With two episodes complete, the Zephyr time bus had checked out of the depot. 1931 is a distant memory as the S.H.I.E.L.D. team now finds itself in 1955 near Area 51. Another opportunity to foil the Chronicoms in their attempt to prevent S.H.I.E.L.D. from forming. Meanwhile, May is having difficulties as is Yo-Yo and Enoch was left in 1931. Not that it should be an issue, he is a Chronicom after all. So let’s see what’s next in Alien Commies from the Future.
Making Out in the Desert
The episode starts on cool desert evening in Nevada. A couple of kids are camped out in the back of the young man’s truck watching the stars. He was expecting to see UFO’s. She was expecting something else. But just when she thought she might get what SHE wanted, he got what HE wanted. At least he thought so. The Zephyr had made its time jump and materialized right over the couple’s truck. Welcome to Groom Lake Nevada.
Happens all the Time
As might be expected, the sudden time excursion has left the team trying to get their bearings and decipher where the Chronicoms have lead them. So far all they know is they are in the desert. The year in question is confirmed when one of their handheld radios picked up a local Radio Station. It extolled the virtues of a 55 Thunderbird (It was a sweet looking car). Meanwhile, Coulson has pinned down their location. They are in Nevada, near Area 51. So not the first time an alien looking vehicle has appeared there.
Straightening things Out
As they are working this problem, Mack takes the time to set Daisy straight about exceeding her authority. This was expected from the previous episode. At least I was pretty sure it would be addressed. Mack runs a tight ship. He firmly believes S.H.I.E.L.D.’s primary function is to SAVE lives, not take them.
He made it clear (as I knew he would) that as Director, it was his call to make as far as any decisions about possibly killing anyone. While he understood her reasoning, it was not her place to make that decision. He also told Deke that while he was not “officially” an agent, while he was there, he would act like one. This meant following Mack’s orders as well. Both Daisy and Deke acknowledged this.
Working the Draft
Jemma then explained that the Zephyr was basically drafting off the Chronicoms. Following them wherever they went. Deke (who obviously has been watching some TV) said it was like Days of Thunder and he would explain it later. (Thanks Deke!) So Mack acknowledges that this puts them constantly behind. Because of this, they would need to recover fast and take the Offensive.
Coulson informs them that Area 51 was, in fact a S.H.I.E.L.D. base. All areas were. Daisy acknowledged this by saying that “Wow. Conspiracy her was so right!” Thinking back to the beginning when she was an information hacker. Sharing secrets to all who would listen.
Coulson continued that Area 51 was working on a project called Helius. Jemma remembered this and told them that it was supposed to be an ion fusion reactor but it ended up not working. The project was mothballed soon after. But Deke tells them that this same kind of reactor powered the big weapons in his time. Just the kind of thing the Chronicoms might be after. They would need to get to Helius first.
Flying Rocket Diner
We next see the team at the Flying Rocket Diner. A classic 50’s Hamburger, Fries, and Malt Shop. Coulson and Daisy are in appropriate 50’s attire as is Mack and Yo-Yo. They are sitting in booths talking while they are waiting for someone. Mack and Yo-Yo are discussing her problems using her powers while Coulson and Daisy are discussing May. He still finds it strange how she didn’t react more strongly to seeing him. He expected more.
Changing the subject, Coulson was trying extol the virtues of the time they found themselves in. Although when seeing the colored only bathrooms, he acknowledged they had a long way to go. (We still do). Just then, the man they were waiting for had arrived. Gerald Sharpe, Department of Defense. He came in full of bluster about wanting a cup of coffee and then some creamer. Daisy spiked her Creamer with something before bringing hers to him. After some comment about the service and before he knew it, he was on the Zephyr. He was tied up inside a makeshift tent. Deke had described him as a bureaucratic pencil pusher. and the team thought he would easily break.But would he?
Agent Jemma Carter
Meanwhile, May is up. She walks over to the Mack and he tells her that she was supposed to be resting. She considered this momentarily and then asked what year were they in. Mack told her it was 1955 and they were trying to stop the Chronicoms. May then asked when they were going in [to the field]. He explained that Coulson and Jemma were already out. Daisy told her that Coulson had assumed the identity of Gerald Sharpe, the man in the tent. Jemma was portraying Peggy Carter…and she was LOVING IT!
Birthing the Future
Sharpe and Carter are lead into S.H.I.E.L.D.’s main research lab. Their tour guide Dr. Vega tells them that he likes to think of their lab like a womb. Because they are birthing the future. Making advancements in Jet propulsion, space travel, and their number one goal, beating the Russians. Jemma was mesmerized, saying how much she had wanted to see the facility.
Give me an Hour
Before she could continue, she noticed a rather large looking watch. It was a communicator watch. Coulson was probably pondering if it would hurt if he just pocketed a few of these historical S.H.I.E.L.D. gadgets. The original Coulson loved them so. Next he showed them the very first prototype of an EMP [electro magnetic pulse discharger]. Fitz would have enjoyed seeing it. Jemma remarked to Coulson that if they gave her an hour she could save them decades of research. Ahh to dream.
I thought it would be Bigger
He next shows Coulson and Jemma what they came to see…sort of: Helius. It was a small looking machine on a table. Coulson remarked that he thought it would be bigger. It was explained that this was just a 1/20th size model. (A missed opportunity there that we’ll discuss later). The actual device was in the testing field. He explained that an Ion Fusion Reactor was one of Rocket Sciences Holy Grails.
Now that Jemma and Coulson knows where the device is, they needed to know where the Chronicoms were. They would need to interview anyone who had just arrived on the base. Fairly routine they explained. Vega worries that “Sharpe and Carter” knew more than they were telling him. Coulson agreed as he used his glasses to take a picture of him.
I’m an American
Back in the Zephyr, Mack and Yo-Yo are trying to break the real Gerald Sharpe. At first he appeared to be weak but he was not. He in fact, wrote the field manual on interrogation methods. Great! He scoffs at their attempts. “He is an American and he would never break for Bush League Commie Scum like them.” But he wasn’t done. Between bragging about American dominance and unparalleled excellence, he was ragging on Yo-Yo’s heritage as well calling her Mamacita and Mack Yo-Yo’s “Boy.” “Did he just call me, Boy?” After the first three episodes, Mack has shown great restraint in not beating some folks down.
John Wayne Overrated?
Meanwhile, Jemma and Coulson must try to identify the Chronicoms at the base. But doing so will not be easy. They decide the best way is by process of elimination. Identify the humans by eliciting an emotional response from them. This is one of the best scenes of the early season as they interview the newly arrived scientists.
Jemma asks one how many fingers she is holding up and declares the man is wrong before he can even answer. Scientist HATE that. Coulson pondered to the next man: “John Wayne…Bit overrated, don’t you think? I mean, I get it you’re rugged, you ride a horse. Who cares?” The man looks incredulously at Coulson. “Who cares? Who CARES about John Wayne? America Cares!” Jemma then asks a man about whether he ever made a sacrifice for the woman he loves? He breaks down in tears, much to Coulson’s chagrin. He’s very sensitive to people’s feelings, apparently. At least until he decides to ask a man how he feels about the word “Moist.” He repeats it over and over again until the man asks him to stop. No Chronicoms there.
But they still need to clear the VIP’s that had arrived on a bus. Coulson goes to do that as Jemma continues her questions. However, the bus isn’t the only new arrival. Agent Daniel Sousa has arrived. He was Agent Carter’s partner in the old SSR and in S.H.I.E.L.D. (See Marvel’s Agent Carter). The MP tells Sousa that Sharpe is already at the facility and he brought a S.H.I.E.L.D. dame along…name of Carter.
Not the Same Man
Back at the Zephyr, Deke and Daisy are pouring over the old SSR/S.H.I.E.L.D. records. Deke mentions Mack’s dressing down of Daisy and the her asking him to kill Freddy. She tells him that it is part of being an agent. He agrees, but so is taking that order from his commander, not from her. He then mentioned that Freddy was just a kid. She tells him that Wilfred Malick does a lot of horrible things as does his son. One death might have prevented it. But Deke reminds her that HE would have been responsible. And while the old Deke might have been less troubled by that, he is now. He is not the same man, nor does he want to be. This is when Daisy notices the personnel file of Daniel Sousa and his relationship with the REAL Peggy Carter. Coulson and Jemma’s covers are in danger.
Will the REAL Peggy Carter stand up?
At the Base, Agent Sousa is expecting to see Peggy Carter. He even takes the time to check his hair before going where she is reported to be. But as she turns to meet him, he knows it’s not her. He plays it cool however. Telling her it’s nice to place a face with the name. Jemma smiles, not realizing who is is. He then tells her how much an honor it is to meet the famous Agent Carter. Although he wonders why she would be in his “neck of the woods.” Jemma wonders the same about him, asking where he came from. He tells her came from LA and the old SSR office and that he is the head of it. Jemma quickly realizes who he is and that the jig is up. She inquires if she’s under arrest. He acknowledges the question saying she had it all figured out.
Do you “Like Ike?”
On the Bus, Coulson is questioning the occupants with deep questions like, “Yeah, I know we ALL like Ike [Dwight Eisenhower], but do you LOVE him? “Of course I love him” comes the response. The next man he queries,”Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper?” “Van Johnson“ is the response. “Seriously??” He then questions an older woman about an upside down turtle in the sun. She breaks down in tears. Again, Coulson is uncomfortable with the crying. He is even more uncomfortable when Agent Sousa enters the bus and tells the MP’s to arrest him. Well, after he looks upon him in admiration. “Agent Sousa! Wow! Big Fan.” As he takes a picture with his camera glasses.
Stupid White Privilege
The picture is immediately sent to the Zephyr as Deke is compiling a list of all who are at the base. Most of them were early “Power Players” at S.H.I.E.L.D. As they talked, May and Yo-Yo returned from talking to Mr. Sharpe. It went about the same as before. “He called me an Oriental,” she exclaimed. Yo-Yo told Mack she had to pull her out. They tried to decide what next to try. But the answer was before them. Deke looked nervous as all three stared at him. “What? You want ME to talk to him? I’m not an agent. Why should he talk to me?” Mack paused for a moment as said, “ Are you going to make us say it?” Deke also contemplated and then queried…”Is it because of this?“ (Indicating his face) “Fine, I’ll talk to him. Stupid white privilege.”
My Initials are C.I. and A.
Back at the base, Daniel Sousa is wanting answers. He wanted to see any video recorded, and talk to anyone they talked to. How did two people infiltrate a secret S.H.I.E.L.D base so easily? And speaking of easy…he goes into his office and a young lady is sitting at his desk. He indicates his name on the door and wants to know who she is. She tells him that he doesn’t need to know because she doesn’t exist and they never met. Meanwhile, could he please close the door.
By now, Agent Sousa, who has had a bad day, asks her to produce some identification or he would put her in handcuffs. She shows him her ID but she explains the name is fake but her initials are C, I, and A. He looks at the ID and then picks up the phone and tells her he will need to call to verify her story. She explains that he is most welcome to, but then she will need to explain how he let two strangers infiltrate his secret base under his watch. She then surmised that they came in with flawless ID cards, and went straight to talking to the Scientists with a “few questions?” He looked at her and hung up the phone pondering how she knew that. “We’re the CIA,” Daisy told him. “We know all.” She then tells him what she knows about his history and he inquires why she is REALLY here? Did she come about the report he filed about the possible infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D? Daisy neither confirmed or denied but told him that the two people he was holding might prove he isn’t crazy.
I would have to be a Moron!
It’s now Deke’s turn with Sharpe. He comes in, just as Sharpe has been trying to free himself. Deke starts clapping slowly. As he walks around him, he tells Sharpe that he has cost him money. He had bet that Sharpe would have broken by now. But he is impressed and he apologized for the theatrics. Sharpe inquires if this had been a test. Yes, replies Deke…and you passed with flying colors. Sharpe said he was glad to finally meet the man in charge. With some seeming momentum, Deke asked him about whether Helius was secure. Sharpe considered him for a moment and then told him that before he could tell him anything, he would have to be a MORON! Deke tried to recover but he was told that Helius didn’t work. Sharpe explained that as he threw out Russian names for him. That’s right, IVAN! Run back and tell the Euros. As Deke left, Sharpe went back to work on his bonds.
Deke reports back to Mack that Sharpe gave him something. Of course he did, groaned Yo-Yo. The Helius device doesn’t work. Sharpe thinks it is because the scientists can’t generate enough power. But Deke says he is wrong. In the same way that Enoch used himself to power the Monolith’s back in Season 5, a Chronicom could do the same to the Helius. The ensuing blast could take out half of the installation, taking most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. braintrust with it. They had to identify the Chronicoms and stop them.
Flushing out the Chronicoms
May and Yo-Yo have infiltrated the base. For a secure S.H.I.E.L.D. installation, more people come here than visitors to that supposedly deserted Isle called Gilligan’s Island. They are dressed as pilots. Considering the sexist attitudes they have encountered, Yo-Yo asks May why female pilots wouldn’t be questioned. She explains that female pilots in the 40’s and 50’s outflew the men. They were the best because they had to be. The female pilots were being used to tow the targets for target practice. Just then they arrived at the door to the lab, donned gas masks and threw two gas canisters in. Trying to flush out the Chronicoms.
A Jerk of the Highest Order
Meanwhile, Agent Sousa was escorting Daisy to his two prisoners. He explained that he should have known Sharpe had to be an imposter. Everyone there described him as nice. He had been told that Sharpe was considered a “jerk of the highest order.” And the person imitating Peggy? “Worst fake accent you have ever heard.” Amused, Daisy told him, “You should tell her that.”
He arrived at their cell and opened it. Daisy asked to speak with the prisoners alone. He quickly told her that, with all due respect to her department, that would not happen. She either talked to them WITH him or not at all. Just then, an alarm sounded. That will happen when gas is being introduced into your research lab. With the confusion, Coulson shoves Agent Sousa into their now vacant cell and closes the door. He apologizes telling him he is a huge fan. Jemma affirms that while Daisy tells him through the door as they leave that they really are the good guys.
Do I LOOK like I want to discuss it?
Back in the lab, May and Yo-Yo are herding the coughing scientists from the lab, still looking for the Chronicom. During the confusion, a woman is standing next to a console. She uses some energy tendrils extending from her finger to infiltrate the system. They have found their Chronicom. However, during the Lab personnel’s rush to exit the building, May is being jostled by them. It appears to trigger the memories of her being grabbed by the beings in the spirit world. She suffers an anxiety attack and collapses to the floor, trying to control her fear.
Yo-Yo spots the Chronicom and she attempts to go after her. But, just as before, she cannot seem to move. The female looking Chronicom climbs the stairs and escapes. Yo-Yo assists May from the lab. She asks May what is wrong. As May tries to recover, she tells Yo-Yo she is not sure what is wrong. But, she has never experienced anything like it. When Yo-Yo probes further, May tells her, “Do I LOOK like I want to discuss it now?!” She then asks Yo-Yo why she didn’t go after the Chronicom. She tells May she just couldn’t. When asked why, she looks at May and also says, “Do I LOOK like I want to discuss it now?!” They chase after the now departed Chronicom.
What a kind of Commies are you?
At the test site, the Helius device has been activated thanks to the Chronicom. The ground at the site shudders as it springs to life. Back on the Zephyr, Deke tells Mack that the Helius is now active and they need to evacuate the area. Just then, the Houdini like Sharpe walks into the Zephyr’s Command center, having chewed through his ropes. He gapes in amazement and asks “What kind of Commies are you?” Mack tells him to just calm down and he can explain. His explanation is a sock to the jaw, knocking him unconscious. He could have explained, but he’d rather not.
The Chronicoms initiate their plan
At the base, Jemma and Coulson find Dr. Vega and he tells them that the Helius device is active and can’t be shut down. But he hasn’t entered any of the necessary variables. Coulson tells Vega to get all their visitors on the bus and drive away. Meanwhile, May and Yo-Yo run up, just as the Chronicom drives away in a Jeep. Daisy asked the women if they had located the Chronicom. They jumped in a vehicle to pursue her, with May telling Daisy that they are working on it. The Chronicom arrives at the test site, shooting the two MP’s guarding it. She then pulls the power cable and plugs it into her chest. She intends to blow the device taking herself along with it.
May and Yo-Yo arrive at the site. They check on the two MP’s who were dead. Seeing the Chronicom, May engages with it while Yo-Yo attempts to pull a plug. At the base, Jemma, Coulson, and Daisy are trying to find a way to stop the Helius from there. Jemma spies the EMP device and decides to make it work, but with more range. She asks Daisy to find her some tools. They then notice a lone tab assistant still there. Daisy asks him to leave but he attacks her. They have found a second Chronicom. Coulson engages with him, knocking him into the hallway and away from Jemma and Daisy. “He‘s alarmingly strong,” comments Daisy. Jemma remarks, “I keep forgetting.”
The Battle Rages
At the site, May is trying to fight the Chronicom but is struggling. Noticing what Yo-Yo is trying to do, it engages Yo-Yo but not before she pulls the plug. The Chronicom wraps the cable around Yo-Yao’s neck while still trying to plug it back in. May is trying to free her with no results. Meanwhile, Coulson and the Chronicom are fighting a fierce back and forth battle. Agent Sousa, who had somehow freed himself, comes up the combatants and asks them to stop. He hits the Chronicom with his walking cane with no effect. He makes another attempt but it grabs his cane and pins him to the wall with his hand around Sousa’s throat.
The battle had given Jemma enough time to repair the EMP and activate it. The discharge shut down both as well as the Helius and unfortunately, the Coulson LMD. Both Yo-Yo and Sousa were let go when the Chronicoms shut down. Just as before, when their mission failed, both Chronicoms self-destructed, melting into a slag on the floor. Sousa examined the melted remains, not knowing what happened. He then turned Coulson over as the camera closed in on his eye as signs of powering back up were being triggered.
You will be…Probed.
With the Chronicoms thwarted once again, Mack had one more problem to solve: Sharpe. They decided to let Area 51 and the time they were in work for them to preserve the timeline. They left the unconscious Sharpe outside and hovered over him in the QuinJet. When he awoke, Mack used the speaker system of the ship to talk to him. “Earthling. You will not reveal anything that has happened to you this day. If you do, the next time we abduct you, you will be…probed.” Mack said this with no small amount of distaste and disdain. Deke smiled at the exchange as they departed. The episode ends with Sharpe crawling into the Diner, asking for help. Aliens had abducted him. “I think they were Communists…from the Future!” The waitress looked at him like this was not an uncommon occurrence. “We’ve got a live one, here,” she exclaimed.
The whole time jump scenario being used by this season has yielded some great moments, even in the early episodes. In addition, as per usual, the Title Card game of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is strong. With this episode’s Title Card giving a nice Roger Corman theme to the festivities. I look forward to seeing what their graphic department has up it’s sleeve for each jump in time.
Another strong episode with Clark Gregg making the most of his great interview questions to the staff. Who knew the word “Moist” could illicit such discomfort in a person? His thoughts on John Wayne however might get him beat up in my world. Also big Kudos to Michael Gaston as Gerald Sharpe. He portrayed the chauvinist Government man to perfection. He probably had a whole line of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents besides Mack who wanted to deck him. Good to see Enver Gjokaj once again as Daniel Sousa. If you haven’t checked out Agent Carter, you should. It’s on Disney+.
I had mentioned that an opportunity was missed when they were looking at the model of the Helius. Since it WAS 1955, it might have been funny had Dr. Vega apologized to Jemma and Coulson for the “crudity of this model. I didn’t have time to build it to scale or to paint it.” Coulson could have responded, “It’s great, Doc.” Just a thought since Coulson is a pop culture reference waiting to happen.
So another Chronicom plan has been defused, but they will not stop. May’s situation has been clarified a little but no where near solved. Yo-Yo is still unable to run and it is frustrating her and probably the team. Still no Fitz and Enoch was not required for this episode but his role is still not over I would wager. Also, judging from the scenes from next weeks episode, our friend Daniel Sousa will still be front and center. Perhaps we’ll get a look at the REAL Agent Carter. Not that Jemma didn’t look good in the role. Horrible “fake British Accent” not withstanding.
So we will reconvene next week with Episode 4: Out of the Past. If you have any thoughts about Alien Commies from the Future or any previous episode. Please share it here at Geek Vibes Nation. As Mr. Rogers would tell you, “Sharing is Caring.“🖖🏻
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.