‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D’ 5×14 Review: “The Devil Complex”

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(ABC/Eric McCandless)

When was the last time a episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D messed with your head like this one did??

(Well, a few episodes ago but this one REALLY did)

Remember how the 100th episode was going to be “game-changing”? Well it was of course but there’s no doubt that “The Devil’s Complex” could be considered almost show-changing.

Throughout this whole season we haven’t got to see the full effect of what happened to Fitz in the Framework. He saw and became a darker side of himself in there and did things that don’t just leave your thoughts. After escaping the framework, he never really got the time to heal from that as he went from prison to escape to frozen in time to the future. Add onto that the pressure of fixing the rift and changing the future, you have expected to know something was going to snap.

Throughout much of the episode, it looks like the fear dimension has manifested “The Doctor” – Fitz’s dark persona in the framework. As we all know, the dimension preys upon your worst fears as Simmons’s arrived at the beginning of the episode in the form of the astronaut-Maveth. Jemma is able to easily dispatch the astronaut but unfortunately “The Doctor” is much harder to shake for Fitz.

The Doctor taunts Fitz as he highlights the problems Fitz is having with the gravitonium and fitting it into the sphere. The Doctor promises Leo that he will finish what he has started. Now I’ve watched enough TV in my life to know that when someone says that, things are going to get bad pretty quickly.

TWIST AND TURNS

So what’s The Doctor’s plan? Well remember how he liked experimenting on Inhumans? Well who do we know on the team that’s Inhuman and could control gravitonium? YEP. So while distracting Mack and Simmons with android and knocking out Deke, The Doctor gets the drop on Daisy fairly easily while she is checking a faulty security camera.

(Note: Don’t check on a camera alone. Bad things happen.)

So The Doctor’s idea is to take the chip out of Daisy’s neck that has cut off her powers. While this makes sense, the bad side is two-fold – Daisy doesn’t want the surgery and the very real chance it could paralyze her. Fitz arrives to try to stop the surgery but it is too late as the Doctor has already started a cuttin’. Things are might scary right now but the fear and freaking out get ten-fold when Jemma arrives and shows Fitz the truth about what is happening with The Doctor and him.

FITZ IS DOING EVERYTHING THE DOCTOR IS DOING….. WHAT THE FUCK??!?!?!

So What we have here is Leo Fitz – a man who has a dark side and also is under a lot of stress. Fitz’s greatest fear was becoming the Doctor again but this time you can’t blame the dimension for this one. Under so much stress , The Doctor took over and that’s what ends up being the solution to the problem as the surgery is a success. Daisy has her powers back and is able to fix up the rift. Only…now there is a even bigger problem now.

How does Fitz regain the trust of Mack, Daisy and most especially Jemma?

Don’t forget that Simmons saw Fitz kill someone in the framework world and that still is with her to this day. Elizabeth Henstridge did a masterful job in the scene where she reveals Fitz and The Doctor were one and the same. All the emotions in her face showcasing all the feelings Jemma had at that very moment: the Sadness, the heartbreak, the fear and even still the love she has for her husband all play out in just her facial expressions. Masterful.

So this leads us to two final scenes in the episode that we must discuss: The First one is between Jemma and Fitz as he is in a sort of jailcell/prison room thingy. (He’s locked up is what I’m trying to convey here) Fitz explains what is going through his mind and how The Doctor is a part of him. He’s sorry for to Daisy and Mack but not for a second does he regret what he did. In his own words, he’s sure he was doing the right thing. Jemma is trying to go through all her emotions in this moment. She wants Fitz to explain to Daisy and Mack even though they’re in no mood to listen.

(I wouldn’t be if I had unwanted surgery (Daisy) and shot in the leg(Mack). Just saying is all.)

Jemma tries to be stiff-upper lip to Fitz about all this, even showing him that she understands why he did what he did. But Jemma is as broken up about The Doctor’s reemergence as we all are especially when she remembers his vow of feeling like he doesn’t deserve her. Now we know another reason why he said that..

I NEED A MINUTE TO CRY….

So Jemma is alone trying process everything and deal with what’s happening when Deke shows up to console her. Jemma has done a good job of not breaking down but to Deke she says such a simple thing and it shakes her to her core.

After hearing that Deke is rattled but sits beside Jemma and reassures her that she can help Fitz. Then after rattling off several facts about Fitz that his mom told him about, Simmons comes to the realization that Deke is her and Leo’s grandson. On one hand, they could have probably kept this off for a few more episodes if need be. But Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D doesn’t waste time like other 22-episode comic book shows.

As for FitzSimmons, they aren’t broken, but they are wounded right now. Nothing made me sadder than that final scene as Fitz’s constantly touched his wedding ring while chatting with Jemma. He needs help to overcome what happened in the framework, he needs Jemma’s love and support to survive this with his soul intact. Mack and Daisy will forgive him in time–Well Mack will definitely as he seems the kind of guy to get over a leg wound quicker than most. Daisy, though might not be so much if her words as Fitz continued her surgery on her “I”ll never forgive you.” are true. Hopefully time and the world not be destroyed can change her mind.  Fitz just needs to follow his wife’s advice and I truly believe things will end up okay at the end.

It’s not about how big the steps you take are, but that they’re in the right direction.

One last thought on “The Devil Complex”. It’s refreshing for a comic-book show to be this far along in it’s run to still be able to do fresh and exciting things with it’s characters. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is as strong in it’s fifth season as some shows have ever been in their first or second ones. To go from heartwarming to heartbreaking, from action-adventure to creepy thriller,and through it all to never lose sight of what makes the characters who they are as they grow and evolve – That is what makes Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D stand out from the rest and continue to do so.

And to think, HYDRA coming back was just a afterthought at the end of this episode!!

QUICK THOUGHTS:

  • The B-Story has to do with General Hale and a few old buddies she has in her command – Crusher Creel and LMD scumbag Anton Ivanov. Coulson, May and Agent Piper are able to capture Hale but thanks to the efforts of these two she’s able to get the upper hand on the team. This in turn leads to Hale making Coulson a deal : Come with her to see what it’s all about and she’ll let the others go. If you know Phil Coulson, he takes that deal in a heartbeat to protect May much to her…..disapproval.
  • The big thing with Hale is revealed at the end when a Kree is talking to her in a very dark room. Nothing it said really was important except for two things : She works for something called “The Confederacy.” Well that name doesn’t ring off any alarm bells in my head……And as the Kree leaves, it whispers very that old familiar tune in Hale’s ear “Hail Hydra”. So like a old boyfriend that just won’t stop checking liking your tweets, Hydra is here once again to make SHIELD’s life a nightmare.
  • Yo-Yo is breaking my heart each episode and it hurts so much.
  • Agent Piper must be some sort of bad-luck charm or something. It’s not her fault but dang Yo-Yo’s arms and now Phil captured because of a trap. Start investing in rabbit’s feet or something.
  • Seriously show….leave my babies Leo Fitz and Jemma Simmons alone. Let them be happy again!!….Who am I kidding?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D airs on Friday Nights on ABC at 9 pm.


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