Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 6.04 Code Yellow
Deke makes his return in this episode as we return to Earth after last week's continuation of the deep space storyline. It turns out he’s spent the last year becoming a big deal in the corporate world, using his knowledge of the future and his S.H.I.E.L.D. connections to develop new products. He’s also using a version of the Framework to produce virtual reality simulations. Sarge and his gang continue with their mysterious plan which suddenly and violently intersects with Deke’s world. A parasitical alien bird causes mayhem back at headquarters which ultimately leads to tragedy for Yo-Yo.
Tonally Code Yellow is a bit all over the place. The main story involving Deke is lighthearted and at times downright bordering on ludicrous. When his social media influencer girlfriend Sequoia asks him where he gets all his incredible ideas from at the beginning of the episode, Deke breaks the fourth wall and smirks at the camera. He stops short of actually winking at us but it’s definitely a slightly strange moment for the show and I can’t remember them doing anything like it before. Combined with the “trippy” nature of the previous episode and it would appear the shows makers are trying a few different things this season.
In contrast to the amusing Deke scenes, we have Sarge and his team, whose mission is revealed to involve killing aliens on Earth. This part becomes a bit muddled; it looks like Sarge stabs an alien guy in an attempt to kill the parasite inside him. Later in the S.H.I.E.L.D. lab they assume that the parasite was impregnated into its host by Sarge. I think that the good guys are just mistaken but it did seem slightly confusing as to how this actually worked.
The show takes on on a suspenseful Alien feel when Yo-Yo is in the air ducts looking for the parasite. It then becomes pretty action packed when Sarge’s team come for Deke who it seems is on their list of people who must be eliminated. This infers that they know Deke is not of this time and Sarge intimates that he shouldn’t be here. It will be interesting to see how this plays out especially in relation to Fitz who also is out of place in time and is currently in the custody of the Chronicom hunters. Hopefully these storylines will converge in future episodes as they definitely seem linked.
Everyone gets to kick some arse this episode as Sarge’s team raid Deke’s workplace and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who has been secretly keeping tabs on him calls in the cavalry. Literally. Melinda “The Cavalry” May arrives and gets to flex her muscles in a fight with Snowflake, the knife wielding oddball who seems intent on killing people to release their “beautiful butterflies”. All goes well until Sarge decides to turn it into a gunfight and May is taken prisoner. Mac also gets to lay the smackdown on Sarge’s other cronies including the giant Jaco, but ultimately it’s Deke’s plan involving his virtual reality construct that saves the day.
There are a few issues with the writing in Code Yellow apart from the tonal ones. Characters make a few strange decisions and almost seem to forget what powers they have. Yo-Yo demonstrates her immense speed when tying her boyfriend Agent Keller to a gurney after he starts lashing out. She doesn’t however do anything when the parasitic alien bird is trying to force its way down Kellers throat which puts him in danger in the first place. Her special ability is to move ludicrously fast and she has robot hands, pretty much the two things needed to prevent disaster. Of course if she had prevented Keller getting impregnated we wouldn’t get the later tragedy of Yo-Yo having to sacrifice him to stop him exploding and killing everyone else. Again this part seemed confusing, Keller suddenly starts getting really hot and all of a sudden crystal like structures start erupting out of him. I’m hoping this gets explained in a later episode as we learn more of Sarge’s plan because it doesn’t make a lot of sense currently.
I had been wondering why Agent Keller had been written in as a new love interest for Yo-Yo when it surely would have been far more dramatic to have had it be an already established character who already had history with Mac. It turns out he was only being built up to be killed. This is a trend I first noticed years ago in Lost. Take a background character and give them a few lines, continue with this for a few episodes and then suddenly kill them. It shocks the audience but if you look back you realise they weren’t ever really a main character. The Walking Dead is currently the biggest culprit for doing this. You can tell who is going to die in that show because random people suddenly get a talking part. Give it a few episodes and it’s pretty much guaranteed they’re a goner. Well it seems Keller was the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. attempt at this, although we should get some good fallout from it as Yo-Yo was the one who had to do the deed. When you take into account she’s also had to deal with losing her arms and her relationship with Mac the writers have certainly put her through the emotional ringer.
So Code Yellow is a mixed bag all in all. There are some genuinely funny parts, the swipes at the social media generation and Deke’s obvious infatuation with Daisy. He’s programmed a highly sexed version of her into his virtual reality framework which he pleads with Mac not to ever mention. The coda features Sequoia blogging her way through the episode and would probably be a lot funnier if it wasn’t so true. There are also some good fight scenes and the tearjerking moments with Yo-Yo and Keller. Not everything gels together but it sort of works, Hopefully the Earth and space stories will start to intertwine soon as I suspect that’s when things will really start to pick up.