After Episode 4, the S.H.I.E.L.D. team has made their first splash in the river of time. They saved Agent Sousa from his scheduled departure from life and he is now with the team. Just in time for their next stop in the Time Parade, the 70’s.
What do the Chronicoms have in store for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team? It must have something to do with General Rick Stoner whom the team met in holographic fashion in the lighthouse. Is he the target? Is he a member of Hydra? Let’s see in “A Trout in the Milk.”
Time to look the Part
Yes, it’s dress up time again in S.H.I.E.L.D. land. This time they are rocking the 70’s. At least according to Coulson, rocking how the adults dressed back then. He was still a kid during this decade. Me too, Phil. Me too. May is still soaking up the feelings of people she makes contact with. That could be a dangerous proposition if the person is giving off the wrong vibes. Like the guy who bumped into her who was feeling “ticked off…and impatient!” But he didn’t appear to be snarling like May was.
As for Agent Sousa, he found he couldn’t quite decipher the need for elephant leg bell bottom jeans. He should try wearing them when it snows. The ice and snow built up in abundance under all the fabric. Those were the days. As it is, he will suffice wearing his normal clothes. But since, as he says, no one looks you in the eyes in this time, he should be fine.
Back to the S.H.I.E.L.D. Bar
They make their way to the ever present S.H.I.E.L.D. bar. Of course, it looks a little different than it did in 1955. And Enoch is no longer there, having apparently departed the bar over a year ago. But something is being celebrated. The question is, what?
Back at the Zephyr, Jemma is doing some research, while Deke has been hitting the heavy bag. And judging by the way he is flexing his knuckles, the bag was winning. Deke acknowledges that Mack wanted him to get some combat training since his abduction by Wilford Malick. Jemma reminded him that Freddy had passed away three years before…or so they thought.
Where is Bobo?
Deke then asked Jemma if she had heard anything from Bobo (Deke’s name for Fitz). Surprisingly, she didn’t seem to know who he was talking about initially. Once she realizes, she tells him that she hasn’t and even if she had she couldn’t tell him. She did reassure Deke that Fitz and her would be reunited soon. Deke expresses his hope for that as Fitz and Jemma need to have a daughter so he can be born. As he takes his leave, Jemma rubs the back of her neck and an illuminated area appears.
Meanwhile, Mack and Yo-Yo are investigating their current home in the present time, the Lighthouse. As they explore, they notice a desk where an ashtray with cigarette buts is still smoking. Someone is still there. Back at the bar, May has been inquiring about Enoch’s whereabouts. As she walks, she bumps into various bar patrons. Apparently, intoxication is something May can absorb as well…at least for a few moments. She reiterates that Enoch had not been at the bar for over a year. While she speaks she comes down from her touch induced inebriation. Although she does hiccup.
Coulson and Sousa are talking about the bar’s past, still wondering what the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents there are celebrating. Coulson spies a familiar face and wonders if he is at the center of the gathering. It’s General Rick Stoner, last seen by the team in a hologram at the Lighthouse. But here he was in the flesh. Sousa looked at him in amazement because when he had known Stoner, he had been a young, clueless recruit. Now he was the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Stoner thanked those in attendance and introduced the man responsible for them all being there, Wilford Malik. He looked pretty good for a guy who was supposed to have died three years ago. He talks about a plan in the works that will allow them to respond to threats before they happen. He calls it Project Insight. Coulson recognizes this plan. It was Hydra’s big secret project. But it wasn’t supposed to come to fruition for 40 years. They have been given a big head start
A Trout in the Milk
After absorbing this information, Sousa wonders if all there are Hydra. Coulson surmises that only a few are Hydra. Most he assumes are loyal S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, like Stoner. The plan, however, was not supposed to be brought to light until Coulson’s time. Sousa wondered why the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents seemed so excited about the plan. Coulson tells them that they had thought it was meant to keep the world safe. No one realized what it truly was until it was almost too late. But how did Hydra advance their plan so quickly?
Coulson again hypothesizes that it was the Chronicoms. Sousa responds by wondering if that was “just the trout in the milk.” Coulson looks confused by the saying as does Sousa that Coulson is not familiar with it. Basically, he wonders if Coulson is going by circumstantial evidence.
He acknowledges this but tells Sousa that the Chronicom he met threatened to change the time line if Coulson didn’t agree to his terms. Keeping Malik alive past his supposed death in 1971 might be evidence of that promise. Sousa then worries that if the timeline had indeed changed, they have some work to do. They decide to investigate while keeping an eye out for Enoch. Coulson also warns Sousa to keep a low profile. His story is famous to the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. If they recognize him, “the jig is up.” He tells Coulson he’ll stay “off the radar. That IS still a thing, Right?” Yes, it is.
A New Birth for Freedom
May has set her sights on Stoner. She asks him to buy her a drink. He tells her that as a commanding officer, he cannot by HR policy, procure her a drink. He can, however, flag down a member of the bar staff to assist her. She fawns over Stoner’s professionalism and introduces herself as the HR liaison. May then expresses the desire to transfer to his division. Stoner tells her that he would enjoy working with her, in a professional capacity. Pressing her advantage, May then asks Stoner about the actual progress of Project Insight. He acknowledges that it is still 3 years away. But, 1976 would not only be the Country’s Bicentennial, but “a new birth for freedom.“
Over at Daisy’s booth, she has the “pleasure“ of meeting the young Gideon Malick. How ironic that in the future, it will be Daisy that will end his life. At least that is what DID happen. In the current situation, Gideon is being somewhat aggressive in his pursuit of Daisy.
That is when Sousa swoops in for the save, telling Malik that he is Daisy’s fiancé. They take their leave with the young Malik complaining that Daisy didn’t thank him for her drink. She slyly promises that she WILL pay him back. In spades if the future is not changed. Daisy tells Sousa that Gideon’s brother Nathaniel is still alive when he shouldn’t be. Another diversion from the timeline. But she thinks she knows where to find some information.
The 30,000 year old Chronicom
Coulson has called Jemma and told her about Project Insight and Freddy’s escape from death. Coulson tells her he believes the Chronicoms we’re responsible but he needed to confer with the missing Enoch. Jemma offers to spearhead a search for the missing 30,000 year old Chronicom. Coulson appreciates her offer but reminds her that Project Insight must remain the priority.
Having heard that Freddy was still alive fills Deke with regret. He feels he made a mistake not taking out Malik when he had the chance. Jemma tells him he made the right choice to preserve the timeline. However, this seems small consolation to Deke.
The James Bond Effect
Back at the Lighthouse, Mack and Yo-Yo continue to investigate. They had seen a man in a blue jumpsuit. Mack assumed that he worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. Yo-Yo wasn’t convinced. She reminded Mack of the James Bond films. Whenever you saw a bunch of men in jumpsuits, the result was always bad. As they followed one such man, he entered a huge facility where a strange towering device was being worked on. “Called it,” stated Yo-Yo.
Daisy, meanwhile, was following her hunch about the Malick’s. She went with Sousa back to where Earnest Koenig used to have his office. She then triggered the secret hiding place that Koenig had hid the team in back in 1931. It was still there but it was different. It was filled with 1970’s based computer hardware. High tech to Sousa, almost laughable to Daisy. She assumed this was Malik’s base of operations.
The Insight Targets
Daisy hacks into the primitive computing system and finds a list of Insight’s targets. Among the names is Nick Fury, Peggy Carter and the young Bruce Banner. Sousa asks why that name is important. Daisy explains that on the future, he will become an Avenger. “Is that a good thing, or a bad thing?.” Sousa asks. It’s a good thing Daisy assures him. But Sousa is now concerned. Did they make things worse instead of better? How did Hydra get names from the future?
In the bar, Coulson is chatting with May when she notices Daisy and Sousa. She tells Phil they need to leave. But before he could go, Wilford Malik stops him. He thanks him for coming and then starts grilling him for his name and his job. Coulson tried to lie his way though but Malik already knew who he was. His “friends” the Chronicoms had told him. Uh, Oh!
S.H.I.E.L.D. takes Hostages?
As Malik explains where he remembers Coulson from, and the Chronicoms raise their weapons. Daisy spies young Nathaniel. She decides to make Malik make a choice. She grabs Nathaniel, pressing a gun against him. Coulson tells Malik to let them go or they would harm his son. The Chronicoms wanted to take that chance. Malick was not. He told the Chronicoms to drop their weapons as the team left, leaving young Nathaniel.
As Sousa escapes with Daisy. He asks her why S.H.I.E.L.D. would be taking hostages. He then inquired if there was anything ELSE she hadn’t told him. That is when the Chronicoms appeared. Daisy used her powers to incapacitate them, telling Sousa she would explain later. Nathaniel had followed them and saw what Daisy had did, not knowing what to think.
A 5 Star Safety Rating
They met up with Coulson and May. They needed some wheels. Fortunately, the missing Enoch appeared in a fine gold Dodge Challenger. He hit them with the soon to be famous, “Come with me if you want to continue to exist.” They scramble in as Daisy exclaims, “Enoch, you’re here.” As I have been for the last 40 years, Enoch deadpans. Coulson apologizes for leaving him behind while admiring his “sweet ride.” In classic Enoch fashion, he extolled the car’s Consumer Report review and 5 Star safety rating. Hilarious. He hammers the gas and their off. Meanwhile. Luke, the head Chronicom, finds his men on the ground. He states that it is time to change the rules.
The team meets back at the Zephyr. The timer for the next time jump has commenced as they discuss their options. While they try to decide how to stop Project Insight, the timer starts going wonky. The jump has been triggered early. Yo-Yo attempts to stop it but the ship makes its jump. The year is 1976. The year that Stoner had said that Insight would be launch ready. The Country’s Bicentennial would see Hydra’s plans come to pass. If the S.H.I.E.L.D. team can’t stop them.
But this latest jump has unnerved one of the team. All Sousa has seen are things going from bad to worse. In addition, no one seems to know why.
Taken from Time
Meanwhile, Jemma talks to Enoch. She has been having difficulty. She is forgetting things, struggling. Enoch asks her if she has told anyone else. She tells him she was afraid to. He tells her not to worry but then Sousa approaches her for answers. In her present state, she is not ready to give them. When Sousa presses her more, Deke intercedes. He tells Sousa to leave her alone. But Sousa says he was taken from time for this. Deke assured him that they ALL were.
Mack then intervened with a plan. May and Coulson will infiltrate the Lighthouse and plant explosives to flood it. This will trigger the Lighthouse to a shutdown mode and stop the launch. They will also evacuate the Lighthouse of all personnel. Daisy will go hack into the Lighthouse camera system to provide the team with eyes on the ground. Sousa agrees to go with Daisy. Deke and Yo-Yo will attempt to capture Malick. What they will do with him is undecided.
Getting Shield to reveal themselves
As for Malik, the head Chronicom Luke pays him a visit. He brings up Malik’s failure 3 years ago, letting the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents escape. All because of his son. He then informs Malik that the S.H.I.E.L.D. team will attempt to take him. He gives Malik and envelope and tells him to give to whoever comes to abduct him. They want for S.H.I.E.L.D. to reveal itself.
Back with Daisy and Sousa, she successfully breaks into the Lighthouse camera feed. She does this despite Sousa’s belief that her laptop was too small to do the job. She breaks out her phone and takes a picture of Sousa. Amazing him by expanding the picture with just her fingers. But then, young Nathaniel shows up with a Chronicom weapon and shoots both Daisy and Sousa, taking her laptop.
A Stepping Stoner
Back at the Lighthouse, May and Coulson have confiscated some of the stylish blue S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms. They are trying to get into position to set the explosives. But they were waiting for Daisy to open the next set of doors. Unfortunately, Nathaniel had derailed that plan. They needed a new plan. Mack spotted Stoner in the camera feed. A new plan was emerging.
Deke and Yo-Yo arrived at Malik’s home. He was not surprised. Maybe it was because the Chronicom had warned him. Or maybe it was because they had neglected to cloak the Quinn Jet. Really? They broke in and confronted him. For his part, he wasn’t concerned. The launch would commence and he would watch it.
Back with May and Coulson, they approached Stoner with their story about the Chronicom and how he should suspend the launch. He seemed outwardly like he was listening. May however, touched his arm for a moment and then flattened him. Coulson complained thinking he was getting through to him. May “felt” otherwise and took Stoners Security badge.
10 Steps Ahead
Malick continued to explain to Deke and Yo-Yo that the Chronicoms had knew everything that they were going to do. They made them feel like they might succeed. But S.H.I.E.L.D. would not. They were 10 steps ahead of them. The Chronicoms KNEW what they would do. Right then, Deke shoots Malik, killing him. Did you expect THAT?! Yo-Yo retrieves the envelope that Malik was holding, looking at it with horror on her face.
At the Lighthouse, Coulson and May had finished planting the explosives. All they needed was for Mack to give them the signal to detonate. Before he could, he had noticed on the camera feed some people in a cell. They were his parents. If he gave the OK to trigger the explosives, his parents would drown.
Surrendering the High Ground
He instead gave the abort order. Without the explosives detonating, Insight launches. Mack immediately ordered the Zephyr to arm its weapons and track the satellite launch. Enoch piloted the Zephyr and Mack launched the weapon, destroying Insight but giving away their position. Just as the Chronicoms wanted.
Back at the Lighthouse, Coulson and May were surrounded. They were captured. Daisy and Sousa were taken by young Nathaniel. And Deke and Daisy were with the dead Malik and the mysterious envelope. Apparently, things have suddenly gotten serious. Very Serious.
The final scene has Nathaniel on the phone. He wants to get in contact with Daniel Whitehall. The man who had spent his life dissecting people to find a way to have everlasting life. He did this before to Daisy’s mother to restore his youth. Now Nathaniel wants to know how he did this…exactly. Doesn’t sound good for Daisy. Or for the rest of the team for that matter.
First off, the Graphic Design team have proven themselves “Steely Eyed Missile Men.” Another winning title screen. In fact, a whole opening montage. Nice work.
This was the episode that the drama has been cranked up a notch. While the previous four episodes have had their moments, this is the episode that reminds that playing with time has consequences. Serious Consequences.
Sousa Starts to understand Time
At first, Daniel Sousa seemed to be handling the whole time jumping situation well. He was neither stunned nor overwhelmed. But as things progressed, he began to realize how much had been changed already and how little the S.H.I.E.L.D. team had any control of it. That was the frustrating part. And few answers seemed to be coming.
Jemma is Struggling
Jemma has been the rock in the Time Storm. It was her responsibility to explain what was going on and why. But in this episode, some cracks in her perfect countenance appeared. She didn’t appear to recognize the Bobo nickname that Deke has always used in reference to Fitz. This was an immediate sign that something was wrong. The light that was showing on the back of her neck seemed problematic as well. Enoch seemed to know what was happening. Well that makes one of us.
Before Deke decided to either reestablish the status quo, or end it, Malik had offered Deke and Yo-Yo something. What was in that envelope that the Chronicoms thought that make such a difference? Yo-Yo seemed surprised by it. What other consequences will it reveal?
Mack makes another tough call in deciding to abort the bombing plan. And while they were able to destroy Project Insight, it came with a cost however. Their position is now known. Coulson and May have been taken prisoner as have Daisy and Sousa. Did he make the right call? I’m not sure who would be able to sacrifice their own parents to stop that launch. Will it come back to haunt him? We have 7 episodes left to see.
What did you think of “A Trout in the Milk?” Share your thoughts on the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with us at GeekVibesNation.
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.