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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×13 “Principia”

Following the jaw-dropper that was its 100th episode, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made sure to keep the ball rolling with an episode that brought back a few familiar faces and new bombshells.

Spoilers ahead!

The mission of the week involves tracking down enough Gravitonium to permanently seal the rift opened by the Lighthouse explosion. Apparently, the efforts Coulson and Co. went to last week only provided a temporary solution to the potentially world-ending tear through spacetime. Unfortunately, in order to locate some of the deadly substance, Team S.H.I.E.L.D. must leave the safety of the Lighthouse and risk everything to track down anyone who might be able to lead them in the right direction. Enter: the Candyman, an old buddy of Mack’s who is S.H.I.E.L.D’s best shot at finding former Cybertech doctor Joseph Getty. They manage to locate Getty who reveals that the Gravitonium was on a ship that got caught in a storm and sunk to the bottom of the ocean years ago.

Back at the Lighthouse, Fitz, Jemma, Deke, and Yo-Yo are forced to deal with the anomalies that are continuing to flare as a result of the rift while trying to track down the location of the Gravitonium. Deke comes face-to-face with a vision of his mother, a happy moment that turns horrifying when he is forced to watch a Kree soldier plunge a spear through her. But the scare helps Deke realize that the team hasn’t been able to find the Principia because the ship didn’t sink, it floated. The revelation allows FitzSimmons to pinpoint the location of the ship (approximately 25,000 feet above the ground) and direct the field team to the coordinates.

Mack, Daisy, and Coulson manage to locate and extract the lone ball of Gravitonium still on the ship (not without complications in the form of some of Hale’s masked henchmen) and the team return to the base with the goods.

Meanwhile, Hale and the baddies get a new addition to the team in the form of Werner von Strucker (alias, Alex). Yes, the spoiled son of Hydra has made his return and it turns out that he has some personal connections to the Hale family. Apparently, the von Struckers and Hales were pretty tight back in the day, to the point where Werner would occasionally babysit young Ruby. Hale wants to use Werner and his unfailing memory but, unfortunately for her, Alex isn’t interested. But the General isn’t willing to take no for an answer (despite what she might imply) and tasks Ruby with working Alex until he gives them what they want.

Dun, dun, dun.

While this episode definitely felt more filler-esque than others, it was a fun one that didn’t drag and had enough standout moments to balance the necessary exposition.

Episode Grade: B

Episode Highs:

  • The moment between Jemma and YoYo was without question the most emotional of the episode. Elena has remained unbelievably resilient since her showdown with Ruby, so it’s understandable that she finally reaches a breaking point this week. Jemma has had her own fair share of trauma and PTSD, making her the perfect ally to, quite literally, pick Elena up when she’s down. The two women have a compelling onscreen dynamic that, though we don’t get to see as often as we might like, always pulls on the heartstrings, largely because both Jemma and Elena use their respective strengths to, in turn, strengthen those around them. The fact that both have been the largest advocates for hope over the course of the series made the scene this week that much more inspirational. Sometimes all you need is a friend to remind you to keep pushing forward.
  • One word: Mackhammer

Episode Lows:

  • May’s screen time felt a little light this week and I’m hoping that means she’s in for a big episode coming up. Daisy also took a step back this week but, considering she’s usually at the forefront of things, I’m less worried about how much material she’ll have to work with moving forward.
  • I’m glad (and unsurprised) that Mack has friends but some of the scenes with… shoot I already forgot the friend’s actual name so… Candyman felt longer than they needed to be.

What did you think of the latest 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