Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The New Deal

Daisy: "How long have we been apart?"
Simmons: "Too long. It is good to see you."

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back for one last ride and they get the final season running with a fun premiere.

They got everything right with this trip to the past. The feeling of escapism, the way they addressed both racism and sexism, the costumes. Ah, the costumes. It's nice to see that much color on Agents.

Coulson is gone, but his LMD replacement is a lot of fun. Even though I think the writers could have done a better job with Sarge last season and maybe kept him around, I like ChroniCoulson better. He is not the real deal, but he is close enough. Clark Gregg displays such a vibrant energy playing Coulson, I enjoyed having that back.

Another highlight was how pragmatic both Mack and ChroniCoulson were in addressing the situation. That was a terrific scene between the two of them. Mack doesn't like robots, Coulson would have never wanted to be downloaded into one. But they are both leaders and understand the role ChroniCoulson needs to play now. When the time to deactivate him comes, maybe he will have earned his stay. And maybe, even then, he will prefer to be shut down. "The End" provided such a powerful conclusion to Coulson, I wonder what the series finale can achieve with his replica.

Daisy wasn't as attached to the LMD version of her father figure as much as I thought she would be, but he is a comfort blanket for her. Though she won't forget that Coulson is gone, it sure helps to have a faithful version of him walking around, especially right after all the drama with Sarge. ChroniCoulson is not the real deal, but at least he is not the violation of Coulson's image that Sarge was.



The first mission into the past was lots of fun. I wish ABC hadn't spoiled either Patton Oswalt's guest appearance as yet another Koenig or the Hydra twist in the end, but this hour was very enjoyable nonetheless. I liked how the writers used the link between S.H.I.E.L.D. and a historical figure as red herring to the link between S.H.I.E.L.D. and a Hydra founder. Thus, the season created a classic time travel moral conundrum right off the bat: in order to protect the timeline, you have to make sure bad events unfold like they are supposed to.

Ripples are good, waves are bad, that's what Deke explained and what Mack wanted everyone to follow. It was understandable, though, that he was the one who nearly slipped up. The way Mack dealt with the racism thrown at him was one of the highlights of the episode for me. He went from trying to ignore it, to being upset by it when Ernest Koenig called him Coulson's shadow, to finally imposing himself when a idiotic racist was about to say something offensive. He just couldn't take it. Ripples, not waves, he tried to convince himself, but who could blame him for standing up to himself? I mean, fast forward 90 years and what is happening now speaks volumes.


I wasn't a fan of Yo-Yo's reluctance to accept the brand new arms Simmons got for her. It was lovely and very in character of Yo-Yo to be true to herself and not want to erase the scars of what happened to her. But, honey, this is the past, you can't be caught with robotic-looking arms, commit to the mission. In any case, the scene where she touched her face with her new hands was beautiful. And I was glad that Simmons combined pragmatism and understated emotion to convince Yo-Yo to try the arms.

Actually, I really liked Simmons this episode. Pragmatic and closed off, but caring for her team and the mission. Being a grandmother to Deke (I just love her annoyed mom vibe around him) and torturing information out of the Hunter. She was firing on all cylinders. Mack might be the Director and Daisy might be the superhero, but Simmons is the one running this mission.

Daisy noticed Simmons was off and tried to reach out to her. Fitz and Simmons were gone for too long, that is what Simmons told Daisy. How long, though? We've seen Simmons being stoic before, but not this much, and one of the theories in the fandom is that this Simmons is a Chronicom. What if Simmons and Fitz have already grown old and, before they died, they scanned their brains and created the LMD versions of themselves? Am I reaching? I won't be surprised if, in one of their time jumps, Daisy runs into an older Simmons, and the following episode is the ultimate heartbreaking, epic Fitzsimmons episode, showing how they lived their lives and had to sacrifice everything to make sure their plan to save the Earth would work.

Now, visiting the past is fun and all, but I have lots of questions. Why do the Chronicoms want to conquer Earth in the first place? Last season, when Atarah kidnapped Fitz, she wanted him to create time travel so that her people could go back in time and save Chronyca-2, their home planet. Now that they can travel through time, why don't they save Chronyca-2? Why has their choice changed to establish Chronyca-3 on another planet? The Hunters are a more aggressive kind of Chronicoms, sure, but what is their motivation here?

And how does traveling to these specific points in the past help them conquer Earth at all? Why not just go back to the times of Marvel's Adam and Eve and kill them, then? And wouldn't changing the past just create new branches in the time continuum? Whenever they jump back to their time, they will have accomplished nothing, unless they go to one of the new timelines they created, in which case the ripple effects will shape an outcome they can't predict or control. Maybe they, like the Avengers, want to collect things from the past that will help them accomplish something in the present? Whatever it is, the season is young, and hopefully we will get some answers.

Intel and Assets

- Welcome back to our regular coverage of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., everyone. This time, the final one.

- May is awake and seems to be in a primal state?

- Coulson's last scan from the framework is what Enoch used to create the LMD version of Coulson. That means ChroniCoulson has all of Coulson's memories up until "Farewell, Cruel World," and what happened later was provided to him as information. I think that explains why this Coulson is cheerier than the real one was during season five. Yes, he knows everything that happened, but he didn't go through the deal with the Ghost Rider and the depression of certain death.

- Daisy's reaction when the guy asked if she wasn't able find a husband for herself was everything! She would have quaked him good if she could.

Quake punch
- First I thought it was weird of Yo-Yo to be suspicious of Enoch. Hadn't she met him in the future? Then I recalled that Yo-Yo and Mack never really met Enoch in season five. The writers have such attention to detail. They know their history to a degree that it's impressive. Very good continuity there.

- What's up with the Koenigs? Are there any creatures in the Marvel comics that have children or grandchildren who look exactly like them?

- Special effects are usually great, but the Chronicom melting down wasn't one of their best.

- Lots of costume changes, of course. Henry Simmons is a gorgeous man, and he looked damn fine in that suit.

- I know people are tired of Fitz and Simmons being separated, but, really, both this time and in season five, it happened because of scheduling conflicts with Iain De Caestecker. Don't blame the writers and don't blame De Caestecker either. He is just that good an actor.

Quotes (and there were lots of them)

Daisy: "It's Prohibition, so alcohol is illegal, anyway."
Deke: "It's what? Who would think that's a good idea?"

Mack (to Yo-Yo): "You're quarantined, do not leave this plane."
Now, that is a convenient line for the times that we live.

Mack: "I can't risk introducing an alien contagion into the past. Or purple hair."
Daisy: "What?"
Mack: "No, I like it. I do, but it's gotta go."

Coulson: "Two years in ten seconds. It's like the worst episode of This Is Your Life ever."

Coulson: "These people have never even seen a TV."
Mack: "Or a black man in a fine suit, apparently."

Deke: "I subscribe to the Time-Stream idea."
Daisy: "Let me guess. That's the one that lets you do whatever you want."

Simmons: "I do miss him."
Yo-Yo: "Well, it's not exactly your first go at being separated by space and time."
Simmons: "Practice makes perfect, I suppose."

Mack: "A butterfly or a stick, I'm about to strangle the next 1930's moron I come across."

Simmons: "A Chronicom is nothing but hardware and software."
Enoch: "Rude."
Simmons: "With limited bandwidth."

Chronicom: "Quake. I've been looking forward to this."
Daisy: "Huh. Well, sorry, this is just another fight for me."

Daisy: "So, you're saying to save S.H.I.E.L.D..."
Coulson: "We have to save Hydra."


Fun was had. Three out of four stars,
--
Lamounier

3 comments:

televisionandotherrantings said...

The Chronis wanting to make Chronyca-3 makes enough sense given that they want a back-up (though are they ever gonna get around to Chronyca-2 is the real question). But there is not any real good reason at this point that it has to be Earth. Surely, if they have time travel and the ability to transport throughout space they could find a planet that's not only better but where they wouldn't have to go through convoluted time travel plans in order to do it. The best possible theory is they may have some secret agenda for using Earth specially (and I'm currently on a theory where Enoch is a secret manipulator villain) which could maybe justify some of this but why they don't just send all their forces to the past to take over is not entirely clear.

Simmons is almost certainly an LMD at this point (I had doubts when people were thinking that after S6 but combined with other theories it's more and more likely) tho I don't think she herself is aware of this fact (otherwise you'd think she'd be just upfront about that fact).

This premiere was a bit better than I would have thought based on the word of mouth from D23 but it could have still been a bit stronger (I'd say 3 had the best one overall).

Lamounier said...

Chronis, I liked that. Going to use it.

I believe Simmons wouldn't tell her friends she is an LMD to keep them safe from more trauma.

"I'm currently on a theory where Enoch is a secret manipulator villain"

Nice theory. That would make the Chronis more interesting as villains, though I love Enoch and don't want him to be one of the bad guys.

Anonymous said...

Fitz/Iain not being in this season has nothing to do with a scheduling conflict. Iain was not filming any other project when AoS season 7 was being filmed. He confirmed that himself at Ultimates con 2019. He didn't start filming on his next project 'Us' until AoS was wrapped. Seems like the producers made a choice to write him out to me.