Credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC
ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three

Well, I don't know about you guys, but the final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could hardly have done a better job of targeting my interests than titling the premiere "The New Deal" and centering it on an assassination attempt at FDR. 

Coming off last season's cliffhanger ending, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team has been sent back in time to the 1930s to stop the Chronicoms from destroying S.H.I.E.L.D. before it even begins. The opening moments feature a squad of Chronicom Hunters killing a few '30s N.Y.P.D. officers and taking their identities, so from now on, they will be referred to as "Chroni-cops." We then pick up with Daisy, Mack, and Simmons right where we left them: Staring at a new and enhanced L.M.D. of Coulson. Simmons is very cautious of the many dangers of telling him too much too soon or activating him before he's ready, but those warnings mean next to nothing to Daisy. She immediately activates Coulson and, when he's newly awake and adjusting to his new reality, immediately tells him he's an L.M.D. Needless to say, Coulson needs a temporary shutdown to get used to his new existence. 

Along with Deke, the trio hit the Depression-era New York streets in period clothing. These outfits will probably be one of the highlights of this season's new premise. 

While investigating the building where the Chroni-cops killed those policemen, Coulson discovers a bottle of alcohol (then illegal) with a swordfish design. This reminds him that, though S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn't officially form until after World War II, a prototype group hung out at a '30s speakeasy where the password was "swordfish." Upon arriving at the hideout, Mack and Coulson are greeted with a less-than-warm welcome, but I, for one, was delighted at the surprise appearance of Patton Oswalt! The comedian has returned to portray, naturally, the Koenig brothers' ancestor. S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been a family business, it seems. 

Koenig eventually reveals that his group is hosting a fundraiser later that night for none other than Franklin D. Roosevelt, then serving as governor of New York on his way to the U.S. presidency. At the same time, Daisy and Deke run into the Chroni-cops and manage to capture one. Simmons does some robot torture on him, and based on the facts they have available, they assume that the Chroni-cops are planning to assassinate Roosevelt at this dinner in order to prevent him from creating S.H.I.E.L.D. as president. 

Staking out the dinner involves some fun for history nerds. At one point, Mack praises a few specific FDR policies that fought workplace discrimination and set the stage for the civil rights movement a few years later — to the utter bewilderment of the person he's talking to, of course. 

Eventually, the team realizes that FDR isn't actually the intended target. Seems there was a bit of confusion from the captive Chroni-cop. He wasn't really saying "FDR," he was saying, "Freddie." That would be the very same person who Mack confounded by saying FDR was "ahead of his time." It turns out this guy's full name is "Wilfred Malick," as in Gideon Malick's father. The Chroni-cops are sneakier than they appear. They're not trying to kill S.H.I.E.L.D.'s founders; they're trying to kill the founders of HYDRA — because without HYDRA, there would be no need for S.H.I.E.L.D. In the final moments of this premiere, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents realize that in order to save time and space from the Chronicoms, they need to save HYDRA. It's a lovely, twisty premise for the season to come. 

Also, May's alive, but you probably could have assumed that. B

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Episode Recaps

ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season Three
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to handle strange new cases.

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