Despite the gravity of the subject matter, this week’s Agents of Shield was a fairly lighthearted, spoofy homage to the 80’s movies, and robot movies especially. I suppose, as the halfway point of the final season, this was about as fitting as it could get, as Mack mourned his losses, and Deke finally fit in as a stalwart friend, while the enemy (old and new) began to make a comeback that ought to propel us through the final few episodes of the series.
7.07, “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D”
This week’s episode picked up exactly where the last week ended: Z-1 is gone, leaving Mack and Deke stranded in 1982, apparently. Deke tries to hit the ground running, figure out what to do, and he also tries to be there for Mack, in the wake of his most devastating loss. But Mack can’t do that right then. He was hurt, terribly, mere moments ago, and he just can’t keep fighting right then. Heck, the Chronicoms’ time ship was destroyed, so the mission ought to be over now anyway. He has lost both his parents and his purpose. So, Mack just drives off, leaves Deke, and everything else, in the dust.
I have no idea how he manages to pay for anything, but, somehow or other, he does. He gets a place, out somewhere remote, and goes into self-imposed isolation. He stops taking care of himself, letting a monstrous beard grow out. He just drinks, and puts model cars together. Alone.
Deke manages to find him, and checks in on him every so often. He managed to get in the door once, trying to get Mack back on his feet, but Mack just quietly got him back out said door and refused to answer it again.
You gotta give Deke props here. He knows what it means to lose his parents, and he has, in his own way, matured greatly since we first met him. He doesn’t give up. He keeps coming back, keeps checking on Mack, keeps leaving bags of groceries at the door, keeps trying to reach him. Months go by, the year changes over to 1983, and he keeps at it. For once, he did something I find to be completely worthy of respect.
…but, of course, he had to be up to his old antics somewhere somehow.
Deke manages to get Mack to come out to a bar to see him perform. Yep. Perform. He’s started a band and is covering a bunch of classic songs that haven’t been written by their original creators yet. He’s got a good set of pipes, and he’s cribbing off a winning formula, so success follows. That would be how he pays the bills, at least.
Mack is, naturally, disgusted and angry. He does not get less so when Deke reveals that the band is a cover. He’s recruited a hodgepodge team of agents which, as a band, can go all over the place, with lots of high-tech “equipment” in tow. It’s not an entirely bad idea, especially as they have reason to believe that the Chronicoms are not all dead. Still, Mack is reluctant, specifically the shouting-match version of reluctant, and his mood still does not improve when he learns Deke is using the Lighthouse as a base, or when he finds a digital version of Coulson still alive, in a way, or when Deke presents a shotgun battleax. He has some good points, but the real problem is that he’s been lingering in his pain for too long.
That pain only begins to fade with the realization the Deke hasn’t just been fooling around, and hasn’t even just been checking on Mack so faithfully. He’s also been looking in on the younger version of Mack, and his little brother, as they’re being raised by their uncle. The woman who tells him about this thinks that Deke is looking after a son that Mack has abandoned, but it’s the fact that Deke is, unquestionably, caring, faithfully, for him as best he can that gets Mack to start opening himself up to the possibilities.
And just in the nick of time, too!
LMD Coulson managed to survive the explosion in some way which landed him in a hard drive. He interacts with people by way of a TV screen, but he’s able to monitor other electrical things, like the power grid. He’s managed to catch the scent of Sibyl, who has also survived in digital form, though he hasn’t been able to nail down her whereabouts.
Sibyl, it turns out, managed to find refuge in another hard drive, whose owner took it to a lonely geek for repair. She made herself known to him, asking for help, and he made her a robotic body. It’s very primitive, being limited to 1980’s tech, which limits how much damage she can do, but, as she builds and arms two more robots, it becomes clear that these primitive robots can kill a man just as dead. The geek who built her body and thought they were true loves is proof of that.
The three robots infiltrate the Lighthouse and attack the agents, killing the band’s cocaine-dealing drummer and the girl he had with him. They’re primitive, but buzzsaws, drills, guns, and, apparently a laser, can still do plenty of fatal damage. Deke’s team has to work properly together, under Mack’s leadership, to win.
That is exactly what Mack needed. He needed time to feel his pain, and he needed the enemy who killed his parents. With Sibyl’s arrival to the Lighthouse, he has a purpose again, and the agents make fairly short, albeit very dramatic, work of the robots.
That’s pretty much it, really. Director Mack is back, Deke is finally accepted for his efforts, they have a team, and they have an enemy to fight. So, they do.
And that’s what they’re doing when Yo-Yo and May show up, operating on a time limit to find Mack and Deke and rendezvous with Z-1.
Unfortunately, though all three of Sibyl’s new robotic bodies are demolished, she remains alive on another hard drive, with a screen of her own. She also, through the use of a fourth robot, smaller, and commandeered from its previous, deceased owner, gets exactly what she was after from the Lighthouse. It’s a glowing device. Not sure what it is, though I would have bet on something like the Teseract once upon a time. What’s certain is this: it’s the means by which she became the Predictor, who can see how potential actions will make new potential timelines.
And she just delivered it to a familiar face: the surviving Nathaniel Malick.
…good grief, can’t that guy just be dead already! He was supposed to be dead already! It was a perfect death we had for him already, all nice and destroyed by the very same power he was trying to steal! Sheesh! This particular Hydra spawn is really not staying down! And why hasn’t he aged since we last saw him?
So, the enemy has been devastated, but is making a huge and terrible comeback from beyond the grave, while the agents are trying to rally and home in on them.