Last episode was, essentially, a hostage situation for the entire SHIELD team as Izel body-hopped her way around the base and killed Davis, who is probably my favorite of the new agents, and I’m still really annoyed about. Now, there’s the follow up, as Izel has taken off with two of the team, the others are trying to figure out what to do with Sarge, and, near the end, we see some problems from out there that are more than likely going to spill over to Earth. The end of the season is almost here with “From the Ashes,” which, I have to admit, is another title that I’m not sure how it applies.
Aboard the Zephyr, Mack and Yo-Yo wake up and compare notes, both agreeing they are tired of waking up without knowing how they got there, cuffed to something. It’s like bad amnesiac B & D. They talk about what’s going on, what Izel wants, and the limits of what they actually know. This scene ends with Izel herself doing something really clever. Daisy and Piper are running the command center of the Lighthouse, trying to get a lead on, well, pretty much anything at this point. Piper and Daisy disagree about Izel, and May’s approach to Sarge. Daisy goes to check in with the brain trust, but so far no one has a good idea on how to keep Izel out of their heads, literally. Simmons compares Sarge’s condition to Robbie Reyes with the Ghost Rider, but we’ve heard that comparison before and it hasn’t gotten them anywhere. May and Sarge have an emotional interrogation, where May is digging for something that might not be there, and Sarge is being a dick, which he excels at. It’s weird that the entire focus has shifted to Sarge, when, as far as I know, they still have Snowflake, who might be able to tell them something.
Daisy and May have what might be the strongest disagreement I’ve ever seen between them on how to approach Sarge. Both of them seem to have made up their minds, in different directions, without enough evidence. A quinjet docks with the Zephyr, and Izel cautions her hostages to not do anything to make her kill more people. They meet up with Benson and his pilot, and Benson gives an informative presentation, not realizing who he’s talking to. He finally gets a warning, but Izel comes out of hiding to issue threats and tell him to keep going. More threats are exchanged, and Benson makes one of those rash, “You can’t hurt me anymore than I’ve already been hurt” statements. Those are pretty much never true, and far too many villains seem to take it as a challenge.
Daisy goes back to Sarge’s holding cell and asks him about the newest ability he’s manifested. They argue about the truth of Izel’s claims and the true nature of Sarge and Izel’s relationship. Daisy urges him to get in touch with whatever power lurks inside him, but Sarge says neither the memories he’s getting glimpses of nor the rage churning inside him are actually his. There’s a lot of identity crisis and concerns going on here. Daisy keeps taunting, and Sarge hits back with some cutting comments. Ticked off, Daisy leaves and goes to see how Team Science is doing. Fitz has some theories about the shrike killing blades they’ve recovered and Sarge’s big sword. Deke seems to just be annoyingly echoing the others’ comments, which is a disappointment from him. Simmons is more concerned with the toll all this is taking on Daisy, but Daisy doesn’t want to hear it.
Mack and Yo-Yo have been locked in one of the containment pods by Izel. I really do think those things have clocked more time holding SHIELD agents than dangerous supers of various kinds. They spend some time talking about their relationship, and some critiquing each other’s plans to deal with Izel. Izel takes some time to explain how the monoliths work, and giving the villain explanation plan speech to Benson. He’s not impressed until she turns it loose on him, and Benson gets a blast from the past that plays with his head. Yo-Yo and Mack try to call out encouragement from inside their pod, but Benson is overwhelmed by what’s happening to him, understandably enough in this instance.
Daisy goes back to her room and deals with a piece of her past she’s been ignoring up until now. Reenergized, she goes back to see Sarge and starts pushing him a lot harder. Sarge goes back and forth from his usual cruel comments to some degree of despair. Daisy, not swayed by either, starts a new and different tact to see what he’s really made of. As she waits for some results, Simmons coms in to register some objections, and Deke isn’t happy either. Daisy isn’t listening, and tells them to keep monitoring the scanners to see what they show. Izel’s torture of Benson is clever, and manipulative, and the fear generator has locked on to something truly horrific that is exactly the kind of thing that could keep you up nights or drive you to drink. Well, drink more.
Piper sees what Daisy is up to, and isn’t sure this is the best approach. She consults with May, who understands what her fellow agent is trying to do. Piper and May disagree on what to do next, but May does outrank Piper, so we know which way that goes. Sarge gets a weird memory flash and then wakes up. Daisy starts in again with more demands for answers, and he isn’t in the mood. Things escalate, and we see Sarge has just picked up several new tricks. While the base is put on lockdown mode, Daisy only seems concerned with what readings Simmons and company got. Daisy is showing some serious signs of going down the unhealthy obsessive route. Daisy picks up a very specific tool from team science. Fitz and Simmons express some reservations, and Daisy counters with a really cold statement that surprises them.
Mack and Yo-Yo talk some more in their pod, and then get bounced around a bit as the Zephyr changes course. They realize what this means, and Izel leads in Benson, who apologizes, clearly still shaken. I really can’t blame the man. Mack and Yo-Yo start a fairly desperate plan which ticks Izel off, but does get Benson clear of danger. When they boast a bit about what they’ve managed to do, Izel starts a riff that seems contradictory, which essentially goes, “I didn’t want you to do that, but now that you did, it fits perfectly into my plan.” Just admit they got one over on you, Izel. Daisy and May have another conversation about Daisy’s extreme approach, but the younger agent pushes ahead. She goes on to confront Sarge and, as tempers flare, she hears something that completely shocks her and halts her plan. Daisy is happily surprised by this development, while Sarge seems very conflicted.
Mack and Yo-Yo end up someplace that looks more like it should be Raiders of the Lost Ark than Agents of SHIELD, and Izel does some more boasting. Fitz comes up with a bad idea that Simmons gently shoots down when Deke proves that he can be useful sometimes. He listens to Sarge’s rant at Daisy and inspiration strikes. All of them think this is the way to go, and start plotting out their new idea. May comes away from a briefing with the three of them baffled by techno-babble, but overall encouraged. Piper tells her more news, mixed good and bad. Daisy and May discuss Sarge’s latest revelation, and come up with a desperate and questionable plan. I have no idea if this will work, but it’s worth a shot at this point. Sarge looks like he has his own ideas about what to do next.
Izel continues to boast/explain her plan, and Yo-Yo gets in a great line about that trope. Izel tells them what she expects to happen next, and the agents, of course, refuse to help her. She reveals something special about where they are, and then something peculiar happens that seems to indicate at least something is happening. The episode ends with the chronicons out in space, and a sharp disagreement about policy.
What I liked: Deke proved his worth again, which is good. The man really should be brilliant, and not just comic relief/awkward social catalyst. Yo-Yo and Mack demonstrated their devotion to the job and each other. The tactic used against Benson was ugly, but clever and effective. Daisy was ruthless, but she got results.
What I didn’t: Izel really is falling into multiple bad guy clichés. I’m really not loving this plot with Sarge. What the hell happened to Snowflake in all this? I’m still really irritated about Davis. He had a much better story going than Piper.
I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. Next up will be the double length season finale.