This week’s Agents of Shield was definitely not at all lackluster! Wow!
That was intense!
It would seem that I was a little bit off in my assessment last week. Davis was not simply possessed by a shrike. He was possessed by Izel herself. That’s a thing she can do, apparently, move freely in and out of people. This explains how she always managed to escape when someone cornered her: she just went into someone when no one else could see, like she did when Davis and Jakko lost sight of each other while coming at her from two sides. Which makes Jakko’s sacrifice, in vain, all the more tragic.
It also makes it a bit disturbing, how Piper was taking funny selfies with a passed-out Davis who was actually Izel, patiently waiting for an opportunity and pretending to sleep to avoid any social interactions that might arouse suspicion. As the party wound down, May went off to get some rest, and Izel followed, jumping into May and sending Davis to get some rest in his quarters. Then she shot Sarge, and let them lock her up. It was easy enough to get out, the moment she had a guard alone, leaving May as confused as everyone else.
The agents all handle this rather well, I’d say. They stick with procedure, keep their heads, use caution, think it through, and they trust what they already know. Mack has May, with Izel inside her, locked in holding, and proceeds to investigate on the security cameras. Daisy, Yo-Yo, and Piper talk and agree that even if May were to fly off the handle like that, she would never use a gun to kill Sarge, so they keep digging. When May is confused, she and Yo-Yo walk through what she remembers, which leads them to Davis, which gets them on to Izel’s body-jumping.
By that point, however, Izel has already jumped into Piper and retrieved a Shrike crystal, and when Deke gets nosy (after being insecure about his developing relationship with Fitz), she jumps into him. She tries to get into a particular room, but Deke doesn’t have clearance and the guard can’t get her inside either. She needs the Director’s authorization, but, not knowing who that is, she needs to figure it out, and with them catching on to her, it turns into a mutual psychological game of cat and mouse.
They figure out that Izel doesn’t get the memories of her current host, because she doesn’t know how to act like them. So, person by person, one by one, they’ll have to check every person in the base, see if they know things about themselves that Izel couldn’t possibly guess, starting with the inner circle around the Director. Mack clears Yo-Yo and Daisy first, clearing himself, May, and Davis as well, and then he locks them in an adjacent room. Izel can’t move through solid matter, so they’re safe from her in there, which keeps all of them a little safer from her if she got hold of their powers. Piper shows up in time to point the finger at Deke, who returns the favor, but they could have avoided that little bit by talking secrets. Deke might not think he has any, but… well, he could have just mentioned designing the girl he rescues in his game to look like Daisy, and I would have loved to see how that worked out for him.
It turns out, however, that Izel already jumped from Deke to Fitz, and now, by quiet observation, she knows Mack is the one in charge. She tries to “persuade” cooperation by means of demonstrating what she can make anyone she possesses do anything, be it hurting others, or hurting themselves. Hopping from one agent to another, she uses Piper’s own hand and gun to shoot her free hand, letting it bleed, then stepping into another body without a care in the world, and then she keeps moving. She steps into Davis, and makes his body step up onto a the railing overhead, and pitch forward headfirst, killing him. Just like that.
Davis and Piper always argued, but they were best friends. Davis protected Daisy and Simmons when they went into the Framework, he survived the wrath of Aida, and he fought all manner of Shield’s enemies. He was a good friend and a good agent, and became a good pilot. He stole an alien pen because he thought it was cool that aliens still write things down like that. He was a husband and father.
And Izel killed him, just like that.
The thing about making a show that has a central cast surrounded by a lot of red shirts, it can be very difficult to get the audience to keep investing in characters that can come and go practically in the same breath. It can also be tiring if we see the central cast get changed up too frequently, yet also boring if we can’t really believe that they’re in danger of actually getting axed. There is a gray area between the two, where background characters, red shirts, become more familiar to us for a longer period of time… and then get axed.
Davis is one of those. His death carries weight for everyone but Izel.
Izel finally gets into Mack and gets into the room she wants into, leaving Mack cuffed and knocked out outside the door. Within it, she finds a familiar gravitonium sphere.
Elsewhere, Sarge wakes up. He’s not actually dead. Bullets don’t really kill him. He comes back. While he’s out, he sees shadows, the faintest traces of memories, of people who were important to him, but he has nothing else to know about them. When he wakes, he wants to get after Izel, but Simmons is not about to release him. He is dangerous, and not a good person, and they already have one enemy to deal with, they don’t need a second. He still slips out of his bonds, knocks her out, grabs a gun, and goes after Izel, catching up to her in front of the sphere, and that is where all the answers are revealed.
Izel can’t be killed by bullets any more than Sarge can. He has pursued her across the stars and destroyed entire worlds, but she tells him that he was actually longing for her, deep within. Hunting her, with such skill and passion, was simply a holdover from his mortal vessel, which is just a copy of that of another man: Phil Coulson.
When the three monoliths, which they call the Di’Allas, were brought together and destroyed, they created a gateway to a dimension of fear and darkness, but it was more than that. They gave physical form to things without regard for time and space. When Coulson was directly exposed to that, a being on the other side copied his form and inhabited it, but in another time and place, coming into the physical world on another planet, long ago. He did this in order to join another of his kind and further the plans they had made together.
That is the truth of them: Sarge and Izel are of race that has no physical form, but longs for one.
She went through first, made a body for herself, and began laying the groundwork, inspired by him. He followed, eventually, but got very confused upon his arrival. The form of Phil Coulson, taken from a moment when he was willing to give his life for his surrogate family, left an imprint so powerful that Sarge’s true memories were deeply suppressed, and the echo of memories of people he never knew drove him forward. All the damage he has done in his hunt of Izel has been because his mind has been malfunctioning while interlaced with a lingering touch of Coulson’s.
In reality, Sarge’s true name is Pachakutiq. The word that his subordinate was saying even in the throes of death, merged with a wall. That was a very smart subordinate, one that asked questions. Perhaps he was suspecting something of Sarge’s true origin, stumbled upon his name.
Interestingly, the word in Quechua, the Inca language, seems to have some meaning of time and space, like “return of time,” “change of time,” and “great change or disturbance in the social or political order.” (thank you, Wikipedia!) If I understand what Izel said correctly, that’s what Sarge and she are doing, creating a great change in their society by bringing their non-corporeal people into a world of time and physical space. That’s what the Shrike are for, to create billions of host bodies, waiting for their people to inhabit them, all across the stars. Sarge has been mucking things up, but Izel has succeeded anyway. All that’s left is to open the way, for which she needs the power of the Di’Allas, which is held in the gravitonium sphere.
Sarge is left in shock, raving to himself even as his form is coming undone. Izel strolls out, taking Yo-Yo’s body and using it to get free, with Mack in tow, on the Zephyr. Mack is not letting Izel hurt Yo-Yo, so he’s trusting his team to handle the situation on their end.
Basically, Izel pretty much got everything she wanted out of this, and she’s just barely getting started. She won this round, hands down.