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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15 “Rise and Shine”

“It’s time for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra to finally unite.”

Not exactly something you’d expect to hear on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and yet “Rise and Shine,” brought with it an explanation to General Hale’s ominous statement that… is actually pretty sound when looking at the big picture.

Spoilers ahead!

The majority of the episode took place in the form of consecutive flashbacks, during which we learned a little bit more about General Hale and her role in Hydra. We’re taken back 28 years to a Hydra facility that doubles as a boarding school for the organization’s most promising youth. Turns out, Hale was quite the protégé back in the day, even catching the attention of Daniel Whitehall. Unfortunately (and surprising no one since we already knew Hydra was the worst) the head honchos at Hydra only want Hale for one purpose: to serve as the surrogate for the child they plan on creating through the use of the particle infusion chamber.

Cut to two years ago and we see the product of Hydra’s hard work kicking ass in a slightly less populated version of the Hydra academy: Ruby. It’s right around the time Hydra began to fall (due to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s capture of Gideon Malick) and Hale decided to take matters into her own hands. After learning about The Confederacy, an alliance of several alien species, Hale opts to get rid of what little of Hydra is left in order to start anew with Ruby at her side.

Flash to….

Now a mere six months ago, we see General Talbot after he was shot in the head by last season’s LMDaisy. General Hale manages to whisk Talbot away to the Hydra facility, where Ruby pulls the same stunt we saw her use on Von Strucker a few episodes ago. The mother-daughter duo want to recruit Talbot to their cause, which involves building a weapon to give humans a winning edge over the aliens that are apparently coming to wage war. Talbot doesn’t buy it and is whisked away for what we later learn is a whole bunch of torture.

Flash to… A day ago.

Coulson wakes up in the same cell as Talbot and Von Strucker. Ruby does the same breakfast bit but unlike the other two, Coulson doesn’t fall for it and puts the pieces together. Hale shows Coulson the mysterious alien device in the bunker and takes him with her to the Confederacy location that we got a glimpse of last week. The mystery dude shows Coulson what’s coming to Earth… a whole boatload of alien warships. Mystery dude and the Confederacy needs Gravitonium and Inhumans in order to prevent the destruction of the world. Hale wants Coulson to help find Whitehall’s particle infusion chamber but, in a twist, it turns out that Hale doesn’t want Ruby to be the one to hop in the chamber… she wants Daisy. Even more alarming is the pet name that’s been given to whomever winds up in the chamber… Destroyer of Worlds.

Back on the S.H.I.E.L.D. side of things, while Mack and Jemma are giving YoYo new robotic arms, the rest of the team is searching for Coulson. May and Daisy turn to their personal “super-villain” to try and figure out what Hale is up to and where she might have taken the Director. They approach Fitz for any Hydra intel he might have retained from his time in the Framework and, after a tense moment between him and Daisy, Fitz points out that they don’t need a fortune-teller to see how easy it would be for an earth-destroying rift to open up.

The comment is a throwaway dig, but it gives Daisy inspiration. She decides that they need to track down S.H.I.E.L.D.’s go-to seer: Robin. Despite May’s hesitance, Daisy is insistent, stating that Robin is the only real option/advantage that they have.

The episode’s tag brought with it a sweet scene between FitzSimmons, during which Jemma dropped the, “Deke is our grandson,” bombshell and used it to prove to her husband that they are invincible.

It was a risky move to follow last week’s emotional game-changer with an episode that almost exclusively focused on a secondary character, and I’m not convinced it’s a move that really worked. It was a solid episode to say the least, rife with exposition and enough plot-driving bombshells to put the back half of the season in motion, but to have it come right after a team-centric hour dubbed by many as the best episode of the season (arguably the series) just made “Rise and Shine” feel a bit off. From my standpoint, this episode was the equivalent of Stranger Things’ “the Lost Sister.” A fine standalone that would have been infinitely more enjoyable were it timed a bit better and didn’t immediately follow a high-stakes hour of television that gave all of our central characters a moment in the spotlight.

That being said, we all knew an exposition dump was coming and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at least managed a clever way of catching viewers up on everything we needed to know. It would have been a truly painful 42 minutes if General Hale just sat down and told Coulson her life story, so the fact that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. opted to show rather than tell is appreciated.

Episode Grade: B-

Quote of the Week: “How are we still fighting nazis today?” I feel ya, Daisy. I feel ya.

Additional Thoughts:

  • And to think I thought Hydra couldn’t get any more effed up. Forcing the lone female recruit to serve as surrogate for the organizations genetically engineered baby? I can’t even articulate how messed up I found that reveal to be.
  • Now that the Destroyer of Worlds has been name-dropped… what do you think are the chances of S.H.I.E.L.D. managing to come through? (I assume 100% since, you know, this is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

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

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen