It’s the 100th episode of Agents of SHIELD, a time for celebration….except for a few things like an agent who could be dying and an explosion that causes a very dangerous hole. It also brings back some blasts from the past, including a very welcome one.
Oh, and something happens that was a long time coming.
This episode didn’t seem to be that special at first, looking at whether SHIELD can continue to exist at all without the people we have been following for five years. This especially means Coulson, whose infection erupted a few episodes back has finally overcome him. It forces everyone to face the fact that he’s dying, but SHIELD must continue.
The crew is trying to battle a space-time crack that hasn’t been seen since Matt Smith was Doctor Who. It was caused after the explosion of the beacon planted by General Hale by those Kree monoliths from last week. We see quick views of Lash (aka May’s ex-husband), maybe Reina and a Kree warrior. The cracks are harnessing their biggest fears, and they suspect it could be another cause of the future destruction of Earth.
Gravitonium could seal the cracks, but getting it there could be fatal. That’s when Coulson volunteers and the others try to stop him. After arguing with Daisy, he faints. It’s discovered the infection may be related to dead tissue from several years ago… as far back as The Avengers. It’s spreading fast.
Coulson confesses he made a deal with Ghost Rider, and it burned through that TAHITI process that has kept him alive. So he hasn’t got long to live, but he insists SHIELD must continue. The agents are upset, with Daisy pointing out Tess was resurrected via Kree methods, and he could have been saved that way. It’s great the show remembered that, because the fans would have. Still, seeing the agents react to Coulson’s fate is really painful, especially on Daisy who owes her life to him.
SHIELD without Coulson? It can’t happen… can it? Daisy even wonders if SHIELD still exists after all that has happened.
Then there’s Elena feeling phantom pain from the arms she lost thanks to Ruby. Mack is upset, but Elena says she won’t die… not yet. Yet suddenly Jemma smothers Elena with a pillow, saying they’ve all suffered enough.
The fear crack is expanding, and it’s driving them to despair.
Coulson and May share a tender moment. He’s at peace with his impending death, but she still won’t let her go. He says he’s not going to die just yet.
He heads to the rift, and he’s doing it without backup. He’s seeing very interesting things like a smiling Mike Peterson (J. August Richards). Peterson admits he’s fake, and that Coulson’s whole life has been fake. He’s been dead all this time and Heaven is a TV show.
Coulson won’t buy it. He sees Mike is the crack, harnessing his fear that it’s all visions of the life he never had. Yet Fake Mike is so convincing.
Meanwhile, someone is landing near the Lighthouse.
It’s Deke, who was able to get a few things…including the real Mike Peterson, who still has some moves. Yet Phil is very close to heading towards the crack, with Fake Peterson leading the way.
The real Peterson arrives just in time to show Coulson what’s real. The Gravatonium does the trick, and the hole is sealed for now. It’s still there, though, and could crack again.
While this is all happening General Hale (Catherine Dent) is still looking for SHIELD, especially Daisy. She does ask about Deke (Jeff Ward), and suspects he’s not from around this decade. She decides to retreat, though it’s certain the search will resume. Does the general want Daisy because she’s a threat, or satisfy Ruby’s demand that Daisy be her future permanent roommate?
It’s a tense 100th episode, showing the crew is worried about what they’re about to lose. It’s not just the Earth, which is still a possibility, it’s Coulson. Losing him is more important and personal to the agents.
The crack brought back a few adversaries, though no Grant Ward in any form, no Aida, no bad Inhumans or even General Talbot to remind the agents why mankind… and General Hale… hates SHIELD? The crack could have been a bit more aggressive, and it might in the future.
It would have been nice to find out if Hunter is OK, looking after young Robin the Seer. She’s still around in 2018, and maybe Hale is looking for her, too.
Still, usually when a show reaches a major milestone at least one thing has to happen for the cast that’s a victory, a celebration of sorts.
It was great to see Peterson again, but can’t there be more…like May and Coulson finally kiss?
Well, how about this?
It gets better. They will have a grandson… named Deke.
Yes, THAT Deke.
Whether that means he’ll head back to 2091 in the end, or stay and wind up being his own grandpa, that will be handled eventually.
Next week, though, it’s back to business as Coulson deals with his fate, General Hale still looks for Daisy, and Ruby also wants Daisy in the worst way.
One more thing: Entertainment Weekly has an interview with the showrunners about what could happen next, and whether Coulson, or any of the agents, survive the season.