Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – the first episode after the big 100th episode! Can you wait? I can’t. So let’s jump in!
Our episode starts with a surprising familiar face: Werner von Strucker, son of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron‘s late Wilhelm von Strucker. We haven’t seen Werner since he was put in one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s memory machines and then shocked by Lincoln back in season 3. That’s gotta do some damage, right?
Turns out it does, as Werner (Or “Alex”, as he now prefers to go by) is in therapy. His therapist mentions that they are looking at chemical lobotomy for him, but he has been holding them off because he believes Alex can improve. He just needs to talk. Alex decides to start talking about April. No, not the month – the therapist’s daughter. He rattles off sensitive and very personal information of the therapist that he has picked up from the sessions over the years, frightening the man before stabbing him through the hand with a pen, exclaiming he “remembers everything” and asks for the lobotomy. He is dragged away by orderlies.
At S.H.I.E.L.D., Mack and the newlywed Simmons are tending to Yo-Yo, who lost both her arms in a freak attack two episode back. Yo-Yo is irritable while she waits for Fitz to make her robotic prosthetics, but Mack insists that he doesn’t care about dating someone with robot parts – they aren’t the parts that count. (Yo-Yo’s heart is warmed. Simmons thinks this is a dirty joke.) Coulson shows up, and Yo-Yo asks if his prosthetic hand feels the same. He admits that he doesn’t feel it at all. Simmons ushers them out to let Yo-Yo rest, and Yo-Yo just wants a beer.
Fitz meets up with Coulson. He is also very irritable, as he hasn’t slept in days. He is trying to find a way to permanently seal the Rift to the fear dimension, as leaks are becoming more and more common and their Gravitonium band-aid will eventually give out. He also needs to work on Yo-Yo’s prosthetics.
Luckily, Daisy has an idea to kill two birds with one stone: They tracked down all the employees of Cybertek, the HYDRA contractor that made Deathlok and John Garrett. All the scientists that worked under Ian Quinn are reported dead, but they all died mysteriously at the same time, and their death records were all signed by the same mysterious man. They run a facial scan, and his I.D. shows up under multiple names. They decide to find him under the cover of night.
Alex wakes up in General Hale’s compound, and has no idea where he is. He goes to the empty mess hall, steals a knife and begins cautiously but ravenously eating. Hale’s daughter Ruby enters with earbuds in, and Alex tries asking her where they are and how they got there. She ignores him, takes some food and leaves.
S.H.I.E.L.D. tracks down the mysterious man (played by Jake Busey himself) – only to discover that Mack recognizes him, and they are old buddies. His name is Tony “Candy Man” Caine and he used to go to S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy with old Alphonso “Mack Hammer” Mackenzie. They bring Tony aboard, and he tells them that he was tasked with an project similar to Operation Paperclip: finding safe new identities for innocent ex-HYDRA scientists. The Gravitonium-holding man they are looking for, Joseph Getty, is one of them – and Tony knows where to find him.
Coulson leaves Deke to work with Fitz, as Deke knows more about Gravitonium than any of them. Fitz is already pissed off, and Deke wanting to play catch and asking dumb questions doesn’t help. Noticing an anomaly on the screen, Fitz warns the base that the Rift is flaring up with fear visions again.
Simmons hears a crash, and finds Yo-Yo on the floor out of her bed. She forgot that she didn’t have arms, and tried to get up. She asks to be left there and begins to cry. How could Mack ever love her, or want to have children with her, like this? She expresses her fears that the world is playing out exactly as she was told it was. They aren’t changing the future, just living the same end of the world over and over. Simmons promises they will change it.
Daisy and May discuss the possibility of using Deathlok technology to save Coulson’s life. He refuses, saying that his life was already artificially extended and he saw what it did to Garrett. Once he leaves, they decide to pursue it anyway without his permission – anything to keep Coulson safe.
At Hale’s compound, Alex finds Ruby working out and she invites him to join. He reveals that he remembers her with his crazy super-memory – his father and her mother used to spend time together. He notes that she still has the scar from hitting her head when they were kids. She doesn’t remember him. He quickly puts his knife to her throat.
Tony and Mack finds Getty, and after talking him down they explain that all they need the Gravitonium. It’s a universally life-or-death matter. He explains that it was aboard the ship Principia (take a shot), but the ship was struck by lightning and went down at sea.
For the first time since their marriage, Fitz and Simmons share a tender moment. It’s cute and they keep calling each other “husband” and “wife” and admiring the wedding rings. They consider hyphenating their name (Fitz suggests the awful Simmons-Fitz). Deke arrives to piss off his secret grandparents a bit and realizes that the Gravitonium struck by lightning may have caused the ship to fly instead of sink.
General Hale and her soldiers enter to find Alex with his knife to her daughter’s throat. Hale tries to calm “Werner”, but he insists that his name is Alex Braun and that he wants nothing to do with his father or HYDRA. Hale insists that they aren’t HYDRA and are building something new – but if Alex wants to leave, he is free to do so in the morning. As they let him go, Hale asks Ruby to seduce him and keep him on the team.
Away from Fitz, trying not to piss him off, Deke finds some Twinkies in storage. He enjoys them, when he hears the voice of his mom.
Fitz and Simmons’ daughter.
It is, of course, a fear vision bleeding from the fear dimension – but for the moment, he is just glad to see his mom again. She is happy that Deke is making friends, and teases him that Daisy is cute. She reminds him a saying her mom used to tell her: It doesn’t matter how big the steps are, as long as they are in the right direction. She then warns him not to get too close to anyone, as he knows what happens. She is suddenly impaled by a Kree reaper’s ax.
Is this how Fitz and Simmons’ daughter dies?
Looking for the ship above the ocean is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but S.H.I.E.L.D. does it. They find the flying ship.
Ruby enters Alex’s room and tells him that her mom is a tyrant and wants her to seduce him into staying. She has a better plan – her and him will overthrow Hale and control her team together. If he leaves tomorrow, she understands – but if he doesn’t, that’s a whole new ballgame.
Aboard the Principia, Coulson, Daisy and Mack find the crew dead from extreme hypoxia. Unbeknownst to them, they also awake some of Hale’s robotic bodyguards. They find Ian Quinn’s case where the Gravitonium used to reside, empty. In the center of the ship, there is a small sphere of Gravitonium. Deke warns them that that is what is keeping the ship floating, and if they take it they will have 90 seconds to escape before the ship falls hundreds of feet to the water. Suddenly, the robots attack. Coulson and Daisy leave with the Gravitonium, while Mack stays back and fights them. He has a plan. He makes it out just in time, and brings back some robots with him.
Hale’s assistant Candice tells her that their sleeper agents aboard the Principia were activated for the first time in years, and wonders who would take the Gravitonium. Hale already knows: S.H.I.E.L.D. would.
The team thank Tony for their help, and say their goodbyes. He secretly tells May that he will look into Deathlok technology to try and help Coulson and departs.
Simmons tends to Yo-Yo, and Yo-Yo notices that she has a piece of Flint’s Monolith. Yo-Yo admits she is holding onto it just in case. Deke enters to tell them that the team is back, and catches Simmons telling Yo-Yo that she doesn’t need to make big steps, just steps in the right direction. He recognizes that this is what his grandma told his mom, and notices the Monolith shard that his mom had too. The wedding ring too…
Deke realizes that Fitz and Simmons are his grandparents. He is mind-blown and can barely relay his message that the team has returned.
Mack arrives with a present for Yo-Yo – some beers. He also brought her something better, unloading the robotic bodies he brought back from the ship: Arms.
Ruby wakes up the next morning and sees that Alex is not in his room. She goes to the mess hall, and he is there eating breakfast. He decided not to leave. She decides to show him another member of their team: Carl Creel, the Absorbing Man, working out. One of his dad’s old experiments – though she doesn’t need to tell him that. Hale approaches and asks how she got him to say. Ruby honestly says that she told him the truth.
But who is she going to betray?
This is a strong episode, but with so many crazy strong episodes lately, it doesn’t quite stack up. Not to say it’s bad by any stretch, and it’s great seeing old plot lines come back into the mix. It’s just a regular good episode. And is that really a bad thing?
I give it a 7/10. Stick around for a crazy episode next week!