This week’s episode opens with a fun-filled nod to the 50’s, with a young couple lying in the back of a pickup truck, staring up at the stars, looking for aliens When, suddenly out of nowhere, the zephyr pops out of the time stream and flies erratically right across the now screaming pair of kids seen hurtling off in the other direction, down a dirt road.
This opening sequences sets up the kind of humour yet to come in this episode. Meanwhile, aboard the zephyr, the crew—minus Enoch—are seen scrambling to bring the craft in for a hard landing. And, in doing so, establish how they got there, their collective remorse at the loss of Enoch, and while cloaking the ship, let us then know the where and when of the episode: Groom Lake, home to Area 51, in the year, 1955.
All pretty significant, given we are now in the era of Agent Carter, and, as those who follow the show know, there’s been plenty of speculation as to whether Carter will do a guest appearance. Well, let me tell you this … yes, she does … in a way, sort of! More on that later.
What we do already know is that Carter’s partner in crime, Daniel Sousa (played by Enver Gjokaj) is in this episode (and maybe, more?) The other guest star in this week’s episode is, Tamara Taylor (of Bones & Altered Carbon) playing Sybil the Predictor, a Chronicom who, it appears, can see the intertwining time stream threads, and which one to pull in order to unravel SHIELD’s existence. And oh, do I want to see more of her in future episodes.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Area 51, we find out, is also a fledgling SHIELD research facility, full of budding scientists and projects. One of these projects is the focus of the Chronicoms. Though, as yet, at this stage, the team don’t know if the enemy is there to steal or destroy.
Dressed appropriately, and furthering the conversation of the why and where, we jumped to Mac and Yo-Yo sat in a typical classic 50s dinner near the base, discussing Yo-Yo’s new arms and hands, and her trouble being able to speed up. Has she lost her power, or is it just the vestiges of the Shrike infection lingering, that’s causing the problem? I’m sure in future episodes we’ll find out more. But for now, this inability is playing right into these first few episodes, in allowing for the stories to unfold without super-powered intervention.
Which, in a way, is a refreshing change. Not everything can be solved with super powers, as we know.
Meanwhile, Coulson is sat with Daisy on the other side of the same dinner, also discussing what it is they think the Chronicoms are up to, and how to try stay one step ahead, even though they know, they are going to always be coming in blind and playing catch up to them. But the two teams are not there for breakfast and a chat, but waiting on a certain Gerald Sharpe of the Department of Defence. Someone they hope can give them at least a clue as to what the Chronicoms are up too.
After snagging Sharpe, and having Mac, May and Yo-Yo unsuccessfully interrogate him for clues—with nods to the rampant racism and sexism of the era with some pithy throw away lines. We jump to Simmons, posing as Agent Peggy Carter arriving at Area 51 with Coulson in tow, now posing as Gerald Sharpe. And what ensues is some of the funniest moments of any TV show, ever. With Coulson and Simmons using an hilarious technique to test and questions scientists on the base, trying to find the Chronicoms. By this time the team know that the enemy is there to destroy the base and some visiting VIPs using Project Helius—an ION fusion reactor.
With plenty of nods to other TV shows and movies—including Blade Runner—Coulson drills the scientists in order to get an emotional reaction. Laugh? I nearly wet myself when he’s on the bus and starts asking an older woman—in her 60s—you’re in a desert and you see a turtle, the classic interrogation scene from Blade Runner… priceless!
Meanwhile, Carter/Simmons is unmasked when Sousa confronts her, leading in an opening for Daisy, posing as a CIA operative to turn up and break Coulson and Simmons out of lockup. With Coulson going full fan boy at meeting another historical hero of his.
As Daisy is breaking Coulson and Simmons out of lockup, May and Yo-yo—dressed as female pilots of the time (who walk through the facility without so much as a blink from anyone) are hunting the Chronicoms in the hopes of outing them. But not everything goes to plan, May having a sudden panic attack, and Yo-Yo unable to use her speed, end up having to chase one of the Chronicoms out to ION reactor, where they battle it out with the unemotional Hunter.
It’s Simmons and Daisy that save the day though, back in the lab, using a rudimentary EMP pulse cannon, that Simmons modifies, in order to knock out everything electronic, including the ION reactor, Chronicoms (who self-destruct) AND, shockingly, the LMD Coulson. Who, minutes later, when Sousa turns him over, has a very disturbing glint in his LMD eye!
Closing out the episode though, and sticking to the humorous theme laced throughout the episode, we see Deke and Mac, in the Zephyr, frightening the bejesus out of Gerald Sharpe, with an alien abduction stick that has the DoD agent bursting into the diner claiming he’s been abducted by aliens!
All-in-all a very humorous, and satisfying episode with plenty of threads leading us to storylines yet to come, and, we hope, some intriguing answers as to what’s up with both Yo-Yo and May. Never mind, what that creepy gleam might mean, we saw in Coulson’s eye.