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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - A Trout in the Milk - Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “A Trout in the Milk” was written by Iden Baghdadchi and was directed by Stan Brooks. This episode takes the team to the 1970s – and the best opening credits… EVER! If you didn’t live through the 70s, you might not fully appreciate them, but trust me, they are glorious. The team now also includes Daniel Sousa (Enver Gjokaj), and we finally get Enoch (Joel Stoffer) – but still no Fitz… however, we do almost get some answers there… maybe.

The episode begins – after those great credits – with Coulson (Clark Gregg) waxing poetic about 70s New York. May (Ming-Na Wen) is still only feeling what other people are feeling. It’s lucky for the show that those chunky 70s heels are back in style – I’m betting they didn’t have to look to far for the great shoes that Daisy (Chloe Bennet) is sporting. Sousa, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as enamored of the 70s styles. Daisy points out that there are unfashionable squares in all time periods, so Sousa will more or less blend in anyway. Meanwhile, Sousa is trying to get his head around whether he ever really died in 1955. Coulson assures him that all the history books agree, and then Daisy cautions him not to think too hard about it. Sousa is actually adapting pretty well.

The team head to the hideaway – which now has a touchpad with swordfish as the password. As it turns out they’ve arrived just in time for a big celebration. They headed there to hook up with Enoch only to find that he’s not working there anymore and hasn’t been seen in over a year. May ends up completely drunk after touching someone at the bar.

Back on the Zephyr, Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) seems to have a headache or sore neck as she works, and Deke (Jeff Ward) is busy upping his combat training at Mack’s (Henry Simmons) insistence. Simmons tells Deke that Malick (Neal Bledsoe) won’t be bothering him anymore because his funeral was three years ago… When Deke asks Simmons if she’s heard from BoBo (Deke’s name for Fitz), she clearly draws a blank on the name – our second clue that something is wrong with her. Simmons tells her that even if she had heard from Fitz, she couldn’t tell. She assures him that they’ll be reunited soon. Deke is worried that if they aren’t, his mother won’t be born… After Deke leaves to let her get back to work, Simmons rubs her neck again – and we see three glowing dots in her neck! Is she an LMD????? Is this some kind of Chronicom tech????

Mack and YoYo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) meanwhile infiltrate the Lighthouse. YoYo says it looks like it always did, but Mack had to check that it was abandoned in ’72 the way it was supposed to be. Mack is adorable as he tells YoYo that recon is only part of the reason they’re there. They’re alone – it qualifies as date night! YoYo is still worrying about not having her powers. Mack assures her that her powers aren’t what define her. She asks him why he calls her YoYo, then. He tells her it’s because she always bounces back – and that’s the way I remember it too!

Back at the hideout, both Coulson and Sousa recognize General Rick Stoner (Patrick Warburton) who seems to be at the center of whatever celebrations is going on. Sousa remembers him as a very lame young recruit. It turns out that Freddy isn’t dead and is Stoner’s boss! Targeting satellites and pinpoint lasers are the project that they’re celebrating. Coulson tells Sousa that it sounds like HYDRA is 40 years ahead of schedule with Project Insight.

Coulson and Sousa share a moment to catch up. Coulson tells Sousa that only a few of the top brass at S.H.I.E.L.D. are actually HYDRA – most of the agents are loyal. Coulson is also pretty sure that HYDRA is way ahead of schedule because of the Chronicoms. So, if you were hoping last week that Luke (Tobias Jelinek) staying behind wouldn’t have a big impact, it’s pretty clear that he has. Apparently “a trout in the milk” is “old timey speak” for circumstantial evidence. Coulson tells Sousa about the Chronicoms offering him a deal – in exchange for not altering the timeline. Sousa points out that with the timeline already broken, they might have left him back in 1955, but Coulson points out there’s no way to know how that might have turned out. Coulson also warns Sousa to keep a low profile as Sousa is pretty famous among S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Sousa promises to “stay off the radar” – and then worries that that expression isn’t used anymore either!

May cozies up to Stoner at the bar. I loved that she asks him to get her a drink and he goes all politically correct on her! I loved that the show didn’t go to the clichĂ©! May introduces herself as from HR – and compliments him on his professional decorum. He tells her that he attended a number of seminars – which then made me think that they were probably mandated to “correct” his behavior. Stoner tells her that they are 3 years away from launch – it will be 1976…

Gideon Malick (Cameron Palatas) hits on Daisy – and points out his brother Nathaniel (Thomas E Sullivan) – who should be dead… Gideon isn’t taking no for an answer when Sousa steps in and pretends to be her fiancĂ©. Coulson calls the ship, and Simmons offers to help find Enoch. Coulson tells her that Project Insight is their priority.

Deke overhears that Malick is still alive and laments that he should have killed him when he had the chance. Simmons insists that he made the right choice to preserve the timeline. Deke worries that Project Insight is only the tip of the iceberg – they’ve had three years for the Chronicoms to do more.

As it turns out, the base is NOT abandoned. YoYo wants to get back on the Quinjet and get back to the Zephyr. Mack insists that it’s still a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. YoYo asks if he’s ever seen a James Bond movie – and underground base full of men in jumpsuits never ends well! I love that they picked this up after all the horror movie cautions in previous seasons! A silo opens and a gigantic rocket is being built – YoYo takes the opportunity to say I told you so.

Back at the bar, Daisy takes Sousa into the hidden room in the office. It’s full of old computer modules – that Sousa is impressed with as high tech. Daisy enjoys the lack of firewalls as she hacks into the database. She quickly finds Bruce Banner (the Hulk) on a list. She tells Sousa that Banner will become an Avenger, and Sousa quickly realizes that the plan is to pick off high quality assets before they can become them. Sousa tells Daisy that he thinks they’ve made the timeline a lot worse. I have to agree! Sousa points out that there’s only one way that HYDRA could have gotten names from the future…

Daisy, Sousa, May, and Coulson are about to head out when Malick stops Coulson to thank him for coming out. Coulson lies about who he is. And then the Chronicoms arrive… and Malick asks Coulson if he really thought he wouldn’t remember him. Malick tells them to surrender, but Daisy takes Nathaniel as a hostage. Luke tells them it ends now, but Malick tells them to stand down. Daisy and Sousa go out the back with Nathaniel. Daisy leaves Nathaniel at the door, but Sousa is shocked that S.H.I.E.L.D. now takes hostages! He asks if there’s anything else she’s not telling him – right before she has to use her powers to swat the Chronicoms coming after them back against the wall. Nathaniel also sees and is very creepily interested.

Daisy, Sousa, May, and Coulson meet up – and need to get out of there – luckily, Enoch shows up right then with wheels for the getaway! He’s clearly still bitter at having been left for so long! But he does get them back to the Zephyr where everyone catches up.

HYDRA is planning to launch Project Insight even without heliocarriers in order to “protect” the world, but really to pick off the list of assets one by one. Before they can come up with a plan, Sousa notices that countdown for a jump is starting. Simmons can’t control it or stop it. YoYo tries to get off the ship before it jumps in order to stop Insight, but doesn’t make it. They’ve jumped to 1976.

Back at the Lighthouse, Stoner is informed that Project Insight is ready to launch.

Simmons goes to Enoch and asks him where he’s been – he tells her there where they abandoned him for 40 years… but Simmons is clearly confused. She asks him if she was supposed to know that they were jumping. She tells him that without him there, she feels like she’s “slipping.” – what does that mean??? She tells him that she’s forgetting and getting confused. He asks if she’s told anyone else, and she tells him that she’s afraid to – but she doesn’t know why. Enoch tells her it will be fine and tries to take her away.

The two are stopped by Sousa who is furious and confused. He wants to know what’s going on and is furious that Simmons is in charge and has no idea how the time machine works. Deke intervenes – and I loved him standing up for his Grandmother! Sousa yells that he was taken out of his timeline, and Deke tells him that they all were! They’ve all made sacrifices – and before Sousa’s. It’s a wake-up call for Sousa.

Mack insists that they have to stop the launch of Insight. Daisy points out that they can’t use the Zephyr because it would give up their position. Coulson and May will infiltrate on the ground – they’re going to flood the base. Coulson points out that they don’t want to kill the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who are still loyal – and Mack points out that they need to preserve the base. Sousa volunteers to go with Daisy who will hack the building to get May and Coulson in. Deke and YoYo go after Malick. They have to take him out because his presence is causing ripples in the timeline. Mack tells them to bring him back to the Zephyr.

Luke comes to Malick. He has leverage for Malick to use against the team. Malick wants to know why they don’t just put the names on the list, but Luke tells Malick that they want S.H.I.E.L.D. to give up their position.

Sousa keeps watch while Daisy works. He comments that she doesn’t need a gun what with having super-serum powers. She doesn’t take the time to really correct him. Daisy finds a firewall and complains that they have them already. Sousa tells her that it seems like everything is getting worse the longer it goes on and suggests that this will be his last stop. When Daisy struggles with the firewall, Sousa suggests that her very clunky laptop is too small. She pulls out her phone and takes his picture – and then shows him how to make it bigger – he’s astonished – and then pensive about how much he’s missed. He tells her that it’s ok, but he wishes that he could have said some goodbyes.

Daisy gets in to the system. Coulson likes his jumpsuit – it’s both covert AND fashionable! Coulson says that it feels like ‘back in the day’ – they were good agents together. He wonders if it will ever feel the way between them that it did before. May worries that she’ll never feel anything again. Nathaniel turns up and takes out Daisy and Sousa.

By the time that Coulson and May get to the second checkpoint, Daisy isn’t available to help. Deke and YoYo burst in on Malick, who refuses to go anywhere with them. Mack sees General Stoner on the monitor and sends May and Coulson to him. Coulson tries to tell Stoner that he can’t launch. He tells him that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated by HYDRA aided by sentient time-travelling aliens. Stoner seems to be listening to Coulson as he says that they need to shut the launch down. May puts one hand on Stoner – and then knocks him out with one punch. She could sense that Stoner wasn’t planning on helping. Coulson says “sorry, sir” as the two trot by him.

Malick tells them that he has something they want and holds up the envelope that Luke gave him. He tells them that everything is unfolding just the way the Chronicoms wanted it to. Coulson and May meanwhile plant the explosives as Sousa and Daisy are tied up in the back of a fur lined scooby van. Malick tells them that the Chronicoms were always 10 steps ahead of them. Deke finally shoots Malick in the middle of his monologue that the Chronicoms see everything. YoYo opens the envelop and discovers that Mack’s parents will die if he gives the signal to blow up the base. Mack sees them on a monitor and realizes that he has to abort. Insight launches, and May and Coulson are taken prisoner. Mack gives the order to arm the missiles to take down Insight, thus giving away their position.

In the final scene, Nathaniel is trying to get hold of Daniel Whitehall’s instructions on transferring enhanced abilities surgically!

Things are not looking good for the team. I can’t help but wonder if Sousa is this year’s romantic interest for Daisy – are they end game??? More importantly, where is FITZ?!?!? There is clearly something going on with Simmons – is it Chronicom tech? I’m betting that Coulson and May can get out of their predicament. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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