Coulson and his agents made it back to their own time, but are now beset by a host of new enemies
After much teasing, this episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. starts with a look at Dove Cameron’s mysterious character, Ruby. It takes until the end of the episode to really see what she’s about, but she certainly appears to be a normal rebellious teenage daughter. Her mother is as hard as they come (you may remember General Hale from the Fitz solo episode, where we last saw her murdering her own subordinates) but Ruby is certainly capable of holding her own. She has a Quake poster in her room, after all, despite her mother’s vehement quest to capture everyone in S.H.I.E.L.D. Her only question is, “Mom, are you a good guy?” We’ll come back to that question by the end of this episode.
Having successfully outwitted Kasius and the rest of his Kree forces, Agent Coulson and the rest of S.H.I.E.L.D. are finally back in their own time — though, funnily enough, still in the Lighthouse! It’s not in orbit yet, though; at this point, the Lighthouse is still an ultra-secret mega-backup plan that was kept underground in case of a dire emergency. The always-welcome Patrick Warburton shows up as the recorded video of General Rick Stoner (great name), explaining that the station was actually built back in the ’70s. Luckily, someone a little more up-to-date is on hand to help out as well: Noah, a Chronicom like Enoch who watches over the base and the bunker. The basement is actually full of different monoliths. They don’t do anything this episode, but man that’s an arsenal of Chekhov’s guns if I’ve ever seen them.
Noah keeps watch over events on Earth, looking for signs of potential catastrophe. After all, the Chronicoms are still the closest the MCU has come to replicating the big-headed Watchers from the comics. One feed is of particular interest, showing a light emanating from the sky. Naturally, this is the omen that people in the future warned them would eventually lead to the destruction of Earth. When they slow down the footage, Fitz and Simmons notice that the light is actually coming from Earth. They realize the source is the same beacon Hive once used to try to summon the Kree to Earth. So Coulson and a team go out to investigate that, while Daisy deals with another fascinating development.
A very welcome plot twist in this episode is the revelation that Deke is still alive! Somehow in all the monolith explosion mumbo-jumbo, he too got teleported to Earth. This is a great relief since Deke was the most colorful character from the Lighthouse arc (though I wouldn’t mind seeing Flint again someday, either). He gets dumped in the middle of Missouri, and he soon ends up in a bar. (Recap continues on page 2)
Deke is impressed that the bar mostly looks like his simulation recreation, but the taste of beer leaves a lot to be desired. He asks for something delicious instead and the bartender obligingly gives him Zima in some pretty obvious product placement (as if to emphasis the point, Deke repeats the brand’s name several times over the course of the episode). He gets pretty drunk off the Zima and, with no money to a pay with, ends up in a jail cell. With the U.S. government hunting down S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy takes Enoch’s clothes and poses as a social worker in order to get Deke out of jail before he can blab about them to the authorities.
Her teammates’ mission doesn’t go quite so swimmingly. Upon reaching the source of the beacon, Coulson and co. meet up with Piper, a member of May’s former strike team. Unfortunately, the happy reunion doesn’t last long. Piper reveals she had been caught by the government and agreed to help set up S.H.I.E.L.D. Of course, she thought that meant Hale’s troops would just capture the agents — and, not unlike Ruby at the beginning of the episode, she assumes that the government must be the good guys. So once masked robots charge in and start shooting at everyone, she realizes her mistake and helps S.H.I.E.L.D. escape. Yo-Yo provides some much-needed beatdown skills, taking down several robots. But then a mysterious new assailant shows up and cuts her arm off. That’s an especially bad sign, considering that the future Yo-Yo was missing both her arms.
The assailant is, as you may have guessed, Ruby. Dove Cameron is playing a villain! She’s not a normal daughter at all, but some kind of engineered assassin whose “room” is part of a secure bunker operated by Hale. But there’s definitely some Vader/Palpatine antagonism here. Hale isn’t pleased that Ruby allowed the agents to escape, while Ruby makes clear that her only target is Daisy — so she’ll keep cutting off arms until Quake shows herself. Nevertheless, Hale takes a strict tone and tells her daughter she’s disappointed, and that the beacon will do its job better than Ruby did hers. That job, as it turns out, is to explode! It’s not until the agents take it to their secure bunker that Noah realizes its purpose, and jumps on it just as it explodes. Man, these guys can’t catch a break, huh?
Definitely not, since the final scene finds Hale recruiting the Absorbing Man to be part of some Suicide Squad-like team she’s building. If you’re a fan of Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward’s Black Bolt comic like I am, you’ll probably be overjoyed to see Crusher again. I like that this episode is pulling in so many different directions. I have no idea where this arc is going, but I’m excited to find out.
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