And, with no ado whatsoever, the one-two punch of Marvel shows continues!
2.08 “Two Player”
After the heights, come the depths.
This episode was all about what we lose. In particular, what we are willing to sacrifice, the price we are willing to pay for love. Whether that’s love of a friend, a son, a romantic partner, or a love of justice, for the sake of those who are victims. The things we do for love. The things we give up, for love.
The price can be… staggering. And heart-breaking.
Most of the episode revolves around the effort to save Tyrone. They don’t really explain what is happening or why, but it’s clear he’s dying. Tandy managed to get him back to the church and called Evita for help. She answers immediately, grabbing a kit, of sorts, and running out of the shop even before she can find Chantelle’s body. Kind of horrible, but the way it works out, perhaps that’s a small mercy. Brigid shows up first after getting called to that hotel, where the girls who were victims are treated like criminals, and the brief rejoicing in how someone took the place down is smothered under the cynical realism of, “It’ll be open again within a month.”
So, we have three women working to save Ty, but Evita’s the closest to an expert they have. When Tandy lets slip about Papa Mystery/Legba, she draws his symbols all around Ty, performs a summoning, looking for help. And she gives Tandy some candy to give him, as he apparently has a sweet tooth. She knows all this because Chantelle raised her to it, and she knows Legba quite well, as his bride, of sorts. Not much seems to happen, but Tandy thinks they’re being invited into that other place, the shadow world. She and Brigid jump in, and there they find him, though he has a different face for each of them. No idea whose face that was for Tandy, but Brigid, like Mayhem, saw her old friend and love interest, Fuchs. It’s also much easier to pay with candy than with her dagger of light, it would seem.
Here, the paths diverge. Evita is still working on the problem back in the physical world, Tandy goes after Ty, and Brigid is directed on her own path, towards her other half.
Brigid meets Mayhem again outside the record shop. As Andre is inside it at the moment, Mayhem grabs her from behind and takes her away quietly. The two of them have a lot to talk about, including their target, their past, and how they’ll proceed forward. It’s an interesting character moment, but it comes down to Brigid’s choice. Mayhem has no intention of being contained now that she’s free, but Brigid isn’t trying to contain her. She just needs Mayhem to listen, ie, be open to holding back a bit on the complete annihilation of everyone and everything in her path. For now, however, Mayhem simply gets to be in control. The two become one again, for the sake of all those girls, and for justice.
Tandy, meanwhile, finds herself in an arcade that turns out to be the den of Baron Samedi, a vodun loa of death, with a party-going flavor to him. Ty is staying with him, playing a game, seemingly oblivious to the rest of the world. Samedi makes a rather generous offer, if also a dangerous one: if Tandy plays alongside and can simply convince him to leave the game behind and go back to the land of the living, then Samedi will simply let the both of them go, no strings attached. Tandy agrees, and so the game begins.
The game is based on themselves. In fact, it references their comic book origins of being shot up with radioactive heroin by a villain, whom they eventually brought to justice with the help of Spider-Man. In here, however, it’s just a ridiculous game, albeit an insightful one. It starts out all 8-bit, but soon they find themselves literally in the game, playing through the levels.
Tandy wants to go after the first level, but Ty wants to keep playing. It’s a way to be free of all their worries in the real world: the fighting, the loss, the lack of progress, the consequences, all of it. Here, they play, they win, easy, and they even get to have a bit of fun, which, don’t they deserve it?
Tandy understands how tempting that would be. But Ty still has people waiting for him, and fighting for him. His mother, Evita, Tandy herself. What about them?
And then, when Andre comes in as the game’s boss (what was that about him being their greatest enemy?), Tandy can’t handle it anymore. She bails on the game, and takes the conversation out of the game and back to Samedi’s arcade. There, she tells him, she reveals that it was losing him that broke her, and he tells her how Andre got into his head, telling him Tandy had no need of him, really. She shows him that she does. She’d rather face a hundred battles with him rather than face one without him. Their lives are becoming entwined, such that they can’t imagine them without the other anymore. So, fine. She wants to go back, and take him with her, but if he chooses to stay, then she’ll stay with him, forever.
Ty may have been about to make the choice to go back at that point, but the choice gets made for him. That’s what happens when you don’t choose quickly enough.
Evita is consulting otherworldly powers, and she is heartbroken to discover that Chantelle is among them now. It’s her spirit that comes, and she’s not sad about dying. It’s her turn to dance with the ancestors, she says. But going forward, Evita has to embrace her own destiny now. She was touched, chosen by the loa, and though she doesn’t like it, or want it, the time has come to make her choice. To save Ty, the young man she loves, she has to leave him behind and marry a loa of life and death: Baron Samedi.
She makes a wax doll to stand in for Samedi, and uses a bouquet of dead flowers. She steps up to the alter of the dilapidated church, and begins to say her vows. The spirits show up, including her mother, dancing for the wedding, giving some joy to a moment that is far sadder than a wedding ever ought to be.
In the arcade, Samedi suddenly becomes excited… ok, more excited than before… as he discovers the trade has been made: a life for a life, the bouquet for the cloak. Evita is his now, so Ty and Tandy are sent back, to make a clean house for the missus.
The both of them and Brigid, with Mayhem driving, find themselves back in the church.
Mayhem is happy to be back, and happy to have the scent of her next target: Andre du Shane. First thing’s first, though, she addresses how quickly the hotel brothel will be open and running again by setting it on fire.
Evita is less happy, as she kept let Ty touch her now that she’s married Samedi to save him. They love each other, but they’re over now. Honestly, I was fearing her fate would be much worse, as she may be Ty’s first love, but we already knew she wouldn’t be his last. That said, it’s probably not the most enviable position to be in, to have Samedi for a husband. It’s a high price she’s paid to save Ty’s life.
Tandy returns home with flowers for her mother, only to find empty alcohol bottles and an empty pill bottle. She was doing so well, perfectly sober until recently, but now she’s fallen far off the wagon again. It’s a shattering moment for Tandy, and she breaks down crying. At least she has Ty there, wordlessly comforting her.
Elsewhere in the episode, Ty’s mother Adina finds the former-priest, Francis Delgado. He’s at a sober house (good to see he’s straightening out again!), but still blaming himself for failing to protect Ty. Which, as it happens, is what brings Adina to him. She has a file with everything the FBI would need to bring down crooked cops and politicians in the city. She can’t give it to the feds without telling them where she got it, so she’s hoping Delgado will turn it in as a priest, not legally obligated to answer any such questions.
Delgado is largely in despair, but he still rises to the occasion. Small detail: such things can only be protected in a legal sense by the confidentiality of a confession. So, he takes her confession… but it turns out to be so much worse.
Adina Johnson is guilty of cold-blooded murder.
Connors came, or was brought, to her looking to make things right. He told her everything she wanted to know, freely. She made crab cakes while they spoke, and took the information she wanted from him. Then she unstrapped him and sent him to the bathroom. He turned the light on only to find everything covered in plastic. I don’t know if it was her that pulled the trigger, or if that was Ty’s father, Otis. But he walked into the slaughter house, unknowing, trusting. He was looking to make things right, and they just got what they wanted from him before casting him aside like trash. He was guilty as sin, but that does not make it right for them to murder him in cold blood. Now they, too, are stained.
Delgado is shocked, appalled, even disgusted and outraged, especially in light of her earlier talk of hope and making a better world. She’s beyond caring about it. It’s her son who need all that. She just needs a priest.
Finally, we have Andre and Lia. She lures a guy looking for some easy/paid for company, and they steal his car. Andre drives, however, no matter his headaches, and no matter how Lia tries to talk him into letting her drive. But that’s them in a nutshell: she ain’t the one drivin’, ever. She’s just something else to be used, in his eyes. When his head hurts too bad for him to continue, he uses her like any addict would use their drug of choice. She doesn’t want to let him do that to her again, but he promises this will be the last time. Technically, he keeps that promise, but not in a good way.
The only true “last time” there is for any addict, any abuser, is when they physically can’t do anything more afterward.
Like using up a bottle of pills, leaving it empty, Andre feeds on Lia until there’s nothing left, and leaves her body on the side of the road. Oh, yes, it was the last time, but Lia probably imagined she’d still be alive at the end of it.
And Andre, without no more care for her than a discarded bottle, is just glad to have his “fix.” He cracks something about that symbol, something in the key to his quest for godhood. It looks to refer to a location, I think, and off he goes, looking for it.
So, where Tandy was willing to sacrifice for her friend, and Evita sacrificed for the man she loved, and Brigid sacrificed for the power to fight injustice, and even Adina sacrificed a bit of her soul for her sons (or at least for her feelings), Andre sacrificed Lia for nothing more than himself. That is one mad that definitely should not be permitted to become a god.
6.02 “Window of Opportunity”
On Earth, we have an alternate dimension’s Coulson and his team, with highly-advanced technology, going about their destructive business, while Shield strives to catch up to them and unravel their secrets. In space, we catch up with Fitz and Enoch.
It seems Enoch taught Fitz some alien language so they could get to the appropriate planet with Fitz posing as an alien to work his way there and Enoch hiding in the walls of a ship. They’re discovered, however, when Fitz doesn’t quite behave like one and his cover doesn’t hold up. The Controller, like the captain in charge of the ship, is ready to send them both out the airlock, but they’re useful, and they make an offer that can benefit him.
He takes them up on it, challenges them to do a bit of work quickly enough, and runs some numbers. It would be, in the short-term, at least, more profitable to have two hard-working slaves instead of three lagging employees. So, he’ll keep the two of them and throw his other workers out the airlock instead. Fitz, of course, isn’t about to accept that, not if he wants to ever look Simmons in the eye again. Enoch counsels him against it, but, still, he does it.
He ends up stepping into the airlock with the doomed workers, trying to convince their Controller not to kill them, but he doesn’t care. Fitz warns him not to do what he’s about to do, because he’ll regret it, but to no avail. Then, no surprise, the Controller learns the hard way that Fitz and Enoch tweaked the controls so trying to open the one airlock will, in fact, open another one, on the other side of the cargo hold. The Controller and his goons get sucked out into the vacuum of space, leaving Fitz, Enoch, and three grateful ship workers alive.
Unfortunately, that only saved them for the moment. If they proceed to their intended destination, they’ll all be executed as criminals. There is another planet, however, which they’ll be fine if they reach it, and they should have just enough fuel for it. So, off they go…
…just as the Zephyr enters the system, missing them by mere moments.
Back on Earth, the central agents are reeling with the appearance of another Coulson. This version evidently doesn’t know his own name, but his crew, being Pax, Snowflake, the big guy whose name I didn’t catch, and the now-deceased Tinker, call him Sarge. They rob a convenience store, talking about how this world uses paper money, still uses combustion weaponry, and pretty much has everything they could want. It even has clean air, which, such a shame it’s all gonna go to ash.
Which leaves me wondering what the heck their game is. What, do they just go from world to world, destroying them all? Why? And how?
They set up shop, ie, they park their invisible truck, and go looking to rob a jewelry store. They talk their way in, take out the guards, get into the vault, and lock it, while using their tech to make a door between it and their truck. They aren’t really interested in the diamonds, though they’ll take anything that has value wherever they are. They’re after something specific, crystals that can conduct electricity, like quartz or topaz or something like that. They find it, though it takes a moment to get on the same page as the woman whose story they’re robbing. Things are going their way, until Shield catches up.
Mack is leading the hunt efficiently. When May suggests he talk to Keller about Fox, he intimates that Keller has someone else to support him, indicating that he already knows about Keller and Yo-Yo. Somehow, that makes me even sadder than just the two of them running around behind his back, the fact that he already knows and isn’t doing anything about it. He’s just running Shield, that’s it. Everything else, including a spectacular “ship,” he just leaves by the wayside.
May and Yo-Yo are investigating some kind of truck yard when they get the call about the jewelry store. Obviously, they follow the trail to the vault, and it’s no problem to get into said vault, with due time, but there’s something very wrong here, they can tell. They take an infrared-enhanced look through the door and find there are more people than there should be and they have a way out already. But where is the other end of the portal?
May gets it, and, accustomed to her usual victories, she races off alone, back to the truck yard. She finds the invisible truck, and takes on all of this other Coulson’s crew, saving the shop keeper and holding her own. But when Coulson, who was testing a device with their newly-obtained crystals in it, enters the truck again, she’s too shocked. He’s a little off-put, too, by the sound of his name. It rings a bell, though he doesn’t know it. But only for a moment. She’s knocked through the dimensional door, into the vault, which they shut behind her, just as Shield gets through the vault’s door.
May just lost. And not because of the fighting, she handled that perfectly fine, but because she came face to face with another Coulson, someone so very like the man she loved, but a ruthless, cold-blooded killer. We see that he isn’t even that loyal to his crew, not taking kindly to Pax’s arguing, saying he sounds like Tinker, the one who “accidentally” died in the crossing between worlds, if that was even an accident. He’s interested in replacements.
So, this Coulson is driven by some agenda, for which he will protect his teammates, but only so long as their use outweighs their cost. He’s insightful, and calm, and focused, and ruthless. That’s a dangerous combination, that is. He lacks the original Coulson’s compassion, and that makes all the difference, but in some ways, he may be even more dangerous, and he’s certainly more readily deadly.
To make things even more foreboding, Henson finds a biological hard drive on Tinker’s body. It has footage, including a world apparently being destroyed, while Coulson calmly leads his team in evacuating, now that there time is up. That’s pretty convincing evidence that they destroyed it, and Coulson seems set that this new world will be destroyed, but the method remains unknown, so I’m still wondering about their exact intentions.
Just what is going on with this bunch of killers? What’s their game, really?
That’s a mystery that will have to wait to be revealed, and it’s clearly not going to go easy on the agents. May just blew it because she felt something at the wrong time, and who can blame her for that? She’ll need to either take a step back or not go off alone again. Mack is a capable Director, but he’s leaving everything else behind. And the new Coulson’s team is leaving destruction everywhere in their wake. Meanwhile, Fitz and Enoch are navigating the stars and various crises by the skin of their teeth in order to do something that they don’t need to do anymore, and barely miss being found by the very same people they’re trying to help.
So, crap has not hit the fan, but it rests within striking distance.