After a nearly month long hiatus, Agents of SHIELD is back … for two weeks before winter hiatus. Odd scheduling aside, this week’s return for the agents was a damn fine one.
Picking up where things were left off, Robbie’s evil uncle had activated his machine. Gaining powers and making Fitz, Robbie, and Coulson disappear to parts unknown. As far as power sets go, Robbie’s uncle has one of the oddest. Being able to conjure pure carbon, seemingly from anywhere with his mind is such a bizarre and specific ability. He seems so pleased and unsurprised by the ability, but is that what the machine’s purpose was? Even though he uses it in some awesome ways it still seems like a weird thing for him to have been working toward for a over a decade.
The deaths he causes were pretty awesome though, weren’t they? Having giant spikes shoot out of the random SHIELD agents chests, and then sealing the hallway up behind him, interesting uses. I hope they explore more ways he can implement his newly gained abilities.
It may seem cruel but I actually agreed with Director Mace this week, and oddly enough so did Daisy, where May and Mack were both so gung ho about charging out and finding their comrades and/or confronting Robbie’s uncle with absolutely no idea what is going on. This was one of the biggest and only problems I had with this episode. Now Mack’s issue may relate to what we’ll get into later, but May should know better. Trying to use the Darkhold even after knowing how dangerous it is, that doesn’t strike me as a May move. I know they’ve been subtly pushing the Coulson/May romance but that doesn’t mean she suddenly forgets all reason. Small misstep but it deserves mentioning.
We got a quick resolution to Simmons’ secret mission this week. It seems the mysterious Terrigenesis cocoon we saw at the senator’s house earlier this year is the focus of all the secrecy, and this new Inhuman has been transforming for seven months! Seems silly that the trick to getting him to finish his metamorphosis was simply to talk nice. But Simmons magically has the right touch, without any scientific methods, to do so. The guy we see inside doesn’t look familiar so I’m curious why all the secrecy. Also I hope she says something to Fitz about how weird it was and getting black bagged.
The big gimmick and my favorite part of the episode came after the first break. Switching perspectives segment to segment, we found out that our missing agents had been shifted into another dimension or plane of existence. Being shown as a dark, sepia tone world, I couldn’t help but draw some connections to Doctor Strange’s Dark Dimension. Especially when they realize this other world is slowly pulling them deeper and deeper from the world.
Plus the element of them seeing and hearing our world while being unseen was very much like the mirror universe of Strange as well. It was quite clever how they kept replaying the same scenes while showing the other dimension’s side and reactions. Not the first time I’ve seen a similar plot device but still smart and effective. Some interesting facts we learned about this other world: it seems that Aida can sense things about it, she knew the guys were still nearby even though they were across dimensional planes. Also Robbie can’t change there, and Ghost Rider’s spirit flees in what seemed like fear of being dragged back, “where he’s been before.” Could this be a hell dimension or Dormammu’s plane of existence?
Ghost Rider bonding briefly with Mack was a welcomed explanation for his out of character actions, though I was confused that it was controlling Mack’s human form. Does this mean sometimes Robbie is being controlled with being all fiery and skull-faced? I also liked that when Mack did transform his skull effect looked significantly different from Robbie’s.
More questions raised here, while Robbie says his uncle is the last person he needs vengeance against, he agrees to help the Rider get vengeance on all of his targets. Who does he mean? Is this a blanket generic statement or does Robbie know more about the Spirit of Vengeance than he’s let on? While I’m glad they didn’t drag out Mack’s tenure as Ghost Rider, it was fun seeing him whoop ass as him. Mack and Daisy both got some impressive action scenes here. Mack’s were a bit more bull in a china shop versus Daisy’s trained warrior but still both reminded us how good the fight choreography is on this series.
On another topic, so Aida is totally out in the open now it seems. Pretty much the whole team now knows she’s an android. Clever of them to use her to read the Darkhold, after all it couldn’t corrupt her the way it would a human… right? When Aida is creating the portal to get everyone back I got another strong impression this was linked to Doctor Strange. The glowing net that acts as a gateway looked a lot like his spells and the gloves she used to make it was much like his sling ring. I’m still waiting for the obligatory tie-in they usually have, maybe this is the gateway to it. Also I am dying to know that the brain is that Aida is designing by the end of this episode. My guess is she wants to become fully sentient and is creating a real mind for herself. Ultron part two anyone?
So with SHIELD back, albeit briefly, things are great again. Continuing to be consistently great genre television, the only downside is we only get one more week before yet another hiatus. It looks to be a great mid-season finale though so at least we have that to hold us over.
On the next episode of Agents of SHIELD
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments section below!