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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S5E20 "The One Who Will Save Us All"

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Talbot and Coulson face off with the Confederacy.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite her previous evil deeds, Hale's fate is presented as somewhat tragic, especially given her Heel Realization before.
  • The Assimilator: Talbot can use the Gravitonium inside him to assimilate other beings, which he does to a member of the Confederacy.
  • Badass Cape: Coulson may be wary of Talbot, but he has to admit Glenn's new floor-length robe is pretty cool.
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  • Beard of Evil: Talbot's unkempt Beard of Sorrow is trimmed into a more neat goatee (much like Franklin Hall's in the comics) to make him look presentable for his meeting with the Confederacy. He leaves the meeting as the newest member of the Confederacy.
  • Brick Joke: Daisy finally sees the lemons in her bed. And her bewildered reaction tells Deke that Coulson and Mack were just messing with him when they told him that the whole lemon custom also exists in the present. She thinks it was a prank; Deke blames Fitz.
  • Call-Back: In "Past Life", Kasius force-fed Odium to Tye and told him to "fight until your heart bursts with rage." In this episode we see that this was Not Hyperbole; it really does make your heart explode.
  • Catchphrase: Talbot starts off the episode repeatedly saying, "I can fix this." Coulson is slightly unnerved by it.
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  • Conflict Ball: The brawl between Daisy and Elena is two tempers flaring, and they are both cooled by Team Mom May firing a gun into the ceiling. It isn't spoken of again.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Talbot crushes a Remorath and Hale into beach ball-sized lumps using his powers. He also consumes a member of the Confederacy, however that member is most likely still "alive" inside Talbot's head alongside Hall and Quinn.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Talbot completely ignores Daisy's quakes and disposes of her with a mere finger twitch.
  • Doomed by Canon: We know that whatever Coulson or Talbot do, it won't do anything to stop Thanos or the events of Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Qovas pretty much becomes Talbot's second-in-command after the latter demonstrates his might, and tells the other Confederacy members about how great he is.
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  • Dramatic Irony: Thanos is assumed to be responsible for Earth's eventual destruction, but anyone who's seen Avengers: Infinity War knows he isn't out to destroy Earth, just recover the Infinity Stones that are on it and use their power to cut the universe's population in half.
  • The Dreaded: Like in the films, Thanos is feared by everyone who knows of him. Taryan wouldn't dream of challenging him and is confident that even Talbot with the power of Gravitonium would be no match for him (not an understatement at this point).
  • Exact Words: Talbot is told there have always been only six members of the Confederacy. He solves this by killing one to take his place.
  • Four-Star Badass: The reason Talbot claims he can keep Hall and Quinn under control is, in his own words...
    Talbot: Buncha dead losers raisin' a ruckus. Turns out all they needed was a General to get 'em in line.
  • Get Out!: Not May's exact words, but she tells Yo-Yo that if she's not helping the team to save Coulson, to not be at the Lighthouse when they come back from space. She ultimately opts to stay.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: Coulson and Talbot initially try this dynamic on Qovas, though Talbot quickly drops the act and instead goes right for intimidation.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: This episode reveals that just like the movies prior to Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos has been this for the entire season, as his quest for the Infinity Stones ultimately led to the Confederacy coming to Earth and setting off the chain of events that create the time loop in which Earth is destroyed.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Just when Hale has finally realized the error of her ways and tries to help Coulson to atone, she gets brutally killed by Talbot.
  • Hope Spot: Hale attempts to use Talbot's programming to stop him, and for a second it seems like it's working... only to find out he is no longer affected by it.
    Talbot: Compliance will be rewarded. And so will your betrayal. [kills Hale]
  • I Lied: The Confederacy is revealed to have been screwing HYDRA over from the beginning, never intending to follow through on their promise to protect the Earth from Thanos (mostly because they know Thanos would mop the floor with them if they tried). They just wanted to grab as many resources from Earth as possible and then get the hell out before Thanos showed up.
  • Internal Reveal: Daisy finds out that Deke is FitzSimmons's grandson.
  • Karmic Death: Hale gets brutally killed by the man she had locked up and tortured for over six months.
  • Kick the Dog: Talbot tells Hale that her dead daughter was too weak for the Gravitonium. For added punch, he throws a shade of sexism into his dismissal, triggering her Berserk Button, which she visibly tries to restrain.
  • Klingon Promotion: Told that the Confederacy has six members and to add a seventh would be unthinkable, Talbot assimilates one of them and promptly takes his place. His choice of victim is manipulated by Taryan Kasius, who sees the gambit coming and calls out the green-skinned member as the "wisest" of them.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Talbot demands that Qovas's crew, and later Coulson, kneel to him. The first shows a military-man style of win-without-fighting, but the second shows him going off the deep end into villainy.
  • The Lost Lenore: Daisy admits she's still in love with Lincoln and admits her issues with personal tragedy and loss is her primary motivation to try to save Coulson.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Talbot can create Gravitonium tentacles from his body, and use them to absorb other people into himself.
  • Manipulative Bastard: After becoming Demoted to Dragon, Qovas tries to manipulate Talbot against Coulson and Hale. Taryan Kasius also manages to convince Talbot that he is a "straight shooter."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Hale has come to regret everything she did under HYDRA... even selling out the Earth.
  • Mythology Gag: Talbot's new outfit incorporates three circles on the chest, similar to Franklin Hall's costume in the comics but not as flashy. He also wears a long robe (whereas Hall had a cape), and a goatee, which Hall also sported.
  • No-Sell: Daisy hits Talbot with a sustained quake blast, but all it does is push him back about a foot before he casually flings her into the ceiling to knock her out. The Faustus brainwashing also no longer works on him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Coulson's reaction to hearing that Talbot's new partner in the Confederacy is a Kasius is to panic and urgently tell him that the guy is treacherous.
  • Properly Paranoid: Everyone is understandably wary of the brain-damaged Talbot having control over the Gravitonium, especially since Ruby went insane with only 8%, while Talbot got all of it. As the episode progresses he gains a god complex of scary proportions.
  • The Resenter: Mack is still angry with Fitz for the way he, Jemma, and Elena tricked him.
  • Sanity Slippage: Despite not being driven insane by Hall and Quinn, it's clear that the Gravitonium is not good for Talbot's mental state as he quickly gains a god complex, convinced he alone can save the Earth and that anyone who argues with him is his enemy. Then again, as May and Jemma point out, he was a bit cuckoo to begin with due to his Skyenet-induced brain damage, so Gravitonium was really the straw that broke the camel's back.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Mack's fight with the the Remorath is similar to the Neo/Smith subway fight from The Matrix. Mack ducks a punch and the Remorath's fist breaks part of a wall.
    • Mack says that Talbot leaves the Lighthouse like some sort of wizard. There's a Marvel character who uses gravitation platforms and calls himself Wizard.
    • When Talbot leaves to meet with the Confederacy, he puts Coulson in charge, saying that anyone who disobeys him will "suffer the same Pretzel Logic your friend did earlier".
  • Shut Up, Kirk!: Once again, Yo-Yo's warnings about how trying to save Coulson is a bad idea go unheeded. May tells her either to help or leave. Similarly, Mack doubles down on his black-or-white philosophy when arguing with Fitz, refusing to accept that sometimes the right people have to do the "wrong" thing.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: What was hinted at in last week's episode is confirmed here; the events of Avengers: Infinity War are happening at the same time as this episode, as the Confederacy mentions that Thanos is currently attacking Earth.
  • Swapped Roles:
    • In the scene they share this episode, Fitz is actually quite friendly to Deke, while the latter is rather dismissive.
    • Played with concerning Daisy. Previously Daisy was angry at Fitz, Yo-Yo, and Jemma for their morally grey actions and their dismissive I Did What I Had to Do attitude towards it; when she returns with her mother's corpse in tow as part of the plan to save Coulson, Yo-Yo tries to tear her a new one for it, but given what Yo-Yo did herself, Daisy doesn't take Yo-Yo's judgement lightly. Jemma and Fitz seem to actually be for the plan mostly (though Jemma is pretty uneasy with it), so their position hasn't moved.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Taryan manipulates Talbot into gathering even more Gravitonium while he still can and in return, Talbot hands over Daisy.
  • Wham Line:
    • When the Kree member of the Confederacy introduces himself:
      Taryan: I am the firstborn Taryan, master of the house Kasius.
    • The Confederacy mentions that they're trying to extort the Earth before a dreaded conqueror makes his way to it, but never intended to honor the agreement because of said conqueror's identity:
      Talbot: What are you saying?
      Taryan: Thanos has begun an assault on your world as we speak.
  • Wham Shot: The Stinger shows that Talbot had Daisy sent to Taryan.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Mack tears Fitz a new one for the way he, Jemma and Elena tricked him, as well as him indirectly causing Elena to kill Ruby. Fitz on the other hand calls Mack out for viewing everything in black and white, but Mack points out how dangerous that mindset is and Fitz seems to realise he might have a point.
    • What does Yo-Yo do when Daisy comes back to the Lighthouse? Chew her out for abandoning the team when they needed her most, and it just goes downhill from there when she sees that Daisy has dug up someone's corpse. It degenerates into a full-out brawl. It takes May to break it up.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Talbot may be able to make Hall and Quinn shut up, but his power still goes straight to his head and gives him a massive god complex.
  • With Us or Against Us: Talbot even tells Coulson that he is either with him or against him, there is no middle ground.
  • You Have Failed Me: Talbot says this word for word against Coulson, only for this to be averted as Coulson lives. Hale, however, does not, due to her "betrayal" during their time in the Air Force, not to mention trying to compel him into calming down with the Faustus method.


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