Four episodes into its sixth season, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD finally caught up with Deke Shaw. How has Jemma and Fitz’s grandson been spending the past year, on his extended visit from the future?
In a prolonged cold open, we see Deke being quite the pistol-packing badass, skulking around gunmetal grey corridors to best and blast bad guys. The reward for his heroic efforts and witty quips? A door slides open and there’s a come-hither Daisy waiting to rush into his arms, after giving him a solid slap. But before their lips meet, most every viewer’s suspicion is confirmed: Deke is actually inside a bleeding-edge VR gaming system, which he — as the wunderkind of a startup tech firm — has dubbed “the Framework.”
That #TooSoon of a name is far from the only intellectual property Deke has approripated from S.H.I.E.L.D., as he left the team to venture out into Earth’s non-dystopian past. No, he’s been “brainstorm” gadgets aplenty, including gravity belts and shield-wielding prosthetic hands. He also has a “babe” at his side in the form of Sequoia, a boba-loving “influencer” played (quite amusingly) by series co-showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen.
Deke’s day of taste-testing mushroom pellets and other sorts of “disrupting” is interrupted by an unexpected visit, from whom he assumes to be a still-alive-and-well Phil Coulson. Playing along with the mistaken identity, Sarge — claiming he got a “memory wipe” — tries to pump Deke for intel on S.H.I.E.L.D. Deke fortunately is so jazzed to see his old friend, he instead lobs back Qs of his own, about May et al. But when “Coulson” gives generic answer after answer, a suspicious Deke sets a trap by asking about Agent “Doug,” and Sarge falls for it. Before Deke can slip away and do something with his discovery of the doppelgänger, Sarge pulls out a blade and prepares to dispatch with the non-belonger.
“You’re not from here and you shouldn’t be here, so I’ve got to take you and make you sing,” Sarge said. “I’ve been hunting your kind my entire life and let me tell you, there’s no use hiding in this world or the next. We’ll always find you.”
Having gotten wind of Fake Coulson’s storming of Deke’s company (Deke’s assistant, Trevor, is actually a planted S.H.I.E.L.D. agent), Mack and May zip over via Quinjet to intervene. While Deke helps Mack waylay Jaco by drawing him into the Framework, May squares off against Snow — though the ladies’ skirmish is cut short by Sarge training a gun at May’s head. Shortly after, we see May tied up inside Sarge’s 18-wheeler, staring down her captor, Fake Coulson.
Meanwhile back at the Lighthouse, Marcus was tasked with examining a man whom Sarge had stabbed (just as he later tried to do with Deke), resulting in spike-like obtrusions form his skin. Marcus discovered some sort of “accelerant” inside the man’s system — and then, much more alarming, some sort of “bird” parasite was living inside his chest cavity. Said bird got free and flew out, leading Yo-Yo and Keller on a hunt for it. Alas, in the course of chasing their prey, the “bird” flew inside Keller’s mouth! Yo-Yo rushed him to Marcus, with hopes of having it surgically excised, but that ;proved impossible for multiple reasons. Instead, the parasite started to take command of Keller — but just as it/he started to act out, Yo-Yo dashed for the dagger Sarge left inside the other man and drive it into her beau. Yo-Yo then broke down as Keller expired, and his body sprouted spike-like crystalline.
What did you think of Deke’s return, and Keller’s doomed fate?