Agents of SHIELD Season 7 Episode 1: The New Deal Recap

KARL KWIATKOWSKI, CHLOE BENNET, CLARK GREGG, JEFF WARD, HENRY SIMMONS

Ok kids, it’s time to head back to the 1930s for the final season of Agents of SHIELD, a show which has traveled the world, moved through space and time, explored how far the human mind and body can be pushed and invented or transformed almost every sort of scifi tech imaginable. This season, they play in what’s probably the only sandbox they’ve left unexplored, the past, specifically SHIELD’s past, which also happens to be the MCU and Avengers’ past as well.

This season begins a few seconds before last season ended, in order to remind viewers of the shocking changes that Jemma Simmons introduced Mack and Daisy to in the final moments of season 6. The Chronicom subplot which played second fiddle to the Sarge/Izel/Shrike war in season 6 now moves to the forefront, having turned into a full blown time war. The Chronicoms hope to wipe out SHIELD so that they can then conquer Earth and turn it into their new homeworld, Chronyca 3.

SHIELD is a formidable adversary in the 21st century, so the Chronicoms decide it would be easier to beat them earlier in SHIELD’s history. The aliens have (probably) used the mindscans they made of Jemma and Fitz in season 6 to develop time travel, which they now use to go to significant points in the 20th century in order to change SHIELD’s history. If episode 1 is any indication, the Chronicoms have dug deep in their examination of history so their targets aren’t necessarily obvious ones, but the connections to old friends sure are fun.

The opening teaser takes us to the streets of New York City, 1931. This is the world of Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers’ childhood- the Great Depression, Prohibition, corrupt politicians, mobsters, widespread polio and tuberculosis. It was a time of great poverty and inequality, the era between the Stock Market Crash of 1929, which put an end to the prosperity of the Roaring Twenties, and the election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the presidency in 1932.

Once elected, FDR enacted the New Deal, “a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations” to help get Americans back on their feet. But before that, President Herbert Hoover oversaw the Great Depression from its beginning with the Crash. Hoover refused to help the common man, fearing that people would become lazy, dependent on government, and refuse to return to work when the economy improved. Instead he created programs which supported big businesses. The Depression became entrenched on Hoover’s watch.

The Hoover era has quite a bit in common with our time.

In the show, the episode title The New Deal refers to the fact that SHIELD has gone through a major upheaval, which could have brought about its end. Thanks to the work of Enoch, Fitz and Jemma, SHIELD has been temporarily saved from the Chronicoms. But, as with FDR’s New Deal, there is hard work ahead and SHIELD will need to change the way it operates as an organization in order to restore the agency to its former place in history and to secure a future for SHIELD and Earth.

In season 6, the others were all involved in saving the world from the shrike disasters and missed most or all of the Chronicom drama, so they need a minute to catch up.

Recap

As mentioned, it’s a dark and stormy night in the 4th Precinct, NYC, 1931. Three cops are waiting on a delivery from a bootlegger and discussing strategy when 3 sentient Chronicoms, from the planet Chronyca-2, arrive to eat their brains steal their identities. The Chronicoms introduce themselves with too much information (“We’re not born.”) and are adorably dressed like Buck Rogers. They’re really trying to get into the spirit of this whole time travel thing.

There’s a brief scuffle before the Chronicoms subdue the cops, who are straight out of central casting. The police captain, William Dole, asks the head Chronicom what he wants, just as the Chronicom sticks a gizmo with intense red lights in front of Dole. The Chronicom replies, “Your face.” By the time the contact arrives with the alcohol, the Chronicom has taken over Dole’s identity and has his face. OG Dole’s head is left with blank skin where his face used to be. The other two Chronicoms haven’t finished their transformations so we get to see the machine heads that Chronicoms usually keep covered by skins.

The Agents of SHIELD title card is done in a typical 1930s cartoon font.

Back on the Zephyr, Jemma finishes giving Mack and Daisy the basic description of hybrid Chronicom-LMD Coulson, just as she did in the season 6 finale. Mack starts in on a cautious speech, but Daisy pushes the button to release Coulson 5.0? 6.0? Does anyone know how many times he’s died and come back? Once in the Avengers and probably close to once a season, from that time he was Ghostrider to the time his heart stopped in the Hydra hallway, then was restarted by Talbot and Creel.

Just like the original Coulson LMD, Coulson-Bot has all of Coulson’s memories up to the point of the Framework in season 4 and doesn’t realize he’s not the original. He hops out of his charging cube and nonchalantly greets his coworkers, who are all a bit stunned. Jemma explains to him that she’s added updates to his memories, so it will take a minute for his brain to catch up.

He notices that he now has a normal left hand instead of a prosthesis, which feels weird. In fact, he feels weird all over. Daisy tells him he’s an LMD, while Mack sputters that they should have broken it to him gently. Coulson begins to quickly run through the 2 years of new memories that he needs to incorporate. Daisy and Jemma try to support him through this difficult process, while Mack continues to be upset that Coulson-Bot is struggling, until he pushes Coulson’s off switch.

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Mack tells Jemma and Daisy that he’s the director and LMDs require top level decisions. They have no say in this. Then he tells Jemma to tell him everything she knows, right now.

This is what we hear of the discussion:

Jemma: “I’m saying we can’t waste time. The Chronicoms want to take Earth and fear only SHIELD can stop them.”

Mack: “So they plan to eliminate SHIELD from history, and if we hadn’t jumped when we did…”

Daisy: “The fight would have ended before it ever began.”

Deke: “So, wait- the Zephyr’s a time machine now?”

Jemma: “In a sense.”

Deke: “And we can jump to any time we want?”

Jemma: “Not quite. It’s complicated. Even I barely understand it.”

Mack: “Alright, well give us the basics.”

Jemma: “There are critical launch windows leading to specific points in time and space. Fitz called them Tides. The Chronicoms took one and we followed them here.”

Daisy: “Yeah, but why 1931. I mean SHIELD won’t even exist until the 50s.”

Jemma: “Truthfully, we never expected to go back this far. I have no idea what the Chronicoms are up to or how to find them.”

Deke: “Well, that’s not great.”

Elena: “So we’re not prepared for any of this. We’re flying blind?”

Jemma: “We’re flying on auto-pilot and we’ve prepared the best we could.”

Jemma takes them back to the newly refurbished Command Center, where Enoch is scanning existing frequencies for anomalies. Elena is more impressed by seeing the Command Center than she was by hearing what Jemma told them out in the cargo bay. Jemma points Deke to his very own workstation, where the engraved tool Bobo Fitz passed down to him is waiting.

Jemma explains that Fitz designed the new Zephyr configurations and invented the form of time travel the ship is using, which took a significant amount of time. But she doesn’t know where he is. Since they know the Chronicoms can scan their brains and steal absolutely everything in them, it’s best if they don’t share too much knowledge.

We’re not told if Fitz knows where Jemma is at any given time. Hopefully we’ll spend an episode with Fitz’s crew soon.

Daisy asks how long it took to create all of Fitz’s innovations. Jemma talks around the question.

Mack agrees to get the mission started. Jemma explains they can use personal radios instead of their usual comms that bounce signals off satellites. They give Deke some money from the period, tell him not to get drunk this time, then remember he’ll have a hard time getting drunk because of Prohibition, then send him out into 1931 to buy the team some period appropriate clothing.

Mack confines Elena to the plane, since she still has the shrike she swallowed at the end of season 6 inside her and he doesn’t want to bring (another) alien contagion to the past.

He does know that Enoch is an alien, right?

Then he takes a swipe at Daisy’s hair, just because he can, probably in retaliation for what happened with Coulson-Bot.

The Zephyr can’t whip up a wig for her? Deke couldn’t pick one up? She has to totally change her look instead, when no one else is? That seems a bit sexist, Mack.

Mack leaves the room, while the others get started on their tasks. Daisy finds Jemma at her work station, checking May’s vitals. May’s core temperature is almost cool enough to begin the procedure that will save her life.

Daisy tries again. “Simmons, how long have we been apart?”

Jemma: “Too long. It is good to see you.”

Could Fitz and Simmons have been gone for so long that this is a replacement body, either an LMD/Chronicom or one printed using the type of 3D flesh printer the Doctor created for Aida in the Framework in season 4? We know Chronicoms live thousands of years and we know Aida, Fitz and Radcliffe achieved consciousness transfer. That opens up a lot of possibilities.

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Mack turns Coulson-Bot back on. He’s more emotionally stable now, but he knows that OG Coulson didn’t want to be brought back and that Mack hates robots, so something big must be going on. Mack explains that they are at war with the Chronicoms, who have Fury’s black box in addition to the scans of Fitz and Simmons’ minds. Simmons believes that Coulson, with his fan boy knowledge of SHIELD history, could be their secret weapon. He knows trivia that was never written down and saw many years of history firsthand. Something that’s only in his head could be the key to winning the war.

Coulson taught Mack that a director has to trust his team, and Mack does. But he also wants to know how Coulson-Bot feels about being thrown into this situation. Coulson-Bot shares OG Coulson’s loyalty to SHIELD and to this group of people in particular, so he’s in. However, when this mission is over, he’ll want to re-evaluate his situation. Mack will as well.

Next up, they need to find the Chronicoms they followed to 1931. The Chronicoms helpfully didn’t cover up their cop murders, so it’s not hard to find a place to start investigating- the 4th Precinct Police Station, where 3 faceless bodies were found. Enoch explains that Chronicom Hunters use this “erasure” procedure to gain new identities. Mack tells them all to suit up in new clothes from Deke.

Mack, Coulson-Bot, Daisy and Deke change their clothes then step out into a whole new world. They all look totally cute in their 30s outfits. Coulson has a noir detective’s trench coat and Fedora hat. Deke is a spunky up and comer with his newsboy messenger bag and cap. Mack is a solid, respectable businessman, whose influence can open doors and be threatening if necessary. And Daisy is superspy Peggy Carter, with an amethyst coat to play up her coloring instead of Peggy’s sapphire or ruby, which enhanced her eyes and lips (Peggy has brown eyes, which the blue brings out).

The team marvels over how different this period is from their own, then they begin to worry they’ll accidentally disrupt history. Daisy mentions the Butterfly Effect, the idea that even a small change could turn out to be important enough to change world events and the history of the future.

This prompts Deke to explain more of his many worlds time theory. He doesn’t put a lot of stock in the idea of the butterfly effect as an important part of the multiverse branch theory. He’s all about the Time-Stream idea, which says that time is like water flowing in a stream. You can throw some sticks in and the water will flow around them without particularly being affected. It only becomes an issue if you throw in enough sticks to create a dam and change the direction of the water permanently.

I’m inclined to believe Deke, since he’s been right with his time theories so far, whereas Fitz was originally wrong, back in the early seasons of AoS. And this does roughly match what was said in the conversation between the Ancient One and the Hulk in Avengers: Endgame. Deke’s version is more forgiving than the Ancient One’s, probably because he’s managed time travel while breaking all sorts of rules, while the Ancient One was all about maintaining order and discipline. It’s likely that she knew how to break the rules, too, but didn’t want the knowledge to get out.

Deke pulls out a handful of hastily printed star-shaped Sheriff’s badges for the team to use as part of their disguises. No one is impressed. If this whole time travel thing catches on, Deke’s going to have to do some serious studying of history, including art history, emphasizing clothing, architecture and the performing arts/pop culture.

But the team is also exceptionally critical of each other these days. Everyone feels the need to pile on the insults and negative attitudes, whether it’s Elena deciding that Jemma didn’t do enough to prepare for the time war before she saved their lives or all 3 senior team members (who’ve all served as director) putting down the newish guy when he slips up a little, despite the fact that he grew up in a future dystopia without the opportunity for a formal education.

When they reach the Chronicoms’ crime scene, they pretend to be from the Royal Canadian Mounties, called in to consult. The officer at the door gives Daisy a hard time, which she gives right back to him.

While it’s always nice to see a woman stand up for herself, a scene like this makes it seem like the real life women of the 1930s just weren’t strong or brave enough to stand up for themselves in the face of misogyny. That isn’t true. The system was even more rigged against women then than it is now and men had even more privilege. A male cop wouldn’t have backed down like this one did.

Inside the police station, the 3 cops’ bodies have been stripped of their uniforms and their heads are missing faces. The bootlegger is dead, but his clothing and face are intact. Coulson-Bot inspects the whiskey the bootlegger brought and notices a swordfish on the label. He remembers that in the early days, the SSR (the precursor of SHIELD) had a safehouse nearby that started out as a speakeasy. The password was “swordfish”.

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Agents of SHIELD S1Ep7 Swordfish Logo

Agents of SHIELD S1Ep7 Enoch Does Surgery on May

Mack and Coulson-Bot head out to investigate the speakeasy connection while Daisy and Deke finish up at the police station. Deke uses an app for his pad which recreates the dead men’s faces, but it involves stabbing a metal probe into their flesh, as if he’s the alien investigator. The app takes several minutes to recreate each dead cop’s features from their bone structure and DNA.

Enoch does surgery on May using holographic tools while she’s in a souped up hyperbaric chamber of the sort that been seen many times in the MCU, in everything from Iron Fist to Age of Ultron. Elena is skeptical about trusting Enoch to save May. He’s a Chronicom, and they’re the new enemy, so she automatically doesn’t like him or them. Jemma assures Elena that they wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for Enoch.

The way Elena’s being written as so closed minded seems out of character. She was always the open one, who was forever trying to get Mack to loosen up. Mack hates robots like the Chronicoms and LMDs on sight and always has. As a mechanic, he doesn’t think sentience and mechanical machines should mix. (He’s skeptical of sentience and anything non-human, period.) Meanwhile, Elena is an inhuman who has robot hands. I’m not sure why losing Keller and reuniting with Mack would make her think more like Mack. Or was it being the Cassandra in season 5, who knew what was coming but wasn’t respected enough to be believed? If that’s the issue, she shouldn’t have taken Mack back.

Jemma informs Elena that her body is breaking the shrike down and absorbing it into her system. She’s no longer in danger of turning into a crystal tower like Keller did. Jemma also has a new set of arms for Elena which perfectly match her original arms and are calibrated to match her inhuman ability. Elena’s first instinct is to refuse them, because she doesn’t want to hide who she is. Jemma explains that the arms will allow Elena to feel things with her hands again and to blend in on away missions. They’re practical and something that Elena deserves in her life. They aren’t meant to hide the truth.

The password gets Mack and Coulson-Bot into the speakeasy. The door is opened by Darren Barnet, from Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, while Theo Golding’s She’s a Rainbow plays in the background.

Once they’re inside, Coulson-Bot explains that there was a legendary SSR asset who went by the name Gemini and was always behind the bar at the speakeasy. They approach the bar, but they’ve already been noticed as strangers. When they ask for Gemini, the bartender pulls out a double barrelled shotgun and threatens to let them speak to the twins.

Deke’s sciencing isn’t going fast enough for Daisy, but he can’t speed up his device. The Chronocops arrive on the scene pretending to be real cops who are there to investigate why the Canadian Mounties are investigating. The Chronocops recognize Daisy and figure out that SHIELD has followed them to the past. New plan- now they intend to kill the SHIELD agents while remembering to smile so the Earth natives don’t grow suspicious of them.

All Daisy and Deke see is a car full of cops arriving, so her plan is still to distract them while Deke finishes IDing the victims. Identification becomes much simpler when the 3rd body’s Chronicom double walks into the station. Meanwhile, a friendly officer takes Daisy around to the back to check out a suspicious truck. The Chronocops attack Daisy and Deke and try to question them while fighting. Deke escapes and runs to the back to find Daisy. He hotwires an old truck for them to use as their getaway car.

At the speakeasy, Bartender Tillman, played by iZombie season 2 boyfriend Greg Finley, navigates Coulson-Bot and Mack into the backroom, then accuses them of killing Jimmy Bottles, the bootlegger from the police station. Tillman intends to kill them in retaliation. When threatened, Coulson-Bot realizes he’s a bot, rather than alive, meaning he has nothing to lose and a superhuman body. He single handedly takes on Tillman. Mack joins the fight. They’re outnumbered, but they win, ending with Coulson-Bot holding Tillman at gunpoint.

Coulson repeats that they want to see the man in charge, which prompts Gemini to make his entrance. It’s Ernest Hazard Koenig, played by… Patton Oswalt, of course. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between the latest Koenig and Coulson-Bot. Coulson is a SHIELD history fanboy in every incarnation.

Elena is moved to tears when she puts on her new arms. Jemma receives a message from Fitz, but it’s so well hidden from the Chronicoms that she can’t find it. She won’t send a direct reply, because their enemies are always watching.

Deke and Daisy pull up into the cargo bay in their old fashioned car. Jemma yells at them for stealing a truck and disrupting the timeline. Daisy explains they didn’t have a choice, because they were bringing back an unconscious hostage- a Chronicop. Jemma wants him tied up and ready for questioning, stat.

Her Hydra side is showing.

Coulson and Mack pose as reps from one of Koenig’s liquor suppliers who also lost a man in the raid the night before. They tell Koenig the killers were part of a new, violent gang in town who they just want to get rid of. Koenig agrees to work with them.

Koenig explains that he’s supplying a big political party with liquor that night. The cops have been paid to look the other way. The governor of NY, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, is the guest of honor.

Mack and Coulson realize that next year FDR will be elected president, then he’ll eventually form the SSR and SHIELD. If he’s taken out, they might never form. The Chronicops are running security, so they’ll be the only ones at the party with weapons. They can kill the president before he becomes president.

Earlier, Koenig mentioned that he took Freddy in off the streets and gave him a job and a place to sleep. Freddy dramatically drops things when FDR is mentioned.

At the party, Mack runs into more of the racism he’s faced since they arrived in the 1930s. It’s a formal dress affair, so the men are in tuxes and Daisy is in a gorgeous green satin full length dress.

Back on the Zephyr, Enoch tells Jemma and Elena that Chronicoms are programmed to withstand any form of interrogation, so it’s unlikely that this one will reveal any useful information.

The Chronicom accuses Enoch of being a traitor. Enoch points out that while he’s chosen his own destiny, the other chronicom was reassigned from anthropologist to Hunter. It hasn’t chosen a side at all. It’s a soldier who’s been drafted and deployed.

Jemma has an idea. She notes that Chronicoms are really just machines with hardware, software and limited bandwidth. She attaches a server to the Chronicom’s head which will inundate it with junk data and overwhelm his system. She saw the way Coulson-Bot’s system was momentarily out of control when asked to process too much information at once. Hopefully this Chronicom will also spit out some useful information.

Daisy approaches Coulson-Bot while they’re observing the party and apologizes for bringing him back against his will. They discuss the strangeness of Coulson-Bot having all of Coulson’s memories, but not being him. He knows Coulson wrote the final letter to Daisy, but doesn’t know what was in it.

They talk a little more about the letter before FDR walks in. Then they’re distracted by the fact that FDR didn’t use his wheelchair and he came in a back way. They expected he’d be wheeled in through one of the doors in the front of the room. Roosevelt’s legs were weakened by polio, which made walking difficult, but he tried to appear strong in public.

Coulson and Mack fanboy over Roosevelt. Mack forgets that Freddy doesn’t know the future and lets slip a couple of things that haven’t happened yet. Deke distracts Freddy by asking how he got involved with Koenig.

Freddy: “After my dad kicked the bucket, I was hustling work in the streets. Mr Koenig offered me some.”

Deke: “I lost my dad, too. Do what you’ve got to do.”

Deke can relate more easily to people from the Great Depression than Millennials.

Elena doesn’t think the interrogation is moving quickly enough. The Chronicom is spitting out random words and phrases interspersed with what it wants to say. It tells Jemma, Enoch and Elena that they will never understand time’s true nature. It says they’ve studied Earth closely and know exactly which thread to pull to unravel SHIELD. Then it starts seize. Enoch warns that she could push it too hard and cause it to shut down.

After Roosevelt’s speech, Coulson decides that being brought back as an LMD isn’t so bad. He’s visiting one of his historical heroes at a nice party with Daisy, his surrogate daughter. For the first time, both of them are healthy and can defend themselves.

Daisy realizes that the Chronicops should have attacked by now, since Roosevelt is sitting right out in the open. Coulson thinks maybe the Chronicops don’t want to attack him so publicly. When Roosevelt gets up to leave through the back entrance, the team follows, leaving Freddy behind. A woman approaches him.

Meanwhile, the Chronicom on Zephyr 1 goes into overload, repeatedly saying that the target is some combination of the letters f,d and r. They assume he means FDR, since that’s who they’re already watching. Jemma turns off the excess data stream, but the Chronicom is too far gone to right itself.

Daisy and Coulson find FDR getting into his wheelchair in a back hallway. Coulson helps him into the chair, then Deke and Mack run into the hallway. There’s no sign of the Chronicoms. FDR isn’t the target.

After a minute, the Chronicom switches from saying FDR to FRD and then to repeating Freddy, Freddy, Freddy, before it overheats and literally melts down. Jemma radios the news down to the team.

The young woman tells Freddy that she’s his contact and takes him someplace quiet to talk. The Chronicops are waiting, with silencers on their guns, for Freddy and his contact. The contact stops before she reaches the Chronicops to explain some history to Freddy.

Contact: “Your father and I worked together. He was very powerful. Until he took the coward’s way out.”

Freddy: “I was there. Why did you want to see me?”

Contact: “I have a job for you. A second chance you could call it. If you can deliver this to the docks, then my employer will reward you. And your family’s glory will be restored.”

She pulls out a small case that holds several glass vials of a bright green serum.

Freddy: “What is it?”

Contact: “The future.

Once Freddy has the vials, the Chronicops come out of hiding and shoot the contact, giving Freddy time to hide, so they can loom over him while he asks why they are doing this? They tell him he’s the thread.

So why not take the clear shot they at at him when they started to move? Why shoot the woman first, allowing time for the SHIELD team to arrive to save Freddy?

See, misogyny is just a bad idea, villains.

Daisy quakes the two Chronicops into the kitchen, then follows them. They forget about Freddy because they’re so excited to fight the infamous Quake. She’s not impressed with them.

The Chronicoms don’t seem to have done much by way of retraining for the anthropologists they reassigned as hunters. The hunters we saw last season were effective, efficient and ruthless. These guys are like the Keystone Cops.

Mack and Deke save Freddy, telling Coulson they’ll meet him back at Koenigs. Coulson joins Daisy for an assist with the fight, then they bring Freddy’s contact back to Koenigs for medical treatment. The rest of the team isn’t there yet.

As they try to figure out why Freddy is the Chronicops’ target, they learn that his full name is Wilfred Malick, as in one of the most important families in Hydra. His father jumped out a window to commit suicide, which suggests he lost everything in the 1929 Crash. Koenig says Malick’s debts were paid, so Hydra was probably already taking care of the family. Now they are initiating Freddy back into the club and if he hesitates, they’ll tell him he needs to work off the money that paid his father’s debts. But is Koenig involved with Hydra, too?

Freddy tells Mack and Deke that he has a delivery to make, which the Chronicops wanted to stop. Coulson and Daisy realize that the Chronicoms want to stop Hydra so that the SSR never fights them and SHIELD has no reason to be formed. In order to stop the Chronicoms from conquering Earth in the future, they have to ensure Hydra’s history isn’t changed .

Enoch checks on May, but she’s no longer in her isolation chamber. He looks around the room while chastising himself for losing her. We see her on the ceiling, like Spiderman, watching Enoch with distrust.

Always remember to look up, kids.

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Agents of SHIELD S7Ep1 May on the Ceiling


Commentary

This feels a bit like the beginning of the season 5 time loop, the parts we only saw in flashback through Robin’s eyes, when Fitz was trying to invent time travel and humanity was still fighting the Kree. Could parts of the timeline from the loop have morphed into the Chronicom Time War? And will the inhuman experiments from season 5 become supersoldier experiments?

We’re in Dr Erskine’s NYC neighborhood, the Hydra contact was wearing a bright red, neck to toe dress and Gideon Malick has been an important connection to Hydra and recurring character. He’s one of the very few who’ve moved between the films and TV shows. Powers Boothe, the actor who played Malick most of the time, has passed on, but we might see the younger version of him during time travel.

Other members of Malick’s family have appeared, such as his brother and daughter, both of whom died in season 3. His father was discussed but didn’t appear in season 3, as part of the Hive/monolith/Maveth storyline. Which also involved time/space travel, Hydra and a focus on Jemma and Fitz being separated.

Agents of SHIELD has played around with the concept of supersoldiers from the beginning, when they used the formula from Iron Man 3 to create supersoldiers. Now they’re in the world of Captain America: The First Avenger, but 10 years earlier, during the time the experiments on Red Skull, the first supersoldier made from Erskine’s serum, would be done.

So, which is the actual thread the Chronicoms wanted to pull? Were they trying to stop Gideon Malick from being born or Red Skull from being created? The Chronicops on the ground didn’t seem to actually know or care. Hydra and Hive would likely endure in either of those cases and some form of SHIELD would be created, just with a different history.

I’m fascinated that the Chronicops didn’t go for the vials of serum and were so easily distracted by Quake. They must assume they can use their time machine for a redo, either in this time period or another. Because they had Freddy right there, outnumbered, and one of the Chronicops never even fired on him or the contact. It makes me wonder if this is all a trap.

Why doesn’t Coulson-Bot have memories of the letter OG Coulson wrote Daisy before he died though? Maybe because most of Coulson-Bot’s personality and memories come from the brain scan Aida did in season 4 in order to create his Framework avatar, but Coulson’s goodbye letter to Daisy was written in season 5. Any post season 4 memories that Coulson-Bot has were probably hastily reassembled from surveillance footage, reports and such. Though Jemma knows about the letter, Daisy has never revealed it’s contents to anyone (at least on camera).

Or did Jemma get some new brain scans of while she was treating his illness? If that’s the case, why doesn’t he have the memory of writing the letter and what else is he missing? Who removed certain memories, Jemma or an enemy?

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So Many Former SHIELD Directors in One Place

The Zephyr is currently carrying a planeload of current and former directors, assistant directors and acting directors of SHIELD. I’m willing to bet that Fitz and Simmons have been co-directors who each run their own division for however many years it’s taken to invent time travel, figure out a way to save Mack’s team from certain doom, and come up with a strategy that could win the war.

We’ve already seen half the team chafe under Mack’s leadership in season 5, ending in mutiny. Will they be able to take a step back, wait for Mack to catch up and then keep waiting for him to think things through and make incremental decisions, rather than taking the bold steps most of the team favors?

I’m still not okay with May being passed over for director when Coulson stepped down. Mack should have been acting director until she came back from bereavement leave before season 6 began. We’ve seen many positions held for many people while they dealt with personal issues. May had earned the director’s position and the leave of absence.

But I will try to move on this season. Unless we have another mutiny, now that Jemma’s working for Mack again after having been autonomous for years. She, Fitz and Enoch have clearly saved the world and SHIELD a time or two already and Mack isn’t recognizing it. Jemma would also be an excellent interim director until Daisy’s ready to take charge.

Mack is cautious to the point of costing lives while he thinks things through, trying to find the safest solution,  or he loses sight of the bigger picture and tries to save a few lives at the cost of many. We been shown that many times since he came on the show, especially since season 4. His inability to respond adequately in a crisis was highlighted in this episode.

Mack is mature, loyal, intelligent and a good agent and fighter, I just don’t think he’s a good director. I also don’t think Fitz could handle the mental and emotional stress of being the sole director. Daisy isn’t ready for the responsibility, yet. In real life, she’d need another 10 years. On the show, she’ll probably take over in the series finale.

Coulson-Bot is OG Coulson transferred into a new body, so he just needs to regain his self-confidence and decide what he wants to do with his life. He’s a lot like Deke, who also has latent leadership skills, which we saw in the future and at his start-up, but no interest in using them at SHIELD.

I think Elena’s almost there, too, though she’s had commitment issues at times. We’ve seen Elena as team leader, mutineer and prophet, but we probably won’t see her as director of SHIELD with so little time left.

I just need May to wake up to herself. Things would work out fine if May, Coulson-Bot and Mack all work together very closely as leaders to win the war, and they actually listen to the rest of the team.


Characters we didn’t see in this episode:

Fitz, obviously. According to Jemma, he’s safely in hiding somewhere. I get the feeling it’s been 5-10 years, maybe much more, and they haven’t seen each other much.

I have a theory that Jemma hasn’t been completely truthful with the rest of the team yet. At the end of season 6, Fitz and Jemma are holding a live grenade, trapped, ready to commit suicide in order to stop the Chronicoms from taking possession of the Framework and the teams’ brain scans, when Enoch presents them with another solution. We don’t hear his plan. We just hear him say it will be very difficult and will change the course of their natural lives forever.

Jemma and Fitz have changed to course of their lives, made it through suicide missions, come back from the dead, and taken on all manner of difficulties, so they’re not too fussed about Enoch’s warnings and readily agree. But as they’re speaking, Enoch is pulling out hard drives.

I wonder if he scanned their brains into the hard drives, put them in the Framework, then let their physical bodies die (or killed them) to make the Chronicoms think Fitz and Jemma were dead. Enoch would have continued with his Isaac the Hunter disguise to fool the other Chronicoms, and then eventually stolen the Framework hardware and everything else that was important from that room.

He would have had help in rebuilding and improving important technology from Deke’s team of superstar techs, so that they could make Jemma and Fitz new bodies ASAP. Jemma’s body could be flesh, but she moves a bit like a robot, so I think she might be a Chronicom-LMD hybrid, like Coulson-Bot. I think she’s waiting to tell the others until they’ve gotten used to him, in order to soften the blow and to use him to help convince them that her consciousness was transferred successfully.

I’m sort of wondering if Fitz hasn’t had a body all of this time, since that would be the best way to keep him hidden. Hopefully they’ll feel safe enough soon to give him one, or maybe I’m wrong and he is in his body.

Agent Piper and Flint took off in a quinjet from the jungle while the battle with Izel, her zombies and alien space monster Coulson/Sarge was still going strong. They never showed up at the Lighthouse. There’s also the question of whether Flint stayed alive after Izel died. He was theoretically made from monolith energy and Elena and Mack’s memories, but how much of Izel went into his creation? Were the monoliths acting on Izel’s desire and using her psychic energy to create another spectre like the shrikes, drawing only what they needed from Mack and Elena’s memories? Or did the time and space monoliths play the bigger role in his appearance, transporting the Flint we know and love to the temple from the future?

It seems crazy for the writers to keep teasing us with potential children for Mack and Elena, then to take them away again. How many times will Mack have to lose children? No wonder he’s grown so cautious. If Flint is gone, this will be the second time the audience will have been teased with his character in particular, who is well known from the comic books. Do we really need to send him back to an oppressive dystopia?

Agent Diaz, Deke’s top assistant and the staff of his start up were all alive and sheltering in his secret lab a hidden corner of the Lighthouse at the end of season 6. They could have escaped, along with whoever else they brought to Deke’s lab along with them. Diaz was ordered to round up as many SHIELD agents as possible and hide with them in the lab, since it wasn’t part of SHIELD when the Chronicoms scanned Fitz and Jemma’s brains. I believe Bennet and Snowflake were also alive, but I have a feeling their characters have been retired.

Agent Davis was dead at the end of the season, but he was also presumed dead at the end of season 4. He came back in season 5 with an amazing story about how he survived, which he told to several people, but the audience never heard. It’s possible that whatever happened, will happen again. Or something else will happen. Coulson uses a different mechanism everytime he comes back from the dead. Davis is the only longtime agent we know of with a surviving child. It would be cruel to make him dead forever.

Other characters: We have time travel now- anything and anyone can be brought back. If we need some help from Dr Radcliffe, we can go get him from the Framework just before he dies and put him in an LMD. Or Fitz can rebuild the body printer Aida used at the end of season 4 to leave the Framework and make herself a real girl.

We can get Grant Ward on one of his good days. Or maybe the version from the Framework. Anyone whose actor is available is fair game. Literally any artifact is fair game, as long as the production can afford the CGI. Think of the possibilities. They could make or bring back more inhumans to help fight the war. Daisy could get Lincoln back, the one thing she wants as much as she wants Coulson.

Think of the Koenig reunions.


Images courtesy of ABC.