Director Clark Gregg shared his thoughts on the love, death, and innuendo of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×06… and added a few hints for the future!
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×06, titled “Fun & Games,” was the end of several plotlines in the still-young season. The episode saw the deaths of sweet Tess, nasty Grill, and the enigmatic Ben, while bringing a new young Inhuman to the fore.
At the same time, the episode enjoyed some major highs, as Fitz helped Simmons and Daisy escape from the clutches of the Kree and the sciencey lovebirds finally got engaged! (Twice!) Clark Gregg, who made his directorial debut on the show with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×06, spoke with us about the battles, blood, and blooming romance that made all the shippers swoon.
“Fun & Games” has two serious fight scenes, but the clash between Daisy and Sinara is particularly rife with variables. What was the most challenging part of that scene?
You put in the idea that Quake has powers [and] Sinara’s a Kree, so she’s stronger and has a level of abilities beyond a normal human. And then on top of that she’s got these two — we called them the Balls of Destiny — that’s a big one! Then also, you have to deal with what it’s like to, first of all me, leading the pack, to have everyone around the crew all day long be talking about balls.
You think it’s going to get old, but the amount of goofy giggling every time we’re talking about, “And now where are the balls?”! That might have been one of our most daunting obstacles.
The FitzSimmons engagement is a moment fans have been waiting on for years, and you got to direct it! What was that like?
Oh my God, it was such a thrill. When I got to that page of the script the first time I read it, I screamed so loud my wife came running into the room thinking I was dying, and I was like, “I get to do the proposal!” And then a little while later, I screamed again. “I get to do the OTHER proposal!”
How did you approach filming such unusual but romantic moments?
Brent [Fletcher] wrote them in such a great way. I found one of the most daunting obstacles in the script was, how do you do a proposal where she’s not responding, and keep it going and make it believable? And luckily I had Elizabeth Henstridge, who was able to play stuff on her face so that it kept seeming possible that she was just being discrete, but taking in every word.
And then it wasn’t until the very end that you realize that she’s got this limitor on, and [Fitz has] just poured his heart out into a soundproof room.
On the gloomier side, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×06 has one of the highest body counts we’ve seen in a while. How did you handle killing off three named characters in quick succession?
Yeah! Well… I was so thrilled when Pruitt Taylor Vince (Grill) and Eve Harlow (Tess) showed up on this season. They’ve just been amazing additions and I’ve been a huge Pruitt Taylor Vince fan forever, so to have to be the one to kill them off was not good. On the other hand, they knew that I have a very specific understanding of what it’s like being killed off in Marvel! And at the same time, they get to look at me and go, we can’t know this is permanent for sure.
It’s one thing to die in a regular job — who’s ever dead in Marvel?
We’re gearing up to the 100th episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — can you tease anything that fans can expect?
I think after this episode, we’ve got some chunk of the team back together, and yet we still have May having been tossed to the roaches on the surface. That’s not good! So certainly, the next order of business is going to be trying to get the team completely reunited, and trying to figure out where to go from there.
I know that we’re cruising toward episode 100, and you would think after, you know, five years and 100 episodes that they would deliver something pretty shocking that will really go full-bore at the feels of the long-term fans in the 100th episode. And if you think that, you would be right.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×07, “Together or Not At All,” airs January 12 at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.