This review contains spoilers.
After last week’s series-altering 100th episode, Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD presents a breather instalment this week that is still pretty darn exciting. The episode is centered on a McGuffin hunt for Gravitonium, an element SHIELD needs to make sure that the ominous breach into the fear dimension stays closed after last week’s struggle. The search for Gravitonium (and man, is it hard to type that word with a straight face. I mean, it’s from the James Cameron book of hastily named elements) is just a backdrop to examine the changes of some of our major players after the seismic 100th ep.
First off, there’s the time-tossed Deke, a man who discovered last week that his grandparents are none other than the newly married Fitz and Simmons. Deke adds a great new dynamic to the team as it kind of allows Agents Of SHIELD to have a Peter Quill-lite along for the ride. Deke’s innocence and ignorance really plays off Grandpa Fitz’s buttoned up demeanour and creates some natural comedy. But don’t let Deke’s dopiness fool you; it is the visitor from the future’s discovery that allows SHIELD to find that much needed Gravitonium.
You’ll forgive Fitz and Simmons for being a wee bit distracted, as they are freshly married. We get a bit of alone time with the newlyweds as the couple realises that they are now named Leopold and Gemma Simmons-Fitz. That’s some funny stuff right there, but the science lovebirds have their hands full trying to keep the fear gate shut and building a new set of prosthetic arms for poor Yo Yo.
Yes, poor Yo Yo, not only does she have to get used to being maimed, she also has to face the fact that the loss of her arms is a harbinger to the horrible future SHIELD visited in the first part of the season. Yo Yo’s grief is palpable and so is Mack’s love as he will do anything to make sure Yo Yo feels safe and secure despite her very compromised physical and mental state.
I’m really glad we got to the prosthetic limb solution very quickly because, I mean, Coulson has been rocking a robot hand for a few seasons now, why not Yo Yo? But with SHIELD in hiding, it’s hard for Fitz to secure the materials he needs to craft Yo Yo new arms.
Until Mack is on the case, that is. Mack, Coulson, May, and Daisy all are on the hunt for Gravitonium. Helping our agents is the newly introduced Tony “Candyman” Caine played by none other than Jake Busey. Fret not fans, a Busey has arrived in the MCU! I’m not really sure why Jake Busey arrived in the MCU because Caine doesn’t really do anything. He’s an old friend of Mack’s who leads the team to a former HYDRA scientist that now works for the US government which leads them to a lost ship containing Gravitonium It’s all kinds of wheel spinny until Deke figures out that the element in question is stuck aboard a floating ship which is all kinds of cool so I’ll just forgive the overly convoluted plot because ski floaty boat.
Anyway, once SHIELD is on the ship things really get moving, but before that, I just realised I forgot to mention that the fear rift is leaking. More fear energy is taking human form in SHIELD underground HQ as Deke runs into the wraith of his dead mother. This allows Deke to be reminded of one of his mother’s favorite sayings, a bit of folk wisdom that mama Deke learned from her own ma.
Now, we know that’s Simmons, but when Deke overhears Simmons telling Yo Yo that same bit of wisdom, Deke realizes Simmons is his nana! So that really changes that dynamic I was talking about as Deke now understands he is hanging around with his newlywed memaw and papa. Timey Wimey!
All this leads to Mack, Coulson, and Daisy boarding the floating ship to obtain the Gravitonium. Unfortunately, some of General Hale’s creepy Snake-Eyes from GI Joe looking robots are onboard. SHIELD has to grab the element and run before the ship crashes back into the ocean which leads us to a pretty kick-ass action sequence with Mack and his shotgun axe taking the lead. Not only does Mack allow SHIELD to escape with Gravitonium, he also secures one of the robots so Yo Yo can have her new arms! Nice feel good touch.
But it seems like SHIELD’s victory won’t last long at all, because in this week’s B story, we check in on Ruby Hale and her mother’s new recruit: the returning Werner “Alex” Von Strucker. It’s been a while since we’ve seen the young Von Strucker and things have not been going well for the tortured youth. He is even more disturbed than when we last saw him a few seasons back and the Hales want him for their new team. By episode’s end, the dangerous but charismatic Ruby convinces Von Strucker to stay and join with the Hales and Crusher Creel to form a really formidable team. Where this is going is anyone’s guess, but I like the prospects of a super team battle closing out the season.
There are a lot of moving parts right now on Agents Of SHIELD. Coulson is dying, Deke is getting accustomed to the future and finding his grandparents, Daisy is trying to find a way not to destroy the world, Yo Yo is healing, and the Hales are ready to strike, all while SHIELD is trying to fix a rip in the fabric of reality. We’ll see if all these myriad components will lead to a coherent second half of the season, but if the first part is anything to go by, Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD is at a peak level of creativity and should be able to stick a sound and satisfying landing.
Read Marc’s review of the previous episode, The Real Deal, here.