To paraphrase Charles Dickens, Phil Coulson is dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.
It’s a fact fans of Agents of SHIELD must remember as its sixth season started this week, when the crew met a new enemy with a familiar face.
Meanwhile, Leo Fitz may have died at the end of last season, but Jemma hopes to get around time travel rules to get her guy back. It’ll be a lot tougher than she thinks, especially when she learns his long slumber to get to the future last year was anything but peaceful.
Clark Gregg has a big presence in this episode, and not just as an actor. We get a glimpse of him as Coulson, but it’s the last time. He does a fine job getting us ready for the new, and scary, normal. His best trick is making us think the main story is looking for Fitz, but we find out the real story that will dominate this season.


It starts with Fitz sleeping comfortably in his cryo bed, waiting for the future to help the SHIELD crew when they faced a literally broken Earth. However, Enoch the Chromicon (Joel Stoffer) senses an attack. Someone breaks the ship in half, and takes Fitz.

A year later, SHIELD agents Davis (Maximillian Osinski) and Piper (Briana Venskus) are in deep space. It’s almost as if we missed three or four episodes. It’s later revealed Daisy/Quake and Jemma’s there, too. They have been in deep space for quite a while looking for Fitz. Jemma’s also very determined, the way she interrogates a D’Rillian for info. She’s come a long way from the wide-eyed scientist she used to be.

They find Fitz’s pod, but not him. The look of Jemma touching the pod, and eventually getting inside, is heart-breaking. Elizabeth Henstridge plays this scene beautifully, and fans really want this to work. We almost forget that she has to tell them they are married.

Jemma suddenly thinks Fitz may be on another planet, and they must go there. That’s due to her new skill of learning alien languages. However, Davis, Piper and Daisy are also at the ends of their rope. They worried about the Zephyr being damaged, and whether they can find Fitz at all. That concerns changes when a ship from the Confederacy (the evil alien UN that includes the Kree) almost finds them. They escape thanks to the Kree transport machine from last season…but to where?
One more thing: Davis and Piper seem to be the next big couple, the way they squabble as co-workers do. It also makes me miss Lance and Bobbi.

Meanwhile, Alphonse Mackenzie is growing into his new position as Director. He’s got new people, and he has the presence. He did needs a place to unwind, and the occasional hologram pep talk from Phil. He also knows it’s the first anniversary of his death, and they are being able to move on.

They’re also investigating recent events where reality is being upset, usually by really ugly guys emerging from walls. Are they from a parallel world or another planet that found a short-cut to ours? So far, they include an ugly bald guy named Juco (Winston James Francis) and a British girl who says strange things. They’re also waiting for someone named Sarge.
SHIELD tried to capture Juco but a big gun took down a jet piloted by May and a new co-pilot named Keller (Lucas Bryant).

The crew have also made some personal changes. Elena seems to be very interested in Keller, which may upset some fans who think she should be with Mack. However, devotion to his new job have split them up. Some may be afraid of a Grey’s Anatomy-style triangle, but it’s early.

Because Fitz and Simmons are missing in space, SHIELD needs a new scientist. It finds one in Marcus Benson (Barry Shabaka Henley), who’s a bit reluctant to chase boogeymen (as he puts it). He’s also drinking to mourn the loss of his boyfriend. They still need his brain, and also suggest he can help build an academy for future SHIELD agents (which better be a TV show on Disney Plus in 2021).
He does help out very quickly, especially examining half of an a guy who got stuck in a concrete wall. Before he dies, he says “pachakitik, say goodbye”. What it means is still unknown but it could be an invasion of something.
Actually, AV Club says the strange word means a massive global change. Could it mean the invaders are the show’s version of Thanos’ Snap? Maybe, but don’t count the snap out, either.

The crew figures out the next attack is at a museum in Muncie, IN. Thanks to the British girl (who’s called Jocko) pretending to be a hostage, SHIELD’s distracted long enough to let their boss appear from nowhere in a truck that looks like it came from Fury Road. As the agents are stunned, the boss shows up, and Clark Gregg does a fine job ramping up the suspense until…..

“SHIELD? Never heard of it”
It’ll be interesting seeing Clark be a villain, and a rough one at that. However, the show makes it clear he is NOT Coulson, and isn’t an alternative version who could be Phil eventually. He’s the Big Bad, unless it’s revealed there’s someone even worse.
This will be difficult for the agents, especially May and even Daisy if and when she gets back from deep space.
Still, the show has one more surprise: someone hammering on metal, and being told (in alien language) the Controller wants to see him. He gets an injection, his eyes turn blue and he’s ready to go.
Oh, by the way, the guy is Fitz.
Jemma won’t like this either.
Next week: SHIELD tries to figure out what Sarge wants, and remember he’s not Phil. It’s also revealed what happened to Fitz and maybe what happened to Enoch.

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