Apparently, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. listens to me — it just takes awhile. But I’ve been saying that I’ve personally wanted to see more of Mack ever since he joined the show and also ever since he became a prominent player in the first half of the season, during Coulson’s interplanetary absence. Tonight, that wish was finally granted.
I first thought the show was giving us a flashback where we saw what Mack was doing before Coulson recruited him. But nope — Mack’s just on a well-deserved break at his childhood home in Naperville, helping his little brother, Ruben (Gaius Charles), fix up a motorcycle. To Ruben, Mack’s life is pretty dull: He’s an insurance drone, complaining about management that’s out of control, new people coming in with no experience, and the fact he’s lost two friends. (One of these things is not true! Ruben’s not doing so well either, though. He’s been laid off, and he’s taking care of the house because Mack isn’t really around. But it’s nice to see this exchange of brotherly love because these are the quiet, character-building stories we often don’t get to see in the show — and maybe that’s why we love a relationship like Fitz and Simmons so much. While Mack and Ruben are getting lunch together, Mack sees a report on television about a government facility being attacked by an anti-Inhuman group that we learn is called the “Watchdogs.”
Coulson calls Mack, alerting him to the fact that the attack was actually an ATCU building, which means it’s serious…and that Mack’s vacation has to be cut short. (What were Bobbi and Hunter saying about vacation last week?) Ruben is disappointed to hear that his brother has to take off because, “This is simple: lunch, beers, bike.” If only life were that simple. Coulson sends Daisy off to meet up with Mack, and Daisy drops that she’s been watching the Watchdogs for awhile (news to us, too) — apparently they had a menacing presence after New York that got worse after Sokovia, but obviously, something happened to bring them to the surface so prominently. She runs into Lincoln, who has returned from his assessment, eager to know if her new crush is going to join the team. He’s gotta theoretically wait for the results to come back, but Coulson’s already on it — and he wants Lincoln to sit this one out.
Mack meets up with Daisy and Fitz at the ATCU site (“You really are on vacation,” Daisy teases when she sees his bike). There they find out it was a storage facility. Fitz determines that the residue from the bomb that went off has nitroamine in it (as developed by Howard Stark, of course). I kind of love Fitz and Mack being science bros… Can that be a new thing, please? Coulson realizes that with S.H.I.E.L.D.’s history and the fact that this is Stark Tech, there’s only one person he knows who’s fixated on trying to improve this particular explosive so it could be used in the organization. Who is that? None other than former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Felix Blake (Titus Welliver) who, like the Man In Black, never dies. Or apparently hasn’t died since Deathlok broke his spine back in season 1. (Thanks for that refresher, show!)
NEXT: Agents of sisterly bonding