Agents of SHIELD: Alien Commies from the Future

CLARK GREGG, CHLOE BENNET

It’s important to take time to absorb local culture while (time) traveling 

The final season of Agents of SHIELD continues their time-hopping madness, preventing the Chronicoms from altering history and preventing SHIELD from ever forming. I’m halfway expecting at least one episode where they partially succeed and we see a lot of “What would they be doing if…” going on, but maybe they’ll avoid the cliché. This week, we get a guest star from another series, a superstar from another field entirely, and the bad ol’ days of the 50’s. They even change the title card to reflect the weird sci-fi title of “Alien Commies From the Future!”

The episode starts with a very entertaining couple out in the desert in the back of a truck. Their unusual date night gets interrupted by the Zephyr doing a low-level fly-by, which startles everyone. The transition from the earlier era did not go smoothly. The team does some scrambling to figure out where and when they are. Fittingly, given how they popped up, they are near Area 51 in 1955. The Chronicoms figure out they’ve been followed, and do some planning to shake their collective tail and move ahead with their next plan to prevent SHIELD from living up to its potential.

While the team tries to figure out what’s going wrong now, Mack comes down on Daisy and Deke for their very off-mission attempt to kill Freddie Malik last time. Daisy doesn’t seem bothered by her ordered assassination, and Mack asserts his authority. He is the Director, after all. Simmons explains a bit about how their erratic time travel is working. Mack comes up with a great idea that, as far as I can tell, gets utterly ignored for the rest of the episode. Daisy learns something that the version of her from the very start of the series would have been thrilled about. Coulson, Deke, and Simmons between them figure out what the Chronicoms are after. Later, in a diner, the team in small groups discuss SHIELD history, power problems, and the troubling social issues of the time they’ve ended up in. Daisy and Coulson worry about May as they manage to secure their actual target.

The team gets their prisoner secure, and May continues to act oddly. Coulson and Simmons sneak into the base, posing as Sharpe, the man they captured, and the only other female English SHIELD Agent we’ve ever seen: Peggy Carter. Bluffing their way in, they get a tour, and Simmons is thrilled to see a place so important to SHIELD’s past, especially the science wing she’s part of. Eventually, they find out about some more visitors coming in and figure the Chronicoms will be sneaking in that way. The rest of the team tries to get somewhere with their prisoner, but he’s very much a man of his time, and Mack and Yo-Yo don’t really fit the bill for people he’s likely to talk to. His own past means he won’t be a pushover, either. Simmons and Coulson split up to try and track down the Chronicoms, but get a major wrinkle to their covers when Agent Daniel Sousa shows up. Few know Agent Carter better. As they work on another project, Deke and Daisy debate the attempted killing of Malik, and Daisy says a few things that I don’t think are true. They learn about Sousa arriving just too late to be helpful.

The play between Sousa and Simmons is entertaining, leading, of course, to her arrest. You’d think, with all the freaky stuff that happens throughout the Marvel Universe, there would be a codeword for “Hey, I’m on your side, it’s a time travel thing.” Sousa also arrests Coulson, who is such a big history buff that he’s thrilled to meet the agent. The rest of the team tries to figure out who’s who among the visiting VIP’s, and May has an incident with their “guest,” which seems very much at odds with how she’s been acting lately. Finally, Mack and the others realize they are going to need to send Deke in to speak with the prisoner. I guess it bodes well for the future, even in the apocalypse, that it takes Deke a while to figure out why he’s the one. As Sousa tries to figure out the story behind his mysterious infiltrators, he gets a visit from the CIA, in the person of Daisy, also undercover. Hopefully she won’t try and kill Sousa. Her trying to prove who she is gives us an amusing recap of the two seasons that the Agent Carter series ran.

Deke does the best he can, but their prisoner is a difficult man. Deke does learn a little about the special project that’s been the source of worry for the agents, and it’s a bit confusing for them. The others manage to figure out what the Chronicoms are likely up to, which isn’t as reassuring as it could be. If they are successful, the bad guys might wipe out SHIELD’s early brain trust, setting back the agency decades, if not crippling it forever. Mack decides to send in May, which Deke has a few reasonable objections to. Inside one of the scientists shows off something we’d take for granted now. In the background, one of the Chronicoms starts working to sabotage everything. While she’s not credited with the role, this Chronicom is played by Jessie Graff, an accomplished stuntwoman who is probably best known for her amazing runs on American Ninja Warrior. I’m a fan myself. May and Yo-Yo sneak in, give a brief history lesson to each other, and then enact the newest plan to flush out their non-human foes.

Sousa gets in some entertaining lines as Daisy helps Coulson and Simmons escape. It’s the most apology-filled breakout I think there’s ever been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jessie the Chronicom (hey, they never named her) gets away when Yo-Yo has more power issues and May develops a new problem. The pair do some entertaining bickering at they renew their pursuit. On the Zephyr, the prisoner gets free, and Mack finally gets to let off at least a bit of his frustration. There’s a lot of confusion and chaos as May and Yo-Yo take off in pursuit of Jessie. Coulson, Simmons, and Daisy take on the other Chronicom, with Sousa turning up at a bad time and getting a lot of surprises. There’s some great action in both fights while Simmons frantically cobbles something together to end the combat. She does, and Sousa gets more surprises. The poor guy never does get a clear idea about what happened, as far as we know. The episode wraps with Mack and Deke preserving the timeline with the added bonus of making their pain in the ass prisoner look like an idiot.

What I liked: Any show that manages to work in references to Agent Carter and American Ninja Warrior wins big points from me. I’m really curious about what’s going on with May and Yo-Yo, respectively. It was great to see Sousa again. Simmons as Carter was a great touch. Sousa got some wonderful lines. They had the courage to show the ugliness of some of the 50’s for what it was. The couple at the start was a great bit.

 

What I didn’t: I hope we get Enoch back before the season ends. Where’s Fitz? I’m hoping, but starting to wonder, about seeing some familiar faces before it ends.

 

I thought this was a great episode. If they keep this level of quality up, we’re in for a great ride for these last episodes. I’m giving this a 4 out of 5.

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