Disclaimer: Spoilers for the episode and Avengers: Infinity War below. Previous episode review here.
Confession: I was so into this episode that I forgot to take notes until the very end. Luckily, there were a lot of great highlights in the penultimate episode of the season (and hopefully not series).
Talbot/Graviton is quickly becoming the best villain S.H.I.E.L.D. has ever had, and they have had a lot. In fact, this show has a knack for turning previously good characters into compelling threats for the team. Grant Ward was revealed to secretly be HYDRA and became the show’s primary antagonist over seasons 2 and 3. Gideon Malick was part of the World Security Council before we found out he was also HYDRA. Aida was a LMD created for good that turned rogue. Now, Glenn Talbot, an old army bud of Coulson’s, has made the transition into this season’s major threat, and Destroyer of Worlds (cross off Talbot on your Destroyer Bingo card. Wait, what? You didn’t have him as an option? Nobody did? Because nobody saw it coming!).
Talbot is a great villain. As a lot pointed out last week, what makes him so compelling is that he believes he is actually doing good. The MCU has had some really good examples of this form of villain lately from Thanos, Killmonger, and Vulture on the film side to Kingpin on TV. Talbot is in his eyes “Earth’s Mightiest Hero” and can prevent the end of humanity. I really don’t think it is possible and as the cliffhanger credit scene shows, he is going to coerce out of Robin where to find the remaining gravitonium in the Earth’s surface. Could this cracking of the ground lead to the end of Earth?
Alright, let’s just cut right to the best part of the episode (and one which made me shout out a long ‘WOOO’): #Philinda. May and Coulson finally kissed confirming that multiple seasons of flirting will get you somewhere. And to make it even cooler it was while Coulson used his holographic shield to protect them from oncoming bullets. Yeah, it was pretty awesome. It also led to some pretty great joking from Daisy for the remainder of the episode.
Other than the highlights mentioned above there was some questionable and groanworthy moments in the remainder. For starters, if Talbot can stop the bullets and have them circle around him really coolly, why would he just send them straight at the S.H.I.E.L.D. cars? Couldn’t he have curved them and hit every target? Sure, he told his son it was a warning shot, but was it really?
Second, May and Deke showing up on the video chat after teleporting there was just shot so cringey. Running up and then May’s line of “what’s taking you so long” just felt so bad. Honestly, it was the only part I didn’t like in the episode.
So as S.H.I.E.L.D. heads to next week’s finale titled “The End” a few questions remain. 1) Will S.H.I.E.L.D. save the world? 2) Will they save Coulson? 3) Who will they use the Centipede formula on? 4) How much will the ending of Infinity War impact the finale? All these questions will hopefully be answered next week.
Final Verdict: “The Force of Gravity” set Talbot up as one of the show’s finest villains and with the clock literally racing to the ending of Infinity War S.H.I.E.L.D. does not have much time left. Oh, and use #RenewAgentsOfSHIELD on social media. We need a sixth season! But only one in which Coulson is alive!