Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: 6.11 - From The Ashes
Agent May and Quake must face their issues with Sarge’s uncanny resemblance to Coulson in this rather more low-key and introspective episode. Meanwhile Izel still has Mack and Yo-Yo hostage aboard the Zephyr as she searches for the temple where she can enact her final devious plan.
In the aftermath of Izel wreaking havoc in the lighthouse last episode things are a little less hectic this time out. I suspect this is the lull before the storm seeing as there are only two episodes left of this season. That’s not to say nothing of consequence happens in From The Ashes. On the contrary the mysteries surrounding Sarge are finally starting to be revealed. Both May and Quake get to exorcise a few demons as they take two very different approaches to wresting information from Sarge. Firstly Agent May takes a softly softly approach which is very unlike her. Normally violence is her go to method but with Sarge having Coulson’s appearance it would seem she cannot bring herself to do what is really needed. Daisy confronts her about this and decides to take matters into her own hands. To put it bluntly this basically involves ‘quaking’ Sarge to death in an effort to make him reveal what it really is inside him that has Izel so worried. As we saw in the last episode Sarge’s powers allow him to heal rapidly and soon he is back alive and finally manifesting his true abilities.
Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet continue to be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s greatest assets. Gregg in particular really seems to be relishing the chance to play the bad guy after years of portraying the earnest Phil Coulson. His slow realisation of what he is and the fact his head is filled with memories of a stranger makes for great viewing. Ming-Na Wen and Chloe Bennet are also both excellent as they struggle with conflicting emotions. Both of them have a deep love for Coulson and just seeing his face on someone else must really pain them, especially on someone such as Sarge. This episode brings the emotion as both of them, particularly Skye, move toward some sort of closure.
Emotions also run high as Izel tries to coerce the location of the monolith temples from Dr Benson. After telling her she can’t hurt him as he has nothing left to fear she calls his bluff. Utilising the gravitonium device from last season she calls forth Benson’s dead husband. Killing him in front of Benson she declares she can keep doing this over and over again. Despite Mack and Yo-Yo’s insistence that none of it is real Benson is distraught and gives up the co-ordinates of the temple. The writers have done a good job of depicting Izel as being completely ruthless and a force to be reckoned with. Possessing Mack she makes him stab another Agent in the neck and then leaves him to come round with the blood on his hands, literally. There is a slight lapse in logic when she suddenly appears to completely forget what Yo-Yo’s power is and lets her use her super speed to grab the gravitonium device and spirit Dr Benson away to safety so he can inform the other Agents of their whereabouts. It’s just a little thing and I know they needed to let the others know where they were but it does seem like sloppy writing for convenience sake.
Another highlight of the episode is getting to watch Deke finally come good and get to work with his grandparents as he and FitzSimmons try to figure out Izel’s powers and potentially how to stop her. He starts out just butting in and trying to anticipate what they’ll say next but by the episodes end he has genuinely worked out a possible method of neutralising Izel. It’s a great bit of pseudo science-fiction gobbledygook involving resonating frequencies and disruptive harmonics. It’s proper comic book writing and looks like it’s going to lead to everyone wearing some sort of belt that protects them from Izel’s ability to possess them. Also there is a special sword that someone may get to wield. Tonally this all fits right in with what I’d expect to see in this sort of show.
Ending up at a temple hidden somewhere in a jungle Mack and Yo-Yo are still the prisoners of Izel. For reasons I’m not entirely sure of Izel then uses the gravitonium device to make Flint appear. Flint was the inhuman from the alternate future depicted last season who could manipulate rocks. I don’t recall him being particularly close to Mack or Yo-Yo and it’s also not clear if this is another of Izel’s illusions or the actual Flint. I guess we’ll find out next episode. The end credits stinger is also slightly confusing as the chronicoms are suddenly reintroduced. Their leader Altarah seems to have a plan to stop the destruction of their homeworld but is instead blasted to oblivion by her cohorts. I’m assuming they are going to be headed to Earth for the season finale, possibly with Enoch in tow. I’m not quite sure what part they’ll play but we won't have long to wait to find out.