The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are jumping through time to stop the Chronicoms from destroying S.H.I.E.L.D. In “Alien Commies from the Future!” Enver Gjokaj returns as Agent Daniel Sousa as the agents travel to Area 51.
The agents barely missed their tide window, leaving 1931 and Enoch (Joel Stoffer) behind. They stopped the Chronicoms’ mission to end HYDRA before it even began. And now they’re leaping through time to the next destination and year in S.H.I.E.L.D. history. Just a quick note: we’ve yet to see Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) this season.
Area 51 is famous for its alleged alien activity. That may have started when the Zephyr showed up one night, scaring a young couple. The Agents weren’t flying when the ship jumped, so they appeared a little too close to the ground. Once everyone gains their composure, Coulson (Clark Gregg) discovers they’ve arrived in 1955 at Groom Lake, Nevada, near Area 51.
The Chroni-cops report their failed mission to the Predictor. One of the cops doesn’t like that they are set to self destruct when they are compromised. He feels they should be set to detonate to eliminate everyone. But that would leave advanced technology scattered throughout the past, hastening the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Chronicom Predictor sets their next target, a device called Helios. If set up correctly, it will be detrimental for S.H.I.E.L.D.
The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have one thing to address first before they do anything else. Daisy (Chloe Bennet) told Deke (Jeff Ward) to kill Freddy Malick, the father of HYDRA last week. Mack (Henry Simmons) made it perfectly clear that one, he is only the one who gives orders, and two, their primary mission is to stop the Chronicoms.
YOUR NEXT MISSION, SHOULD YOU CHOSE TO ACCEPT
Now, on with the next mission. The Agents are following the Chronicoms through time. So, there’s no clear way to know when and where they will jump next. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) knows they are jumping forward because it takes less energy than going backward. The mission will end when it ends or when they destroy the Chronicoms. This means they will always be one step behind the Chronicoms.
Mack determines that they need to find the Chronicom ship and they need to find out what the Chronicoms are after in 1955. Coulson reveals that all “areas” are S.H.I.E.L.D. bases. In 1955, S.H.I.E.L.D. was working on a project called Helios, an early attempt at an ion fusion reactor that never worked. Deke says in his time, ion fusion powers big weapons as ship-to-ship killers. What better way to stop the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. than to kill the Zephyr?
BURGERS AND A SHAKE
Mack and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) grab a bite to eat at a local diner. Yo-Yo tells him about her inability to use her speed. He thinks it has something to do with the Shrike parasite. It’s just going to take some time to bounce back.
Speaking of bouncing back, at a different table in the diner, Daisy and Coulson discuss Agent May (Ming-Na Wen). Coulson goes on about how May went full ninja assassin on Enoch. Daisy was more surprised by May’s lack of reaction to Coulson being there.
Coulson starts fanboying about the 1950’s, the precipice of the Space Race. Daisy reminds him of the social issues of the times by pointing to the bathrooms. There’s one for whites only and one for colored only. We keep being reminded of this issue.
The group is waiting for a man named Gerald Sharpe (Michael Gaston). Sharpe works in the Department of Defense. He’s loud and obnoxious, not hard to miss at all. When he arrives, he asks for a cup of coffee, but the waitress doesn’t offer any cream or sugar. Daisy gives him her cream, after she laced it with a sedative.
The agents take Sharpe back to the ship and tie him up in a tent. While they look over the intel on Sharpe, May walks in. She asks where and when they are and states she’s ready to get to work. The team fills her in the mission and says Coulson and Simmons are already on base. Coulson is in disguise as Sharpe, with glasses, and Simmons takes on the role of another well-known British operative. That’s right. You guessed it! Simmons is posing as Agent Peggy Carter, Co-founder of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Coulson and Simmons, err, Agent Carter get on base easily. Dr. Vega (Julian Acosta) takes them to a lab dedicated to the birth of modern technology. He shows them the exciting prototypes of a radio watch and an electromagnetic pulse discharger with the ability to knock out every electronic gadget within thirty feet. He finally shows them a model of Helios. The actual reactor is in the testing field.
That brings up the question about who has access to Helios. For now it’s the Military Police, but they live on the base. The Science Team are the only people allowed to leave the base. So, Coulson and Simmons ask to interview the science team. Coulson adjusts his glasses and takes pictures to send to the Zephyr.
ALIEN COMMIES FROM THE FUTURE!
Meanwhile, Mack and Yo-Yo try to interrogate Sharpe, but he just laughs at them, calling them commies. Like I mentioned, Sharpe is obnoxious and very misogynistic and racist. He seriously called Mack “boy.”
Coulson and Simmons take one look at the Science Team and realize the Chronicoms act just like scientists. How are they going to distinguish between Chronicoms and Humans? They’ll have to trigger an emotional response and that leads to some strange questions. Who cares about John Wayne? They ask if anyone knows what it’s like to make sacrifices for love, like in Casablanca. How does it make a person feel when they hear the word “moist”?
More people arrive, so Dr. Vega asks the agents if they need to interview them as well. Coulson says yes and they hold the bus for him. Another car arrives and a man gets out. He walks with a cane towards the base. The MP tells the man that Sharpe is questioning the Science Team and he has a S.H.I.E.L.D. dame with him. When the man turns around, we see Daniel Sousa, Peggy Carter’s former partner.
Deke and Daisy talk about what happened with Mack. Deke isn’t happy that Daisy was too quick to kill Freddy. She didn’t consider him a kid; she says he’s more like the Grand Wizard of HYDRA. Killing him would have saved millions and now she feels responsible for all of their deaths. She doesn’t know why it bothers Deke. He says he’s not the same guy she met in the lighthouse. And he doesn’t want to be that guy again. Daisy picks up Sousa’s file and looks concerned.
BLAST FROM THE PAST… SORTA
Sousa goes to the lab where Peggy is questioning the science team. He’s a bit nervous to see her, but that all goes away when he sees Jemma Simmons instead of Peggy Carter. Simmons obviously has no idea who he is. He asks about her visit and she admits they are looking for any intruders. Simmons asks for his name, but he only gives his first name and says he flew in from Los Angeles. She asks if he works at the old SSR office and he says he’s in charge of it. Simmons knows exactly who he is and that he knows she is not Agent Carter.
Meanwhile Coulson gets a little carried away with triggering human emotion in the visitors on the bus and makes an older lady cry. He tries to calm her down when Sousa boards the bus, telling the MPs to arrest Coulson. Coulson turns to see who’s talking and immediately recognizes Sousa. He adjusts his glasses to send a photo of Sousa to Deke.
Deke and Mack are going over the people on base. Most of them are S.H.I.E.L.D.’s early power players. May and Yo-Yo return from questioning Sharpe, and it did not go well. He called her an “oriental.” Yo-Yo had to pull her off of him. Considering the year and the social injustices during that time, it’s obvious that Mack, Yo-Yo and May are the wrong people to talk to Sharpe. There’s only one person on board who might get anything out of Sharpe. Deke, only because he’s white.
NEED TO KNOW BASIS
Sousa isn’t happy about catching Simmons and Coulson infiltrating the most secure S.H.I.E.L.D. base in the Western US. On top of that he finds Daisy in his office. She tells him that she’s CIA. So, she doesn’t exist, and they’ve never met. She praises Sousa and his good deeds to sound more legit and Sousa buys it. He asks if she’s there about the report he sent to the CIA. He has suspicions that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by sleepers, post WWII. Daisy says he’s not crazy and his prisoners may be the key to proving his suspicions.
Sharpe gnaws at his ropes when Deke arrives. Deke plays it calm and cool, making Sharpe think he’s in charge. Deke says they are testing Sharpe’s skills. He asks about Helios, but Sharpe is on to him. He calls Deke a commie and tells him to take Helios because it doesn’t work. There’s nothing on Earth that’s powerful enough to get Helios up to velocity.
Deke runs to tell Mack that Helios is a dud, which is a good thing. However! A Chronicom is powerful enough to charge Helios. And they are on Earth right now. If they succeed, the blast radius will destroy the brain trust of S.H.I.E.L.D. Time to call in the Cavalry, a.k.a. May. Meanwhile, in the lab, Dr. Vega is giving a tour when a mysterious woman, posing as a scientist raises her fingernail to power up Helios.
May and Yo-Yo quickly go to the base disguised as pilots and no one questions who they are. May explains that women pilots flew more than men pilots because they carried the practice targets. The ladies head to the lab and put on face masks. Yo-Yo reminds May to go easy on the civilian scientists. May kicks open the doors and they both throw in smoke bombs and look for anyone who doesn’t react to it.
Sousa takes Daisy to Coulson and Simmons. She asks to talk to them alone, but Sousa won’t allow it. The alarms go off, distracting Sousa. Coulson breaks his handcuffs and throws Sousa into the holding cell. Coulson yells an apology and says he’s a big fan before running away.
The lab is chaos. Yo-Yo moves through and helps people get out. May tries to help, but people start bumping into her, causing her to have a panic attack. Yo-Yo spots the Chronicom and tries to run to her but can’t. May can’t breathe and starts freaking out. Yo-Yo focuses on getting May out of the room. Meanwhile, the ground starts rumbling below Helios.
May calms down and Yo-Yo asks what happened. May doesn’t want to talk about it. She asks why Yo-Yo didn’t run after the Chronicom. Yo-Yo doesn’t want to talk about that either.
At the Zephyr, Mack and Deke realize that Helios is powering up and there may not be enough time to evacuate the base. Sharpe escapes the tent and looks around the Zephyr in shock. He yells asking what kind of commies they are. Mack says he will explain but punches Sharpe instead, knocking him out.
Everyone clears the base. Dr. Vega tells them there’s no way to stop Helios. Coulson tells Dr. Vega to gather the visitors, get on a bus and leave. After Dr. Vega runs away, Simmons says there’s no time to evacuate. May and Yo-Yo join them and say they are working on finding the Chronicom. They spot the Chronicom and continue their pursuit.
Simmons wants to use the electromagnetic pulse discharger to try and shut down Helios. The design is wrong, so she has to do a little rewiring. A random scientist shows up and they tell him to evacuate. He throws Daisy against the wall, revealing he’s a Chronicom. Coulson goes after the Chronicom, pushing him out into the hall. Daisy and Simmons stay behind to work on the EMP.
PROTECTING THE TIMELINE
The Chronicom reaches Helios and makes a beeline for the power grid. She finds a connector cable and inserts it into her body. May and Yo-Yo catch up to her and do their best to stop the Chronicom. May fights the Chronicom while Yo-Yo disconnects the other end of the connector. Helios starts to power down and the Chronicom goes after Yo-Yo. The Chronicom pushes May out of the way and wraps a cord around Yo-Yo’s neck. She pushes Yo-Yo up against the power grid, using her foot to tighten the cord. May gets up and tries to help Yo-Yo, while the Chronicom reconnects with Helios.
Sousa gets out of the holding cell and finds Coulson fighting the Chronicom. He tries to break up the fight, but the Chronicom pushes him away. He pushes Sousa against the wall with Sousa’s cane to choke him. Simmons completes her rewiring of the EMP and turns it on. The power goes out everywhere. Coulson and the Chronicoms go offline as well, saving Yo-Yo and Sousa. Both Chronicoms self-destruct, turning to black goo.
The MPs show up and Sousa tells them to get a medic for Coulson. Sousa turns Coulson over, and his eyes are wide open. Something flickers in Coulson’s eyes, turning them from blue to gold.
Deke and Mack are in the cockpit of the Zephyr and Deke turns on a mic for Mack. Sharpe wakes up outside of the ship and sees a spaceship (it’s the Zephyr). He hears Mack call him an Earthling and instructs Sharpe to not tell anyone what he saw. If he does, they will return to probe him. The Zephyr leaves and Sharpe runs to the diner to tell everyone that aliens abducted him. He’s pretty sure they were communists from the future.
This is an interesting concept for the final season. We get to learn more about S.H.I.E.L.D.’s history through the show’s storytelling. Time travel is tricky, but Marvel does a good job about answering as many questions as possible before the fans can ask. For example, the time tides can only move forward. This keeps the Chronicoms from getting any do-overs in the past. And now we know that the Zephyr will always jump to where the Chronicoms next target so, we don’t have to worry about them losing the Chronicoms. Good job Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers!
The big question coming out of this episode is what is up with May and Yo-Yo? Yo-Yo wants to go fast, but she can’t. Daisy can use her powers, so it can’t be because they’re in the past. As for May, I think dying did something to her psyche. She’s still cold and focused on her mission, but she’s almost ruthless. I’ve never seen her panic in any situation, so this is new and concerning. Whatever the reason, it’s only affecting May and Yo-Yo. So maybe it does have something to do with the Shrikes.
We’ll return to 1955 next week. I can’t wait to see how Daisy and Simmons talk their way out this one. And is LMD Coulson okay? What does it mean that his eyes turned gold? Did the Chronicoms get into this system? That remains to be seen. I love this season so far!
(Feature image Enver Gjokaj as Daniel Sousa in Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC/Mitch Haaseth)
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