The first episode in the seventh and final season of Marvel Studios’ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has finally arrived! We last left our heroes regrouping as they time travel to 1931 to temporarily escape the Chronicoms’ attack. Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) is on the mend after being stabbed in the gut, Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) has been reborn as a Chronicom/LMD, and now the team is onto possibly their craziest adventure yet as the show’s last season begins.
“The New Deal” was a brilliant combination of revealing a ton of new information while also easing fans back into the flow for the team’s next challenges. The tone set very early on for Season 7 indicates a plot that will traverse through the entire history of S.H.IE.L.D., starting over a decade before the organization even came into existence. I’m already looking forward to the other time periods that the team will inevitably explore in future episodes.
For the first time in the show’s history, the new season picks up literally right where last season left off as the new Phil Coulson is brought to life. Unsurprisingly, he is incredibly reluctant to being alive again after having the last 2 years of life flash through his brain in a matter of seconds. Even considering his major freakout, he’s still the same man at heart that he’s always been and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done for his fellow agents. It’s also incredibly refreshing to see the return of the Phil Coulson that fans know and love as he makes dad jokes and fanboys at anything related to the history of both the USA and S.H.I.E.L.D.
We catch up with the rest of the cast in much more varying levels of details. Fitz (Iain De Castecker) has always been one of my favorites and I’m hoping to see him back soon, and I love that May looks as dangerous and badass as always in the episode’s tag. Deke is as resourceful as ever and seeming to have possibly matured a little as he outfits the team well and manages to keep everyone out of danger. Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) didn’t really get the action we’re used to seeing from her in this episode, but I loved seeing her adjust to being healthy again and warm up to her new arms after being so against even trying them at first.
The plot of this episode largely centered around the Chronicoms’ plan to assassinate FDR before he ever becomes President and creates S.H.I.E.L.D., which starts off the concept of our agents having to explore the exciting course of American history. It turns out the Chronicoms are really looking for the young boy Freddie (Darren Barnet) from the speakeasy, who gives off almost too mysterious of a vibe to start. I’m curious to find out what exactly his deal is and why he has to help HYDRA in their earliest days, but his character does help connect my two favorite plot points of the episode.
Season 7 gave us the return of series favorite Patton Oswalt, and I shouldn’t have thought at this point that he would play anybody whose last name wasn’t Koenig! Ernest Hazard Koenig, his fifth different character of the series, seems to be one of the earliest members of what will eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D. as he tussles with Coulson and Mack in his speakeasy. Figures that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a generational family business.
The plot twist at the end revealing Freddie to really be Wilfred Malick, the father of Powers Boothe’s future HYDRA head Gideon Malick, brings the series back to its core better than I ever could have expected. S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA have been mortal enemies since the earliest days of the MCU, and its only fitting that they will have to do one final battle for the future of humanity as the series comes to a close.
4.5 1930’s baseball references out of 5
The season 7 premiere is one of my favorite episodes in at least a couple years. The team-ups remind me of the show’s glory days and even though this isn’t the team’s first challenge with time-travel, it feels like something new and will bring real challenges. Coulson, Daisy and Mack were the MVP’s of the season premiere and I get the sense that every member of the team will have their moment to shine as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes to an end. Twelve episodes to go!
- Daisy is as funny and powerful as ever, finding new ways to use her Inhuman skills (Quake-punch?!)
- Deke is apparently a 1930’s fashionista, making the whole team blend into the era smoothly
- Coulson and Daisy’s relationship feels like it will come back stronger than ever. He’s always seen her as a daughter and I love how much they want to make each other proud.
- I called the Chroni-cops nickname about a scene before Coulson used it.
- I cannot wait to see Fitz come back and for Hayley Attwell and Enver Gjokaj to make their MCU returns as previously reported.