9:05 pm EDT, May 24, 2019

‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 6×03 review: High rollers

Fitz and Enoch take chances while Daisy and Simmons take… drugs… on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6×03, “Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson.”

You know, sometimes you just have to cut loose. Live wild. Be free and do whatever comes to mind. Experiment with yourself!

And sometimes, that “you” is Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

What happened in ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 6×03?

(To be honest, plot is mostly secondary to the weird and wild array of stimuli at work in “Fear and Loathing on the Planet Kitson.” But here’s more or less what goes down.)

A hunter called Malachi receives orders to find Fitz and Enoch. Outside Naro-Atzia, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team argues over what to do with Simmons, who vows to stay on course looking for Fitz no matter what. The argument is derailed when their customs agent Praetorius Price insists on holding an inspection.

Simmons asks about Fitz, which tips off Malachi. After a skirmish, the team handcuffs Malachi to the Zephyr and learn that Fitz is a wanted man “for tampering with the Universe.”

Fitz and Enoch land on Kitson and promptly have their ship and those oh-so-valuable mollusks stolen from underneath them. Fitz is offered a puffy treat, but avoids it on Enoch’s advice. In compensation, they are given a single casino chip. In the House of Games, Enoch declares that he and Fitz are best friends, and the two enter the casino, Enoch eliding the anti-robot sensors.

Fitz is at a loss for what to do with a single chip, but soon realizes that they can use the Chronicom’s illicit skills to win games and make money for their new ship. The plan works until Enoch’s negative-zero people skills leads him into a bluff and they lose all their money. Fitz agrees to wager himself in a game; the stakes are victory or life in slavery. Enoch will communicate the proper moves to Fitz with a high-pitched sound audible only to Terrans.

Simmons, Daisy, and Davis board Fitz’s old ship and, er, wrangle information from the goons who stole the vessel. They learn that Fitz and Enoch are on Kitson, either in a casino or in a brothel. Before they leave, Davis spots the puff-treats and eats several, while Daisy and Simmons each distractedly eat one.

As they enter the House of Games, Daisy and Simmons… well, they start tripping space balls. By the time they reach the bar, they have forgotten their mission and ride the high of “girl’s night.” Simmons has a vision of tiny Fitz dancing in a monkey suit (did I really just write that?) and apologizes for her behavior toward the team.

Daisy declares herself and Simmons one cosmic being while being hit on by an alien, and the two women have a tearful conversation about love beneath a gaming table. Daisy wants a boyfriend, which she might get with all that super soft skin.

Related: Don’t expect FitzSimmons to have an easy path in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6

Meanwhile, a sober Piper finds Davis in a deliriously altered state on the Zephyr. Realizing that Simmons and Daisy must be similarly incapacitated, she leaves, at which point Malachi easily worms out of his cuffs and escapes, leaving Davis (perhaps mercifully) unconscious. When Piper returns, Malachi is leaching information from their computer and then disappears. But at least there are animal crackers!

Fitz and Enoch proceed in their game, during which one member of the table is harpooned. Fitz looks to Enoch for his moves, but Enoch goes silent. He then collapses, making an unending “Whoop”ing sound audible to only Fitz, Simmons, and Daisy. The dealer realizes that Enoch is not organic and locks him and Fitz in the room.

In despair, Enoch realizes that he has been decommissioned by his fellow Chronicoms, and that several Hunters are on their way. Daisy fights off the Chronicoms while Simmons pursues the source of the “signal.”

Fitz admits that Enoch has become his best friend, heartening him enough to light the door, which Fitz has rimmed with sulfuric blood. (WHAT IS HAPPENING?) Outside, Simmons and Fitz come face to face, gawping in shock at their unexpected reunion… until Malachi shows up, grabs Fitz, and disappears.

A puzzled Enoch emerges from the room, noting that Simmons should not be there.

Back on Earth, Sarge and Jaco set off their PEG gun, which reveals patterned golden lines enrobing the planet.

“Seen better, seen worse,” Sarge says. “Let’s go make a mess.”

Takeaways

“Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson” might be better left in the realm of experience, rather than analysis. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6×03 feels deliberately keen to confound the senses (and sense) of characters and viewers alike.

Between cocktails garnished with eyeballs and alien clientele, the House of Games would have been sufficiently psychedelic all on its own. The addition of Daisy and Simmons’ stratospheric high only emphasizes the idea that we’re all mainly here to have a bit of fun.

The adventures on Kitson may or may not settle well for viewers of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Most of the season’s emotional stakes are sidestepped for spectacle, and any grounding that the Earth-bound plot may have offered is entirely missing. But there’s something to be said for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tossing conventional wisdom to the winds and… well, taking a deliberate break from the normal order of things. (Such as it ever exists on this show.)

Episodes of this singular sort are usually dedicated to deep emotional and psychological developments, such as Simmons’ (mostly) solo turn in “4,722 Hours.” This time, it’s all about the delirious moment. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6×03 delights in its own weird to a higher agree than ever before, pushing the limits of sci-fi strangeness and hallucinogenic thrills.

Enoch the Chronicom rather delightfully thwarts any normalcy that Fitz might have managed to wring from the House of Games. (Major props are due to Joel Stoffer, who plays the straightest of straight men with unflagging commitment and genuine heart.) And while his talk of best friend-ship plays a bit simply, Enoch’s dedication to Fitz offers a real moment of humanization for both characters.

Fitz may already be hellbent on making himself good enough for Jemma, but the ability to empathize and connect with Enoch — essentially a tool in his journey — shows real growth for the engineer.

Simmons and Daisy echo this as well. Their extended drug trip allows both women to speak with hilariously insensible frankness, a welcome experience for two close characters who often only get to share moments of terror and pain.

So yeah, it’s really fucking weird, and the details of this adventure may not loom terribly tall in the grand scheme of developments on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but “Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson” is clearly letting off steam for more than just Daisy, Simmons, Fitz, Enoch, and Davis. It’s a break from the drama and tension, a chance to just Do Whatever.

And if it’s not the best the series has to offer by dint of its weirdness, well, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6×03 is definitely an episode that no one will forget any time soon.

A few other things worth noting —

The world of Chronicoms, those apparent guardians of time, is notably expanding. Malachi’d existence and his assertions that Fitz is (probably quite literally) “out of time” feel like potential references to more significant portents. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seems not to be done toying with time, which means it is possible that the odds of a sync-up with the greater MCU have increased. (You know, slightly. But still.)

“Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson” also begins the healing process for Simmons, perhaps a thawing from her ruthlessness. (Though seeing her dead husband snatched away before her eyes probably won’t help.) Simmons certainly still has work to do, notably on the Davis and Piper front, but it’s nice to see that she isn’t completely unreachable underneath all that long-string tension. And Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6×03 also takes the time to note that Daisy is no longer determinedly single, which may open the door for future possibilities. (With Deke.)

Finally, it seems more likely than ever that Agent Keller and poor Agent Fox’s theories about Team Sarge and ley lines are ringing true. Certainly, those patterns projected over the globe seemed emphatically line-like. Hopefully now that we have a solid connection, the mystery of Sarge’s goals can unfold a bit; cryptic declarations like, “Let’s make a mess” are certainly intriguing as delivered by Clark Gregg. But they don’t actually mean very much, and it’s time for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6 to inject some clearer intention to their coy mysteries.

Best lines

Hostess: Welcome to the House of Games. Please check your weapons and moral high ground and walk through the scanner.

Enoch: I am aware of instances where best friends have committed lawless acts together.
Fitz: Exactly.
Enoch: Even murder.
Fitz: What? No. That’s… that’s a really worrying thing to have said.

Price: Your friend must be a man of perverted desire.
Simmons: Hey!
Daisy: Why would you say that?
Price: Because the planet of Kitson is a nasty place, absent any basic scrap of decency.
Piper: Someone just described Florida.

Price: There’s even a well-known saying. What happens on the planet of Kitson…
Daisy: Stays on Kitson?
Price: No. Is contagious — and burns.

Enoch: There are other ways to earn money.
Fitz: How?
Enoch: The brothels of Kitson. We are both healthy and not unattractive specimens, and I am well-versed in over 130–
Fitz: STOP! Brothels are not an option!

Davis: That guy’s some sort of shapeshifting contortionist assassin!
Piper: Yeah, I’m sure he is, reliable witness.

Simmons: Hey, I think my parents are mice!
Daisy: That makes sense.

Enoch: You are unaware of the varietals of Chronicoms. I, for instance, am an anthropologist. My primary functions are intended for research and sensual gratification.
Fitz: …Moving swiftly on to the types of ones that are coming here?

Fitz: What is that smell??
Enoch: The foul stench of the name “Enoch.”

Simmons: Pardon me sir, but I have reason to believe that my husband — sorry, my future husband — is behind that door.
Dealer: And what reason is that?
Simmons: The dolphin told me in a secret signal only I can hear that was meant just for me!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6×04, “Code Yellow,” airs Friday, May 31 at 8:00 p.m. on ABC.

What are your thoughts on ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ 6×04

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