Last week’s Hale history lesson was quite useful. Now that we know her for who she is, Hale doesn’t seem to feel any need to hang on to her old “general” charade; she’s now exchanged her typical military uniform for a truly villainous all-black ensemble. Having broken Talbot and leaving Coulson in a cell without any accoutrements (no bed, no chair, not even any all-berries cereal!), she’s now ready for the next part of her plan: Exposing Creel to Gravitonium.
It doesn’t go well. Upon touching the mysterious substance, Creel gets hit with visions of Franklin Hall, who we last saw in season 1 getting dumped into Gravitonium by Coulson. Unlike his usual element-absorption, this time Creel can’t get these visions out of his head, even after he stops touching the Gravitonium, which he describes as a living substance. Hall’s mind is still within and still filled with hatred of Coulson, so Creel can’t help but go to his sparse cell and question him. That’s when Coulson hits him with the revelation that Hale isn’t caring for Creel’s old friend General Talbot, but rather torturing and breaking him. Combined with the Gravitonium mind-freak, that knowledge is enough to get Creel on Coulson’s side. Together, they take down a nearby guard and go looking for Talbot.
Coulson’s absence is really taking its toll on S.H.I.E.L.D. As much as he has wanted Daisy to step up and take his place as leader, Daisy herself sees her goal as only leading the team until they can find Coulson and get him back. To that end, she’s drawn in young Robin Hinton to see if she might have any prescient knowledge of Coulson’s whereabouts. Unfortunately, Robin seems to be in some kind of depressive state; her mother tells Daisy and May that she won’t talk anymore, and isn’t even drawing. Her last illustration was a depiction of her future death, as seen in the Lighthouse arc. Can you even imagine what this poor girl’s mind must be like? She has no idea what time is, does she? (Recap continues on page 2.)
While Daisy and May are gone, Simmons and Yo-Yo are determined to break Fitz out of his cell in order to find a better solution to their current crisis. Unfortunately, Daisy left Mack in charge and he is not having it. So Simmons decides to put on a little demonstration of her supposed invincibility. Since she and Yo-Yo have both seen their Lighthouse fates, they believe they can’t be killed in the present. To prove it, Simmons says she’s going to drink three random cups of clear liquid. Some of them are filled with water and some of them are filled with rat poison. There’s no way of knowing which is which, but since she lives long enough to birth Deke’s mom, she can’t possibly drink the poison, right?
Needless to say, the experiment is frightening for both Mack and Fitz — especially once the third cup appears to cause Simmons to convulse violently. Mack relents and releases Fitz so he can help fix the problem, and Yo-Yo takes the opportunity to lock him away instead. Simmons is fine, thankfully, and a worried Fitz asks for a heads-up next time.
Robin still isn’t talking for her birth mother, but that’s because she now sees May as her real mother. Once she’s connected to May, she starts drawing again and finally gives Daisy what she’s looking for: A vision of Coulson and Talbot standing in front of mountains. Daisy starts scanning for similar-looking landmarks.
How do they end up there? Well, it’s simple. Once Coulson and Creel find Talbot, they set up alarms throughout the Hydra base. Ruby comes to kill them, but Creel is able to hold her off long enough for the other two to reach Hale’s alien teleport machine. By only activating two out of the three levers, they teleport themselves to a different part of Earth rather than the Confederacy meeting spot — and it is indeed a snowy area with mountains! Hale stops Ruby from killing Creel, but is impressed enough by her daughter’s spunk to send her after Coulson and Talbot.
The episode ends with a fascinating return! Both Ruth Negga and David Conrad reprise their roles as Raina and Quinn in order to show what happened to the latter: He too got absorbed into the Gravitonium! Now we know what Creel meant when he described the Gravitonium voices as “they” — both Hall and Quinn are inside! And it’s always good to see Negga.
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