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“Together or Not at All” Reunites the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in Epic Fashion

Reunited and it feels so good!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. provided some major pay-off this week as Team S.H.I.E.L.D. finally (mostly) managed to be in the same place, at the same time. The episode was rife with all of the elements that viewers have grown to expect when it comes to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: stellar action sequences, humor, touching moments, and lighting darker than space itself.

While, “Together or Not At All,” certainly served to set-up next week, the episode felt infinitely more fast-paced (and less laggy) than some of Season 5’s earlier hours. There was an energy to this week’s episode that can largely be attributed to the balanced storylines that filled the hour.

Spoilers ahead!

The gang is back together and boy does this group of agents make a good team.

After forcefully removing Jemma’s implant, FitzSimmons and Daisy make a break for it… only to watch in horror as their exit plan (AKA Fitz’s swanky new spaceship) is literally blown to bits. Things get worse when, after using the classic “escape through the elevator shaft” trick, the trio is cornered by a Kree soldier in the Lighthouse’s Gravitonium den.

Fitz fares the worst during the stand-off, taking a bullet to the abdomen during the ambush, but Daisy manages to fend off the Kree soldier long enough for the trio to escape once again. After another hasty getaway, the group runs into Deke… who actually proves to be useful when he leads them to the rest of Team S.H.I.E.L.D.

Cue the adorable found-family reunion!

Unfortunately, the recently-reunited team winds up splitting up almost immediately after getting back together.

After learning about Tess’ death, and attempting to take on the Kree responsible by himself, Flint refuses to join Coulson and Co. on their trek to the surface. Citing Mack’s own advice, Flint states that he wants to use his powers to help the people of the Lighthouse and put an end to the Kree overlords once and for all. Unwilling to let the boy take on such a task alone, Mack and Elena decide to stay with the new Inhuman while Coulson, Daisy, FitzSimmons, and Deke head to the surface to find May….

Who has been fighting off roaches, gravity storms, and a mysterious group of people we can only assume are the Lighthouse rejects. Losing consciousness after facing an onslaught of all-of-the-above, May awakens in… the Zephyr! Yep, as it turns out S.H.I.E.L.D.’s hotel in the sky is a pretty solid (and mostly rust-proof) hideout for the true believers who have been awaiting the arrival of our favorite agents.

And among the people who have been waiting patiently is… none other than the now-aged, seer, Robin!

As mentioned, one of the biggest strengths of this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the fact that the cutting of the A, B, and C storylines felt more appropriate. There was a clear juxtaposition between the FitzSimmons/Daisy escape, Kasius’ stand-offs with his brother, and the quieter moments with the rest of the S.H.I.E.L.D. gang that made, “Together or Not At All,” feel more balanced. While many of the past episodes had storylines that were all of the slow-burn, steady-build, variety, this week’s was an amalgam of fast-pace, sinister calm, and stability.

Episode Grade: A

Episode Highs:

  • The Bus Kids dynamic is perhaps my favorite of those in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s hard to believe that Daisy, Jemma, and Fitz are the same trio who bunked next to, and played harmless pranks on, each other in Season 1. While the bond has naturally shifted over the course of five seasons as the characters have grown and evolved, it remains stronger than ever. FitzSimmons and Daisy have all put their lives on the line for one another on more than one occasion and continue to prove that they are as ride-or-die as they come. Shining on screen, this is a trio that people will never stop rooting for.
  • Kasius has been a pretty solid bad guy from the get-go (I previously mentioned that he feels like the successful version of what Hive was supposed to be in Season 3) but the big reveal at the close of the episode made him that much more interesting. Stabbing his brother in the back as Sinara looked on with an expression that is the closest she can likely come to glee was O_O
  • Can we take a moment to appreciate the amazing work that the crew has been doing this season? The Kree hair & make-up have been spectacular from day one, the gang’s newest threads are something that anyone past, present, or future would likely want to rock themselves, and the VFX remains on par-with (and oftentimes exceeds) the films that movie theatres are now charging me $14 and change to see. (TG for MoviePass amiright?) Major props need to be given to the hundreds of people working behind-the-scenes to make a show about secret agents in space look and feel entirely believable. They may not be the faces of our favorite characters, but the crew’s hard-work and dedication is what has brought said characters to life.
  • This episode felt reminiscent of Season 3’s, “The Team,” which was a personal favorite of mine. There was a spy-thriller quality to, “Together or Not At All,” that made it feel more high-octane that previous episodes this season. While we’ve seen fights this year, the majority of them have been contained and the on-the-run scenario this week added a level of excitement and energy that has arguably been lacking.

Episode Lows:

  • Is it just me or is Melinda May a character who has been woefully underused so far, this season? While I do think that the division of storylines this week was better than episodes past, I can’t help but think about how much screen-time the petty Kree brothers got in comparison to one of our favorite core characters.

Additional Thoughts:

  • Daisy and FitzSimmons stumbling on such a large amount of Gravitonium has given me a new working theory on how Earth was really destroyed…
  • Did anyone else find it a little ironic that the episode entitled, “Together or Not At All,” ended with most of the team bouncing for the surface without Mack and Elena? Seems like, “Eh, Most of Us Are Here,” would have been more fitting…

What did you think of this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen

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