by Brandon Coulson
Just hit after hit with SHIELD this year as this week’s episode once again just hit every mark in stride. Starting with Deke being debriefed by May post-adventure as a framing device, we knew right away that Deke at the very least would make it through okay. I briefly worried at the start that Mack would be lost or left behind but this episode was just all about the '80s fun.
1982. Synthesizers in full force, the genre mashups were fast and furious here as we got a whole lot of '80s in one package. Sibyl is shown to be still alive and hiding inside a clunky old computer, manipulating a nerdy repair tech into building her a new body that was appropriately terrible and clunky looking. As Mack says later, they go full Short Circuit on the design.
Mack and Deke on the other hand understandably freak out having been left behind in the past, and Mack especially takes things to heart still mourning his parents. Mack even runs off, leaving Deke on his own in a strange time. After checking in on his younger self Mack becomes a recluse just sitting drinking and building models of cars while Deke, upon tracking him down, starts leaving him food and trying to bring Mack out of his depression, unsuccessfully.
Finally weeks and months later, as shown by Mack’s epic beard, Deke finally lures him out to Swayze’s Bar, an obvious homage to Roadhouse, and it turns out Deke has been a bad boy. Yes, up to his old tricks Deke has created a band to “cover” classic '80s songs but prior to their actual creation. Stealing credit and cashing in tracks completely with what we’ve seen of Deke in the past. Actor Jeff Ward looks like he had a ball rocking out as Deke in this episode and when you meet his “Squad”? Just perfection!
Of course for a base we go back to the Lighthouse, this time outfitted with lights and turned into a party pad. Boy that set has paid for itself hasn’t it? We find Coulson survived the explosion here and lives on in a UHF Max Headroom style TV on wheels (love it!) and Deke attempts to recruit Mack back to service by presenting him a brand new shiny Axe/Shotgun! Everything from here on should feel cliché and predictable but I still loved it, especially when we switched genres to horror.
This episode was a hilarious and bloody good time. Cheesy in all the right ways. When Mack finally calls Deke “D” and Deke calls him Mack Daddy? That “nope” from Mack had me rolling. This wasn’t the best episode by any stretch but damn if it wasn’t a ton of fun.
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