And we’re back! No, really, Mack even says that in the episode. The SHIELD team is back in their time and back from the mid-season break, so without further ado, let’s see how things picked up.
1. Best. Cameo. Ever.
As much as I enjoyed this episode, there’s one thing that really stands out: Patrick Warburton as General Rick Stoner, or rather, the pre-recorded projected video of General Rick Stoner.
He read out the introduction to the Lighthouse like he was leading people to a ride at Disney Land. (“Soarin; Over California,” or “Soarin’ Around the World” to be specific.) His cheeriness for a video meant to be viewed during times of crisis and the way he’d add comments to the theoretical viewers was highly amusing, made all the better by Patrick’s amazing voice. His line about how the tech there might make it seem like the 1980’s came early and the wonders of electronic mail? Fantastic.
Those well-versed in Marvel history will recognize Rick Stoner as the first director of SHIELD, who was presumed dead, abandoned, and took on the codename “Fallen Angel.” It’s highly unlikely we’ll be seeing Patrick Warburton return as a vengeful masked warrior, but a part of me really wants to see it anyways.
2. Deke’s Day Out
Okay, I admit I’ve given Deke a lot of crap over the first half of the season. I don’t regret any of it, but I will say that this is the episode that won me over. Deke arrived back in our time by a stroke of luck, and immediately went about enjoying everything that the actual Earth has to offer.
Hugging a tree is cute, almost eating ice cream out of the trash is okay, but then he got to the bar and we had a montage of him enjoying food, getting drunk, and watching as much TV as he could, all with the cheeriest smile on his face, and suddenly I’m liking the character a lot more.
His failed dine and dash attempt was fine, but him trying to explain that he’s from the future was plenty amusing too. With Deke in the drunk tank and talking about how he couldn’t even imagine things like “food shaped like animals,” I was almost disappointed when Daisy bailed him out.
3. Oh, Right, Piper, I Totally Remembered Her
You guys all remember Piper, right? No? She was part of May’s strike team, she helped rescue Daisy from Hive, and was instrumental in getting them through the Framework. Sure, she’s not part of the main cast, but she contributed a lot in previous arcs!
Okay, I admit, that was a while ago, I forgot she was still around as well. But the showrunners didn’t, so her return is a nice touch. It reminds us that there’s more SHIELD agents than just Coulson’s team, and they’ve been dealing with their own share of problems while we’ve been looking at the future. Continuity is important, and bringing characters like Piper back is great for reestablishing the cast’s links to the world.
Of course, it also set up another unsurprising betrayal, leading to a quick Piper redemption moment, and also…
Well dang, I can honestly say I didn’t expect to see Yo-Yo losing her arms quite so suddenly. Admittedly, it effectively introduces this new disk-throwing, black-clad antagonist, and certainly puts a damper on Yo-Yo’s abilities, so I’ll give the show credit for this unexpected turn of events.
When we saw the future Yo-Yo, who also had no arms, most of us just assumed that Kasius cut them off to prevent her from causing any trouble after she was revived. That did seem to be the implication, especially since we saw that Yo-Yo in another flashback and, if memory serves, she still had her arms then.
So it’s likely she’ll be getting prosthetic arms, similar to Coulson’s robotic hand. Still, as far as unexpectedly dark turns go, this was a good one.
5. Kids, Right?
The episode begins with General Hale talking to her rebellious teenage daughter, who appears to idolize Quake and questions her mother if she’s actually one of the good guys. It seemed like a moment meant to tell us a little about Hale’s character and her morals, while introducing a new character who could conceivably help out the team (or at least Quake) later down the line.Continued below
Then we get to the end of the episode, and the conversation takes on an entirely new meaning. She’s been cutting classes? It’s not school, it’s training to be a better killer. Her obsession with Quake? Probably not idolatry, but more like a hunter obsessing over pray. As for why she asks her mother about whether or not she’s one of the good guys… well, that raises some interesting ideas. Does morality matter to her? Does she want to be a bad guy? What’s her aim? These are all good questions, and I want to see them answered down the line.
I must say, that is a great way to end an episode. It introduces new characters, threats, and questions, but the way it reframes the episode’s opening and the conversations therein was a wonderful touch. If you haven’t yet, go back and re-watch the first scene with this new knowledge in mind, and see how different it is now.
All in all, a welcome return for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I look forward to seeing what the second half of the season has, so join us again next week for episode 100.