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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Principia - Review

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Principia” was written by Craig Titley and was directed by Brad Turner. The episode features the return of Werner von Strucker – Alex – (Spencer Treat Clark), but for me the most memorable part of this episode is going to be Deke’s (Jeff Ward) realization that Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) are his grandparents! But then, I also really, really liked Mack (Henry Simmons) bringing home some robot arms for the love of his life… And let’s not neglect to give a shout out to Natalia Cordova-Buckley (Yo-Yo) for yet another bravura performance!

The episode opens with Alex in therapy. He’s been heavily drugged to stop his violent episodes. However, he’s easily able to play mind games on his therapist and manage to put a pen through the therapist’s hand. Alex tells his therapist that he “remembers everything.”

At the Lighthouse, Mack and Simmons are both fussing over Yo-Yo when Coulson (Clark Gregg) sticks his head in to see how she is. Coulson is also resisting being fussed over. When Mack says the patient is cranky, Coulson tells her to focus on resting and healing as Fitz is still trying to get the parts together to build her new hands. Yo-Yo asks Coulson if it feels the same. Coulson tells her the truth – it doesn’t. Yo-Yo asks Mack how he’ll feel about dating a robot – knowing how much Mack dislikes robots! But Mack clarifies that robots have no heart and no soul – both of which Yo-Yo most definitely does have.

Daisy is trying to tackle both their current problems – needing parts for Yo-Yo and finding more gravitonium to seal up the space/time rift. They are trying to track Cybernetics, Quinn’s old company. They need to find Dr Getty (Mark Fite). Daisy is determined to go on the away mission – she can’t destroy the world if she doesn’t have the power. Coulson insists that Deke stay behind to help Fitz – and neither are impressed.

Alex wakes up in a bare room – it’s the same facility that Ruby (Dove Cameron) is being held in. he wanders into the breakfast room, where she’s eating with her headphones on. She completely ignores him.

There’s a nice chase scene as Coulson and Daisy find Caine (Jake Busey) who takes off and gets caught in a squeeze play when Mack and May (Ming-Na Wen) are waiting. It turns out that Mack Hammer knows Caine as the Candyman – and they were in first year at the Academy together! Caine was actually helping to hide Getty. And who didn’t love getting to see those yearbook photos???

Deke does try to help Fitz – but really only annoys him. Deke tries to get Fitz to take a break and play catch with him – it’s maybe a little on the nose, but it’s also hilarious. Deke tells Fitz that his mother told him about Einstein – and his theory, that if you’re stuck you should take a break. Before Fitz can really respond he’s distracted by an alarm and sends out a message via loudspeaker for people to kill anything they see that doesn’t belong…

Yo-Yo falls out of bed when she forgets that she doesn’t have arms. Simmons comes to her rescue. Yo-Yo has lost faith. She doesn’t believe that there’s any future other than the one she saw. Simmons insists that they’ll change it, but Yo-Yo doesn’t believe they can. She laments that she wants to be with Mack and have kids… but how can she now?

Caine remarks that Mack isn’t the guy he remembers, and Mack tells him that he’s seen a lot of dark things. He’s in a place where he won’t let the people he loves get hurt. Along that same line of thinking, Daisy insists that Cybernetics might have a cure for Coulson too. But Coulson refuses to become another John Garrett. He doesn’t want another unnatural life. Daisy and May, however, are determined to save Coulson and to be his shield.

Meanwhile, Alex finds Ruby working out. She tells him that they are in a safehouse and that he’ll get the answers he wants from her mother. Alex remembers Ruby from their childhood. He remembers that he was supposed to be watching her when she fell and cut her head open – he remembers that his father beat him for it.

Caine and Mack meet with Getty. He regrets having worked for HYDRA. Mack tells him that saving the world will pay for all the sins he’s committed. Getty, however, tells them that all the gravitonium sank on a tanker to the bottom of the ocean.

Once again, Fitz is frustrated when he can’t find the ship. Simmons suggests Getty was lying. Deke, meanwhile, is simply fascinated by all that water! He wants to know if there are hotels there underwater and whether people vacation there! Fitz finally has enough of his chattering and calls him Scrappy-Doo – LOL! Deke gets angry and leaves..

Fits and Simmons are adorably cute as they call one another husband and wife. Simmons tries to convince Fitz that Deke is ok. Simmons muses about whether they should hyphenate their last name…

Alex has taken Ruby hostage. He lets go of her when Hale (Catherine Dent) arrives on the scene. She tells him that she’s happy to have him. She also tells him that HYDRA zapped his brain, and asks him what he remembers. She asks him to help her build a better future. Alex tells her to go to hell – and to kill him. She tells him that she doesn’t want to kill him and she’ll take him anywhere he wants to go in the morning. After Alex leaves, Hale tells Ruby to get inside his head any way she can – but not to go off the rails…

Deke has retreated to the storage area and finds some OLD Twinkies  - which he still manages to find delicious! When a voice calls his name, it’s his mother (Katie Amanda Keane), but Deke knows that she’s not real. His mother is happy he’s making friends – and he may deny it, but she knows he likes them! She tells him that the steps don’t need to be big, they just need to take him in the right direction. And then a Kree shows up and kills her… also not real.

Simmons finds Deke and takes him back to the others. It’s Deke who figures out that the ship might not be where they think it is. Simmons and Fitz run with his idea and find the ship floating in the sky! Only Caine is really impressed by a flying ship.

Meanwhile, Ruby tries to get closer to Alex. He tells her that he remembers every beating his father ever gave him. Ruby comes to him when he wakes screaming. She tells him that she didn’t know her father, but her mother’s a tyrant. She also tells him that her mother is using her to get to him – that everything was planned for her to gain his trust by any means necessary. She tells him that Hale doesn’t care about any of them – she just wants whatever is in Alex’s head. Ruby also tells him that it doesn’t have to be Hale’s team – it can be their team. Ruby also suggests that maybe the solution is to simply bury Alex’s bad memories under newer happy ones! I’m not super impressed by Cameron so far, but I will say that both she and Alex are doing a pretty good job of playing psychos.

Coulson, Daisy and Mack head onto the ship. Fitz posits that the gravity on the ship was likely created by a lightening strike. They find the crew all dead. In the engine room, they discover that someone has beat them there and the gravitonium is gone. However, Mack finds a baseball sized piece of gravitonium floating there. Fitz points out that they can’t move it. Deke once again chimes in that if they can get it in a box to transport it, they’ll have about 90 seconds before the ship falls out of the sky. I adored Coulson saying “Mack-Hammer, you can’t touch this!”

They’re interrupted by Hale’s flying robot monkeys. Mack tells Daisy and Coulson to make a run for it – “It’s Hammer time!” Caine meanwhile is having a blast – a flying boat and a robot fight? Best day ever! Caine tells them that he’ll be looking into the Deathlock program.

Yo-Yo apologizes to Simmons and tells her that she’s trying not to lose faith. Deke, naturally, overhears Simmons tell Yo-Yo, “the steps don’t need to be big, they just need to take you in the right direction.” Let's not forget Simmons telling Fitz this way back after Ward dropped them in the ocean... vacation indeed...Simmons is also holding on to one of the monolith pieces – the one his mother always used to have. The penny has dropped for Deke!

I loved that when he sees Fitz again, he asks him if he’s wearing a new sweater! Under his breath, Deke calls Fitz Grandpa! AW!!!

Mack brings Yo-Yo a present – and she tells him that she’s “stumped” about what it could be – macabre humor at its finest! Mack has finally found a use for robots. He’s brought one back with him to use as spare parts to make Yo-Yo new arms!

Finally, Ruby goes to Alex’s room in the morning only to find it empty. However, she finds him having breakfast. He agrees that the future is theirs. She tells him that he should see who else they have – and takes him to see Creel (Brian Patrick Wade). Hale asks Ruby how she convinced Alex to stay, and Ruby tells her that she told him the truth. She doesn’t tell her mother that the truth included killing Hale!

This felt very much like the beginning of a new arc in the story. The teams are starting to come together – I wonder if we will see much more of Caine? Who is Ruby really telling the truth to? How long before Deke tells Fitz and Simmons? Maybe he’ll tell Daisy first? What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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