This week, the Invincible Three learn that invincibility, like magic, comes with a price, as the prophecy/time loop plays out all over again. Ruby’s dreams start coming true along the way, bringing her closer to becoming the Destroyer of Worlds. Deke confesses his feelings for Daisy, which doesn’t bode well for his long term survival, if history is anything to go by. But, hey, Ghost Rider was technically dead before he met Daisy, so he’s just banished to an alternate dimension instead. Maybe the guy from the future will get a creative send off as well.
It’s an action packed episode, with a few laughs, a few revelations and some heartbreak thrown in for good measure. With only five episodes left in the season, and possibly the series, we’re racing toward the big finish. Every episode feels like it’s part of the set up for whatever is coming in the grand finale.
Fitz, Jemma, Elena and their quinjet have flown to Herefordshire, England, to search one of Gideon Malick’s HYDRA storage facilities. This site was also a crucial R&D site, so this is their best bet for finding the weapon. The trio gear up, program the plane to stayed cloaked nearby, and parachute out.
Jemma wanted to come back to England for their honeymoon, if they ever got a break from saving the world. Fitz thinks that’s a lovely idea. Elena doesn’t want to be the third wheel, but so far she’s a much calmer third wheel than Daisy usually is.
Talbot and Phil are on the run in the snowy pine forest, while Talbot whines that Coulson didn’t rescue him from Hale fast enough. There’s just so much wrong with this scenario. Coulson seems to think they can outrun or hide from whoever’s going to chase them, as they leave giant footprints in the snow. Talbot seems to have completely lost his military training. He’s decided Coulson is his best friend or guardian angel who owed him an immediate superhero rescue.
Talbot’s candid mutterings to himself are still hilarious, though. He finally just gives up and says Coulson lives in a fifth dimension freak show, and Phil agrees. Talbot is demoralized, since Hale broke him and he feels like he let everyone down, from himself to his family to his country.
Ruby discovers that the boys used the alien device to escape and follows without hesitation. She follows them via their footprints with ease.
The zephyr has been overhead looking for Coulson and Talbot for hours, but can’t find them, seeing how the plane is staying above the cloud cover. Daisy finally shows true leadership skill and decides they should land and search on the ground, where they could see the people they’re looking for. Deke, as the audience stand in, throws a mild fit, wondering why every life or death situation has to depend on the crayon drawings of an old woman or a little girl with only a glancing relationship with sanity or temporal precision.
But this is Daisy we’re talking about, so she lands at the exact right moment, in the exact right spot, just as Ruby catches up to Talbot and Coulson. Just like she probably has the other 200 times the time loop has gone around. She sends Coulson and Talbot back to the Zephyr with Deke and May, while she stays behind to take care of Ruby.
Ruby’s excited to meet her, and to have the chance to beat her. They fight hand to hand for a few minutes, until Daisy quakes Ruby against a tree. Deke stayed behind to make sure Daisy was okay, and comes out from behind a tree to talk once Ruby’s down. He’s just in time for Hale and the rest of Ruby’s back up team to shoot him in the chest. Daisy grabs him and they retreat, leaving Ruby behind.
Deke is seriously wounded, since his grandparents have selfishly decided to save the world on their own, and Grandma won’t be home to do surgery. Coulson and Daisy do a little emergency field medicine to stop the bleeding, while the plane races back to the Lighthouse.
Mack has been in Fitz’ cell since last week, when Piper finally meanders by and lets him out. Guess they aren’t guarding that cell too closely.
Elena, Fitz, and Jemma reach the R&D facility, which is covered with “Radioactive” signs. Jemma notices wildflowers growing against the fences, so it can’t be too contaminated. Fitz’ measurements agree. The signs are to keep curious locals out, so there must be something important inside.
Elena uses her new arms’ super strength to break the locks on the gates into the facility. Fitz notes that maybe losing her arms wasn’t all bad, then digs himself into a deeper hole by saying he just means there was a silver lining. Jemma rescues them all from the awkard conversation by pushing them to keep moving.
Deke is sitting up on the Zephyr with a blanket over his shoulders, which doesn’t seem like a good idea. Shouldn’t he be laying down and resting? Daisy brings him a water and a scolding for disobeying her orders. She yells at the guy who’s barely not bleeding out until he’s so upset that his blood pressure rises and he starts bleeding out again.
I take back what I sarcastically said about her leadership skills. She really sucks at this. Or were we supposed to get romantic chemistry from the abusive sparks flying between them? She doesn’t even make sense most of the time any more. Deke’s right. She doesn’t think he’s on the team but she expects him to obey orders unquestioningly? Don’t think so.
Most importantly, she completely ignores the fact that she’s killing him, in favor of lashing out at him. That argument was just a way for her to take out her anger and frustrations on someone. Was she really going to take on Hale, Ruby and the mechs alone, and capture them by herself, without killing anyone?
Hale circles back around to Ruby and her overzealous attack on Creel. Hale still feels that it’s important to test the Gravitonium on Creel before Ruby tries it, even though Ruby doesn’t want to let anyone get to it before her. Mom’s also super disappointed in Ruby again, and locks her in her cage/room after a lecture about following orders. Hale has even removed all of Ruby’s posters from the walls, but Ruby does still have her furniture, so she’s doing better than Coulson was.
When the Zephyr returns to the Lighthouse, they discover that Jemma isn’t there to take care of Deke. Piper has trained as a field medic, but is too nervous to operate. Mack volunteers to have her talk him through it, because he has steady hands and a mechanic is almost a surgeon.
Piper hasn’t read the anesthesia chapter, but Deke’s unconscious, so they operate without sedating him. It’s fine, it’ll be something else he has in common with Daisy that she can claim was worse for her.
Before the Invincible Three can get into the HYDRA facility, Ivanov and a group of mechs arrive to pick up the device.
May pulls Coulson aside to make him explain all of the stupid decisions he’s been making lately that have led to everyone else being put in positions they never should have been in. He defends his choices, since now they know what Hale’s agenda is. May doesn’t give an inch, reiterating that Daisy isn’t ready to lead, and all she could think about while Coulson was gone was trying to get him back. Everything that’s happened at the Lighthouse is his fault. Phil may say that he’s not in a hurry to die, but because he’s not doing anything to avoid it, he’s selfishly hurting everyone who cares about him.
Coulson: Maybe I’m reckless. But if this is the end, better to go out doing something that matters.
May: No. You don’t get to make that decision alone. That decision is made with the people who love you.
May: And that’s me. I love you. (He stands there speechless, with his mouth hanging open.) I thought that would shut you up.
She walks out. He stands there in shock.
Well, that was epic. After all of the almosts, and the relationships with other people, and the LMD love, one of them finally said it. I’m not actually sure if she meant it platonically, romantically, both, or “I’ll let you know when my temper cools off some”.
Werner remembers the code for Ruby’s cage door and unlocks it so that he can share the big news that he’s finished assembling everything they need to know in order to use the infusion device. Ruby is in a surprisingly subservient mood, and says she can’t come out and play right now, or Mom will be mad.
Werner wonders why she’s still doing what Mom says when she’s a grown woman with a genius boyfriend to tell her what to do instead. To be fair, this was Ruby’s plan first, or Ruby’s version of her mother’s version of Whitehall and Wolfgang von Strucker’s plan. There’s not a lot of original thinking happening here. But Ruby’s going to make sure she’s the first one to use the device, that’s what’s important.
Fitz, Jemma and Elena sneak into the HYDRA facility, then set off an explosion outside to draw Ivanov and the mechs away from the device. Before the explosion, Ivanov is on the phone with Hale, making sure she still intends to let him use the device to become a truly superior man, which is odd, since he’s an LMD with no body to use the device on. Unless he printed himself a flesh body with Aida’s 3D body printer and has it stashed somewhere.
Once Ivanov is gone, the trio slip into the room with the device. They damage an important component so that it will be useless. They wonder if it will change anything, but are fairly sure that everything they’re doing has been done by their previous selves in other versions of the time loop. They have no way to know whether decisions are new and different or the same old same old.
Hale sends her assistant to work on their backup plan, then discovers that Ruby’s door is unlocked and assumes Werner unlocked it. Ruby is still there. They have a little heart to heart, with Ruby baring her soul and airing her grievances. She feels like she can never make her mother happy, no matter how hard she tries, and she’s tried so hard. Her mother is her one weakness. And she knows that she’s Hale’s.
Ruby slams Hale to the floor and locks her in the room. Through the door, she tells Hale that she’ll make her proud. Werner and Ruby collect the Gravitonium and take off for England.
Daisy brings Talbot some fresh clothes. She makes him nervous, because her LMD shot him, even though he knows it was an LMD and not her. He wants to call his family, but Daisy says that it’s not safe. He becomes violent until she says that she’ll try to find a way for him to call on a secure channel. In the meantime, she needs him to tell her everything he told Hale.
The mechs return to the room where FitzSimmons and Elena are still discussing time and the device. Elena races out into the hall to take their weapons, but her speed causes unbearable pain in her hands. Funny, it didn’t do that last week when she put Mack in Fitz’ cell. Fitz realizes that the mech arms weren’t built to be compatible with Yoyo’s inhuman physiology. Jemma did finish the arms on her own, without his engineering input. Reconfiguring the arms for longer bursts of speed must be one of the things he didn’t get to do before he was locked up.
Fitz can recalibrate them, but not in the middle of a battle. FitzSimmons tell Elena to make her way back to the quinjet and call for backup.
Butch and Sundance FitzSimmons will stay behind and draw the attention of the mechs so that she can escape. Elena thinks she should stay and fight, but FitzSimmons have a new rule- “We never leave each others side anymore.”
Piper and Mack discuss Mack’s concern for Elena, and his frustration with her. Piper feels guilty about getting everyone involved with Hale. Mack tells her that she needs to find something else to fix to make up for her mistake. Like maybe saving Deke’s life? Deke starts to bleed out at that moment. The bullet has shifted and nicked an artery. Deke wakes up and panics, since he’s not sedated. Piper injects him with a sedative, then Mack removes the bullet and finishes the surgery.
As soon as Elena leaves, FitzSimmons are pinned down by the mechs. They didn’t bring enough weaponry for battle, since this was supposed to be a quick stealth mission. For comfort, Jemma asks Fitz to re-explain the theory of time that proves why they can’t die, but it turns out that theoretical physics makes for a terrible bedtime story. Who knew?
As soon as Elena leaves, she runs into Ivanov in the back corridor. She’s a great fighter even without her speed, and the strength in her new arms gives her an added advantage. They have some acrobatic, if slow, fight choreography, and entertaining banter, until Elena discovers that Ivanov is an LMD. Then she pushes him out of a window, jumping on top of him for the ride. That kills the machine.
FitzSimmons were in the process of being overwhelmed by the mechs and prepared to die in a last stand, but the mechs all drop to the ground, inactive, when Ivanov is disabled. He was internally controlling all of the other robots.
Elena looks up from Ivanov’s body and sees another plane arriving.
Deke successfully makes it through his surgery and gets all the painkillers a boy could want, which makes him very talkative. He tells Piper and Mack about his major crush on Daisy and how much he wants to move his lips around on hers, as long as it’s mutually agreed upon lip smashing, ’cause that’s what makes it nice. But he knows Daisy doesn’t like him. It’s okay, Deke, Daisy doesn’t like anyone right now.
Piper says Daisy isn’t her type, but she gets the attraction. Was that a joke, or did Piper just come out?
Mack proves that Deke is now formally part of the team by giving him a nickname, “Spaceman”, and Piper encourages him to shave his head. But now Mack’s had as much as he can take and ups Deke’s painkillers until Deke passes out again. Deke’s entire surgery experience has been a nightmare, when you think about it, and now they’re likely to kill him with an opioid overdose.
Daisy steps into Deke’s recovery zone to tell Piper and Mack that something weird just happened. Mack just shakes his head at Piper. Daisy says that they got a ping on the transceiver frequency that the mechs use. They’re tracing it now.
Looks like FitzSimmons will have backup in a few hours. Too bad Ruby and Werner are already there.
FitzSimmons examine the disabled mechs and wonder why they powered down. The two came so close to dying that Fitz had started to doubt his theory that time is fixed and can’t be changed. He thinks maybe Jemma’s hopeful nature is rubbing off on him.
Just as he says that, Ruby’s chakram flies between them. Ruby and Werner follow it into the room. Werner recognizes FitzSimmons from his previous encounters with SHIELD. He also realizes that they’ve damaged an important component of the infuser. Ruby orders them to repair it or die. Jemma wants to choose death, but Fitz would never let Jemma die. He says, “We don’t have a choice. We never did.”
In the stinger, Daisy brings Talbot a heavily encrypted phone so that he can call his family. His wife, Carla, answers, She only lets him talk for a minute, then begins reading from the Whitehall script for Faustus compliance training, used extensively in season 2. Hale’s assistant is with Carla. This is their backup plan.
Carla: Glenn, the doctors said that you should take a deep breath. Calm your mind. You know what is best. What is best, is you comply. Remember, your compliance will be rewarded. Glenn, are you ready to comply?
Talbot: I’m happy to.
Did Talbot hear Ruby’s chakram coming and weirdly duck it when he’s retained no other useful survival skills?
Coulson: So how’d you find us?
Coulson: It’s a little bit like cheating, don’t you think?
Shouldn’t Yoyo have known that Ivanov would be an LMD? There’s a serious issue with communication and debriefing going on in SHIELD. What did they do in their downtime in the Lighthouse? That time could have been used for storytelling as a way to catch each other up on everything they’ve missed. They should know by now that no threat is ever really gone.
Yoyo, looking down at Ivanov’s dead LMD body: Who’s superior now?
How many copies of his original body does Ivanov have? Was Coulson right when he guessed that Ivanov can’t make any more realistic LMDs? Ivanov didn’t really confirm it. And does Hale actually know everything about Ivanov, or does he have some tricks up his sleeve that he’s kept hidden from her, so that he can escape or overthrow her at the right time?
It seems like Ivanov’s using Hale as much as she’s using him, while he’s letting her think she has him under her control. He got rid of Aida pretty effectively using the same strategy. He egged Aida on until she was completely out of control in a way she might not have reached without his influence. Once she self-destructed, he was left in control of the resources they’d shared. Now Hale has resources he wants, and the same scenario is playing out. As Elena pointed out, as the Superior he has wealth and an entire network of Watchdogs to do his bidding.
I’m not sure if it’s romantic or crazy that FitzSimmons would rather die than be temporarily separated, but it turned out that Elena was the right choice to run for the quinjet, since she had to fight Ivanov.
Bravo to Jeff Ward and his comedic abilities. His painkiller scene was the best thing about this episode, along with FitzSimmons’ Butch and Sundance turn.
Guess Hale used her time with Talbot as a prisoner wisely after all. Not only did she get as much information as possible out of him, she programmed him to do whatever she asks. Piper is probably programmed to comply as well, along with some of the other returning agents.
This story ties in with Bucky Barnes having his programming removed, of course.
Fitz and Jemma are on site for the repair and use of the infuser device, as predicted. It looks like Ruby will get her wish and be the first one to try the device. Who else, if anyone, will go through the machine? Or will Ruby have it destroyed after she uses it, so she remains unique?
Round one of the Destroyers of Worlds head to head went to Daisy, but Ruby’s about to even the playing field, and she’s a lot crazier than Daisy. Round two will have a much different look.
The Destroyers of Worlds