Disclaimer: Spoilers for the episode below. Previous episode review here.
Despite picking up directly where “Fun & Games” left off this new episode unfortunately couldn’t live up to its predecessor. It had some strong development early on, sure. Fitz got rid of that ear implant in Jemma, and Daisy fought off a Kree soldier without her powers. The three then attempt to make it to Fitz’s get-away ship when it is suddenly blown up. Well, damn, now what?
I’ll tell you what! For starters, Kasius is still ALIVE! So much for thinking Jemma slit his neck last episode. Seriously, I understand that you need to keep Kasius and Sinara alive for the sake of having a villain, but if you’re going to cut someone that close to the throat you might as well go in for the kill. Despite this slight retcon (at least in my eyes who thought Kasius was dead) we’re also treated to more story devoted to Flint, our newest space character we could care less about. We spend the first five episodes developing characters like Deke, Tess, and Grill only for two of them to be killed off in one episode. Grill’s death made sense. Tess’s could have been handled better. How did the Kree find out that she was hiding Flint from them? Why wouldn’t they force her to tell them where he’s hiding? The Kree don’t seem that intelligent (despite Coulson saying “they may be cruel, but they’re not stupid”).
“Together of Not at All” had some nice sibling tension developing over the episode. Faulnak, Kasius’s brother, sends his sidekick warrior Maston-Dar to hunt down the agents and kill them (except for Quake). I was waiting for Maston-Dar to die by Sinara’s hands and that’s exactly what happened at the end of the episode. I also expected one of the brothers to die at the other’s hand, and I was right again. I initially thought Faulnak would kill Kasius early on, however the tables were turned at the end and Kasius ended up killing Faulnak with a blade. An up close and personal death, just like how his brother liked to fight. That’s a double sweet dose of victory and irony.
I’ve already talked about my lack of love for Flint and I’m about to continue it. We lost compelling characters like Tess and Grill in favor of another inhuman (and one with rock powers. Rock? Really?!). Right now Flint doesn’t make for that compelling of a character. He’s pissed that Tess, and others, are dying because he’s hiding. I get that. It’s his lack of judgment and throwing himself right into the arms of the Kree that is frustrating. Sure he manages to kill one of them, but then he goes all “this was for Tess” when he should be busy killing the other damn Kree that was standing there. So I was almost cheering when Sinara hit that kid in the head.
Sinara, however, is quickly becoming one of my favorite characters. She’s cool, calm, and collected. She’s a beautiful, blue badass with some metal balls that do some serious damage. Given how Mack and Yo-Yo stayed behind on the Lighthouse to help Flint (which I’ll get to in a minute) I’m theorizing that a (hopefully) epic fight between Sinara and Yo-Yo is coming soon.
So the gang gets reunited. Fitz has to explain to Coulson and Mack that he took “the long way” to get to the future. The gang is finally all back together. They know May is already on Earth, so all they have to do is get there too. They manage to find a spaceship (which I’ve dubbed “New Bus”), and just when you think the arc is shifting from a spacebound setting back to an earthbound setting, Flint’s got to be Flint and say he’s not coming. And then Mack and Yo-Yo say they’re staying behind as well to help him. Like what?! If they’re trying to get back to the past anyway then they can rewrite the future, meaning Flint and everyone else on the Lighthouse wouldn’t be in danger. But that’s what happens when you shove time travel into your story, all logic goes out the window.
So our heroes once again separate. Mack, Yo-Yo, and Flint stay behind while Coulson, Daisy, Deke, Jemme, and Fitz head to Earth. Fitz mentions to Mack that he hid some S.H.I.E.L.D. weapons in the wall on level 3, which gets an angry response from Mack and Yo-Yo as that’s where the alien cockroaches are. Fitz’s reply of “I think everyone is skipping over the fact that I managed to get to the future and rescue you all pretty quickly” was awesome. And hey, that just means that next episode should finally reunite Mack with his shotgun-axe (and it’s about damn time).
But as our heroes descend to Earth one agent is already there: Melinda May. She’s struggling to stay alive and when it looks like those alien creatures might get her -BAM- here comes Enoch to save the day. Now we know what he was up to at the end of the last episode. However, it doesn’t take long for Enoch and May to both get abducted by the Earthbound refugees. When May awakens she realizes she is on a S.H.I.E.L.D. Zephyr. In walks some humans, dressed like they’re prepared for a sandstorm, along with a now elderly Robin, the young girl in 2018 who can see the past, present, and future. Is she able to communicate with herself through time? Is she the key to the agents getting back to 2018? I think some answers are heading our way soon enough.
Final Verdict: “Fun & Games” was a tough episode to follow, especially since it lived up to its name. “Together or Not at All” didn’t. They frickin’ separated for what has to be the zillionth time over the course of the show. What’s worse is that the audience is going to be subjected to some terrible “Flint/Mack/Yo-Yo Save the Lighthouse” subplots now when the episodes moving forward could have focused solely on the Earthbound adventures. Oh well, maybe the S.H.I.E.L.D. writers have a few tricks up their sleeves. After all, they did manage to sneak Gravitonium back into the series, even if it was just for a quick easter egg moment.