So far on season six of Agents of SHIELD, we’ve heard about Coulson’s death, but have not seen his final moments or anything about a funeral or memorial. I suspect that latter part won’t happen, since at least some of the Avengers should turn up for that, and that’s not going to happen on the tv show. We do finally learn more about Coulson’s end, as well as moving several other plots ahead, in “The Other Thing,” which was directed by the talented Lou Diamond Phillips.
The episode starts off seesawing back and forth between May spending her time with Coulson as his time runs out and May’s current predicament, having been captured by Sarge last episode. The Coulson/May scenes are sweet, and would no doubt stun May’s co-workers. In the present, Sarge explains why May is dizzy and sends Snowflake off on a mission. Neither of them seems to be batting an eye at their loss of Pax and Jaco last episode. May asks why she’s there, and gets a surprising answer.
Mack is glaring at the status boards at the Lighthouse, not looking particularly pleased. Khan reports on Deke’s status after his adventure last episode. Yo-Yo sees Mack looking and leaves, with him following. Yo-Yo reports on the interrogations of the prisoners, but Mack is more worried about how she’s doing after the loss of Keller. Yo-Yo is a bit bitter in her responses, and we get a tiny bit more insight into her and Mack’s breakup. It wasn’t entirely amicable. Yo-Yo suggests Mack keep an eye on their new science recruit, Benson, before stalking off.
Out in space, Enoch muses about being decommissioned and generally feels sorry for himself. The rest of the team is more concerned with the bounty hunter who captured Fitz, and where they might be. Simmons and Daisy try and cheer Enoch up, but that isn’t working. They do tell him a bit about the future, and what he did to help them. Piper and Davis’ bickering gets interrupted when a new threat arrives on the scene. Sarge is, I think, trying to be charming with May, and that goes about like you’d expect. He does seem curious about who is running around with his face on this world, which I have to admit I don’t blame him for.
The SHIELD agents arm up while Enoch points out they’d already be dead if that’s what the new force wanted. After some more bickering between Piper and Davis, Enoch comes to a decision that surprises everyone. Apparently the person in charge is someone Enoch knows, and they’re not friendly. The leader is called Altarah, and she makes pronouncements about an upcoming judgment. Piper and Davis get shoved in a cell while Altarah brings the others someplace else. Enoch gets some very surprising news about his home, and some of the description sounds as if it might be familiar. Altarah reveals what their goal is, and has taken some smart precautions regarding Quake’s power. When some of the leader’s goals shift, Daisy and Simmons take advantage and start fighting back.
Who- or whatever Sarge is, he’s smart and intuitive. May doesn’t answer his questions but he manages to read enough from her face and reactions to dope out some of what happened with Coulson. Sarge, since he knows he’s real, tries to figure out what kind of impostor Coulson was, and May doesn’t take that suggestion well. May gets another flashback to her time with Coulson, and we see the first of several odd parallels between Coulson and Sarge. There’s clearly something odd going on here.
Snowflake and Sarge have a test set up for May, and she’s not really eager to cooperate. She rapidly finds she doesn’t have a choice, and we get another great May action sequence. The woman does know how to fight. She learns some of what Sarge’s team has been up against, and wants answers. At this point, so do I.
Mack checks in with Benson on his progress with another very strange autopsy. Benson is over his head, but at least he admits it. Mack’s attempt at more friendly leadership aren’t met with happiness and acceptance. Enoch tries to convince Altarah she’s approaching Fitz wrong, but the stakes are too high for her to listen. Enoch and Altarah argue, and Simmons tries to point out the flaws in Altarah’s reasoning. Altarah asks some probing questions, and Enoch surprises some of the characters with his answers.
Benson isn’t happy when Yo-Yo comes by, and they spark off each other a bit. Benson knows some of what she’s going through with Keller’s loss, and shares some of his own story. Benson is puzzled by what he’s managed to learn so far, and shows Yo-Yo to demonstrate how utterly beyond everything it is. To his surprise, Yo-Yo recognizes some of his readings. Sarge finally shares some information with May, and she figures a few things out on her own. Neither of them quite know what to make of Deke. Benson gets shown something that was very important last season, and sees how it relates to his recent findings. The late Agents Fox and Keller’s theory lives on, and seems to be the only working idea SHIELD has at the moment.
Sarge drops a few ominous hints about what he’s been doing and what’s to come, and makes a surprising claim about some personal information. In flashback, Coulson makes a surprising suggestion about May’s future, and there are more echoes between SHIELD’s fallen leader and this intruder from another world. Sarge’s grand plan doesn’t sound great for Earth. Piper and Davis get rescued, and Simmons makes a surprising decision. No one really likes it, which meets at least some definitions of a good compromise. Sarge drives their impressive mobile base along, and Snowflake is in back with May. Snowflake makes a few mistakes, and, as a rule, one is all May needs. She does her best to keep some earlier promises to Sarge. There’s some more great close-quarters fighting, and May suffers a few more flashbacks, including what appears to be an ending. Once again, the past and present are eerily similar.
Benson makes a request of Mack which the Director isn’t sure how to take. Their discussion is interrupted by some unclear com traffic, which turns out to be Daisy bringing most of her team home. There are some happy reunions and then a lot of questions about what’s going on. I’m sort of amused that, as this episode went on, no one seemed really worried about May. I’m guessing she’s just such a badass everyone figured she’d be fine. The episode ends with an odd Fitz and Enoch scene, which didn’t go how either of them probably wanted.
What I liked: The mystery around Sarge is really capturing my imagination. I think I’ve come up with and discarded several theories at this point. May is an amazingly skilled fighter, and they played that up well this episode. The past and present similarities are intriguing. I’m glad Daisy and Simmons figured a way out of at least most of their situation. I completely understand Benson’s ongoing disbelief at the weirdness SHIELD handles. I’m really glad they didn’t keep Fitz and Simmons apart the whole season.
What I didn’t: I know they’re not main characters, but I didn’t like Piper and Davis getting sidelined so much of this episode. I’m not crazy about the link back to the things that were so important last season that still haven’t been explained. I get it’s more dramatic or whatever they’re aiming for, but I’d really prefer Mack and Yo-Yo get back together.
There were a lot of interesting hints and suggestions this time out. I’ll give it a 3.5 out of 5.