After a brief hiatus to not be overshadowed by the Olympic Games, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has finally returned. The last time we saw our favorite agents, they were finally on their way back home, as Deke made a heroic sacrifice alongside Enoch. Now, they are finally back in their own timeline with no time to rest as they seek a way to ensure that the prophecy never comes true. Any fan of the show knows that they will have quite a bumpy road ahead of them while meeting some familiar faces on the way.
It is amazing to think that we are only one week away from finally seeing the 100th episode of SHIELD. As such, this episode had a lot of work to do by building up to the milestone episode and bridging viewers from the very space-focused adventure on the Lighthouse. Luckily, the episode does not waste any time and gets straight into the action. The team is back and making sure everyone returned, something which was sadly spoiled in the promo for this episode, and trying to figure out their surroundings. What really surprised me was that we actually got a deeper look into the history of the lighthouse. Adding some levity to the show, Patrick Warburton gave small glimpses into “the future” s General Stoner via a hologram highlighting the reason this bunker was created. As of now, it feels like the lighthouse will function as a new base for the team. Hopefully, we will get a bit more of his shenanigans in the lighthouse as it is unsure at this point if he was truly only meant as a fun cameo or that he could have a larger role.
Exploring this location, May and Fitz come to the realization that three monoliths are being kept here. We get a new Chronicom named Noah (Joel David Moore) who offers even more insight into the current function of the base and helps out throughout the episode. As much as I liked his addition which confirms that Enoch was not the only one on earth but it made me wonder why he was absent. Given the time we spent with him, it would’ve been nice to see him return but given the events of the episode, it is unsure if he was only meant to be a one-off character to ease in the team to their new surroundings.
Before we get to the real focus of the episode let us talk about a rather interesting twist that happens halfway through the episode. Coulson and company are not the only ones that made it back to the past. Deke is now also stranded in the original timeline which takes away from his heroic sacrifice but might have stronger implications for the future. So far, not one version of the future agents mentioned that Deke would return with them to the past so maybe this was the first time he made the sacrifice which would help change the future. No matter what it means, we get quite a fun “fish out of water” moment that is wonderfully handled by Jeff Ward. He really sells us on the fact that he never drank a real beer or ate a burger, which also adds some nice levity to the season that was mostly grim up to this point. Makes you wonder if we can expect some more small jokes about his new surroundings in the coming episodes. It also gives us a great short bit of Daisy trying to get him out of a police station, which also worked as a great misdirection for the show.
The rest of the team was out to find the source of a light being emitted into the sky with alien origins. Anyone paying good attention to the recap will notice that this fits the prophecy that was foretold so the team sets out to get rid of the source before the Kree actually show up on earth. There they reunite with Briana Venskus‘ Agent Piper that gives them a short rundown of what is happening. Naturally, her being their coincidentally like the other agents with no one else in the building is not a good sign. We get short glimpses of someone giving away their position, which the show makes us believe is the police officer from the Daisy-Deke scene, but it turns out it was Piper all along. It acted like a nice twist, especially with her already being an established character from the last season, but was a bit predictable. That did not take away from what would follow. They, of course, get ambushed and Piper gets double-crossed by the government, which forces her hand to decide on whose side she is really on.
Sadly, no matter how strong our agents are, everything has consequences. A new villain is introduced wearing a rather elaborate costume and she managed to cut off both of Yo-Yo’s arms. It is rather surprising to see this happen now, especially since we just saw her future-self without the arms but this is a concept taken straight out of the comics. Naturally, after being foretold about the future, Yo-Yo believes that the set course of the future has already started. Looking back at the 8th episode of the season we see Yo-Yo with her arms but we see her wearing black gloves that make it hard to say if she has prosthetic arms in that episode’s flashback (or would it be flashforward now?).
The true focus of this episode surrounded the new character Ruby, who is played by Dove Cameron. At first, we find out she is the daughter of General Hale (Catherine Dent) who we last saw in Fitz’s mini-episode from earlier in the season. We know that she is not someone to trust so seeing her try to interact with her daughter was quite interesting. The revelation that she was the one in the costume that took Yo-Yo’s arms was a bit rushed. We barely got to know the character for it to really sink in like a dark twist. What was a much stronger surprise involving Hale was her recruiting Absorbing Man for a “team” that she is putting together. Her recruiting powered individuals and Creel’s reluctance in following her offer could hint at something much bigger at play here. We still know so little about what Hale’s role is in the overall “the world will end” storyline.
4 delicious Zima out of 5. A great light-hearted episode that gets us right back into the action while building up to the 100 episode milestone. The twists don’t really land as strong as they should have but it does not take away from the intrigue the episode opens for the rest of the season.
- Yo-Yo’s face and the slow pan downwards of the camera were heartbreaking. The gruesome event just starts to sink in once we see her missing the arms. Makes you feel bad wanting more comic-accurate elements in the show.
- Speaking of, the entire sequence after she lost her arms was beautiful. Simmons trying to save her life, Mack fighting with himself that he could not save her, Daisy rushing in to hug him and Piper realizing what she had done. So much weight without a single word being spoken.
- Deke’s entire sub-plot was a lot of fun and it was great how they got the entire “fish out of water” jokes out of the way.
- If the entire team are now Most Wanted criminals and Coulson’s face is posted everywhere, wouldn’t you think that the Avengers would be aware of him still being alive? Maybe Fury just told them he had a doppelganger or an LMD?
- One of the episodes’ greatest moments was when the team was going through the biggest events of the last season. After everything they went through, May still thinks dancing was the worst thing to happen to her!
- One thing the show lacked for me was exploring more about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s history. Coulson once studied the organization before he became an agent but this was the first time I felt that his knowledge was really used once he recognized General Stoner. Hopefully, we get more of this in future episodes with more appearances of Stoner.