Remember that time Fitz, Coulson, Simmons, and Robbie all went missing and then Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. took a three week break? Me too. Let’s not do that again. And let’s also not waste anymore time before we find out what happened.
We pick up right where we last left off with S.H.I.E.L.D. a bit panicked and definitely confused; their friends are missing and no one knows why. May and Mack pursue Eli, but, after using his new powers to brutally kill a handful of agents, he disappears. Now S.H.I.E.L.D. knows Eli is the big baddie but they have no clue what he’s done. The decision is quickly made to call resident scientific genius, Jemma Simmons. Except she’s out on a mysterious assignment only Mace knows about. He promises to get in touch with her.
While her exact location remains unknown, we do see what Simmons is up to. She’s been brought to a pop-up lab where Senator Nadeer’s brother, who has been in the terrigenesis process for months, is being studied. Nadeer’s team is stumped. When she notices the man has an elevated heart rate, Simmons has a brilliant insight to communicate with him rather than coldly study him. She makes progress almost immediately. The rock shell begins to break away and she has just removed a chunk covering the man’s face when a black hood is thrust over her head again.
Back at Eli’s lab, Fitz and Coulson discover they’re alive but no longer a part of our plane of reality. They can see and to some extent hear other people but, unlike Lucy and the ghosts, cannot be seen or interact with anything. They find Robbie, who comes to the same conclusion after trying to fight Eli and then failing to prevent him from murdering the agents. Following their team back to the Zephyr, Fitz deduces they are slowly being pulled into some other dimension; where they are now is just the in-between.
May tries to convince Mack that they need to use the Darkhold book in order to save their friends but he is adamantly opposed, much to Coulson’s relief. After following Mace during his supposed phone call to Simmons, Fitz learns the Director sent her out on a secret mission connected with Nadeer and now has no idea where she is. Just then Robbie collapses. The Rider is unwilling to be sucked into another dimension so it leaves Robbie’s body for another host: Mack. He hops on his motorcycle, shotgun ax strapped to his back, and takes off against the Director’s orders. Daisy follows, with Robbie riding shotgun.
Although he wasn’t able to get Simmons, Mace does bring in Dr. Radcliffe who arrives with AIDA. May plops Darkhold in front of him and tells him to use it to save the others but he won’t. The knowledge contained inside the book is too overwhelming for any human brain. Watching this interaction, Fitz realizes it first: AIDA is the key. As an android, her mind can’t be corrupted and she can ingest massive quantities of data rapidly. He shouts at her to read the book and she seemingly hears him because she makes the suggestion to Radcliffe. In order for him to explain his reluctance and then his agreement, he has to tell May about AIDA, just as Fitz tells Coulson, much to both agents’ surprise.
AIDA does her job well. She’s able to read the book and instruct Radcliffe on how to build an inter-dimensional machine. Then she creates a web only Fitz and Coulson can see. As she’s finishing, Coulson is suddenly sucked into the ground. Fitz grabs him and AIDA’s machine powers on so Radcliffe and May can see the other two men but can’t help them. With one last burst of strength, they plunge through the portal, safe and sound.
Not so safe is Mack or the Chinese mobsters he’s hunting down in order to determine Eli’s location. Robbie confronts the Rider, who can see and hear him. The Rider has been wherever Robbie is being pulled and doesn’t want to go back. Robbie argues they haven’t finished their deal yet; he wants to take down Eli. When Mack transforms in the Rider and advances on Daisy, Robbie makes a new deal. He’ll help settle all of the Rider’s debts, which apparently means going to hell, if in exchange they can get Eli. The Rider agrees, leaving Mack and taking Robbie away.
Recovered from his dimension hopping, Fitz confronts Mace about Simmons’ whereabouts just as she stumbles back in the base and the two finally embrace. Mack greets Robbie when he falls through the portal device and the two agree to partner up to find Eli. Back at home, while Radcliffe celebrates saving the day, AIDA is secretly using the tech from Darkhold to create a brain, presumably for herself. We never learn, do we?
- I realize I didn’t really mention Gabe at all. He was pretty peripheral this week except for a conversation with Daisy wherein he realizes his uncle and his brother are both kind of messed up and hiding some massive secrets.
- Daisy, explaining why it’s not impossible their friends aren’t dead but missing for some weird reason: “Coulson came back from the dead, Fitz pulled Simmons through space through a rock, and Robbie’s head lights on fire.”
- Mace: “First we sharpen the ax, then we chop the tree.”
Mack: “My ax is plenty sharp… And a shotgun.”
- Does anybody else think Mace might also be an android? One who is programmed to use cliches and business jargon rather than actual words?
- May, voicing the feelings of all Philinda shippers everywhere: “What the hell are we waiting for?”
- But seriously, there is no feasible reason why May and Coulson did not make out by the end of this episode. NONE.
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