Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15 pulls back the curtain on several pressing mysteries. Here are a few hints for “Rise and Shine”!

A dose of perspective

After the psychological thriller that was last week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Rise and Shine” changes up the pace. Instead of the intimate claustrophobia of the Lighthouse, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15 takes a much (much!) wider view of the season’s (and indeed, the series’) heroes, villains, and ultimate arc.

“Rise and Shine” is a history lesson, an info-dump, and a roadmap for the future all rolled into one curious package. (You might want to take notes.) The episode spends considerably more time in the past than it does in the present, laying out its cards in a scrupulous and surprisingly informative pattern. Coulson’s descent into the heart of Hale’s Hydra’s is an important segue to this information, but it is not the heart of the matter.

Instead, it’s grander plans that mostly concern Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15. Familiar names, faces, and motifs pass through the story, weaving older adventures together and arriving at a surprising conclusion. Potential futures spool out with unnerving speed, but the way forward is not entirely clear.

General Hale (a focal point of this story) believes that Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. must unite to save humanity… but for all the answers “Rise and Shine” provides, it remains to be seen whether her argument will persuade the captive Coulson, or the audience.

Sad stories

The reflective structure of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15 is a risky one, as it pulls the focus away from the S.H.I.E.L.D. team’s roiling drama for no short amount of time. But there’s more to see here than just backstory.

“Rise and Shine” surprises not in its dark twists, but in its unexpected humanity. The grim-faced General Hale’s story is more unsettling than you might have predicted, and the return of Adrian Pasdar as Brigadier General is downright upsetting. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been keenly aware of how to use pain as a motivating force, and it turns out that even villains can succumb to this treatment from time to time.

Daisy gets an idea

But don’t worry, “Rise and Shine” also has some time to spare with the Lighthouse crew, who are now (mostly) focused on how to rescue Coulson from Hale’s clutches. But Fitz’s recent actions have left a tactical gap in the team that Daisy and May struggle to bridge, with some emotional consequences.

Daisy however, has a lightbulb moment. (Which is ironic, given that several other people in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15 have similar moments of inspiration about her.) But let’s just say that we’ve been down Daisy’s road before, and I’m not convinced that the outcome will be as predictable as she hopes.

Simmons also gets an idea

FitzSimmons shippers can look forward to a(nother) significant moment between the couple in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15, but that is not the main event. Suffice to say that, with so many cards on the table, some characters begin their own fan-like speculation — and they draw some very distinct conclusions that may have a profound impact on the events of the story going forward.

Bonus hint: Woof.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 5×15, “Rise and Shine,” airs on Friday, March 30, at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.

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