This review contains spoilers for Agents of SHIELD.
Agents of SHIELD Season 6 Episode 4
Agents of SHIELD has always been able to take comedic detours without undermining its central adventure, and with the return of Deke Shaw in “Code Yellow,” the show even manages to clarify what Sarge and his team are up to while addressing a dangling character thread from season 5. There’s always been a question in our minds as to whether the man wearing Phil Coulson’s face might actually be using questionable motives to accomplish a noble goal, and his sense of curiosity this week together with the failed fight to save Agent Keller point towards a possible meeting of minds to confront a common enemy.
First, we have to talk about the wonderful guest appearance by Agents of SHIELD showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen, who played Deke’s girlfriend and social media expert, Sequoia. Her Instagram story epilogue was a humorous but strangely realistic portrayal of what might actually happen if a tech startup were attacked by dimension-hopping assassins. The hoverboards and hipster employees painted a clear picture of how Deke might have exploited his knowledge of the future to his own advantage while acclimating surprisingly well to this more superficial time in his past.
We had a few welcome reminders of Deke’s future origins, including his use of the Framework, the mention of Remoraths, and the attempt to develop a hand with an energy shield like Coulson’s and a gravity belt without any gravitonium (good luck with that!). It was also helpful to follow up an episode in which Fitz’s right to exist was called into question with a plot where Deke shows up on a detector designed to identify beings who don’t belong in this dimension. His survival instincts may have been corrupted a bit by his cliched video game dialogue and sideways gun grip, but he was able to smell Fake Coulson’s bullshit a mile away with almost no context.
Although his use of hashtags in normal speech and talk of starting a “post-food movement,” may be cringeworthy, it’s doubtful Deke deserves Mack’s disdain when the director tells HQ, “If these guys want to take out Deke Shaw, they’re going to have to wait in line.” But Deke has been a wonderful foil ever since he came back from the apocalyptic future of season 5, and although perhaps Agent Trevor Khan should have kept a closer check on his use of SHIELD tech, the idea that a Code Yellow exists is somewhat of a comfort. May’s got the right idea when she comments on letting things go too far, and if she’s correct about Deke not having been told about Fitz’s death, then Mack’s assertion that they’re not sure they’ve lost Fitz yet doesn’t really hold water.
That being said, his restraint in allowing Keller and Yoyo to continue working together despite their burgeoning relationship shows an admirable lack of hypocrisy. Although it certainly is sad that Agent Keller didn’t make it very far into Agents of SHIELD season 6, it was quickly becoming clear that there was a lack of chemistry with the couple anyway, so viewers are likely more fascinated by the manner of his demise than they are devastated by his death. We knew as soon Dr. Benson accidentally released the flying beast from inside the bus stop victim’s chest cavity that someone was going to pay the price.
What’s even more fascinating is what the presence of the alien bird says about Sarge’s team and their mission. We’ve now seen several instances of the creatures and the devastation they can cause, and now that we know they can inhabit a human host, the murder of the man at the bus stop as well as his intended destination of Sioux Falls, which Keller identified as a ley line hotspot, indicate that the dimension hoppers are trying to halt an incursion, not initiate one. The fact that they’re not optimistic about their chances and that they employ a psychopath like Snowflake is beside the point. It’s much more intriguing to realize SHIELD and Sarge may have a common enemy to battle!
So why take May? Obviously, Sarge was trying to find out more about why people keep calling him Coulson by pretending to have lost his memory with Deke, but it doesn’t seem like he learned enough to draw any conclusions about the significance of Agent May to his other self. All we have to go on is the answer to May’s question about why he’s keeping her alive: “You’re about to find out.” Sarge wouldn’t let Snowflake turn May into the most beautiful butterfly ever, so he must see something special in her for him to have left behind not only Pax and Jaco but Deke, the object of his original search, as well.
It’s another win for Agents of SHIELD this week as the show continues to capitalize on its signature mix of comedy, adventure, emotion, and drama and on its ensemble cast that always stays true to its many characters. Although we’re still not sure why or how the invasion from another reality began, it’s definitely a battle worth fighting even if the enemy turns out to be not who we think it is. With the thematic elements of “beings that don’t belong” linking the Earth and space storylines, it will be interesting to see how the show will bring the team together and under what circumstances.
Listen to our Agents of SHIELD interview and discussion on the Sci Fi Fidelity podcast:
Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter (@mikescifi). He co-hosts our Sci Fi Fidelity podcast and coordinates interviews for The Fourth Wall podcast.