As has been the case for the past couple of weeks, this is a pretty decent episode if we’re grading on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. curve. It has good action, some fun super powered shenanigans, a guest appearance by the Kree, and even an eye-rollingly on-the-nose shout out to Captain America: Civil War (#ItsAllConnected). If all you want out of this show is your weekly measure of Marvel, this episode offers up everything you could possibly want, but for someone who wants more than that, I am left, well, wanting. Yeah, on some level it’s cool that we have a primetime show on a major network where the Kree can just casually show up like it’s no big deal, but when you set aside the unprecedented geekiness on display here, this show continues to be frustratingly hollow and emotionally dishonest.
The events of this week should have been a huge, emotional punch to the gut, but none of it worked because the show has not worked to earn any of it. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has not built real character arcs leading to this moment, so these supposedly big emotional blows have nothing to draw from. This kind of improvisational structure where character motivations and story arcs are inconsistent week-to-week undercuts any attempts to show tries to take at bigger payoffs like this one. But hey, who needs competent long form storytelling when you can wink at the audience with a throw away line in reference to a super hero movie coming out this Friday?