by Brandon Coulson
Yes, yes, yes! This week’s Agents of SHIELD hit in all the right ways. With that pitch perfect 1970s opening, the cheesy credits sequence with a suitably cheesy voice over alone would have won me over but every scene that followed was just so fun and surprising taking things into directions I didn’t predict (mostly) but still felt completely natural and fitting for the plot.
Agent Sousa was a standout through the entire episode, starting with his reluctance to dress in the style of the times and his general awkwardness over everything “modern”. He even brings up whether his “death” might have always been the team pulling him out of time and how could they ever know what is a result of their meddling or was the original timeline. Mostly they do this to wave it away and tell him, and us, just go with it.
After going back to the bar set redressed once again, very economical mind you, we find out the biggest ripple to come from their mission yet. The Chronocons have kept Freddy Malick and his son Nathaniel alive years past their original death date. We also meet a perfectly creepy young Gideon Malick, and this whole family is pure garbage. Seeing Daisy and the team try to dance around avoiding or playing off the Malick boys was lots of fun but thankfully Freddy still remembers them so we got the the action pretty quickly. After a brief moment of hostage taking of the younger Nathaniel Malick, the team escapes and unknowingly give the Chronocons ideas for later…
The one element that I’m hopeful pays off but gives me a sinking feeling it won’t is Gemma and Fitz’s mystery. We see a strange glowing object in Gemma’s neck which could be left over from her capture from the Chronocons, or something else entirely. I’m still leaning on her being an LMD type replacement of a long dead Gemma but with all the lead up it better be a hell of a pay off.
Another blast from the past was the return to the Lighthouse, a set which has been so reused and redressed it's paid for itself ten times over now. I didn’t mind a bit though since the location completely lends itself to the big plot of the episode. That plot is actually a throwback to Captain America: Winter Soldier. The Chronocons have given Malick the satellite tracking weapons that was the crux of that film and in the same vein are planning to kill prominent SHIELD agents and even future heroes like young Bruce Banner. Super clever and interesting way to go!
Knowing the team would have to follow anytime they jump, the Chronocons decided to jump early and directly to the day of the launch three years later, putting the team in a serious bind. Going forward this could also mean the Chronocons could try and jump when they know team members aren’t near the ship, stranding them in time.
In addition to this smartly written twist, they also captured Mack’s parents and have them in the Lighthouse so the plan to flood the base and stop the launch gets scrapped by Mack entirely. For a second however I thought the show was being lazy as they merely used the Zephyr’s missiles to blow up the launching satellite which seems like an easy “why wasn’t this always the plan?” type moment. Until you realize that by attacking they have revealed themselves to the Chronocons and with the rest of the team captured on the ground things seem pretty dire for the Agents of SHIELD.
All of this added up to one amazing episode. After finally killing Freddy, Nathaniel seems poised to be the next obstacle as he puts in a call to Daniel Whitehall to ask for the secret of transferring abilities, likely from Quake to himself. My biggest wish has been a Whitehall cameo so here’s hoping that’s coming soon.
This season is absolutely killing it though. While admirably reusing sets and locations to keep costs down you never feel like corners are being cut and with great character moments for almost everyone (Yoyo is still feeling quite flat) this was a super fun outing. Sousa was the MVP and reminded us how fascinating an iPhone is! Just a killer season so far.
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