“Thank you, Agent McBride; I’ve attended a number of seminars.”

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…
No, that’s not a time loop you’re stuck in; it’s just this show is humming along, now. My kid asked me over breakfast this morning how SHIELD was and I was so full of enthusiasm he asked me how many cups of coffee I had had, already. It’s hard to sum up all the Pheels I got from this episode; the drum-tight structure of the teleplay, the references and callbacks to earlier episodes and theatrical events, Zeke almost but not-quite telling Sousa he was ripped out of time too and Exhibit A is that hottie over there is his grandmother. I mean, he didn’t say it, but I heard it.
Of course I loved this episode, child of the Seventies that I am, down to the Charlie’s Angel titles and the Quinn Martin Production voiceovers. The blue uniforms with the white holsters were an awesome nod, and Enoch being a bitter 70s action hero with catchphrases and Consumer Report knowledge was just finest-kind. Bruce Banner and Victoria Hand showing up on-screen as targets and Nick Fury and Peggy Carter shouted-out in dialogue as rabble-rousers to be eliminated was just delicious.
But this “Wicked Witch of the East” thing, and this “Well, that’s a trout in the milk” thing isn’t getting any less subtle. Dipping the cow-squeezin’s into the stream to water down the bucket of milk seems to have much more impact for those paying attention than you see at first blush. It’s pretty clear now that Coulson dying under the hand of Loki and Coulson dying after making a pact with the ghost Rider and Coulson being an LMD falls under the ol’ science fiction adage “all stories are true.” The “how” of it isn’t going to end up mattering as much as the “that” of it, and that’s going to be OK, I think, when this all wraps up. I gotta feeling we’re going to find out that all these timelines are all the “real” timelines, and we’re going to get some kind of high-tech Tommy Westphall Marvel-branded snowglobe at the end of this.
Project: Insight without helicarriers, forty years before Coulson and the TV team got the original helicarrier out of mothballs to help movie Fury evacuate Slovokia? SHIELD itself is simultaneously secret and global and respected and disgraced? If Hydra gains power earlier and missiles and lasers and I guess Winter Soldier doesn’t happen the way it did where Season One tied directly in and “it’s all connected” but it obviously isn’t because like Winter Soldier dropped a bomb in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show, the show has blown up the film and the chip in the back of Simmons’ neck wasn’t impacted by the EMP a couple episodes ago and obviously that’s Fitz’ katra or whatever everyone is going to be dead and gone and erased at the end of this show, aren’t they? I mean, whatever “setting right what once went wrong” means in the various multiverses of entertainment, now.
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