Well, the fate of Wakanda is no match for the Big Game™, but we’re back in Atlantis with the first of a two-part episode. If you’ve got a thing for militant fish people jawing about their aspirations and adherence to honor and stuff then this is fifth season episode of a thing for you!
1. Warlords of Atlantis
Hell yeah, we’re back in Atlantis in a big way! The Avengers still have a major mad on for T’Challa and Wakanda, so they’re off to talk shit on Panther with Attuma and his new crew, Lady Ellana and Orka. Elanna is the security chief of Atlantis and the daughter of Attuma. Unlike Andromeda in the comics, Elanna is anything but estranged from her father, and appears proud to be an Atlantean cop. Orka is a big whale-lookin’ loyalist, Tiger Shark’s replacement as the general of basically the entire ocean. Orka is exactly the level of character I appreciate seeing reinventions of, since they’re usually underused but still take well to updating, too bad they didn’t literalize him like they did Tiger Shark.
2. The Cheap Detective
“…She is Princess Zanda.” T’Challa Holmes over here finally deduces himself a powerful ruse: Princess Zanda, the shape-changing Shadow Council member that disappeared about the same time Black Widow started calling for T’Challa’s imprisonment, was pretending to be Black Widow since at least our mid-season break! This shocking revelation comes with the comforting potential of this plot thread finally disappearing so we can go back to the Avengers having any sort of characterization besides obstinate maniacs.
3. The Likely Lads
T’Challa eats crow the size of a dog when Hunter gives him the business for imprisoning him and correctly assessing that a Nazi was, indeed, evil. This episode is doing a lot of character shuffling that suits me fine, with T’Challa and Hunter’s relationship being one of the larger reversals. The show works fine when Panther is on his own, but more often than not those episodes tend to be a little more action heavy and lack any real substantial developments in favor of more monster-of-the-week capers (Klaue is even ranting about the mutant bats in this!). By bringing Hunter back into the ever-shifting inner circle of supporting characters, we get some banter in the field that would be otherwise left for Shuri to radio in. Speaking of her, I miss when Shuri was more of a character; she’s been sidelined for no good reason and it hasn’t gotten much better.
4. Second Thoughts
Hawkeye, guy. I truly don’t know what is up with this dude. Clint is understandably mad about T’Challa’s dirt more or less triggering the villainy of the person he was sweet on, but short of that there’s nothing that makes me nod and agree “Yes, kill this man with explosive arrows.” With the return of Cap, I’m sure Tony will be give a slobbery “sorry,” but Hawkeye seems to be having none of that especially not after burning his paws and pride on a quiver combustion. I’m sure this will all blow over in time for the finale, but until then I’m hoping Hawkeye gets benched for a bit so we can totally move past him being a petulant jerk for nearly the entire season. It’s a drag!
5. The Awakening
Only briefly mentioned in the beginning of this two-part episode was Bask and her stasis. With all the ongoing hostilities between Wakanda and Atlantis, now would be probably the worst time to come out of an eons-long coma. Literally the last thing she would remember before getting trapped in a crystal would be razing a civilization so adeptly that they were forced to physically and culturally evolve. And now, said civilization wants you dead again. She almost sounds like she could be an unwitting Hail Mary for the Shadow Council but maybe that’s what part two is for!