Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap: 'Principia'
Last week was the 100th episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it took us all the way back to the beginning thanks to the return of Deathlok. This episode is a little slower (which is understandable — what could possibly follow up the FitzSimmons wedding?) but continues the stroll down memory lane.
Remember Alex Von Strucker? Or Werner Von Strucker, as his father (and Hydra leader) Wolfgang named him. When we last saw Alex, he was fading in and out of a coma that resulted from being tortured by Grant Ward. In order to get information on Hydra, Coulson had ordered Lincoln Campbell to zap Alex while he was in the memory enhancer machine. Apparently, that had a lot of complicated after-effects! Alex now has a kind of “super-memory,” which he demonstrates by reciting boatloads of information about his therapist gleamed from scraps of paper and overheard phone conversations. The therapist orders him to be doped up on Thorazine, but General Hale has different ideas. She has Alex transferred to the same facility where she keeps Ruby. The two are old friends; apparently, Hale used to hang around a lot with Hydra higher-ups like Alex’s father. Hale says she has nothing but contempt for the “boys’ club” of Hydra, but she certainly wants any information Alex can remember about his late father’s activities. When Alex asks them to kill him instead, Hale switches tactics. She orders Ruby to seduce Alex and get in his head.
Hale warns Ruby not to fail this time, but her previous “failure” is still causing Yo-Yo a lot of pain. Coulson gives her advice about learning to live with prosthetics but admits it will never feel the same. Mack is interested in looking into the Deathlok program to see about cybernetic enhancements. As we all know, Mack hates robots and cyborgs, but that’s because they can’t feel. That doesn’t apply to Yo-Yo.
In classic S.H.I.E.L.D. fashion, this is not the only problem they have to deal with right now. Deke’s belt buckle was barely enough gravitonium to seal the portal to the Fear Dimension, and it’s starting to leak; when Deke goes to the basement in search of Twinkies, he confronts a vision of his mother — and even worse, her getting killed by a Kree warrior.
Thankfully, Daisy thinks both problems have the same solution: Cybertech. The company that built Deathlok is also the last known possessor of gravitonium. By tracking down the last known scientist, “Murray Jacobson,” Daisy thinks they can find both enough gravitonium to seal the portal and the right cybernetic enhancements to help Yo-Yo get back on her feet.
Funny enough, when they track down Murray Jacobson, S.H.I.E.L.D. discovers that he’s actually an old friend of Mack’s named Tony “Candyman” Kane (he knew Mack as “Mack Hammer” based on his fondness for MC Hammer). Unfortunately, it’s not as useful a connect as it appears; Tony tells Mack that the Deathlok program is a dead end with nothing left. That’s even worse for Daisy and May, who were hoping to use Deathlok technology to keep Coulson alive as well as replace Yo-Yo’s arms. Coulson insists that he doesn’t want any such help considering he’s only gotten one unnatural life extension, but Daisy and May refuse to give up on him.
Tony connects S.H.I.E.L.D to some old Hydra agents, who reveal that a ship carrying gravitonium went down some time ago. They have no luck searching the seas for it until Deke comes up with an insight based on his space-station upbringing. To him, up and down are all the same, and that helps S.H.I.E.L.D realize that the gravitonium-carrying ship wasn’t lost at sea but the sky. While on the water, the ship was apparently struck by lightning, which activated the gravitonium and sent it up into the heavens, where it remains.
Thus begins a pretty cool sequence of the S.H.I.E.L.D agents infiltrating a ghost ship in mid-air. They’re not the first to arrive, however. Most of the gravitonium is gone, and Hale has left a few of her gimp-suit robot minions to guard it. That’s a problem, because once Coulson and Daisy grab the gravitonium, they only have 90 seconds to get off the ship before it falls from the sky. That’s when Mack Hammer unleashes “Hammer Time” and massacres the robots with just enough time to escape the falling ship.
Meanwhile, Deke soon learns for himself what we all figured out last week. When he saw the vision of his mother, she spoke her old catchphrase — “the steps you take don’t need to be big, they just need to take you in the right direction” — that she always said she learned from her own mother. As Deke goes to tell Simmons the news that the team has returned to base, he hears her say the exact same thing to Yo-Yo. He doesn’t reveal it to them quite yet, however. Instead he just calls Fitz “Grandpa,” and everyone assumes it’s just a goofy new nickname.