In season 6, episode 2 of Agents of SHIELD, Melinda May returns to peak fighting form after an injury sidelined her for most of season 5. She single handedly takes on
EvilCoulson Sarge’s team, including the Jaco the Giant and Butterfly Snowflake the dirty street fighter. She doesn’t win the fight, but she does gather important intel, free the hostage and jog Sarge’s memory of the word “Coulson”, so it’s a win for the mission.
The other main storyline this episode is Fitz and Enoch’s big space adventure. They’ve signed on to work a long haul run with a crew of xenophobic Sivians in order to get to Naro-Adzia, the planet where cryo pods are made (Jenna was right in her prediction). Fitz disguised his eye color and Enoch taught him the language so that he could blend in with the Sivians. But Enoch forgot to share some important cultural points with Fitz, which lead to them being outed as Terrans. Fitz has to think fast in order to save himself and Enoch without allowing the rest of the crew to be killed instead.
This episode allows viewers to get to know the alien culture that Fitz is involved with better, and the one that Sarge is part of. The writers also take time to further explore Marcus Benson and Agent Keller’s characters. We find out a little more about Sarge and his crew as individuals, including the fact that some teammates are disposable, a very un-Coulson-like attitude.
Sarge and his crew begin the episode with a convenience store robbery which is part recon, part supply run, part callback to original Coulson’s exploits. They keep up a running commentary about what they think of this planet, as compared to the many other planets they’ve encountered. After examining, then rejecting, a pair of aviator sunglasses, Sarge picks up a cleanser, motor oil and duct tape.
He doesn’t have Coulson’s love of organic soaps, then.
Butterfly Snowflake knocks things off the shelves for fun and picks up a Cincinnati mug. Jaco tries a big blue Slurpee, which gives him a brainfreeze headache. He likes it, though, and hands one to Sarge. Sarge takes a sip from the straw, then leaves the Slurpee next to the cash register.
They move on to harassing the cashier. Sarge says that you can tell a lot about a planet by its currency. When he finds out that this part of Earth uses paper money, he dismissively says, “One of those. At least it’s lighter than coin.” On the other hand, they’re all excited about how much the planet has to offer.
Sarge notices the cashier looking at the gun hidden under the counter. He says, “People fantasize about doing something heroic at times like these.” He takes the gun and aims it at the cashier. “You don’t look like a hero to me.” Then he fires at one of the merchandise displays.
Snowflake gathers up the merchandise he just liberated. Sarge notes that the weapon is so primitive, that it should be easy to do what they came here to do. They each take a last minute item, then leave. Sarge takes a radio and Pax takes a map of Ohio. Jaco brought snacks. Snowflake snagged some electronics.
As they walk away, Sarge slips on the new wraparound sunglasses he chose, in Coulson’s signature move. He carries the box radio like it’s a briefcase. They drive off in the truck, and after a moment, Sarge pulls the lever to make the truck invisible.
Agent Fox is really deceased. It says so in his SHIELD file. Mack leads a memorial service for him in ops, then segues straight into handing out the assignments for the day. Runko will scan for disturbances while Keller and Yo-Yo go over the security footage from the museum. May will supervise the search for Sarge’s truck.
May questions why Mack hasn’t let the entire agency know that there’s someone out there with Coulson’s face. Mack doesn’t want to start an unnecessary panic. They won’t broadcast it until they have an explanation. She asks if he doesn’t believe her. Mack denies it, but his excuses don’t make sense.
It could take a while to identify why the being looks like Coulson. Meanwhile, one agent after another will be shocked to meet up with their beloved former boss in the form of a villain. What happened with Fox will continue to happen. It’s Mack, with his hatred of any kind of robot, alien, duplicate or fake human, who can’t handle facing what Sarge/Coulson might be. The others seem fine, and they need to know what they’re walking into.
Sarge pulls the truck into a shipping container storage yard and parks. They all congregate in the trailer, which serves as their HQ. Jaco is using a breathing apparatus, and coughing. Pax gets angry with him, annoyed by the coughs. Sarge tells him to learn to deal with it, since Jaco hasn’t had his home atmosphere in 9 years.
Snowflake shows Sarge a magazine ad, pointing out than she’ll need some new clothes in order to pass unnoticed on Earth. He promises they’ll get her some.
Sarge asks Pax to check the invisibility cloaking device to make sure it’s stable, but Pax whines that Tinker was the invisibility guy. Then he notices Snowflake looking through Tinker’s bag, and complains that she’s taking his stuff when he’s barely dead. Snowflake tells him that she looking for the PEGs. She confirms that they aren’t there, and confirms that they don’t have any more, now that Tinker turned to concrete with the stones in his pockets.
Pax complains some more about Tinker’s ending. He tells Sarge the they all should have been safely in the truck, including Tinker. Sarge and Snowflake remind him that they always send a team as trailblazers to clear a path for the truck. Pax thinks it should be Jaco alone, since Jaco can survive anything (“a trail of war hammers”). Snowflake agrees that Jaco is an old soul.
An old soul who’s still wheezing into the breathing apparatus. Not looking terribly invincible right now.
Pax brings up the most recent planet they visited.
Pax: “But we have to scramble and torch the place early because she can’t keep her knife in her pants?”
Sarge: “All true so far.”
Pax: “You let her get off. We had a talker, Sarge. But she made him spill his guts, literally.”
Snowflake: “To be reincarnated.”
Pax: “And it all went to hell. And now we’re down a man.”
Sarge: “You want to do things differently?”
Pax: “No. But I certainly don’t want to go digging for PEGs again.”
Jaco shoves a newspaper with a jewelry store ad at him.
Sarge: “See, you were right, Pax. This rock has it all. Now are you good to come with me to secure the exit while these two scout the site, or should we discuss that, too?”
Pax: “No, I’m good. I’m just sorting through it. Tinker died. He was a friend.”
Sarge pats his shoulder: “That’s what friends are for.”
Mack and May check in with Dr Benson, who is examining Tinker’s body, which is still embedded in the concrete wall, a section of which has been brought to the lab for him to work on. Mack tells Benson that he’s having new evidence from a convenience store robbery in Ohio sent to the lab.
Benson says to add it to the pile. He can’t believe he traded tenure for the chance to work in this lab 24/7. He assumes the current crisis is related to one of SHIELD’s previous “mistakes”, then lists off a few of the items from the long list of mistakes: nanomasks, Inhumans, fear manifestations…
Not impressed with Benson and his crustiness so far. He probably cut back or quit drinking when he started his new job, and consequently hates the world even more than usual, since he’s going through alcohol withdrawal.
But no matter the excuse, if his reaction to reading those case files isn’t to get excited about the amazing things he never knew existed, and instead it’s to declare them all mistakes, SHIELD might not be the right place for him. Howard Stark must be spinning in his grave.
Benson brings up LMDs, and suggests that might be an explanation for Tinker and the new Coulson. He says that he wants to talk to the idiot who designed them, putting particular emphasis on the word idiot. Mack, of course, agrees with Benson about the LMDs being the worst thing ever. May says it would be difficult for him to talk to the inventor.
Cut to Fitz, who’s working as a plumber/engineer on an alien ship. He clears the goop blocking a pipe, rescuing the life support system for the ship’s population of viscous Xandarian snails, a delicacy and one of the true delights of the galaxy, as everyone knows. Everyone but Fitz. He thinks they’re digusting. He thought they were disgusting in his other incarnation in the future Lighthouse as Boshtok the Marauder, too, so it’s a consistent character trait.
His coworkers question his taste and ask where he’s from. Fitz gives the wrong answer, since the northern part of Sivos is an irradiated wasteland. They soon ambush him, deducing that he was changing the look of his eyes with an iriscope (the device he used in episode 1). The Sivian Foreman punches Fitz, which causes his eyes to revert back to their normal look.
She wants to know what else he’s hiding, and goes to open the closet he’d been trying to get into when the Sivians found him. Enoch is waiting inside. Viro, the evil captain, has been watching, and orders Fitz and Enoch taken into custody. He’s about to have them thrown out an airlock when Fitz starts talking, telling Viro that the ship needs work and Fitz is the only one who can do it. He’s the best engineer on the ship and Enoch is the best Xandarian snail farmer.
He convinces Viro that the airlock is broken and the heat sheids are misaligned, so the ship won’t survive the next jump. Then he lists some of the repairs he’s already made. But Viro doesn’t want anything to do with Terran scum, so he still plans to throw them out of the aiirlock, until Fitz offers to work for free. Viro agrees to allow Fitz and Enoch to become his slaves, if they can make enough repairs by the time they get to Naro-Adzia.
Sarge and Pax are on top of the shipping containers, taking a look around and enjoying the fresh air, which they don’t get very often. Pax likes Earth so much that he suggests they slow down and enjoy the place for a while, “before it’s reduced to ash.”
Does anyone remember giving consent for the Earth to be reduced to ash? Who signed that contract?
Sarge thinks that stopping to enjoy where they are sounds like powering down. Pax counters that it’s more like charging up. He asks if Sarge ever just relaxed in his original past life. Sarge gives him the evil eye and Pax backs off, saying they’ll get the story of Sarge’s mysterious past eventually. Sarge doesn’t plan on it.
A security guard interrupts them. Pax tries to talk their way out of it, but it doesn’t work. Sarge shoots him, saying it was worth trying to avoid violence.
May suggests that Mack visit Keller personally, since agent Fox was from his hometown and Keller got him the interview for SHIELD. Now Keller feels responsible for Fox’s death. Mack declines, saying he thinks Yo-Yo will be doing the honors.
Keller may have someone to comfort him, but it’s not the same as a visit from the Director of SHIELD, the kind of visit Coulson would frequently make to loved ones of fallen agents. Keller told us in episode 1 how much Mack’s respect means to him.
Yo-Yo stops in to see Keller and says all the right things. She tells him to stop going over Fox’s death in his mind and trying to figure out how he could have changed the outcome. He’ll make himself crazy. Keller identifies with Fox, because their hometowns were next to each other, but Fox was 10 years younger. Elena says she’s here for Keller if he needs her.
They get an alarm telling them that there’s been a Coulson sighting near the convenience store (at the shipping yard). Mack fills in May and Elena, then makes assignments for the mission to track Sarge and Pax down. Now that someone bedsides Melinda has positvely id’d Sarge/Coulson, he’s ready to inform the rest of the agents.
Benson pokes his head out of the lab to complain that he’s feeling left out. The new department head apparently has one setting, and it’s angry conspiracy theorist, turned up to 11. I really didn’t see that coming from one of Andrew Garner’s best, most mainstream friends.
Benson says he was promised transparency, and they’re keeping him in the dark. Mack insists that Benson has access to everything they’ve got. Benson is miffed that no one mentioned Coulson’s habit of dying and coming back to life. The veteran agents are sure that this isn’t THEIR Coulson, so his previous rebirths are irrelevant. Benson is skeptical, since the LMD theory is a bust.
Benson wonders if maybe Coulson never died in the first place, and questions May’s story of Coulson’s death, suggesting she lied and even participated in a cover up of body stealing. May tells him to go back to the bar and stay there if he can’t focus on the mission at hand, which is to find a way to get rid of the entity pretending to be Coulson.
Benson has stirred up all of this ish before he’s even bothered to present the evidence he actually has. Nobody but him thought the other Coulson was an LMD, so why get so worked up that he wasn’t one? He has access to Coulson’s ~25 year long service record. Did he ask someone to go over it with him in detail? The guy had a busy life, much of it classified and likely above Benson’s clearance level. He’s going to have to be more independent than this if he’s going to survive SHIELD.
And, oh yeah, he does have some useful evidence. He just had to waste everyone’s emotional energy and time before presenting it. He was given the straw from Sarge’s Slurpee to take a DNA sample from. He was able to isolate the DNA, and it was an exact match for Phil Coulson.
But before Benson could even see the DNA, he had to strip away radiation markers he’s never seen before and foreign methyl groups that made the sample seem alien.
Methyl-groups= DNA methylation is a process that helps regulate gene expression – so basically he has the same DNA sequence, but isn’t using all of the genes in the same way.
So we have a human who’s been augmented in some way with alien genetic/chemical processing. Know whose origin story that sounds like to me? Captain Marvel. Coulson, sadly, didn’t get fused with the energy of the Tesseract. But there’s a good chance the Kree or Confederacy took our newly dead Coulson, or one from another timeline, revived him, and altered his biochemistry and memories until he didn’t even know he was human anymore, just like they did with Carol Danvers. They must have either taken him back in time for a while in order to hide him, or used a Coulson from an earlier point in a different timeline. There’s a little bit of Winter Soldier in there, too, since he seems to be on a long-term destructive mission, and now he’s been sent to kill his own people.
Jaco carefully places a metal panel against the inside wall of the truck. Sarge watches him, snacking on something in a bag. Once the panel is in place, Sarge tells Jaco to watch out for Pax. He’s acting like Tinker. Jaco replies, “They all crack sooner or later.” Sarge agrees, saying, “Might not be a bad idea to start looking for replacements.”
Sounds like Tinker’s death wasn’t quite as accidental as it seemed.
Sarge picks up an alien paint gun and paints a 6 foot oval line on the metal panel. He asks Snowflake if another machine is in working order. She thinks so, but Tinker was the expert. They just need to get the PEGs to make it sing.
Sarge: “First the lock in, then we rampage.”
Why do I hear that in a Wayne’s World voice?
Fitz and Enoch make Viro’s repairs and bicker over Xandarian snails and Xenophobia. Enoch thinks it should have been obvious that Fitz should pretend to like snails. Fitz thinks Enoch could have given him a few more details on alien culture to work with. Of course, it wasn’t alien culture that exposed him, it was an alien geography blunder- he said he lived in a far northern irradiated wasteland.
Moving on, Enoch is revealed as the optimist of the pair, who’s sure they’ll get Fitz back into cryo and stop the mass extinction event (which has already been stopped). Fitz thinks their odds are slipping and he just wants to get back to Jemma (who’s also chasing him across the galaxy).
Viro calls them in to say that it took a few hours, but he finally figured out that slaves are more cost effective than paid employees, so the rest of the engineering staff will be disembarking through the airlock well before their stop. Fitz suggests he train the rest of the crew to be more efficient, but Viro really has his heart set on spacing them.
Is it me, or does Viro’s tattoo look like they took a Sharpie and drew it on?
Mack is in his office trying to get a little late night paperwork done. You have to admire his work ethic. His commitment to the job and the people are his strengths as a leader.
Benson joins him in order to engage in a little more mind f–kery. He tells Mack that he’s known for his honesty, which is strange, because he circles around everything before he gets to the truth. He’s only honest when forced, like a true alcoholic.
He wants to know who Coulson was, then he clarifies that he wants to know who Coulson was to May. Mack tells him that Coulson is a memory that’s too painful for May to revisit, but that memory is running around killing people. Benson is suddenly sympathetic and decides he needs to help stop the fake Coulson.
Sarge and the rampagers visit a jewelery store. Sarge works the saleswoman, trying to get her to show him the best stuff. But halfway through, he switches gears and tells her it’s a robbery, without missing a beat or changing his tone of voice. He gives her the same speech as he gave the store clerk about not bothering to be a hero.
Snowflake kills 2 guards and tells them they’ll come back as butterflies. Pax is annoyed with her and tells her they don’t all come back. Sarge tells the saleswoman he didn’t think this would be that violent. He notices that she tripped the silent alarm, but promises not to kill her, since they need her help to get into the vault.
May and Yo-Yo investigate the shipping yard to figure out what Sarge was defending. May asks Yo-Yo if she and Keller are already involved. She tells Yo-Yo that Mack already knows, and to be careful. Yo-Yo is exasperated, because May just told her yesterday to go for it and not worry too much about Mack.
Now May has her own personal workplace romance coming back to haunt her, bigtime.
Mack radios that Sarge and co have been spotted at the jewelry store.
The jewelry saleswoman, Dana, gets the aliens into the vault. Snowflake quickly puts a knife to her throat, lovingly telling her that death is just the beginning. Sarge grumpily tells her she doesn’t have to kill everyone. Some people might be useful later. Then he uses the alien paint gun to make a red oval on the vault wall.
Pax puts a device that looks like an LED puck light on the wall and the matter inside the red circle disappears, revealing the inside of the truck and Jaco, who smiles and waves. The metal panel, red paint and puck device combine to make portable portals. Sarge tells them to stop wasting time.
Meanwhile, out in space, the other engineers are being herded toward their deaths. Fitz can’t stand to sit and watch that happen without trying to stop it. If he did, he couldn’t look Jemma in the eye afterward. He wants to at least try to fight.
Enoch informs Fitz that he’s not that kind of Chronicom. Enoch doesn’t think fighting will work. Fitz might as well go straight to the airlock. Fitz agrees, that’s a good plan.
The SHIELD team, including May, Yo-Yo and Keller, reach the jewelry store. They’re confused that the aliens locked themselves in the vault without an exit strategy. It’s extremely un-Coulson-like. May uses a scanner and discovers an extra person in the vault. They realize the aliens have some kind of tech they use to escape. For lack of a better plan, they work to break into the vault through the door and locks.
The aliens are frustrated by all of the diamonds, gold and jewels they’re finding. Earth people have no sense of value, with their paper money and jewelry made from lumps of carbon. Sarge and his gang need PEGs. (= PiezoElectric Gems= Crystals that are naturally polarized and can generate an electric charge under applied mechanical pressure.)
Dana points them to the cheap quartz and topaz in the bottom drawer. The aliens stock up.
May goes back to the shipping yard to see if they missed something. She notices tire tracks that just disappear. When she throws dirt at the spot where the tracks stop, it forms the outline of a truck. She uses that as her rough guide to climb inside.
Fitz stands near the airlock and bravely, but ineffectually, holds up his wrench, trying to stop Viro from killing everyone else. Viro doesn’t even take him seriously. Fitz steps into the airlock with the other engineers. Viro decides that everyone is replaceable and throws the switch to open the airlock. Enoch and Fitz nod to each other.
Fitz tries one more time to stop Viro from what he’s about to do, but Viro is unmoving. Enoch grabs hold of something as Viro flips the switch and the main cabin loses pressure. Everyone who wasn’t in the airlock is sucked out into space, except Enoch. The female engineer who caught him out, thanks Fitz for his help. He tells the engineers they’re safe now.
Enoch tells Fitz that he was right to assume Viro would be the worst and choose the most violent option available. Fitz says, “There’s a part of me that knows how uncompromising hateful men can be.” He looks haunted as he says it.
Coulson steps outside with the machine they’re planning to use, whatever it is. It looks a lot like a supersized tesseract laser gun/leaf blower. He says he’ll get it powered up.
I can’t be the only one thinking about that giant gun he used when he confronted Loki in Avengers, just before Loki killed him the first time. Hopefully he understands what this one does.
Pax is going through quartz crystals. He tells Jaco to take everything in the vault, since they can sell it all.
May politely knocks on the truck door. When Pax opens up, she punches him in the face and asks where Coulson is. May fights Pax and beats him easily. Jaco the giant is next. He’s about 3 times the size of May, so she gets to show off her skills, but she still beats him. Then it’s a brief tussle with with Snowflake to free the hostages and close the portal with Snowflake isolated in the vault.
May is in the truck, and it’s time for round 2 with Jaco after his break. He sends her to the foor, then lets Snowflake out of the vault. Snowflake never wants to be left out of the killing, and those 2 are best buds.
Dana the hostage runs past Sarge, screaming her head off, even though they’re in the middle of nowhere. Sarge just watches. His day has gotten out of control. He heads back into the truck, where May is taking on Snowflake and Jaco by herself, and holding her own.
The Cavalry is back in town.
Sarge steps into the truck and makes a dry comment about their inabilty to function without him for 3 minutes. May has momentarily subdued her adversaries, so she stops and stares at him, saying, “Coulson?”
That gives Snowflake time to grab the portal panel and put it on the floor behind May, where it still has an opening into the vault. Snowflake shoves the panel against May’s heels so that she falls backwards through the portal. Sarge reaches into the vault and grabs the puck device. As soon as the device clears the vault, the portal closes.
Why do I feel like it’s not the first time they’ve used that trick, including the part where Sarge causes a distraction? Coulson always did have that side of him that loved a good con.
But, wow, Pax is useless. Placing my bet now that Sarge decides he wants May as one of the replacements on the team.
Anyhow, the rest of the team finally get through the door just after the portal closes. They’re surprised to find May alone in the vault. Yo-Yo asks her, “What happened?” May tells her, “I lost.” She has some of her old fire inside when she says it.
Sarge and Jaco drive the truck away. Jaco accuses Sarge of freezing when May said the word Coulson. Jaco asks what it means. Sarge says he doesn’t know, but it sounds familiar. He looks pensive.
Benson calls Mack down to the lab to show him the footage he found on Tinker’s biochip. He pours Mack a drink, and says he’ll need it.
On the video, Jaco watches as streams on pure black bat-birds, it’s hard to tell which, fill the sky on an alien planet. After a moment, it becomes clear that everything on the planet is becoming a bat-bird- the mountains, plants, rocks, the entire planet. Sarge walks over and calmly looks at what’s happening, with his giant gun on his shoulder. He tells Jaco and whoever is working the camera that it’s the end of the line for this planet, they need to “get out while we still can.”
The distance shots are very reminiscent of the ashes after Thanos’ snap, which can’t be an accident. Maybe something in the mechanism/magic is the same. We also saw these bat-birds last week when the basketball turned to glass and shattered just before the portal through the cement wall opened.
Fitz and Enoch look out the spaceship window at Naro-Adzia, their destination. Fitz asks if they’ll be safe if they stop there now. Enoch tells him they’ll have a hard time hiding that they’re the ones who killed the Controller. The rest of the crew will receive the death sentence as mutineers. Enoch begins to hatch a plan to save himself and Fitz by hiding in the snail tanks, but, besides requiring Fitz to get in the snail tank, it doesn’t protect the rest of the crew, so Fitz vetos it.
Enoch suggests an alternate plan of taking the crew to the planet of Kitson, where they should be able to find new jobs easily. The ship has just enough fuel to make it there.
I’m sure absolutely nothing will go wrong on the way to Kitson.
Fitz decides to put off going into cryo in order to become captain of his own ship and take the engineering refugees to Kitson. He tells Enoch that he’s got time before he needs to go into cryo. Is this the beginning of Fitz becoming the
Dread Pirate Roberts Marauder Boshtok? I need space pirate Fitz, okay? I probably need 10 seasons of space pirates Daisy, Fitz and Simmons.
Enoch and Fitz fly their ship off into the sunset toward Kitson. As they fade from view, the Zephyr jumps out of Hyperdrive or whatever we’re calling it. Simmons and Fitz missed each other at Naro-Adzia by 5 minutes.
Daisy is still stunned, and asks Simmons what she just did. Simmons says, “He’s here, I can feel it.” She pulls out Fitz’s wedding ring, which she’s wearing on a chain around her neck, presumably until she can give it to him again.
Prediction: Agent Fox will be “reincarnated” as a replacement for Tinker or Pax. I remember thinking last season that the Kree/Confederacy could easily be taking the bodies of Earth’s newly dead and reviving them to use as slaves.
If the Kree also wipe their memories and send them to a different time period, you get the Chronos storyline from Legends of Tomorrow, in which Mick Rory/Heatwave appeared to be abandoned on an isolated planet, so the evil Time Masters kidnapped him, did some Matrix-style wiping and retraining, then sent him out into the timestream as a bounty hunter for several hundred years before eventually sending him after his old teammates. By that time, the only thing he remembered about them was his hatred of them for leaving him behind.
It’s not much of a stretch to imagine Phil Coulson in a similar storyline.
Benson is mighty critical for a SHIELD newby. Is he going to be AoS’s General Ross, picking apart every mission and deciding it was flawed for out of context reasons? Surely they could have found some other hotshot scientist to bring in. There have to be some out of work SHIELD and HYDRA scientists left floating around. Last season, Mack’s friend the Candyman had a whole list.
We all know Sarge didn’t shoot at the end because it was May. They set up the excuse that he only kills people when necessary, but May has caused way more trouble for him than Fox.
Season 6 Fitz
This version of Fitz hasn’t spent as long without Jemma and is much closer to the Framework in the timeline than the one who spent 70 years in cryo. He’s not going to see firsthand any of the danger Jemma and the others faced in the future. Instead, he’s spending longer out in the present day universe than season 5 Fitz, dealing with moral dilemmas that force him to face and work through his experiences in the Framework.
Season 6 Fitz has already made moves toward atonement by rescuing the Sivians who turned against him. Now he’s sacrificing his own needs to make sure they stay safe. Rather than give in to his Doctor persona, he used his Framework knowledge to kill the biggest threat, in the least sadistic way possible, and forgave the group who were also victims.
But the flip side of his turn toward altruism is that it turns him away from Jemma. If he’d debated his options for a few more minutes or found a way to stay on the planet while sending the crew off to Kitson with the ship, he’d have been there waiting when the Zephyr arrived.
He told Enoch that he has time before he needs to go into cryo. It seems like he wants to take some time to make up for what happened in the Framework and rehabilitate himself before he sees Jemma again, so he has a clear conscience when they reunite.
But, meanwhile, this version of Jemma learned to accept season 5 Fitz’s uber expediency. They decided together to put staying together and surviving, as a couple, before everything else in their lives, no matter the consequences. Season 6 Fitz seems more like a savior than a Nazi, so this could cause some issues for them when they find each other again.
Season 5 vs season 6 Fitz also serves as an example of how a small change in the timeline can make a huge difference in an individual’s life. One Fitz was in cryo for the whole 70 years, and the Framework trauma festered during that time. He came out of cryo determined to be a hero, but crumbled when SHIELD put him under too much pressure.
The other was forced out of cryo and has had a year on his own to work through his Framework ordeal, without anyone from SHIELD influencing how he feels about himself. He hasn’t had undue guilt placed on him for hurting friends or earned guilt taken away because loved ones want to make him feel better. He’s been honest with himself (and Enoch has likely been very honest), done satisfying, challenging mental and physical work, and appears to be thriving.
Plus, he learned an alien language and culture, and can now add spaceship maintenance and repair to his resume.
That’s What Friends Are For: What Does Sarge & Pax’s Conversation Really Mean?
There are several interesting bits in this conversation. Sarge’s crew had to evacuate from their last planet in a hurry because Snowflake let her bloodthirstiness get out of control and killed someone too early, which ruined their plan and caused them to destroy “the place” earlier than they’d planned>>> They’d planned on “torching” the place.
Based on the video that Benson eventually shows Mack, it looks like they torched the planet by turning it into black birds. From a distance, the effect looks similar to the way living things killed by the snaps disintegrated into large pieces of dust, but this includes everything, even the mountains. The birds could be an illusion, rather than being alive. That actually makes more sense. The video also implies that Sarge’s giant gun shoots the deathwave that causes planetary demolecularization.
Sarge has no problem with most forms of murder and mayhem, as long as it doesn’t distract from the mission, and sometimes even when it does. Jaco and Snowflake are his two loyal, longstanding teammates, who he’ll defend and take care of. Tinker and Pax, not so much. Sarge saw Tinker as disposable. He’ll forgive Jaco and Snowflake more easily, and is unapologetic about playing favorites. Pax isn’t smart enough to have figured out yet that he’s on the disposable side of the line as well.
On their last planet they were interrogating someone, who was giving them good information, until Snowflake killed him. To me, this calls Snowflake’s loyalties into question (is she a double agent for someone?) and brings up the question of what they’re questioning people about.
Are they hunting a powerful fugitive who’s hunting them back? Are they fugitives looking for justice and revenge? Are they part of some nihilistic death cult? Snowflake’s beliefs suggest that she’s on a crusade to set the sinners free from this life, so they can try again in their next life/reincarnation. Are they attempting to provide this service on a planetwide basis, and maybe being paid to do so?
In this timeline, is Thanos in love with Death and sending her gifts, like in the comics? Is that who Sarge and co work for?
How cool would it be if the MCU did both storylines?
Setting souls free so they can do better in the next life would be thematically simliar to Thanos’ reasons for the snap, and would fit the pattern AoS has developed of matching the film side of the MCU thematically rather than in specific details. Endgame was as much about watching the people who were left behind try to reinvent themselves in order to move forward with their lives as it was about undoing the snap. Metaphorical and real reincarnation was explored throughout the film, and will probably continue to be explored in the next several films.
AoS has explored metaphorical and real reincarnation many times before, starting with Coulson and the TAHITI Project, and coming full circle in season 5 with Yo-Yo encountering another version of herself, who told her about other versions of the rest of the team, from different timelines. The word reincarnation was never used, but it’s one way to look at it. Season 5 also brought back the Kree version of the TAHITI method, which was used to bring Tess back to life. She was another reincarnation of herself.
Both Tess and Yo-Yo came back somewhat changed, after the trauma they went through in dying and being revived. Unlike Coulson, their memories weren’t wiped, so they were left angry, bitter and hopeless about the future. Could this partially explain the difference between our Coulson and Sarge?
The female member of Sarge’s team seems to be named Snowflake this week, even though IMDb had her as Butterfly last week. The actress has confirmed it’s Snowflake.
Both are interesting, in terms of her obsession with killing to facilitate reincarnation.. Butterflies go through metamorphosis and change from worms to flying creatures. Snowflakes are unique and ephemeral, but are part of the water cycle, so their essence is never lost. Butterflies reincarnate as themselves, with a new, if altered body, while snowflakes join the cosmic consciousness and reincarnate as a small part of that whole.
Sarge is annoyed by Pax’s minor grumblings, but not by Snowflake’s continuous need to send others back to the cosmic consciousness or the next stage of evolution. Is this how they get their replacements? Does Snowflake assassinate potentials until one feels right and s/he gets revived/reincarnated and stays with them?
Snowflake could be AoS’s variation on comic book character Layla Miller, a mutant with the code name Butterfly, who has the power to reanimate the newly dead. She does not have the power to give them their souls back, so they lack compassionate and their personalities are changed. Layla can also see through distortions in reality, allowing her to retain her true memories when reality has been changed and able to restore the memories of others.
She’s a fighter with increased durability, speed and strength. She also studied magic with Victor Von Doom. In the comics, Daisy Johnson asks her to join the Secret Warriors to help Nick Fury prepare for the Skrull Invasion.
There are enough connections between Layla/Butterfly/Snowflake and the MCU/AoS to make the elements of her story worth kieeping in mind. Agents of SHIELD never lifts a character or plot directly from the comics. But we know that the Skrulls and the Kree have already been here.
This episode is not the first time we’ve seen Clark Gregg in a convenience store:
Time travel explained, in a very long video- The part that pertains to Agents of SHIELD starts at about 9 minutes.
Video summary of the Chronos story line:
Images courtesy of ABC/Marvel.