those characters’ days were numbered. But still, that was a jaw-dropper.