Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: “Deals With Our Devils” Review
Warning, this review has so many spoilers for this week’s AOS episode. Why would you read it without watching the episode, man?
Ya know, I really hate when Agents of SHIELD goes on any kind of hiatus. Like this last little hiatus between episodes six and seven was a little under a month, but it still sucked. Ugh, and we haven’t even reached the mid-finale yet. That usually brings us a three month break between episodes. Not looking forward to that. What makes a hiatus even more frustrating is when a cliffhanger is involved, which is what happened with “The Good Samaritan”. Eli Marrow turned out to be the main bad guy who caused all his fellow scientists to turn into ghosts. Also, his machine worked and gave him powers to create matter. Robbie and Fitz were caught in the blast, leaving their existence uncertain – which, I completely overlooked and didn’t discuss in my last review. Apologies. To be honest, I didn’t fully understand what had happened in the ending of the previous episode. I was kind of shocked. So when I saw the episode again once my review had already been up, I realized I missed an opportunity to do some speculation and talk more about the possible demise of Coulson, Robbie, and Fitz.
Well, I guess none of that matters now because they’re fine, they live. Although Robbie’s life sure isn’t getting any easier. I knew damn well they were all alive, caught in some kind of parallel dimension or something. By the way, if this episode had any ties to Doctor Strange, I sadly wouldn’t know because at the time of me writing this… I still haven’t seen the damn movie (deep sigh).
So even though I had to wait almost a month for this new chapter of the SHIELD saga, I can happily say “Deals With Our Devils” was worth the wait. Emotions were high just as much as the stakes were. It was your typical race against time situation to get the boys home before their souls were dragged down to… well, Hell essentially. What gave this episode so much heart was seeing how the disappearance of the guys affected the rest of the team. Mack was willing to defy orders in order to track down the Chinese thief who was associated with Marrow so he could get a lead on his whereabouts. I loved that it was Daisy – the one member who was feeling the most hopeless at the beginning of the season – who held on to the most amount of hope, citing the miraculous occurrences that have taken place during the team’s history together. And May looked like she was on the verge of breaking down. It takes the impossible to make Agent May feel down. She definitely hinted on very strong feelings for Phil. She clearly has a deeper love for him that goes beyond him just being a fellow agent. The fact that she was willing to open and tamper with the Darkhold, even though everybody told her not to, speaks volumes on her affection for Phil. Thank goodness AIDA was the one who could read the book and build a gateway to bring the guys back. May’s words: “What are we waiting for?” Will now be echoing through my mind when I see those two together for now on.
The direction of this episode was brilliant, showing most scenes twice through the perspectives of the team in the real world and those in the other dimension. The emotional work done by the actors was terrific with the living side showing how much they wanted their teammates back, and the dying showing how much they needed to get back. Each side showed a deep sense of helplessness that they later turned into determination. This season started with the team being split up into sections. They didn’t seem as emotionally connected as they once were. With this incident, it’s clear their caring for one another is without question. This episode reminds us that while these characters have amazing abilities, they are humans with actual feelings, even if some of them often hide them.
When Fitz found out that Simmons was sent on a top secret mission with no idea where she might be, he had a dramatic outburst that undoubtedly tugged hard at the heartstrings. He looked like he was about to tear Mace a new one. Iain De Caestecker kicked ass with his performance here, giving Fitz an emotional field day. He is a man clearly in love and determined to keep his lady safe. This is what makes Fitz such a relatable character. He’s a man with a good heart who’s a lover and a fighter if he has to be.
I was really intrigued with Simmons being at the top secret lab where she was to study Senator Nadeer’s brother who was trapped in his Terrigenesis transformation. This subplot brought up many questions and few answers, but it’s Simmons’ approach to come off as more human than scientist to make the subject more comfortable that made the story work. It’s still not really clear why she was sent there since she was yanked away and sent back to SHIELD HQ, but at least we got to see her and Simmons embrace each other once they were reunited. Shippers of Fitz-Simmons, I think our babies are going to be okay.
In a spicy twist, we come to find out the Spirit of Vengeance can’t be tied down to Robbie. It needs to be in the body of someone able to carry it. In this case, it was transferred over to Mack who, while possessed, went after the Chinese gang who stole the energy boxes. Robbie and the Rider clearly have a conflict of interest. Robbie just wants to bring down his uncle, but the Rider has some of its own scores to settle. Robbie hasn’t ever been able to control the Rider, but now it may become increasingly difficult to do so. It has also affected Mack in a dangerous way, so his future is uncertain.
This was another exceptional episode. I’m knocking on wood because this season hasn’t missed the mark yet. The Ghost Rider story has been incredible. I admire that so far every episode has been well balanced, not taking on more than each episode can handle. Since the main focus was on getting Coulson, Robbie, and Fitz back to the living, there was only room for a taste of how dangerous and deadly Marrow’s new powers can be. The killing of the agents who tried to stop him was brutal. Crossing his path will be a scary challenge to our SHIELD agents.
The actors all brought their A game as usual. And even though the plot was more serious, dramatic and dark, Coulson still managed to spit out some rapid fire quips. It was great to see John Hannah again as Radcliffe after being absent for a few episodes. Also, great that AIDA could be of some more use, even though the Darkhold may have corrupted her wiring and she could pose a threat to the team. Watching Daisy drive Robbie’s car was a plus, especially with him as his ghostly self begging that she not hurt his “baby”. Daisy’s tussle with the Chinese gang was bad ass, obviously.
Again, I do not know what major tie-in this episode has to Doctor Strange, and I feel bad about that. Going to the movies is not cheap, guys. Movie Tickets aren’t always in my budget. Why do you think I review free TV shows? But with just judging the episode without prior knowledge to the film, I was intrigued and excited. Things are really heating up as we head towards the mid-finale coming next week. With Mack and Robbie having the bond of being touched by the Rider, their story should be pretty great moving forward. Aida’s programming obviously got a sinister upgrade with the Darkhold. Then there’s Eli with the power of a god. Yes, sir, there’s a lot of compelling drama happening.