We had a short break for the Olympics, but we are back and quickly zooming towards the 100th episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! But first – episode 99. Let’s jump in!
In a room decked out with posters of David Bowie and Quake, a teenage girl (played by Disney darling Dove Cameron) is on her phone, listening to music. We don’t know it yet, but her name is Ruby. Without knocking, her mom enters – General Hale, the murderous replacement to General Talbot that hunted Fitz earlier this season. They bicker a bit about standard rebellious teenage things, before Hale lays down the law. If Ruby skips class again, she will lose her phone privileges.
Sigh. Yes, Mother.
Curious about the current investigation into S.H.I.E.L.D., Ruby asks her mom if she is sure that she is the good guy and S.H.I.E.L.D. are bad. Hale chalks this up to Ruby’s obsession with Quake, and reassures her that she is just doing her job. Everything she does, she does for Ruby.
In the Lighthouse, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Phil Coulson, Melinda May, Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons, “Mack” Mackenzie, “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez and an unconscious Daisy Johnson (Quake herself) teleport back to present day. (Fitz makes a Galaxy Quest reference.) At first, they are disappointed that they are still in the Lighthouse – did Flint’s monolith not work? Fitz recognizes it as the Lighthouse from the past where he was taken by Enoch, and relieves the gang by turning on the lights. This starts a projected video message from the 70’s, courtesy of General Rick Stoner.
(Comic fans and Coulson may recognize Stoner as one of Nick Fury’s predecessors. Everyone else will recognize him in this glorious cameo played by the legendary Patrick Warburton.)
Stoner explains that the Lighthouse was created by S.H.I.E.L.D. for Project Reclamation, and it is a top-secret bunker for world leaders and important individuals in the event of an apocalyptic event. It’s so top-secret that Coulson didn’t know about it, and believes Fury didn’t either.
While Stoner explains, Simmons, Yo-Yo and Mack leave to patch Mack up (Coulson declines), May and Fitz follow the Stoner projections for the grand tour, and Coulson stays with Daisy. Daisy wakes up and remembers that Coulson I.C.E.d her. He says that there is no universe in which he would leave her behind, even if it meant the end of the world.
May and Fitz go off on their own, and they find the storage facility. In holding are three Monoliths: the white and red one that teleports you to the future, a black one (possibly the one that sends you to the planet Maveth), and a grey one covered in spiral patterns. A Chronicom named Noah appears and introduces himself, startling the pair. He explains that Enoch told him about the Lighthouse, and that these Monoliths are safe because no one knows about the bunker except the people currently inside it. He takes them to his control tower, where he shows them everything he is currently observing, including an Asgardian showing up on Earth. He says that S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up a lot on his radar, to which May quips that they have a “small but active fanbase”. He alerts them to an alien signal coming to Earth.
May warns Coulson of this, and he decides to get the team together to investigate the signal. They plan to head to St. Louis, so they are going to trek to the cloaked Zephyr that Lance Hunter and Fitz hid just outside the Lighthouse. Daisy decides to stay behind; if this is the first omen of the end of the world she supposedly causes, she wants nothing to do with it. Coulson agrees to let her be the eyes-in-the-sky. Noah informs the team of a series of secret tunnels under the Lighthouse (like C.H.U.D., according to Mack) and takes them to one that will lead them to a small town called River’s End.
In River’s End, Mack agrees to help the team steal a van on the condition that they return it after. In the van, they complain that it is small and cramped, but it’s better than being trapped in the future. Or the Framework. Or the bottom of the ocean. Or fighting Daisy’s mom. Or her dad. May interjects with “or dancing”. As Daisy researches on Noah’s computer, she realizes the team is on the most wanted list. (Pour out a drink for the fallen Marvel show, Marvel’s Most Wanted.) A cop pulls over the team, but just has a friendly chat, believing that the old owner finally sold his clunker of a van.
In the middle of River’s End, a confused Deke Shaw teleports to present day. He is ecstatic and immediately hugs a tree. He explains to a woman that he doesn’t have trees where he is from, and she says that he will be fine once the drugs wear off. He goes to a bar and orders a real beer, but is not pleased with the taste. He asks for something like beer, but delicious. Thus starts a montage of Deke chugging several Zima Clearmalts, eating cheeseburgers and watching TV before attempting to avoid paying his tab and passing out drunk, claiming he is from the future.
The team abandon the van with a note to return it to the owner and make their way to the Zephyr. In the air, May expresses concern for Coulson’s wounds but he claims he is fine. Fitz shows him something he found on their radar: The alien signal is not beaming down to Earth. It is beaming from Earth; specifically, from Hive’s Kree Recall Beacon from season 3. Someone is summoning the Kree to Earth.
Yo-Yo can’t stop thinking about what the Seer – Future Yo-Yo said to her. Mack reassures her that Kasius was using her to freak them out. She still can’t get it out of her head.
The team break in to discover one person present at the site of the beacon: Agent Piper. She is overjoyed to see them, explaining that she has been looking for them for months. She has no idea how to turn off the beacon, so Fitz goes to help.
As Daisy eats Sugar Bombs (from the Fall Out franchise) she notices Deke’s arrest on her comms. She is confused that he was able to get to Earth, but is afraid that he will give away their location. She asks Noah to pick him up, but he refuses to intervene. Daisy decides to go rescue Deke herself. She poses as a case worker named Sinara Smith and gets Deke released, but one guard looks at her suspiciously and makes a phone call.
Meanwhile, General Hale is informed that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been spotted. She assembles a team to bring them in.
Daisy and Deke go to leave, but the guard stops her for extra paperwork. She nervously fills it out… and leaves. Huh.
As Fitz notices some man-made parts of the beacon, Piper reveals that it was her and pulls a gun on them. She is going to turn them in to General Hale. She just wants to help, so she struck a deal – she is Most Wanted too, after all.
Piper! You betrayed us!
As they try to reason with Piper, a bunch of masked men arrive, led by a masked woman in a dark cloak. The masked men start trying to kill S.H.I.E.L.D., and Piper is horrified. This was supposed to be non-violent. Coulson gives her a choice to stand with them or against them, and she apologetically agrees to cover the team’s escape. Mack realizes that the masked men are robots, and the gang starts taking them out and retreating before Mack is captured by a robot. Yo-Yo runs to free him, but the cloaked woman pulls out a metal Vibranium circular blade (called a chakram) and throws it with dare-I-say Inhuman speed, catching it as it boomerangs back and passes by Yo-Yo.
Yo-Yo stares at the cloaked figure in shock as the camera pans down to reveal that she is bleeding profusely and missing both her arms.
Holy shit! Holy shit! You maimed Yo-Yo! That is cool and comic-accurate and disturbing and shocking and horrible all at the same time!
Mack screams and breaks free of his robot guard, making his way to the still-in-shock Yo-Yo and wrapping her in a blanket. May radios back to Daisy and Deke and orders that Daisy open a landing pad for them right now. Scared, Daisy asks if everything is okay.
As Simmons does surgery on Yo-Yo back at the Lighthouse, the cloaked figure enters Ruby’s room and takes her off her mask, revealing herself to be Ruby. Hale is upset that she didn’t capture S.H.I.E.L.D., but Ruby is annoyed that Quake wasn’t there. She says she will cut off all her friends arms until she shows up. Hale tells her that her work was sloppy and unfinished, calling her a disappointment. If she didn’t skip class, this wouldn’t have happened. At least the beacon can do its job.
Fitz, Daisy and Noah take the beacon to the storage space and put it next to the Monoliths to cool down. As Daisy and Fitz chat about what happened to Yo-Yo, Noah realizes that the beacon isn’t cooling down and orders them to run. As the pair escape, the beacon explodes. Noah tries to shield the blast, and the explosion takes out all three Monoliths and Noah.
We hardly knew ye.
In our post-credits scene, a muscled man jogs while a black van pulls up next to him. General Hale rolls down the window and introduces herself to the man – Carl “Crusher” Creel, the Absorbing Man. He tells her that he is done with being a hired gun for the government, and she tells him that she doesn’t want him to be a hired gun; she is putting together a team. He considers it and gets in the car.
This episode was crazy! Yo-Yo’s arms! A strong start to the second arc of the season. I give it a 8/10. I cannot wait for next week’s 100th episode extravaganza!