Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: 6.10 Leap
Sarge’s real identity is revealed! This episode of Agents of SHIELD finally gives us some answers and asks some new questions. The team must watch each other carefully as an enemy hides within their ranks. By the time the end credits roll another agent will have been lost and a new challenge is presented.
I was slightly off with my prediction; Izel isn’t a shape shifter but an incorporeal being who can enter the bodies of others. It was her controlling Agent May, after catching a ride off her doomed ship with Agent Davis, that led to Sarge being shot to pieces. Then there is the big reveal that Sarge is also from the same incorporeal realm as Izel. As such he isn’t actually dead. His body soon heals itself completely and before long he’s back as good as new.
So why does he look like Coulson? Well it’s slightly convoluted and a little bit anticlimactic. It seems that when Coulson interacted with the monoliths they made a copy of his body and sent it back in time a hundred years. The monoliths also decided to send it to a realm inhabited by the incorporeal beings. Izel was the first of these beings to take on a physical form and leave their home. She is followed by another who inhabits the copy of Coulson’s body and for some unexplained reason takes on the name of Sarge. Izel’s plan is for the shrike to create lots of zombies all around the universe so that her people have empty vessels to inhabit.
The truth behind Sarge’s identity was probably always going to be a bone of contention. The solution presented isn’t necessarily a bad one, it just seems the monoliths have become a bit of a crutch for the writers. Need something inexplicable to happen or a way out of a problem? The mysterious monoliths seem to be the deus ex machina that the show runners can always fall back on. Still it does mean that Sarge is a complete copy of Coulson and that does leave the door open for him to regain all his memories and personality. It’s a good way of having Coulson back for the final season.
Most of the drama in Leap comes from Izel’s ability to jump between people's bodies and completely take them over. After leaping from May into Deke everything suddenly takes a paranoid turn towards John Carpenter’s masterpiece The Thing. With potentially anyone being Itzel’s puppet, suspicions are rife. The SHIELD form of MacReady’s blood test is simpler; everyone must tell a secret that can be verified by another agent. This works well enough so that Mack can isolate Quake and Yo-Yo and thus stop Izel getting her hands on the two most powerful people that she could use to pretty much instantly kill everyone else.
Unfortunately everyone else then makes the highly questionable decision to all stand around next to each other giving Izel ample opportunity to move freely between bodies. I know the writers have done this intentionally to allow this, but it just seems lazy and not at all how people would react in that situation. If everyone moved to different parts of the room they’d have much more of a opportunity to stop Izel. Nit-picking I suppose but when all the writing is of a high quality, anomalies stand out. Having the whole episode take place in the lighthouse lends to the claustrophobia and heightens the paranoia. It’s a good idea and really ratchets the tension up.
Things take on a particularly sadistic note when Izel takes control of Piper. To show she means business she has Piper shoot her pistol straight through her own hand. Not content with this show of strength Izel then moves on into Agent Davis. I thought Davis had been in the show long enough - and had enough lines of dialogue - to save him from red shirt status. Alas I was wrong. Under Izel’s control Davis finds himself diving headfirst off a high platform. As unexpected as it was tragic, it was a real shame to see Davis meet his maker. He’d brought some humour and a touch of real humanity to the show. Piper on the other hand didn’t seem particularly concerned to find a massive bullet hole right through her hand. I imagine it’ll sting a bit later.
After Izel uses Mack to get to the graviton device used last season Sarge turns up to confront her. It is here that the truth is revealed. Izel tries to convince Sarge to join her cause and help their people spread throughout the galaxy in the shrike infected zombie bodies. Sarge, however, resists her. It seems that Coulson’s memories are resurfacing and I suspect this is the beginning of his return completely.
The end credit stinger scene hints at the return of Ghostrider as he is suddenly mentioned by Fitz during a conversation with his future grandchild Deke. This sort of foreshadowing generally indicates the imminent return of a character not mentioned for ages. His unique talents would certainly come in handy when dealing with Izel.
This excellent episode comes to an end with Yo-Yo under Izel’s control flying away in the Zephyr accompanied only by Mack. There’s a good chance the other agents will have to work with Sarge in order to save the day. Maybe Snowflake will help too. For some reason the writers seem to have forgotten about her this episode which is a shame; her brand of paranoia andinsanity would have fitted in nicely.