REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S5E14 – The Devil Complex

Well. Out of all this show’s darkest episodes, that might just top them all. And Jemma’s not the only one who’s going to have trouble processing it.

I think I was about as happy to see Ivanov again as May and Coulson were. But the show does need to wrap up that loose end.

I’ll start off with the less heart-rending stuff. Coulson and company foolishly follow a lead that was obviously too good to be true, allowing Hale and Creel – and the Anton Ivanov LMD (or one of them, anyway) – access to the Zephyr. There was a nice callback to one of Coulson’s lines in season four here, BTW. Anyway, Coulson does his self-sacrificing (or is it suicidal?) thing and offers to go with Hale if she leaves all of his people alone. I’m intrigued that May allowed him to do it, after some protest. I guess she reluctantly agreed that it was the only strategic play to make, even if she was not happy about it. And you know that if Daisy had been there, she would have felt the same way.

It seems that General Hale genuinely believes SHIELD should work with her to stop the human race’s extinction. That’s great and all, but weren’t you talking about how you wanted to crush SHIELD just a few episodes ago? Anyway, big shocker: apparently she’s part of HYDRA. Which is still around in some form. Of course. But I gotta say, whoever it was who was talking to Hale at the end there sounded Kree (even without the vial of Kree crazy-making liquid). So that’s a bit confusing.

And now, onto the real meat of the episode. There are still fear apparitions showing up in the Lighthouse. We get to see one of them – the astronaut thing from Maveth – materialize this time, which was pretty freaking cool to watch. I love this show’s VFX. But Fitz is not doing well, as he tries desperately to come up with a way to actually use the gravitonium that the team procured last week. I was already wondering if all this stress was going to cause some kind of recurrence of his brain issues even before anything terrible started to happen. And I did notice that whenever the Framework Doctor Fitz appeared in the same room as our Fitz, no one else was there. That’s always a big Sixth Sense red flag. So that reveal wasn’t as much of a shock as it could have been. Which isn’t to say it wasn’t devastating, because it really, really was.

Iain De Caestecker was absolutely fantastic as all the Fitzes in this episode: the cold, sinister Doctor (but subtly not as cold as we’d last seen him, since he cared about Yo-Yo, Mack, and Daisy’s wellbeing), regular Fitz, freaking out and terrified of that side of himself, and then the Fitz who realized what was going on – and did “what needed to be done” anyway. I don’t know that Daisy can ever forgive that level of violation. That said, I don’t think Fitz really needed to have Jemma at gunpoint after Daisy’s inhibitor was removed in order to convince her to condense the gravitonium. She’s enough of a pragmatist to know what was necessary there. But much like Jemma, I can’t imagine how everyone’s going to move forward together after this.

Elizabeth Henstridge’s amazing portrayal of a brokenhearted Jemma still trying to reason with (and still in love with) Fitz is also worth a mention.

And then of course there’s Deke, deciding to comfort his grandmother by telling her who he is and how much his mother loved her own father – Fitz. Hard to imagine what that revelation must be like for Jemma! Let the speculation begin: did she throw up as a response to all the emotional trauma of the episode, or is Deke’s mother already in existence? (Although when would they have had time to have sex? We know they haven’t exactly gotten away for a honeymoon yet).

Next week is the fifteenth ep, which has usually been what they call a game-changer. We’ll see how that unfolds for this season!