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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Alien Commies From the Future! - Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Alien Commies From the Future!” was written by the team of Nora and Lilla Zuckerman and was directed by Nina Lopez-Corrado. This week finds the team landing in Area in 1955. There was plenty of humor in this episode – plus some really interesting social commentary. It was actually hard to believe that this was written and shot some time ago. I was a little disappointed that Enoch (Joel Stoffer) didn’t catch up with them though…

The team helps give Area 51 its reputation as they fall out of time – and it’s better if they are flying when they jump – in front of a couple spending their date night looking for UFOs. We quickly learn that the team is following the Chronicoms – in fact, they are simply being pulled along in their timestream. We also meet Sibyl (Tamara Taylor) – the leader – or predictor – of the Chronicoms. Helius is their plan, and they already have Chronicoms “undercover.” We also learn that they are only set to self-destruct when captured and not set to detonate so as not to scatter advanced technology in the past, thus hastening the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. I thought this was a nice explanation – but that’s one thing this show has always done well.

Back on the ship, Mack (Henry Simmons) takes charge. He pretty much dresses Daisy (Chloe Bennet) down, reminding her that he IS in charge and that their mission is to stop the Chronicoms – not “fix” history. Mack tells Deke (Jeff Ward) that he’s an Agent until the mission is done and that he has to follow Mack’s orders. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) tells them it’s easier to jump forward as it takes far less energy – so we know that we’re going to continue to move ahead from here. She also tells them that they are following the Chronicoms.

Coulson (Clark Gregg) tells them that Area 51 is a S.H.I.E.L.D. base – all the areas are! Coulson also uncovers Helius, and Simmons knows it was never realized, but Deke tells them that the ion-fusion of Helius is what powered the base in his future. They worry that they plan is to use Helius to “kill” Zephyr.

The team wait at a diner. Mack admires YoYo’s (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) new hands. She confesses to Mack that she tried to go fast at the Speak Easy and wasn’t able to. Mack suggests that she was still recovering. She tells him she feels vulnerable – being slow… like him! It is 1955, and Mack gets less than pleasant service from the white waitress (Kara Gibson).

Coulson and Daisy are also sitting together in a booth. Coulson is worried about May (Ming-Na Wen) not being herself. Daisy agrees May’s reaction to Coulson was odd. Coulson meanwhile is thrilled to be in 1955 – at the precipice of the space age… But one glance at the segregated bathrooms, has him admitting that they have a long way to go.

Finally, Gerald Sharpe (Michael Gaston) walks in – he’s their mark that they’ve been waiting for. It would seem that Daisy put something in the creamer she lent to him, as the next time we see him, he’s unconscious and tied to a chair. Deke thinks he’s just a pencil-pusher, and they’re hoping to get information out of him easily. May shows up. Mack briefs her – and once again, she is completely devoid of emotional affect.

Coulson and Simmons have headed to the base, assuming alternate identities – Coulson taking Sharpe’s and Simmons posing as Agent Peggy Carter! Sadly, Hayley Atwell has firmly denied that she’ll be making a guest appearance on the show. I did love this scene, however. Lt Carpenter (Christian Gehring) accepts Coulson’s cover and has Sharpe on his visitor’s list. And then he mistakes Simmons as Coulson’s secretary. Coulson clarifies that she’s his boss – and Carpenter quickly agrees that Agent Carter doesn’t need to be on any list!

Coulson and Simmons get a tour of the lab from Dr Vega (Julian Acosta) – where they are “birthing the future.” Both Coulson and Simmons are thrilled – and fan out over it. They are shown a gigantic radio wrist watch – subtle! – a proto-type EMP, and a tiny Helius – 1/20 the scale. The real one is on the testing field. Simmons and Coulson ask to interview all personnel coming in for the test that day.

Sharpe turns out not to be the pushover they thought he’d be. He’s arrogant and racist. He tells them that he wrote the field manual on interrogation.

Simmons surveys the assembled scientists and despairs. The Chronicoms would look and act exactly like them – emotionless nerds! Coulson admonishes her that she’s “trafficking in stereotypes” – LOL! Coulson points out that they only have to test if they are human by triggering an emotional response – and it’s hilarious! Coulson leaves Simmons to go and clear the arrivals in a bus. Meanwhile, one of the arrivals is Peggy’s old partner – Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj)!

There’s a great scene between Daisy and Deke as they discuss her trying to get him to kill Malick. He puts Daisy in her place when she tries to pull rank on him, telling her that he follows Mack’s orders – not hers. He also points out that it would have been wrong to shoot Malick because he’s just a kid. But, of course, Daisy has a long history with the Malicks and she tries to impress on Deke how terrible he’ll become. She tells him that one death could have saved millions of lives. Deke points out that he’d be the one responsible for the death. Daisy is surprised and points out that he used to be a lot more ruthless, but Deke tells her that he’s not like that anymore and he doesn’t want to be. Deep down she realizes that… and then she sees Sousa’s file and knows that Simmons and Coulson are in trouble.

I loved how cool Sousa was when confronted by Simmons pretending to be Peggy Carter “in the flesh!” I also loved the irony of her telling them that there may be an infiltrator and he’s sure it’s her! I also loved how he only identified himself as Daniel and then she slowly realized who he was before he arrested her.

On the bus, Coulson continues the hilarious interrogations. The best one be far was when he used the interrogation question about the turtle which is from Blade Runner. He’s such a nerd! Of course it has a very unintended consequence. And then Coulson can’t help his excitement at meeting Sousa even as he knows he’s in trouble.

On the ship, even May has no luck interrogating Sharpe. Mack sends in Deke – as the only white guy there. And it’s alarmingly on point as Deke mutters “stupid white privilege” as he goes in. It was hard to remember that this was written and filmed months ago – but it’s just another reason to love this show.

Daisy shows up in the office that Sousa is using, posing as a CIA Agent. He threatens to call her boss, and she hands him the phone, telling him that her boss would love to know how he let two moles walk into the base on his watch. Sousa thinks better of making the call. Daisy gives a nice re-cap of the Agent Carter series – and many of Sousa’s adventures. Sousa knows that S.H.I.E.L.D. is being infiltrated – and Daisy, knowing about HYDRA, tells him that he’s not crazy. She manages to win his trust.

Deke tries to pretend that their interrogation so far was just a test. Sharpe doesn’t buy it. He does admit that Helius is not functional, however. He also thinks that Deke and the others are Russian communists! Sharpe tells him that there’s nothing on Earth that could generate enough power to make it functional. Deke goes back to check in with Mack and YoYo. She’s relieved – they’re safe, but Deke points out that a Chronicom could power up Helius – the way that Enoch did with the monolith. It will be a bomb that can take out the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. base.

Mack announces that it’s time to call in the calvary – and then explains to Deke that that’s what they call May. Deke points out that she’s still an unfeeling kill-bot – but then, that’s exactly what they need! Meanwhile, the Chronicom (Jessie Graff) starts to take over Helius from the lab…

YoYo and May infiltrate the base as pilots. May tells YoYo that female pilots outflew the men in the 40s and 50s – as they were towing the targets for the men to practice on! They agree – still sexist. The two burst into the lab with teargas. If one of them doesn’t react, that’s the Chronicom.

Sousa takes Daisy to “interrogate” Coulson and Simmons. It’s hilarious when he says that Simmons has the worst fake accent he’s ever heard! Daisy wants time alone with the prisoners, and Sousa tells her not a chance. It’s at that moment that the alarms start to go off. I am still thrilled to see Coulson as a superhero as he easily snaps his cuffs and “gently” tosses Sousa into the cell they just vacated. Coulson says sorry – he’s a fan – which Simmons confirms, and Daisy adds that they’re really the good guys.

It doesn’t take long to find the Chronicom, but in the meantime, May has a panic attack. And then YoYo fails to YoYo. She has to take care of May rather than go after the Chronicom. May doesn’t want to talk about what happened to her in there. And YoYo doesn’t want to talk about what happened to her either.

The Helius starts to power up. Mack and Deke are discussing their options, when Sharpe suddenly joins them in the command center. He’s understandably shocked. Mack tells him that he can explain… before punching him unconscious and telling him that he’d just rather not.

Simmons and Coulson join Dr Vega on the test site. Vega has no idea what to do. Coulson tells him to get everyone on the bus and evacuate. He rushes off to do it, and Simmons points out that there’s no time for them to get away – Coulson points out that Vega doesn’t know that… May and YoYo join the others. The Chronicom also shows up and May and YoYo go after her again. I’m still trying to understand why Daisy couldn’t use her powers to contain the blast as she’s done in the past…

The Chronicom makes it to Helius, shoots the MPs and hooks herself up to power it. May and YoYo engage the Chronicom. Daisy, Simmons and Coulson go back to the lab. Simmons works on getting the EMP to work to take out Helius. They’re attacked by another Chronicom who throws Daisy up against the wall before Coulson engages him. I loved Daisy remarking that Coulson is “alarmingly strong” – and Simmons adding that she keeps forgetting!

Once again we get parallel fight scenes – Coulson and the Chronicom and YoYo and May with the female one. YoYo is being choked, but Coulson is winning until Sousa tells them to stop. The Chronicom has almost killed Sousa when Simmons gets the EMP working. Both Chronicoms, the Helius, and Coulson collapse. The Chronicoms both self destruct. Sousa calls for a medic for Coulson – and there’s some weird flashing in his eyes!

In the final scene, Mack and Deke take drastic action to preserve the timeline. They have Sharpe outside the ship. They pretend to be aliens and tell him to reveal nothing about what he’s seen – or next time he’ll be …. Probed! Sharpe burst into the diner declaring that he was abducted by aliens!

This was another pretty fun episode. It’s just so much fun to watch Gregg enjoying being Coulson again. I’m really hoping that there is nothing wrong with him now. I’m also hoping that May’s PTSD attack has brought her back to herself – but what will it mean going forward. Will the team be able to get away now or will Sousa detain them? And what is really going on with YoYo? Is it the new arms? What did you think of the episode? What will the Chronicoms’ next target be? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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