Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap: The power of crystals
Last week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we got a lot of new characters and concepts thrown in our face, as usual for a new season. This week, thankfully, we get to dig in a little bit and learn more about everyone’s perceptions of the chessboard.
Let’s start on Earth, since the episode splits its time between there and a spaceship. Sarge and his team — Snowflake, Jaco, and Pax, who you can read about here — are in need of supplies, so their first stop is a bodega. (As a New Yorker, I totally understand this impulse.) We learn a little more about what kind of world these characters come from when they react with delighted surprise to the sweet taste of a slushie, and with condescension toward the “combustion”-powered shotgun behind the register. They use lasers, remember? Which makes them think it’ll be easy to get what they want on this world.
There’s one supply they can’t find at the bodega, though: Something called PEGs. We don’t learn what that acronym means right away, but apparently Sarge’s team think they can find it in a jewelry store. So they go in for a robbery. Sarge gives the jeweler an anti-pep talk similar to the one he gave the bodega clerk: “People fantasize about doing something heroic at times like these.” It’s an interesting twist. While Coulson was excellent at helping people bring out their inner heroism, Sarge is all about downplaying that and keeping people’s heroism beneath the surface.
May leads a team of agents in pursuit, but they don’t reach the store until Sarge and his team are locked behind the vault. Just as he dismissed this world’s combustion weapons, Sarge laughs at how much “you people” care about “junk” like diamonds. Desperate to find something else, Jaco explains to the teller that PEGs are rocks that can generate an electrical charge via applied mechanical pressure. Dana realizes they’re talking about crystals, and directs them to a drawer full of topaz and quartz.
This, as it turns out, is exactly what they’re looking for, and they use the loot to create a portal back to their Mad Max truck. But they’ve underestimated Melinda May. Knowing that “no version of Coulson would go in there without an exit strategy,” May retraces Sarge’s steps back to the junkyard and finds their invisible truck just as they open the portal. She manages to take down Pax, Jaco, and Snow because, well, she’s Melinda May and she’s still got it. But once she comes face to face with Sarge, she freezes — long enough for them to kick her through the portal into the jeweler’s vault and seal it behind her.
Afterward, Benson shows Mack what he’s learned from examining a “biological hard drive” on the body of Sarge’s team member who got fused with concrete. It’s a video showing Sarge and Jaco on an alternate Earth where the sky is collapsing.
“Wherever these people come from,” Benson ominously explains, “I think they destroyed it.”
Meanwhile, in space! Luckily, it turns out Fitz hasn’t actually been brainwashed or turned into an alien puppet. He’s just been disguising himself with a device that changes his eye color, and he speaks the alien language because Enoch taught him how to. Unfortunately, all this subterfuge is lost once Fitz expresses disgust at an alien delicacy and claims to be from an irradiated wasteland. But hey, on the plus side, at least Enoch’s back! I’ve missed having him around.
Fitz’s subterfuge doesn’t go over well with the spaceship’s xenophobic captain, who wants to have him thrown out the airlock. Fitz bargains for his life by explaining his mechanical genius and the various ways he can improve the spaceship and make the captain’s operation more profitable, but that only goes so far. When the captain decides his other engineers must be superfluous and tries to throw them out the airlock, Fitz steps in again.
This captain is a hard guy to bargain with, and decides to throw Fitz out the airlock along with the others, just to prove a point. That’s when the tables turn. Enoch opens the spaceship doors. Fitz and the others are safe within their airlock, but the captain and his minions are jettisoned into space (Enoch holds on for dear life). Afterward, Fitz decides to change course for a nearby planet so the surviving crew won’t be executed as mutineers upon arrival. He decides to put off his cryo-sleep for now, because he won’t be able to look Simmons in the eye unless he saves these people. Little does he know that Simmons and Daisy’s ship materializes right behind them as they depart, like two ships passing in the night.
Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.