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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Leap & From the Ashes - Review

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Time to play a little catch up! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Leap” was written by Drew Z Greenberg and was directed by Garry A Brown. Sadly, it looks like this episode marks the end for Davis (Maximilian Osinski) – why couldn’t it have been Piper (Briana Venskus)??? Everyone gets to take a turn as Izel in this episode, so it’s fun to see who does the best job at it!

The episode opens with sirens blaring and everyone running through the halls of the Lighthouse. Mack (Henry Simmons) assigns Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) to do what they can for an apparently dead Sarge (Clark Gregg), and May (Ming-Na Wen) – apparently – confesses that she did it because it needed to be done – and we find out why it needed to be done in the next episode…

Daisy (Chloe Bennet) interrogates “May,” pointing out that this is not what they do – it was extreme, and “May” tells her it was time for extreme. Mack and YoYo (Natalie Cordova-Buckley) watch from outside. Mack is completely stunned, he’s been working closely with May as his second and thought he was finally getting to know her. YoYo points out that she understands wanting to prevent future suffering.

Fitz is totally freaked out just looking at Sarge because of the resemblance to Coulson, but it gets worse when Simmons shows him that Sarge has a pulse! He was shot four time and lost almost all his blood. Fitz wonders why it’s taking him so long to die, but Simmons clarifies that he’s coming back to life. Meanwhile, in the shadow of his unconsciousness, Sarge is starting to recover his memories – and yup. They’re the memories of May and the team that we were expecting…

Outside the holding area, Daisy discusses May with YoYo and Piper. It’s YoYo who finally wonders why May used a gun. Daisy points out that May would have beaten him to a pulp – and YoYo adds that May would have enjoyed that. Daisy decides to retrace May’s steps and sends Piper to look through her quarters. YoYo says she’ll try talking to her.

YoYo dismisses Agent Diaz (Geri-Nickole Love) from guarding May – and Izel (Karolina Wydra) leaves the room. May is finally back and wants to know what the hell is going on! She has no memory and no idea of how or why she’s locked up. All she remembers is leaving the party. She’s appalled when YoYo tells her that she shot Sarge.

Deke (Jeff Ward) shows up in the lab and we get a really nice scene between Deke and Fitz. Deke tells Fitz that he didn’t get to know Coulson as well as he’d like to have because he left before Coulson died to try to find his place in the new world. Fitz points out that Deke is a man out of time – much as this Fitz is too. Finally, it seems that the two have something truly in common that they can bond over. Fitz points out that he can more easily understand how he and Deke are there than Sarge – and that’s why it bothers him more. Deke asks Fitz if he’s tried to understand it – Fitz’s way of dealing with things.

It’s a nice way to sneak in a bit of exposition for the audience. Fitz has a flow chart for us. Coulson interacted with the monoliths that Izel wants and Sarge was chasing Izel – but he hasn’t connected Sarge and Coulson. Deke points out that Fitz has good questions, but the only one who can answer them is dead. Deke then once again makes it all about him. Sarge wasn’t very nice – he trashed his company! Which is a nice way for Deke to blow his own horn about being successful. Fitz asks him if that’s why he started the company – to make money. Which, of course, it was. Deke denies that money is everything. Fitz does concede that scientific discovery does need money to be funded – and then Deke backtracks, trying to figure out what Fitz really wants to hear – and then he goes on to explain about the devices they had to wear on their wrist.

The two are interrupted by “Piper” – who is now Izel and who takes a piece of Shrike to use as a homing device. Deke catches up with Piper and wants to pick her brain about how you tell if someone really likes your company… he tells her it’s for an app, but he’s clearly talking about Fitz – a little Deke really does go a long way. He does realize that she has a Shrike crystal and tells her that it’s really dangerous. He takes the crystal from her, and Izel jumps to Deke. Venskus portrayal of Izel leaving is pretty bad.

YoYo asks May what she does remember – and it’s hilarious! I loved how it underscores once again how May is always completely – and accurately – aware of her surroundings. She thought Davis was hammered – she can be excused for not knowing he was possessed. She also knew that YoYo and Mack were about to have sex! Even they didn’t know that! May finally remembers that the last thing she remembers is not getting to her quarters – and running into Davis.

Daisy finds Diaz unconscious on the floor.

Simmons is hiding Sarge in a lower storage room and calls Mack down to see that he’s healed completely. I love the dialogue in this show. Mack declares it doesn’t make sense and Simmons asks, “Oh. We expect things around her to make sense now?” LOL! Mack wants to know what he is – and Simmons tells him they’re on it. Mack is going to post a guard, but Simmons points out that the fewer people who know the better. Simmons insists that she’ll be ok because Sarge is restrained, but Mack doesn’t want to take a chance with her safety – if Sarge is alive, he’s dangerous.

YoYo and Daisy go to Davis’ room. He’s severely hung over – and I loved him referencing the “space puff incident” and Daisy just shaking her head at YoYo – she’s not explaining that one! This is a pretty funny running gag… Davis tells them that May was the first thing he saw when he came to after getting blackout drunk. He tells them that she was cool about it – SWEET actually! And once again, YoYo is the first to pick up on how NOT-May that is! Daisy focuses on the fact that Davis also lost time. He’s shocked to learn that Jaco is dead and realizes that the last thing he saw was Izel.

YoYo, Daisy, and Davis report to Mack that Izel is body hopping. Meanwhile, Deke/Izel try to gain access to a locked room. Agent Julian (Matthew Law) won’t let him in – only top clearance like the Director – to keep out people who like to steal S.H.I.E.L.D. tech – it’s a nice dig at Deke, but really just tells Izel that if she wants clearance, she has to figure out who the Director is and possess him/her.

Mack locks down the Lighthouse to lock Izel in. May joins Daisy, Davis, YoYo and Mack in the command center, followed by Fitz. They try to determine with Izel wants – Sarge? – and how to figure out who she is – isolate agents and interrogate one by one. And then Deke shows up. May points out that she could be one of them, in that room – good call! When everyone goes silent, Davis points out that no one saying anything makes it scarier! Oh Davis. I’ll miss you.

They don’t know how Izel moves from body to body or how she gets there, but they do realize that she doesn’t have access to the host’s memories. YoYo suggests sharing a secret. It has to be a secret that one other person can confirm. Deke points out that he talks a lot and doesn’t have any secrets. YoYo goes first and May confirms it, and Mack clears Daisy. He then calls YoYo and Daisy into his office and locks them in. Davis points out that Mack has locked up their two strongest assets, but May points out that they are the strongest weapons that could be used against them.

Daisy clears Davis – who she dubs as ridiculous because he’s not smooth and stole a space pen – which Davis thought was cool because he didn’t know aliens wrote things down! Oh Davis… Piper shows up and outs Deke as being Izel. Deke says that he blacked out too – and this was a good re-direct, but Mack wants to know about Fitz! And of course, De Caestecker is the absolute best performance as Izel! Izel wants to know who has the most power. And she starts to body hop.

She jumps into Piper and blows a hole in her hand. She then quickly hops into Davis and it looks like she’s going to shoot Fitz to make her point. Instead, she makes Davis fall to his death and then jumps into Mack. She has him hold a gun to his head and tells them not to follow him. It does look like Davis is really dead. I was hoping that the running gag about him seeming to get out of certain death situations would continue. Let’s face it. It had to be one of the recurring characters – Davis or Piper. Close enough to be effective, but not one of the main characters…. Why, why, why not Piper?????

Sarge finally wakes up, and Simmons fills him in. He realizes that the body hopping is how Izel always gets away. Simmons isn’t scared about Sarge pulling against his restraints – and she has a security guard – Agent More (Miguel A Lopez).

Daisy blasts out of the office, and May sends out a warning about Mack. Daisy and YoYo go after Mack. May tries to brainstorm what Izel is after with Fitz. Deke fills him in on what the third monolith was – a fear dimension. Fitz figures out that the third monolith is creation. So when Coulson went in to the “dimension” the three monoliths combined to create another Coulson through space and time. And let’s not forget that he had a passenger with him – Ghost Rider! But they haven’t gotten there yet…. Deke tries to say that the other Fitz said it was just a fear dimension – and it’s hilarious when Fitz disses himself! “He wasn’t the smart one…” OMG – he’s still jealous of his other self! I also love that we are still building on all the plot threads that went before. The monoliths are all contained in the gravitonium device….

Sarge breaks his thumb – which we know will heal – to get out of his restraints while More and Simmons aren’t looking. Izel gets the door unlocked, cuffs Mack, and knocks him out before going in for the gravitonium device. Sarge catches up with Izel because they can feel where each other are. He tries to shoot her – but bullets can’t harm her any more than they can kill him. He’s determined to kill her, but she tells him that he’s there to join her – not kill her. She tells him that the two of them are intertwined – like two notes in harmony – and that’s a beautiful foreshadowing of the next episode!

Izel tells him that he’s not awake – she doesn’t want to kill him, she’s been trying to wake him up. Sarge insists that he’s awake enough to remember his family. She finally tells him that the memories aren’t his. He can’t recall anything because the memoires aren’t his – they’re just a holdover from the body of the man he’s inhabiting. So… does this mean if Sarge leaves Coulson’s body, Coulson will be left????? Sarge finally sees May and Daisy. Gregg is terrific in this scene.

Izel tells him that they come from a planet on which they have no form. He lost himself when he took over the vessel he’s in now. Izel tells him that he remembers her name like it’s a song in his head – foreshadowing again! – and he remembers his – Patchacoute. Izel tells him that he’s longing for her – not hunting her. His “shell” has confused him. She tells him that she’s one of the few who took a form and left their realm – and he inspired her to do it. She tells him that they’ve found the dialis – their wish is about to come true – to open the door and bring everyone from their realm through and give them the waiting hosts all over the galaxy who are possessed by Shrike. Izel tells him to shake off the vulgar species he’s inhabiting and join her.

But of course, this is the problem. Coulson – the vulgar species – is much too heroic to ever do that. She tells him that the only thing that can defeat her is within him – but he has to wake up to do it. If he wakes up, will that put what’s left of Coulson to sleep and prevent him from stopping her?

Izel finds Daisy and YoYo with Mack when she leaves Sarge. She’s about to possess Daisy, but YoYo jumps in the way. Izel, who has the gravitonium device, wants to leave on their plane. Mack insists he’s coming too. Izel dubs it more human conceits of love and ownership, but says ok – there’s room in the plane. Daisy tries to stop Mack, but he insists.

We see that Sarge knocked Simmons out. Sarge is on the floor when guards gather him up, but it’s unclear if she knocked him out. Daisy and May watch as the hatch closes. May and Mack exchange a look – and May tells Daisy that Mack isn’t sacrificing himself – he’s doing the right thing and trusting his team.

In the final scene, Fitz and Deke watch the tape of Izel and Sarge. And Fitz points out that they have heard of an entity like this – Ghost Rider! And there we are. Fitz points out that if Sarge is something like Ghost Rider, a holding cell won’t hold him. As Sarge paces and denies who he is, we see his hand start to phase. And there are some great effects coming up in the next episode!

“From the Ashes” was written by the team of James C and Sharla Oliver and was directed by Jennifer Phang whose other credits include The Boys, Cloak & Dagger, Quantico, and The Expanse. The episode picks up almost where we left off. YoYo wakes up and finds Mack beaten on the floor. I thought this was quite a sweet scene…. Until YoYo says that Benson (Barry Shabaka Henley) is the only one who knows where the temples are and Izel pops out of Mack.

Back at the Lighthouse, the team tries to help. Fitz and Simmons work on a way to prevent Izel from repossessing them. Deke hangs around – and it’s a little sad when there is no room for him to get into the beauty that is Fitz and Simmons trying to solve a problem.

Daisy asks about Sarge. May is interrogating him, and Simmons has every possible piece of equipment to run every possible type of scan to try to determine what’s inside of Sarge. Simmons points out that it could be like what possessed Robbie Reyes… Simmons tells Daisy that May watched the video over and over again – just the part where Sarge talked about his memories. Simmons tells Daisy that May thinks Sarge is remembering them. And May being May is right.

Sarge tells May that he never referred to memories – they were just feelings. May presses – and it’s clear that she wants Sarge to remember what Coulson remembered – and felt. Sarge finally loses it and snarls at her that he’s not the cure for her loneliness – and dents the metal table when he slams his palm on it!

May leaves and tells Daisy that Sarge is being defensive. Daisy thinks that they should press him and suggests that May could beat it out of him if she wanted to. Daisy accuses May of wanting Sarge to be Coulson. May points out that Fitz said that Sarge was created from Coulson and Izel confirmed it. Daisy denies it. She points out that it was their fears manifested. May points out that Coulson was afraid to die and she was afraid to lose him. Daisy wants to focus on waking the thing inside Sarge that can defeat Izel.

Daisy accuses May of simply wishing Coulson was back. May, who is furious, tells her that she wishes he were back to remind her of when May was her S.O. and to look for the good no matter how scared she is to face it. May tells Daisy that if she wants to force it out of him, she’s on her own. They have enough to worry about with Mack and YoYo still MIA.

Benson boards the Zephyr – and he’s excited to see it finally! Mack – who is Izel – just wants to get down to business, so Benson pulls up all his research. Benson explains that the monoliths would work to open a doorway between our world and Izel’s – to free trapped souls. Benson has narrowed the site down to three, but his money is one that is on the intersection of two ley lines – and it would prove Keller right. YoYo uses this moment to warn Benson by saying that she’d make sure to tell him that. Benson stalls – and deletes the locations.

Izel kills the Agent who brought Benson, and Benson is horrified, but he’s been reading stories about Izel too and remarks that the stories are true. YoYo tells Benson not to talk – but Benson’s already there. He’s already lost everything that matters. Death doesn’t scare him. Izel sets out to discover what he fears.

Daisy goes to talk to Sarge. Daisy tells Sarge that she’s not interested in him – she wants to know about the thing inside him. Daisy points out that Sarge finally has a new way to fight back, but Sarge says it’s not worth it – he can feel the rage churning inside him. Daisy tells him to use it, to let the anger out. She tries to goad him, accusing him of being afraid that this is the real him. Sarge accuses Daisy of trying to work out her own anger issues. Daisy tells him that he can’t manipulate her, but he clearly gets to her.

Daisy goes to check in on how Fitz and Simmons are making out. They’ve at least developed some potential weapons to kill her. The sword is a more complex version of the blades used to kill the Shrike. It has a crystalline structure like the monoliths – and Fitz hates to admit it, but it might be able to kill Izel. Daisy is furious – in order for this to work, they’d have to get within stabbing distance – this wasn’t what she asked them to do, but Simmons tells her that they reached a dead end with Izel’s powers. Daisy isn’t going to stab one of their people!

Daisy rages that she isn’t getting anywhere with the “thing” downstairs. Simmons points out that that is because Daisy doesn’t want to listen to what he has to say. Simmons pulls Daisy aside and points out Daisy’s pattern. She leaves when she doesn’t want to face things. Daisy insists that she’s fine. Simmons tells her that it doesn’t do any good to keep things bottled up – and then she tells her that they are all there for Daisy if she needs them.

YoYo and Mack are in the containment pod, and YoYo takes the opportunity to talk to Mack. She’s still worried that Mack is hesitating to put her in danger because of his feelings for her. Mack clearly explains the reasoning behind his actions – they were just tactical. Izel can only possess one person at a time – so one of them would always not be possessed, and getting Izel off the base would buy the team some time. YoYo has to concede that it’s a smart plan – and Mack grins as he says it feels good to argue again!

YoYo and Mack watch as Izel opens the gravitron to see what Benson is afraid of. It’s his husband - Thomas (Robb Derringer). It’s a super cool effect as Thomas is built in front of our eyes. Henley is great in this scene. Thomas tells Benson that he heard every word that Benson and everyone else said at the hospital. YoYo and Mack try to tell Benson that it’s a lie, but the thing Benson fears most is that Thomas knows he was drunk. Izel tells Benson that he can create Thomas again and again, and each time, Thomas’ death will be his fault. Benson gives her the coordinates to make it stop.

Chloe Bennet really shines in the scene as Daisy finally reads the letter that Coulson left to her. We don’t get anything of the letter, just her reactions. It’s a really powerful scene. And I think that the letter actually does remind Daisy to try to see the good – though it doesn’t seem like it at first.

Daisy returns to Sarge. She confirms that the memories and his powers got stronger after he was shot. Daisy asks if one of the things he can now see is her. He tells her that it doesn’t matter. He’s not “her guy” and he’s not the rage either. He says he’s nothing, and she says that she thinks he is something – and breaks his neck! It looks like she’s still possessed by her rage, but I think she is legitimately trying to save whatever/whoever this is. She knows it’s not Coulson, but she’s still trying to set him free.

Simmons freaks out. Daisy tells her that she took her advice and stopped running from the problem. Simmons points out that she meant a little emotional honesty – not murder! Daisy admits that she was avoiding something. She tells Simmons that she read Coulson’s letter, which made it even clearer that Sarge isn’t Coulson. Simmons and Fitz run the scanners – and Sarge is alive… again.

May knows immediately what Daisy is trying to do. She’s trying to wake up what’s inside Sarge. May is also convinced that Sarge isn’t a danger to them. I liked how the same effect that created Thomas also brings Sarge back to consciousness. He begins to see visions of the temple. Daisy threatens to snap his neck again unless he shows her what he is – and then he slams her into the wall! She did ask for it! I loved that he pulverized the door! Coulson is now the strongest inhuman!!!

Daisy is excited to know if they got the data on the scanners when Sarge woke up. Daisy insists that Sarge isn’t getting back to Izel. She’s planning on using the sword to either kill him – to see if it will kill someone like him, or get the information. Simmons asks what happens if there’s still some way to save Coulson – but Daisy insists that Coulson died a year ago and she’s done pretending that it didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, back on the Zephyr, YoYo and Mack muse that they don’t know what they would have done in Benson’s shoes. Mack admits that coming with YoYo wasn’t just tactical, and she smiles as she says she would have come for him too – I love these two together! The plane changes course, and it’s clear Benson gave up the coordinates.

When Izel brings Benson in to put him in the containment pod, YoYo rushes out and grabs the gravitron. Izel possesses her and throws Mack around. The entire plan was to get Benson out of the plane so that he can tell the rest of the team where to find them. Izel isn’t worried. They’ll need hosts when they open the gates.

Sarge is trashing the Lighthouse, and May tries to get Daisy to wait for her. Daisy tells her that it has to be her – they have to see if they can kill Sarge to see if they can kill Izel. Daisy knows that May wouldn’t be able to do it because she still sees Coulson. I loved both Gregg and Bennet in this scene. Gregg literally struts toward Bennet who raises the sword to strike him down. Kudos to the FX team for the great effects on his hands and face. Still the best on television!

Sarge tries to goad Daisy into killing him – it would be easier than him doing it himself. The fact that he’s thinking of killing himself, even as he seems to be literally flying apart, gives Daisy pause – and then he calls her Skye! And that’s it for Daisy. The final straw is when Sarge tells her to do it now before he gets any stronger. He tells her that she can’t wait! The memories are coming back – the pain – and her “song” ringing through every bone in his body. He’s afraid that he’ll lose control and kill everyone there. Daisy tells him that she can’t do it, and he tells her that she’s always been capable of more than she thinks.

Daisy realizes that Sarge was going to sacrifice himself – and that’s what Coulson would have done. He tells her that he could kill her and she tells him he won’t even as she hugs him.

YoYo wakes up chained to a pillar with Mack in a temple. She asks what Izel is doing, and Mack tells her, making her dreams come true as Izel opens the gravitron.

Back in the lab, Fitz, Simmons, and Deke keep brainstorming. Simmons shoots down Fitz’s suggestion of amphetamines. Deke is the one to pick up on Sarge’s comment about Izel’s song ringing through his bones – remember I said this was all foreshadowed! Deke realizes that resonant frequencies are how Izel’s powers work. They need to disrupt the harmonic frequencies the same way the knives do. It’s so much fun to watch the three work together and brainstorm – and to see Deke finally look like he’s find his place. They decide to work on a belt buckle to protect against Izel using harmonic frequencies to possess people.

The team pick up Benson, who lets them know that Mack and YoYo are alive.

May stops in to check on Daisy. She tells Daisy that she’s glad that Daisy got through to Sarge – they’ll need him. Daisy confesses she still doesn’t understand what’s in there – and May says Daisy needed to see it for herself. Daisy also says that Sarge’s powers are likely very dangerous – but they need him. Daisy also points out that Sarge is looking for somewhere to belong, and all Coulson wanted was for them to take care of each other. Daisy thinks that if they do that for Sarge, he’ll do the same for them.

The temple is made of the same material as the monoliths. Izel’s going to open a doorway to her home – but first she has to rebuild the monoliths to perform the ritual. They’ve seen then intact, so their minds are going to create them for her. They tell her that their fears have nothing to do with her or the monoliths. Their fear is losing the people they love – but the gravitron has brought out Flint (Coy Stewart)! But if he’s not real, his presence shouldn’t make them comply…

Back in space, we catch up with Atarah (Sherri Saum) who is still focused on reclaiming Chronicom 2. Malachi (Christopher James Baker) and the other Hunters want to claim Chronicom 3, however. It’s important to always have a back up. Atarah sees no flaw in their current plan, and declaring Atarah to be the flaw, Malachi kills her! Any money that their plans for Chronicom 3 include Earth?

Still curious where the Chronicom storyline is going, but I’m really enjoying the way the rest of the story seems to be coming together! What did you think of the last two episodes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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