“It always gets better; just never fast enough.”

Yowza, if this was Season Two of the show instead of Season Seven, I don’t think I would have ever had a cross thing to say about things. Cascading through SHIELD history with a revived Sousa and a reluctant Enoch taking the long way there is borderline genius…

…as is giving an in-story reason to genre-switch to black-and-white this episode and do a full-on noir story: Coulson’s exposure to the EMP last episode frizzed his optic sensors to bleach color out and activated an interval monologue that reads like a detective’s voice-over.

So many things to love about this episode: the McCloud Railway subbing for the fictional “Mojave-Central Railroad,” giving us extended noir scenes on a period-appropriate train; Enoch’s slow descent into sad resignation as he realizes no one on the team has a full understanding of toll the years have taken on his wait, to the point when Zeke calls and is genuinely enthused to hear his voice, Enoch patched him to the Zephyr with only a curt acknowledgement. Playing the world- (and time- !) weary bartender was a missed bet, though, in that they only gave Enoch a sad drunk to listen to and not an unsaid member of the Marvel Universe. That same story might have played well with a forgotten Howler, for example.

Yes, Sousa says “Wicked Witch of the East” and Coulson corrects him. Is that a covert mention of a Hydra infiltration? Does Sousa just not really care? He was 22 in 1939 when the movie came out, The SHIELD team came in 1931… no, they didn’t change the timestream because Wizard of Oz was written in 1900, three decades before they came back. I don’t know what that was, but it was something.

And speaking of Sousa, surely he should have noticed future SHIELD eagle logos all over everything sooner than he did? Even if they had restricted his movements aboard the Zephyr, which they surely did, there is a giant one dead in the middle of the cargo bay.

I find I don’t care where or when Fitz is, because it’s obvious it’s going to be revealed he was there all along like the old man at the end of The Final Countdown. I don’t care why Yo-yo has lost her powers or why May has lost her humanity and only leeches it from others, because I hated there were “powers” in a super-spy show in the first place. Just give me more bouncing along the time stream, interacting with folks who had brief mentions or appearances, like Patrick Warburton showing up again as Rick Stoner, and whole sets of SHIELD agents in the blue suits and white belts of the Seventies Marvel comics.

I’m going to miss this show when it’s gone.

 

 

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