Wholly unexpected flashbacks, Batman! Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Episode 16 definitely startled me, that's for sure.
Yes, we had the gravitonium, but up until now it seemed like the writers had completely forgotten how it absorbed Dr. Franklin Hall way back in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 1 Episode 3.
And that wasn't the only blast from the past in this latest installment, either!
Remember how that obnoxious businessman Ian Quinn (David Conrad) made a pain of himself working with John Garrett and Hydra and then just sort of vanished from the scene?
Amazingly (and amusingly, if black humor is your thing), turns out the show hadn't forgotten him, either. Given that the gravitonium "asked" for Quinn, one wonders how much of Dr. Hall is still within the mass.
In the comics, Hall became the super-villain Graviton. If that is happening here, perhaps he wanted to take revenge on Quinn for what happened in that Season 1 episode.
What would happen, though, if confronted with Phil Coulson? One of the brief flashes of Dr. Hall, as seen by Carl Creel, included a rather heated remark by Hall to Coulson:
S.H.I.E.L.D. is just as guilty of the same thing, experimentation without thought of consequence!
And, boy, does that sentence not also describe Hale siccing the gravitonium on Creel! Talk about unintended consequences!
Because of that "experiment," Creel went to see Coulson. Coulson told Creel about Talbot. Creel broke Coulson out and also rescued Talbot. Coulson and Talbot escaped the facility.
Not only that, Ruby began to explicitly disobey her mother's orders in a rather murderous expression of teenage rebellion out of her jealousy over the whole gravitonium Destroyer of Worlds thing.
Nice job, villain!
Plus, we got some downright awesome snark out of Coulson, who clearly expressed his opinion on Hale and her plan in no uncertain terms.
You can tell the general there’s nothing she can do to me to make me join her Evil League of Evil.Coulson
And Talbot continued to demonstrate why he's one of my favorite recurring characters. Please, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers, please don't kill him off after all this!
While Creel may have saved Coulson's life, he only did so because Talbot begged/ordered/inspired him to do so!
We also got one more stealth callback near the end, too, when Talbot wished Coulson had sent them somewhere tropical, and Coulson replied that white sandy beaches aren't really his thing anymore.
TAHITI's not exactly a magical place, after all.
The truly dark part of "Inside Voices" came from the Mack/Yo-Yo/Simmons/Fitz story back at the Lighthouse.
Betrayal from friends (or seeming-friends) has been a long-time theme on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this one cut especially deep. From his very first appearance, Mack has been one of the most staunchly moral and endearing characters.
Simmons planned the double-cross in a very cold, calculating manner, assured in the apparent unkillability of herself, Yo-Yo, and Fitz and equally convinced of the necessity of their mission.
For Simmons and Yo-Yo, who loves Mack, to betray him just felt so wrong. Can the team ever be whole again after something like this? Everyone was terrified about Fitz turning into a supervillain, channeling his evil Framework self.
But Simmons and Yo-Yo clearly demonstrated that Fitz’s Framework dissociation wasn’t the only emotional issue out there.
Obviously, this betrayal isn't on the same level as Ward being Hydra. But it's a clear sign of the profound cracks that are forming in the team due to their many, many traumas.
These are people in desperate need of a whole hospital full of shrinks. Too bad they're the only ones standing in the way of the end of the world.
Unless, of course, they actually cause the end of the world.
Yo-Yo: You can’t protect me forever, Mack.
Mack: Did you ever stop to think maybe you’re alive in the future because I *did*?
Too bad Yo-Yo didn't take that to heart.
Finally, some assorted thoughts and musings before I turn the discussion over to you:
- While everyone else seemed to pretty much ignore Deke's remarks on Daisy's leadership behavior, May actually brought it up. There are points on both sides.
- I can't help but feel for Robin's mother, who basically knows that she's going to die at some point in not too long and can't do a thing to help or comfort her daughter.
- What will happen to Carl Creel now? (And shouldn't a single good punch from him have basically smashed Ruby's skeleton?)
- I hate to do this, but let's start taking bets on how long before Talbot has to perform a Heroic Sacrifice and die without seeing his family again.
Don't forget you can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online! And take to the comments section below and share your thoughts on "Inside Voices."
Were you shocked at the turnaround against Mack? What about Coulson and Talbot's escape? May and Robin? And how about them flashbacks?
Meanwhile, here's the preview for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 Episode 17, "The Honeymoon," slated to air on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 9/8c on ABC: