REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. s5e21 “The Force of Gravity”


WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! It is the penultimate episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and things have gone from bad to worse. Every television is tuned to news coverage of the Black Order’s attack in New York. Daisy has been sold into slavery…again. Talbot has become a megalomaniac whose plan to save us all from Thanos will result in the dystopic future we all just escaped. And there isn’t a competent close-caption scribe in existence.

Let’s start with my one complaint for this week’s episode. I’m not deaf, but I use the close-captioning feature on all my shows. It helps focus me, allowing me to filter out background noise (such as my son playing Fortnite in the other room). I find close caption invaluable, so I can’t imagine how necessary it is for deaf fans…or how frustrating for them, when it screws up. This has been an ongoing issue (and not with just this show). Back in season 3, when Elena spoke only Spanish with English subtitles, the close-caption people chose to place the words “Speaks Spanish” on top of the English translation so we couldn’t read what she said…every single time. Whoever wrote the close captioning this week needs to learn the difference between “your” and “you’re” because according to the captions, “Your just another villain of the month.” Then, they spelled the name Jaiying “giant” because “giant DNA” made SO much more sense than “Jaiying’s DNA.” Thank goodness I can hear.

May: Look, I hate it too, but I’ve seen a man go rotten overnight. He might be lost. You don’t have to feel like you’re responsible.

Coulson: Of course I do. After all our ups and downs. Talbot got shot in the head, and he waited for us to rescue him from Hale.

May: We were a little busy.

Coulson: Yes, but even after we didn’t come, even after Hydra messed with his brain, he still put himself in that machine. He did that for us.

Talbot has gone full villain. He’s the scariest villain, too. Talbot is the hero of his own story. His fatal flaw has always been that he lives his life in black and white. Now, if you’re not with him, you’re against him. He’s still the man who held out as long as he can waiting for Coulson to rescue him. He’s still the man who loves his country. He’s still the man who wants to be a hero to his son. But between the brain damage from LMD Daisy’s bullet, Hale’s brainwashing, and the voices in the Gravitonium, Talbot has snapped. He ate Creel (absorbed the Absorbing Man), killed Agent Kim and countless others. He sold Daisy into slavery, and imprisoned May and Coulson. I don’t know how he can come back from that.


This week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was directed by Kevin Tanchereon. God bless that man. There were so many action scenes, so much ass kicking. It was a thing of beauty. Kevin Tanchereon (@KTANCH on Twitter) is an amazing overall director. He directed the remake of Fame. Where he shines is action, though. He even directed the one good episode of Iron Fist—episode 8 with the Lewis Tan fight in China. All my favorite action sequences on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Tanchereon directed. This week was no exception.


I remember reading an interview with Ming-Na Wen a few years back. Someone asked her about the Philinda ship (Agents Coulson and May being a couple). She said that if it happened, it wouldn’t be until season five. It’s now season five, and…guys?…guys….GUYS!!! They kissed. Under fire, Coulson quickly pulled May behind his light shield, and the music swelled as he leaned over and kissed her. You may not like this pairing, but I believe that Momma May and Papa Coulson belong together.

May: I mean, imagine back then, if someone had told us that someday we’d be worried about Glenn Talbot.

Coulson: I know. But things evolve. They change. People change.

May: Yeah, they do. And sometimes, even then, you can’t save them.

Coulson: But you still have to try.

This season has drilled in the theme of full circle. We have the centipede serum and the Deathlok program. Piper referenced her first mission when she came back. Jaiying, Whitehall. Heck, Coulson is dying right now because Loki stabbed him in the heart with the spear that held the mind stone. After next week, go back and watch some of season one. Things evolve, change, and sometimes you can’t save them.

Simmons: It’s funny isn’t it? The Centipede serum was part of our first mission, and now it’s the key to curing Coulson. We’ve come full circle.

Fitz: Just in time for the end of days.

I take it back, I do have another minor complaint. You writers tend to tease us by denying us what we want. I thought AIDA killed Davis last season. Then he one of the agents that show up with Deathlok and there’s no explanation on HOW HE’S ALIVE! So, since it’s been weeks and it’s never been addressed, we’ll never know, right? Only now Deke knows. The camera cut to the Zephyr as Deke is amazed by Davis who had just finished telling him how he survived AIDA. Thanks guys. I wanted to hear that story.


I complain about the writers teasing us and torturing us an awful lot, but those complaints stem from love. The teasing and the torture pulls emotions from us and makes for great storytelling. I love the characters and when they hurt, I hurt. But if I didn’t find myself emotionally invested in the characters or the show, I wouldn’t come back week after week, season after season. Upfronts week wouldn’t be a week of torture waiting to see if my favorite show continues or is ripped from me. Next week is the season finale titled “the End.” The writers have decided to write this season as if it were our last. The axe has never hung over us so ominously, so until next week…


5 out of 5

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Secra is the TV/Movie Coordinator for In addition to being a die-hard Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fan, Secra loves the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Earth-199999).  When not engrossed in the MCU, Carolyn can be found binging old school wrestling and living on Twitter.  She subscribes to the philosophy “Music is life”.

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