Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. keeps on trucking along with the 7th episode of Season 7, “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D,” and MCUExchange is here to share some of how it all went down! When we left our agents last week, Chroni-Coulson had blown himself up to stop a new band of Hunters from coming to life before the team jumped to 1982. Mack and Deke were left behind as the team made their quickest jump of the season, leaving the unlikely duo stranded in an unknown era.
Given the title of this week’s episode, there wasn’t very much action at all from May, Daisy, Fitz, Simmons, Sousa, Yo-Yo or Enoch while they try to figure out the next move from the Chronicoms. While they were all off trying to keep things from going to crazy, Alfonso Mackenzie and Deke Shaw were more or less left completely on their own trying to work their way through time that neither of them really knew at all (Deke’s birth coming almost a century later and Mack being only 10 years old).
This episode was yet another example of how incredible a job this show does with character moments and going deep into the psyches of the entire core cast. It’s not the first time the series has focused an episode so much on a single cast member (eg, “4,722 Hours for Elizabeth Henstrige in Season 3), and the show’s behind-the-scenes staff once again excelled as all the attention was turned onto the stranded director and agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Henry Simmons shone so wonderfully in this episode as Mack goes to one of the lowest points of his entire life. This is a man who has always been surrounded by tragedy including the death of his daughter Hope (both in real life and in the Framework), the troubles with his brother Ruben when he joined the Watchdogs, and finding out both of his parents had been killed and had their being stolen by Chronicoms just last week. The fact that he went into such a deep depression (very reminiscent of Thor in Avengers: Endgame) was completely understandable, and Henry Simmons felt so authentic in portraying the pain and suffering that Mack was going through after being stranded for almost two whole years in the early 1980’s.
Jeff Ward’s Deke Shaw went through an absolute rollercoaster of a ride this week too as he both did his own thing and tried to be a force for good. Yes, he did fall back into his old habits of trying to capitalize on knowing the future by putting out songs like Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me,” Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” and The Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” as his own work. This has always been one of his weaknesses and he’s never seemed to be able to pull away from that after he first came to the 2010’s.
On the other hand, he did use his cover band as an actual cover for a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents he had been training for a while in the Lighthouse base, and he once again proved he does have a mature side that wants what’s best for the people he cares about (especially Mack). One of my favorite moments of his entire run on the show also came this week as he revealed that he had been keeping tabs on Mack and Ruben for his entire time stuck in the 80’s. Mack clearly means more than the world to Deke, and through all the time-travel craziness, it was so heartwarming seeing the work he put in to keep Mack safe. (Side note: we finally see the return of the Shotgun-Ax in all its glory, and I hope Mack gets to have an epic final run with it!)
This episode ended up using almost every old trope utilized in the 1980s’ complete with Coulson’s consciousness being trapped in a TV, classic cheesy 80’s one-liners, and even an army of robots for the team to defeat. While this episode was largely isolated from the larger arc of Season 7, it was kind of a nice breather episode right in the middle to focus on team members that hadn’t been explored with that kind of depth in a while. It didn’t advance the plot exponentially, but with a 13-episode season, not all of them have to do that.
Even though this week was so focused on Mack and Deke, Sybil the Predictor was still at large and using her knowledge and powers to invade yet another time period. After building a deadly robot army (RIP Russell, Cricket, and Cricket’s girlfriend), the two agents of the future had to team up with the agents of the 80’s to keep Sybil at bay and save the Lighthouse base. Nearly every kind of classic 80’s character was a part of that team, and they came together well with Mack and Deke (with an assist from Coulson in a TV) to hold the fort until May and Yo-Yo met up with them once again and meet the “Deke Squad.”
Things are looking much more dire by the episode’s tag, however, as one Nathaniel Malick ends up with Sibyl’s time stream device and looks more alive than ever. It’s going to be very interesting to find out exactly how Nathaniel survived all of his bones nearly being crushed after trying to inject himself with Daisy’s powers, and its clear that he and Sibyl have some kind of master plan they’re trying to put into action as the S.H.I.E.L.D. team gets closer and closer to the modern day.
3.75 80’s Tropes out of 5
This episode didn’t have to be a game-changer for Season 7, but it did a good job of fillings in some blanks for Mack and Deke before the whole team hopefully comes back together next episode. I’m already CRAZY excited for next week on the other hand, which teases the return of Dichen Lachman’s Jiaying and seems to bring our agents that much closer to the 2010’s! Only six more episodes until the series’ end!
- Another perfect intro title card this week, using the classic computer font from the time period of this episode
- This episode has the 2nd War Games reference in the MCU after Black Widow’s quoting of “Shall we play a game?” in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. 80’s lines never fail.
- SO. MUCH. BLOOD!!! Going full 80’s with the brutal murder of multiple people by slicing them basically in half a la Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street
- This time period was most likely the most accurately depicted of any this season considering most of the show’s staff lived through it. A+ work (this coming from a 90’s kid).
- Can we please not have to see Mack go through any more life destroying moments as the series ends? The guy has been through enough!
- The toy car building was a sweet way to show Mack is still Mack, even through all the madness
- This week’s writer’s room conversation – Showrunners: “How many cheesy one-liners can you get in this script?” Writers: “Yes.”