Between the latest Cloak and Dagger and the premiere of the sixth season of Agents of Shield, this was a good week! The latter took forever to be available on Hulu, but a bit of patience never hurt anyone, ya know? 🙂
Cloak and Dagger gave us a long build-up to a fantastic moment, as tragedy ignited the spark of defiance.
Agents of Shield was business as usual, meaning a very good, gripping episode with the agents pushed to the limit and still standing strong. There was one small thing that left me disappointed, namely how previous seasons have echoed and built on the events of the movies of the MCU, but this one doesn’t seem to be resounding with the events of Infinity War, and it can’t echo from Endgame yet because of the time line of things. So, it seemed even more aloof from the movies than usual, but it was still riveting.
2.07 “Vikingtown Sound”
Me, at the end of this episode: “THAT WAS AWESOME!”
With how low the heroes have been brought, it was absolutely exhilarating to see them rise again!
But I’ll get to that in a moment. That’s the destination of this episode. Getting there is a journey.
Tandy wakes in the hotel, with Andre ready to greet her. He’s been playing his horn whilst awaiting for his latest victim/merchandise to rouse. And the day begins: Tandy’s orientation, of sorts.
The ropes of the place are, basically, the girls wake up on schedule, they clean the place up, and then, come night, they service the customers (who all deserve to burn, in my opinion). They are held in place by insubstantial bars of despair, reinforced by the lies Lia and Andre tell them, as well as Andre’s mental mojo, and guarded by… well, a really big thug. If they try to run, they’re either locked up or killed. If they cooperate, they are given all of their necessities. They’re told that they have nowhere else to go, because no one cares about them. Witness: no one is looking for them. It’s not a good place, but it’s all they’ve got, and they have no hope for anything better.
That’s why Tandy can’t just cut her way out at first: her own hope is gone as well. Without it, she can’t summon her daggers. Fortunately, she is accustomed to surviving, including fighting for her life, with everything she has, even when she has already been deprived of hope. So, her defiance isn’t entirely snuffed out just yet. But the other girls? They’re all captives in their minds and hearts first, and in the hotel second.
There is one girl, however. I think her name was “Del,” or at least that’s what I heard. Del is “higher up the ladder” than the the other girls, not that they’re allowed particularly much height to go. So, she’s assigned to be the one guiding Tandy through her orientation. But even when Del is trying to get Tandy to submit, even when she’s tattling on Tandy for trying to escape, even when she’s being forced to help drug Tandy, and do her makeup… she’s still not Lia or Andre. That gives Tandy one tiny, precious sliver of purchase, and that is all she needs.
It takes time, though, and this is a long and traumatic and humiliating day for Tandy. She’s supposed to clean Andre’s room, and she’s blocked in her escape attempt. She’s held firm, halfway suffocated, and drugged into paralysis. She’s dressed up like a doll instead of a person, while Lia chats away at her, uncaring. She’s dolled up in makeup. She’s left sitting helpless on a bed, waiting for her first customer, her first paying rapist, to come and violate her, and she can do nothing about it. There is no one coming to save her.
But then… it begins.
Del believes, because she has been told, that no one cares, no one is looking for her, and no one escapes. They’ve even been told that there was a group of girls incoming, but they tried to escape, and were all killed for it, every one. Small detail: that was the group of girls Tandy, Ty, and the two halves of Brigid rescues. It’s a lie, and one that Tandy manages to crack in Del’s mind. It ignites just the tiniest little spark, the smallest ember in the dark… just enough for the girl to begin to see.
It always begins with one tiny spark.
Del steals the brutish guard’s phone, using it to check a few things. Within moments, she is learning the truth. The real truth. Not only are the girls from the Bywater rescued and safe, but Del’s mother has been looking for her. Remember what Andre told Tandy? “Someone is looking: these folks right here.” Well, “these folks” include their families, their loved ones. Del’s mother has been putting up posters, even if those posters end up in the trash, and she’s been posting on chat rooms. The truth is that Lia and Andre are liars, and… what was that saying? The truth shall set you free?
Del is freed from the lies, and freed from despair. Those are always the tools of the captors, and even when Lia tries to tell her that her mother will never even take her back after she’s been so damaged, Del does not hear her. She has hope!
And that is when Tandy is able to summon her daggers again. That is when she can move.
…and that’s just Tandy’s side of this episode. Tyrone has his as well, as per usual.
Ty’s mother, Adina, is having a little difficulty. Cooking helps her think, so she starts making crab cakes, with Connors tied and bound and telling her everything she wants to know. Her decision will basically hinge on whether Connors’ usefulness to Ty outweighs his guilt for Billy. So he talks. She processes, and cooks, and has a brief fight with her husband when he comes by and sees what’s going on. In the end, she refrains from killing Connors only when he tells her where her son’s body is truly buried. That’s a sort of release for her, letting her properly bury her boy. So, he’s still alive.
That, however, is still peripheral to the immediate situation.
Ty responds to Brigid’s call about the grow house incident. Brigid is worried that Mayhem may have gotten out after all, but Ty notices the cut shovel, and they realize it was Tandy. When he calls, she doesn’t pick up (obviously), and he begins to be alerted that something is wrong. He follows her trail, looking into Lia, who he last saw running a con on, but runs into Andre instead, who is entirely uncooperative (also, obviously).
Perhaps, on some level, Ty senses something wrong about Andre, but when he got to shake Andre’s hand, maybe looking to see Andre’s fears, it backfired. It gave Andre a way into his head, and he used his ability.
Small aside: Papa Mystery told Tandy, when she was in the shadow world, that things come in pairs, two sides to every coin. Tandy and Ty are obviously two sides of one coin. Brigid is one person now made into two, and the timing of her deal is completely different, so I’d say her two parts are a coin as well. But Andre? With his ability to intrude, collect memories and feelings, and interfere with people’s mental and emotional state… who or what is his flip side?
Back on track: Andre tries one of his records, playing in Ty’s subconscious, but Ty resists it. It doesn’t quite work. So he tries another, a little different from the first, and this one, concerning how Tandy doesn’t really need him, manages to erode Ty’s defiance. He walks out, and, in that moment, gives up. Andre lingers for a bit, doing a little more research on Ty, and walks out of his shop, victorious… for the moment.
He doesn’t see the gaze watching him through the window.
Mayhem’s presence in the shadow place is somewhat serendipitous, it would seem. She knows something is up with the record shop now, and she knows it has an owner, who was doing something. She enters when he leaves, and changes things up. She goes through his collection, not to gently or precisely, but finds what she needs. She stops Andre’s record, disrupting the influence on Ty’s mind, and puts on something else, about the good in Tandy’s life.
At the same moment, Ty gets some company on public transit: a young class of ballerinas. Something about them, and the record Mayhem is playing, renews his hope and determination to find and help Tandy. When Tandy finds another record to play, with ambulance sirens in it, Ty finds himself passed by three ambulances in a row, and he gets a sudden feeling. Tandy was working Lia to get to her boyfriend as part of her search for all the missing girls who were taken by ambulances… and now she’s missing too. It’s not too far of a stretch to think that she got too close, and was also taken by an ambulance.
…but which one?
Andre is, at this moment, unaware of what’s going on. His attention is elsewhere. As he looked into Tyrone, he saw a strange symbol, reminiscent of the one on a door in his record shop. He also saw Evita’s mother, Chantelle Fusilier (yes, I looked it up on Wikipedia to be sure I got it right, as this is a rather pivotal moment), knows quite a bit about such symbols. So he goes to her, looking to find some answers.
Chantelle is a remarkable woman, wise and intuitive. She allows Andre into her home, does a reading, and tells him some unsettling things. She sees that the symbol he shows her is his own. Whatever happened to him, he is on the cusp of becoming not a mortal, anymore, but a loa, a god of sorts. There is a way for him to do this, to ascend… but she’s not keen on telling him. The reason is, the cards tell her nothing of his character, and she doesn’t buy his little act.
So he tries to take what he wants by force, going back to his record shop… and is doubly surprised. First, he finds his neat organization ruined, as someone, Mayhem, has been rummaging through it without no care for its condition. And second, Chantelle is there, too. She is aware and talented enough to join him in his private world.
She sees more than he does, in multiple ways.
She sees that the symbol, his symbol, is a lock, not a key. And she sees that he would not make a good god. That takes barely a glance at all the misery he inflicts and feeds upon. So much hurt, only for his own benefit, when he has barely a sliver of power in him, just enough to play god. What kind of god would he be if he weren’t merely playing, but the genuine article? Answer: she does not want the world to find out.
She won’t give him what he needs, and he can’t take it from her.
Chantelle also sees that someone has obviously been in the record shop while Andre was away, and that person is still there. Mayhem is keeping barely out of Andre’s sight, but Chantelle sees her, and says nothing. She tricks Andre into revealing the trick to what he’s doing while Mayhem can hear. And when things start to… end… she signals Mayhem to stay back and not reveal her presence.
Chantelle is largely a normal woman. She has wisdom, intuition, experience, and a bit of mystical skill, but she is very much normal, with little to no remarkable power to speak of, and no offensive abilities at all. Yet… she is an amazing hero. She knows she is in Andre’s power, and Andre will never let her go. But she does not think about herself. And she does not truly fear death. She knows that death is simply part of the journey, and it’s part of her journey right then and there. She can’t escape. She doesn’t try. She meets her end with the dignity and poise of a queen, with the wisdom of a sage, and with the unrelenting unselfishness of a mother.
Andre’s “mercy” includes letting her play her favorite memory, the moment her daughter was born and she heard little Evita cry out for the first time… while he stops her heart.
Chantelle Lusilier is absolutely a hero.
Andre leaves his shop, and leaves her behind…
…and unwittingly leaves Mayhem alone in his shop again. And this time, she doesn’t just meddle a little, she goes to work! She wreaks mayhem in full, playing hopeful songs and smashing everything else with enthusiastic fury. And it quickly pays off in the real world.
Ty’s realization about Tandy being taken drives him to his patron loa again. He spray paints the symbol this time, and is rewarded when he’s taken to the ambulance that took Tandy. He has the driver at his mercy in a moment, and that gives him a location, which he drives to as quickly as he can.
At the very moment that Mayhem wrecks the record shop, and Del defies Lia, and Tandy regains her hope, and her daggers, Ty crashes the ambulance into the hotel. The house of lies and slavery is attacked on all sides simultaneously. Tandy deals with her customer, then cuts straight through the wall to strike at Lia, saving Del, and then she cuts a swathe through the rest of the hotel. Ty fights the guard, and though he’s absolutely outsized, he’s clever with his ability and brings the man down hard, then doing the same throughout the hotel, including sending at least one man through a window. Light and dark, they plow straight through anything and anyone in their way.
(this would be the “AWESOME” moment 😉 )
They come face to face, and that, too, is awesome. Tandy was never left alone in this fight, and now, as she tells Ty, she is ok. They’re together again.
…and then Ty falls unconscious, the shadows boiling out of him and spreading all around. Something is happening to him, and the episode ends with Tandy holding him in her arms, helpless.
Very high moment, followed by very foreboding moment.
So, Tandy and Ty both rise and overcome and reunite, while Mayhem is able to strike at Andre’s power base itself, which will certainly help all those girls, I hope. Additionally, Adina is able to refrain from harming Connors. But something is wrong with Ty right now, and Connors did go for a blade earlier, and Andre is apparently on the brink of becoming a parasitic god of sorts. So, definitely not out of the woods yet!
6.01 “Missing Pieces”
It’s been a year since the events of last season, when Coulson officially handed the torch to the next generation. In that time, Shield has rebuilt tremendously after the blows it took in recent years, under Mack’s leadership. He’s no Coulson or Fury, which weighs on him, but one can’t try to be what others are. Mack is a good, capable general, and he has good, capable people working for him, but they have a long way to go.
To which end, they’re looking to recruit more brainy people, instead of just fighters, partially by starting a new Shield Academy. They really have started over, but they have a road map filled with good ideas and lessons learned from past mistakes. It will take time, but they’re moving forward, starting with recruiting a man, May’s former father-in-law, if I understood correctly, to help them with the science in the meantime, and head up the academy as it gets up and running in a few years.
Said new academy head, Henson, doesn’t want to come on, but for a second chance, and… well, the words, “deep space,” he signs on. 🙂
There are two particular endeavors underway. One is on Earth, and the other is in space. Mack as much more manpower to work with on Earth, but the space-based effort has laid claim to some of their most powerful, elite, and even loyal members.
In space, Daisy, now gaining an interstellar reputation as Quake, leads Simmons, Davis, and Piper in their continuing search for Fitz. Where it ought to have been easy, something about the changed timeline made Enoch’s hiding place unsafe. The ship he was keeping Fitz on was sliced in two in the middle of space. They found one half and it’s been a long search just to find the other half, and that much was based on the theory that the alien they interrogate had sold tainted fuel to Enoch and then sold them out. As it happens, he bought the wreck, and when the agents find it, they find the stasis pod… empty.
It’s a devastating blow. Simmons has been holding on to the hope of finding Fitz, and that search has gotten longer, more desperate, and more wearying than anyone thought it would. The Zephyr has gotten very banged up, they’re low on fuel and everything else, they don’t know how long their stolen Kree technology will let them keep jumping between planets, and all the other agents who originally signed on for the search gave up and left. All of that, and they have nothing to show for it except a dead end.
Piper and Davis seem to routinely disagree on everything, but they and Daisy all agree that it’s time to go home. The search is over, until Simmons happens on a clue that might lead them straight to Fitz, but, even then, Simmons is the only one willing to go right then. Everyone else agrees that they need to step back, go home, regroup, resupply, etc. But Simmons is, for once, too driven. Understandable, of course. She’s been stubborn and resilient even in most normal circumstances, and this is not normal. The version of Fitz that married her is dead, but this one is alive, and needing them to find him, and Simmons is beyond reason concerning the matter.
This is why we need our friends and family, to balance us out when we go crazy.
The argument is interrupted when a Confederate Destroyer arrives on the scene. It’s possible that Daisy is right and people need to fear Quake’s strength, but, then again, this also invites escalating counter-action in order to check her activities. Either way, there is a moment of tense waiting to see if they’ve been discovered, which they are, followed by furious activity in the form of running for their lives. They make another jump, and one that is supposed to take them back to Earth, but Simmons already input the coordinates for where she wants to go.
That is not cool of her. It’s a betrayal of the team, in point of fact, making a unilateral decision, which they already shot down in unison, behind their backs. They’ll make the best of it and look for Fitz while they’re there, but it was absolutely unacceptable behavior.
And that’s the space-bound side of things.
On Earth, there are strange goings on, including people appearing out of walls, with highly advanced weaponry. Shield has been tracking this unknown phenomenon and has teams on standby, but all they really get is one guy fused with concrete and another shooting down their quinjet. Two of the new guys theorize something to do with ley lines, and it seems to be accurate, but they’re still playing catch up.
Speaking of catch up, Yo-yo is apparently having an affair with one of the new guys. They’re very discreet, but people are still picking up on it, so they have to decide whether or not to tell Mack. Speaking of, again, it seems he closed himself off from her when he became the new Director, and thus her affair. Which is all very tragic and sucks and I really don’t like it because whyyyy? All the same, it’s done, and they really should come clean. Very soon.
At the moment, however, they’re concerned with a trio of people coming from some extra reality, and demolishing a museum to clear the path for others, including their leader, to cross without ending up like the unfortunate guy in the concrete.
These people are clearly very capable, and clever, and they have highly advanced equipment. They also seem to have some loyalty to each other, though we’ll see how that plays out.
Probably the most anticipated moment of the premiere came at the end, when another Coulson from another world comes through to theirs, and retrieves one of his people by shooting the agent holding her. It’s shock, pure shock, for the agents, especially May. She was with Coulson at his end, and they had precious little time together. She loved him, and now she’s faced with someone who is exactly like him, just with a different past shaping him.
Shield has to face down an alternative version of their previous leader.
Hm, perhaps it’s a good thing, after all, for Daisy and Simmons not to return just yet, with him as their enemy on Earth.
Episode ends with a glimpse of Fitz in an alien environment, working as a smith of some sort, with some alien stuff going on with him and his eyes. That should be fun.