Agents of SHIELD: 405 “Lockup” Review
Reviewed by K-Ci Williams.
Something that popped underneath last week’s episode review was that the idea of Fitz lying to Simmons (or keeping secrets, essentially the same) would be exploited for a whole arc of conflict were this any other television series. Thankfully, the writers of SHIELD completely avoided this and decided to take Simmons down a whole new avenue where she becomes much more resourceful. This resourcefulness carries into the fifth episode of this season, which works even harder at my one wish from this series: building on top of Elizabeth Henstridge’s inimitable performance as Agent Jemma Simmons.
It seems the SHIELD crew seem insistent upon stepping up the game of each progressive episode; the sheer scope is blowing me away each week. This week it was about several conflicts coming to a head inside a compromised prison location. It was a welcome opportunity to explain the origin of the Watchdogs (they come from prison). This is a story avenue I hope is revived in an upcoming episode; there is a wealth of potential here. In the episode, I must admit some choreography is becoming repetitive for Daisy as she fights without her Quake-powers. It was a highlight to see Agent May back in action – enough said.
I found that Ghost Rider is on a fast track to becoming my favourite addition to this season. Robbie Reyes brings a new vibe to the show; stunning choreography and CGI-animation which is not too shabby. As a fan who has watched the development of this show from the pilot episode right until now, I must commend the effects team for their work on Ghost Rider’s design, transformation and execution. With Robbie Reyes fully in the grasp of SHIELD and working with them on their mission in the prison, it was interesting to see his powers at use again. I enjoyed the links to the gang posse that ordered the hit and run on Robbie and his little brother, and it is painting a picture of realism in a world of scientific and fantastical elements. This gang and thug culture is the daily life in some parts of the world, and in terms of narrative pathways, brings an exciting story potential to the show.
Something I liked about this episode (although it was rather convenient) is Robbie’s wish to settle an old score with a member of the gang in relation to the aforementioned hit and run. His selfishness caused the team to lose traces of his uncle, which I very much appreciated. Aside from the jubilant reminders that he made a deal with the devil, Robbie has not been all that flawed. His hunger for justice and revenge gave means for Ghost Rider to take over. With the realism in his character arc, I am glad the SHIELD writers opted for Robbie Reyes as opposed to the other ones available. I know, I know – the internet was outraged when it was announced that Robbie was the character they would use – but he’s amazing, and that’s good enough for me.
Not a lot of Fitz in this episode, but he has had larger roles in previous episodes so I was fine with that (but he’d better be back in the thick of it next week). Solid material for Henstridge as Agent Simmons; long may it continue. Coulson is just Coulson at the moment, always bringing in the one liners. Having Agent Mackenzie’s growing presence on the show since Season 2 has almost made me happy (not quite) that Agent Triplett died. This show continues to move from strength to strength, but for the first time this season I have felt the absence of Brett Dalton as Grant Ward. Here’s hoping that the future brings more chaos that can absolve me of those thoughts.