The Agents of SHIELD are heading toward their big confrontation, as well as the end of the season (which might be the end of the series, they still haven’t announced that yet) with “Inside Voices.” It opens with Coulson giving some of his trademark snark as he complains to his empty cell about Hale’s reaction to him turning her down. Hale herself is spinning a different story to her daughter Ruby and Creel, the Absorbing Man. Ruby and Hale argue over Hale’s plan for Creel, and we also learn of her immediate plans for Coulson, which are far from pleasant. Hale’s experiment with Creel goes off the rails almost at once, as there’s a factor the scheming general doesn’t know about in her plan.
Back at the Lighthouse, Yo-Yo is testing out her new arms, going to town on the heavy bag. I’m glad they skipped the cliche of her breaking it. Mack comes in and they debate her taking it easy and his checking her new limbs. She looks annoyed, but they show at the end of the scene she’s not as in control as she thinks. There’s also an awkward bit of business with a sweatshirt that makes no sense at all and I think was bad editing.
Deke and Fitz talk about their recently discovered relationship, and Fitz isn’t thrilled about it. Deke admires some of what Fitz has done, which does show a certain pragmatism running in the family I guess. There’s the start of a running joke about what things are like with Daisy as Acting Director. Simmons then has a chat with Deke about their future/his past, and some concerns she has over health issues.
Speaking of Daisy’s leadership, May isn’t sure about Daisy’s newest idea. She’s going to get Robin, their seer, out of her hiding place for any insight about where Coulson might be. There really are some bigger issues to worry about, but Coulson has pretty much all of Daisy’s attention and hope. Mack briefly consults with Fitz about a lead on one of Hydra’s big weapons, but isn’t going to go along with Fitz’s idea. This is when a schism starts opening in the ranks at SHIELD, as some of the agents talk about their future.
In Hale’s hidden Hydra hideaway, Creel is having some flashbacks from his participation in Hale’s experiment. Hale and Creel bicker a bit about what their next step is. Hale isn’t stupid enough to argue with a man like Creel, but she’s not above trying to manipulate him. While Hale plays head games, Daisy and May take a Quinjet and meet up with Robin and her mother. Robin is more withdrawn than usual, and her mother is worried. Daisy says she’ll try and help.
Back at Casa Hydra, Strucker is working on trying to recreate his father’s work, and looking very frazzled. Ruby comes in and he tries to send her off for translation help. Ruby wonders if he’s making any progress at all. She’s worried, harboring suspicions about Creel and her mother. Strucker is confused, believing Ruby’s destiny with Hydra is set.
As the Quinjet meets up with the Zephyr, Daisy is trying to bond with Robin and reassure her. Daisy sympathizes, saying her own power scares her, too. She’s doing well, but her impatience is showing a bit, as she starts dropping hints about finding Coulson.
Mack and Yo-Yo banter as he checks her robo-arms. Yo-Yo tries to talk him into letting Fitz out of his cell, and Mack isn’t budging on that front. They talk about that, Yo-Yo’s idea about not being able to die because of the future, and Fitz’s lead on finding Hydra. Mack makes a decent rebuttal which I really don’t think Yo-Yo had considered at all. Creel decides he’s had enough of his flashbacks, and takes matters in to his own hands. It’s not easy to keep someone with Creel’s powers captive, and he easily lets himself out and goes to visit Coulson. Coulson has a great line about Hale’s “Evil League of Evil,” before Creel gets to why he’s there. Coulson realizes how much Creel doesn’t know and fills him in on some of what Hydra has been up to. Creel, suspicious of everyone, especially a former enemy, decides to verify some of this himself.
Daisy talks with Polly, Robin’s mother, trying to get any insight about how to approach Robin. Daisy gets rattled when Robin shows her a picture of Robin’s death in the future that we’ve already seen. Tuned in to things that haven’t happened yet, Robin calls May “Mommy” and starts hugging her. Polly is hurt and confused, understandably enough. Robin praises Fitz for getting them back. This must be so frustrating for Daisy. She’s not only not getting what she wants, she’s being told things she already knows.
Creel and Coulson skulk through Hydra-House, going where Creel’s been forbidden in the past. Backing up Coulson’s story, they find Talbot locked in a cell, still suffering from the effects of his injuries, because I’m sure Hydra made sure he had top medical care. Creel is shaken, and we get the title reference as Coulson tries to get Talbot to help, not hinder, in the sneaking effort.
Yo-Yo brings Mack to Fitz’s cell, where Simmons has a demonstration set up to show her faith in their indestructibility because of their future destiny. She’s even more devoted to this idea than Yo-Yo. Simmons’ plan horrifies both Mack and Fitz. It’s part unshakeable faith and part con job, and most of the agents involved get what they want, although I suspect this is going to cause a lot of problems in the aftermath. We also see yet another glitch with Yo-Yo’s new arms.
May and Robin get a nice bonding scene as May tries to find out why Robin isn’t doing her prophetic drawings anymore. It’s really interesting seeing this side of May, which at the start of the series, she would have been wholly incapable of. May, too, brings up Coulson being lost, and how much she and Daisy both need him. May goes over the drawings Robin brought, and suddenly gets inspiration.
Deke is less persuaded by this idea, and comments about his future depending on the crayon drawings of a crazy person. Deke also gets another of his running joke scenes when someone is expressing concern about a character and he thought it was about him. The man’s ego is healthy enough, that’s for sure. They use the picture to home in on where they think Coulson is.
Coulson, Creel, and Talbot continue their great escape, complicated by Talbot’s brain damage and Creel’s flashbacks. Creel was also brought here blindfolded, so no one knows where they are. Ruby checks in on Strucker, but they get interrupted by alarms blaring, Hale showing up, and giving orders regarding the attempted escape. Fitz, Simmons, and Yo-Yo go ahead with their own plan, which also includes the dubious step of flying without a pilot.
Creel does battle with more of the super-mechs, and then helps save Coulson’s life when his own medical condition flares up in mid-fight. Talbot snarks that Coulson dies more than anyone he’s ever met. I have to say, of the characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think Coulson is leading the comic book resurrection race. The three escapees flee as Ruby shows up with more mechs.
May finds out that Polly knows more about the future then May thought, and is aware it’s not a great one for her. Polly makes a request of May that unnerves the super agent, and Robin does something that makes me think Polly isn’t going to make it to the end of the season. Creel doesn’t know where the exit they need is, and Talbot starts making Butch and Sundance comments. Coulson comes up with a desperate idea, and Creel buys them time. Creel faces off with Ruby, which once again is a weird battle where one fighter is outclassed and for reasons that make no sense, pretty much doesn’t use their powers. That fights ends uncertainly in regards to Creel’s fate.
Talbot and Coulson trade quips as they try and figure out where they’ve ended up, with a nice callback to Coulson’s Tahiti issues. The show ends with a weird flashback scene with two characters we haven’t seen in a long time, but it illustrates what’s going on with the strange behavior of the gravitonium.
What I liked: Daisy isn’t doing great as leader, and that makes perfect sense. She’s in many ways the least experienced agent, and she’s under huge pressure. She shouldn’t be perfect. Yo-Yo’s arms aren’t operating smoothly, and that makes sense as well. Simmons’ trick was pretty slick. The Talbot/Coulson scenes were entertaining. I like the growth from May.
What I didn’t: Even with the background last episode, I still don’t like Ruby. Hale is sounding more and more fanatical, and that doesn’t bode well. I actually do feel bad for Creel in all this. And they are once again having a shared universe problem: if there’s a huge alien threat coming, isn’t it time to call the Avengers? Or at least the Defenders?
I’ll give this one a high 3.5 out of 5. I’m really wondering if the factions are going to align to face the alien threat.