Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D

"Every team needs a good leader. And I'm just too much of a dreamer."

This episode was absolutely ridiculous. It was ridiculous and had a lot of heart. I loved it.

You have to hand it to the writers, they really committed to the silliness of the story. They even had the balls to tie it to the main arc of the season. I mean, how much more ridiculous could it get that the major villains of the season were momentarily inhabiting 80s' movies' robots? Complete with the utter nonsense that those robots would actually pose a threat...

There were moments I thought the episode went a bit overboard, especially with Deke's team. They were just too silly for Deke to consider them S.H.I.E.L.D. agents material. However, the story was written and executed so well and with such confidence that the choices made, no matter how exaggerated, paid off.

I was particularly impressed by how well they handled Mack's depression over his parents' death and Deke's constant efforts to lift him up. At first, it upset me that Mack wouldn't let Deke help him, but everyone has a different way of dealing with their pain. Mack closes off. He wouldn't let anyone know about his late daughter Hope, he became more isolated and broke up with Yo-Yo when he became the Director. Now that his parents are dead in this timeline, and he was left stuck in 1982, what reason would he have to carry a life and socialize? He watched from afar how his younger self and brother were doing after his (their) parents died, but he didn't have the strength to assure they would have a good life. The thought of those kids not growing up with their parents was too much for him to bear, so he just fell deeper into depression. As the story unfolded, I wondered what would make Mack snap out of it, which brings us to Deke...

Deke was the best friend Mack could have hoped for. He too was left behind in 1982, and with his only friend completely ignoring him, he too was left alone. He could have grown tired of Mack and just let it be, but he never lost sight of what it means to be a true friend: you are needed even when you are not wanted. This episode really elevated Deke as a character for me, and it made me think of Spike during Buffy's fifth season (my brain always goes back to Buffy): he'd constantly fail to earn Buffy's respect, but when he did something that mattered, not aiming for points, you knew that it came from his heart. His Buffybot disgusted Buffy, but he earned her respect after enduring torture for her and Dawn. Likewise, Mack was annoyed by Deke stealing things from other people and from the future to make money and fame in the past, and he was also annoyed by Deke's attempt to form a S.H.I.E.L.D. team with people that clearly weren't up to the task. He deservedly calls Deke out for it, and Deke feels the punch. I totally related to Deke's confession that he felt like he was a fraud. How many of us haven't thought something like that about ourselves?


But did any of you expect Deke to be doing what he was doing? I didn't. It caught me off guard and almost made me cry. See, Deke couldn't help his grown-up friend Mack, so he made sure that younger Mack and his brother were being taken care off. And that was very decent of him. Hearing from Roxy what Deke was doing enabled Mack to see Deke for the heart he has, and finally made Mack snap out of it. Deke showed him there's still hope, there's still something good worthy of fighting for. Also, by finally validating Deke's efforts, Mack showed him that being a dreamer pays off: what you most hope for can become true, even if it comes a little later than expected. Now, this, my friends, is how you do an episode centered on two unlikely friends. Gorgeous storytelling.

Intel and Assets

- We got a very simple title card this time.


- Great episode title.

- I'm sure Deke made money pretty fast in 1982, but I wonder where Mack got money to pay his bills and his booze.

- The showdown against the robots was so over-the-top and awesome.

- The exaggerated amount of blood spilled whenever a robot killed someone never failed to make me laugh.

- Coulson stuck inside a TV was another funny bit. I wonder how bored he got being stuck there for several months.

- Mack has never looked more badass:


- If either Mack or Deke die for one another in the finale, I'm going to cry like a baby. This is how much this episode strengthened their friendship.

- I liked Roxy. Can we keep her?

- So, it looks like Sybil and Nathaniel are joining forces. Interesting.

- This was the first episode in the series not to star Chloe Bennet. This was the billionth episode in the series not to star Iain De Caestecker.

Quotes

Mack (to Deke): "That's not a team. It's a bunch of losers playing dress-up led by a Peter Pan in constant need of attention."
Ouch.

Mack: "I don't need a lecture right now."
Roxy: "No, you need an ass-kicking."

Deke: "I didn't write those songs, Ronnie."
Tommy: "Not even Walk Like an Egyptian?"

Mack: "Nice work, D."
Deke: "Thanks, Mack-Daddy."
Mack: "Nop."
Deke: "Roger that."

Deke: "Now, remember, you are just a friend from my band, okay?"
Mack: "Yeah, okay, but what instrument do I play?"
Deke: "I don't know, I was thinking maybe... harmonica?"
Mack: "What? Harmonica? Oh, hell, no. No. No, no, no, no. I'm a sax man all the way."
Deke: "Ugh, of course the big man plays the sax."


This was ridiculous, but the good kind of ridiculous. I'm eager to give it four out of four silly evil robots.
--
Lamounier

5 comments:

William Russell said...

Try not to go down the financial rabbit hole for our heroes.
That path leads to madness.

televisionandotherrantings said...

Not really a fan of this one. My tolerance for Deke ain't particularly high. He at least had more nice intentions this time but stealing people's work and still involving his Daisy infatuation in things still ain't good. Like it ain't funny, writers!

Also, they really abandoned that plot device of Deke telling May the story pretty quick.

Kind of a shame they broke Chloe's streak of appearing in all the episodes with this one. I mean they were pretty close to the end. Though as some folks have mentioned Daisy will still have the most character appearances by the end since (not counting Code Yellow cause it was a simulation) she'll have appeared in all of the other episodes whereas Clark was Sarge for a decent chunk of time, May was either not in some episodes or an LMD and Simmons was not in Code Yellow and was a hallucination for a couple of eps in S2.

Katie Hart - Pinterest Manager said...

This episode didn't grab me - most likely because despite being born in the 80s I've only seen a few 80s movies, and I don't think any of the killer robot variety. I did like that Deke built a team in the most Deke way possible. They've done a good job showing his character growth without turning him into something he's not.

Though hands-down my favorite part was one of the robots yelling, "Exterminate!" Very appropriate for this timey-wimey season.

JBA said...

Wait, what? The first episode not to star Chloe Bennett? I think you need to go back to season three's 4,722 Hours. If she appeared at all in that episode, it was for a few seconds at the end.

Lamounier said...

William, you're right. One thing I'm always wondering about is where the infinite fuel supply comes from. :)

televisionandotherrantings, I had a feeling you wouldn't love this episode, what with it being Deke-centric and all.

Katie, I haven't watched a lot of movies from the 80s, but I still got a kick out of this episode.

JBA, Chloe appears briefly in "4,722 Hours." Simmons watches a video of her birthday and Coulson, May, Daisy and Fitz are in it.