Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Code Yellow - Review By Lisa Macklem (June 4, 2019, 2:45 pm)
Agents of SHIELD
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Code Yellow” was written by the team of Nora and Lilla Zuckerman and was directed by Mark Kolpack. Showrunner Maurissa Tancharoen guest stars as Sequoia – and she’s hilarious! We finally find out what happened to Deke (Jeff Ward) and we start to discover more about those alien bat/birds. Natalia Cordova-Buckley delivers a terrific performance as Yo-Yo once again loses her love. It’s becoming less clear – to me at least – whether Sarge (Clark Gregg) and his team are really the bad guys here.
We’re reminded in the flashbacks that Deke left because he considered himself a damaged person from a damaged world and didn’t want to be around if that happened again. What if this is how the world is destroyed to reset the timeline again? Is it possible that Sarge and his team are Chromicon hunters? It doesn’t seem too likely, however, as they seem to be way more emotionally evolved, especially considering that Tinker – and now Pax (Matt O’Leary) – seems to have had some kind of disenchantment or breakdown.
I thought the opening sequence of Deke in his new video game – based on the Framework! – was hilarious – especially the Daisy (Chloe Bennet) “love interest” at the end. She is NOT going to be happy about that at all! I also loved the music AND that he had Mack’s (Henry Simmons) axe-shotgun!
Deke is apparently running some form of Google/Apple etc. Deke is basing his company on things he’s stolen from S.H.I.E.L.D. and the future – like the mushroom pellets to end world hunger. I loved that his girlfriend, super-yuppie/hipster/influencer, is named after a tree: Sequoia – Tancharoen is terrific throughout, but I adored her Instagram final scene the most! It’s also hilarious when Sequoia tells Deke he’s a genius and asks where he comes up with this stuff – like the prosthetic hand with its own energy shield – because SHE’S the one who really does come up with this stuff! Well, her and the rest of the creative team behind the show!
A shout out to Shainu Bala (Trevor) who creates two totally different characters – one as Deke’s sidekick and the other as the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to protect Deke. I loved that his t-shirt is sporting a lemon – it’s yellow, for code yellow – yep, hidden in plain sight. It’s also a great gag on Apple. We do get a reminder of what Deke has been through when he recoils having anything on his left wrist – a reminder from being “tagged” in the future.
Keller (Lucas Bryant) tries to do the right thing and tell Mack about his relationship with Yo-Yo because it’s S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol. Mack stops him because he tells him he doesn’t want to have to break up teams that work well together. He tells Keller that you can’t let a relationship influence decisions made in the field – you can’t let a relationship make you second guess yourself or compromise yourself. It’s pretty clear that this is why Mack won’t go back to Yo-Yo – not just for himself but because he’s got to make decisions based on what’s best for everyone. Keller says that “theoretically” he’s not compromised…
Yo-Yo interrupts them – and there’s a nice little awkward moment. Yo-Yo has posited that the grid that appeared in the sky was some kind of map. They must be looking for something – otherwise they could just use GPS – but there’s still no clue what.
We find out in the very next scene that they are looking for people – in this case Harold Simcoe (Phil Abrams). They find him at the bus station, preparing to flee. He runs when he sees Pax and Jaco (Winston James Francis), but Sarge and Snowflake (Brooke Williams) are waiting for him. Sarge stabs him through – we think – the heart with a special knife of some kind. He immediately starts to sprout crystals of varying sizes all over his body. Did they remind anyone else of Terrigen Crystals?
Lindsay (Teodora Marcella) tells Deke there’s someone waiting in the conference room for him, and they all assume it’s the meeting they’ve been preparing for and the investor has come early. Deke is shocked when “Coulson” is waiting for him – it’s also hilarious that right behind him on the screens showcasing Deke’s company’s tech is a schematic of Coulson’s arm!
Sarge has his blue knife out and at the ready, but when Deke calls him Coulson, he puts it away. Clearly, he wants more information on who this Coulson is. I loved Deke trying to hide the fact that he’s stealing S.H.I.E.L.D. tech by saying it’s just for the game. I also loved how the show ridiculed tech companies for lip service to philanthropy by Deke telling “Coulson” that ½ of 1% of all their profits go to his foundation.
Deke starts to have misgivings about “Coulson” – who says some pretty un-Coulson-like things. At first he thinks that S.H.I.E.L.D. has simply wiped “Coulson’s” memory. When Deke mentions his “grandparents,” it’s clear – to anyone! – that “Coulson” thinks that they are old. Deke then asks about May and then asks about Agent Doug – who doesn’t exist – to catch him out. But Sarge knows what he’s up to and pulls out his blue knife. He tells Deke that Deke isn’t from there and shouldn’t be there so he has to make him “sing.” It’s clear at this point that Sarge doesn’t know who Deke is or his history, so unless hunter Chronicoms only get bits and pieces of information, it’s unlikely he is one. But it is clear that Sarge and company are hunting aliens. Deke drives what looks like a People’s Choice Award through Sarge’s hand – and remarks “Not Coulson” – like there’s any doubt left!
Back at the base, May (Ming-Na Wen) reports to Mack about the attack on Simcoe. They have Sarge and his team on CCTV video. I loved Mack calling him Coulson – because they have to call him something – and May putting her foot down that it’s not that!
Yo-Yo and Keller are called in to help with the autopsy. The two take a minute on the elevator to discuss what happened in Mack’s office. Yo-Yo didn’t know Keller was going to tell Mack – and she knows exactly what Mack said. Keller tells her that he got the sense that Mack isn’t over Yo-Yo. Keller proves his a good guy by telling her, insisting that she should know how Mack feels. But then he insists – quite adorably – that he’ll fight for Yo-Yo – emotionally anyway! Mack’s gigantic remember! And we had to know right there that Keller was in trouble.
Benson (Barry Shabaka Henley) shows them the body and tells them it’s another first for him. Keller points out that Simcoe had bought a ticket to Sault City which is the convergence point of three ley lines. Mack tells Benson, Yo-Yo, and Keller to do the autopsy while he and May go to find Not-Coulson.
Meanwhile, back at Deke’s, he tries to get away from Not-Coulson and runs right into Jaco who kills the security guard. Pax is also there, and the employees start to flee in a panic. Jaco tells Sarge that Deke isn’t from “this” world, but his signature isn’t like the others. Sarge remarks that it’s strange, and Jaco philosophically remarks that “if you consider the infinite complexity of nature, maybe strange IS the norm…” Pax doesn’t care, he’s still a target. Sarge points out that he’s a talker, so they are going to cut him slow and make him bleed – why? For information on the other aliens?
Benson remarks again that this is the strangest autopsy he’s performed – since the last one with the guy in the wall. Keller finds out that Simcoe simply up and abandoned his life a week ago. When Keller and Benson open the chest cavity, they find a creature stabbed within it! People seem to be calling it a bird – but it looks distinctly bat-like to me – weigh in in the comments – bat or bird? Or take the poll!
Benson continues with the autopsy, finding a neurotoxin in the body. He tells them it turns the host into a self-destructive zombie! They are being piloted by an alien that’s taken residence inside. Did anyone else flashback to Men In Black here? Also? Who didn’t know that pulling the knife out would be a very bad thing??? And instead of jumping back when it reanimates, how about stabbing it again?
Deke makes good use of his Apple/Google watch to fake out Sarge. Trevor finally reveals himself as Agent Khan of S.H.I.E.L.D. and tells Deke that he’s called for extraction. Deke can’t believe that Trevor has been watching him, but Trevor points out that there was no way that they were going to let Deke just rip off all their tech! Deke is most anxious to know that Trevor wasn’t just letting him win in Remorath Rumble – but of course he was! Naturally, it’s Mack and May that turn up.
Mack and May mainly ignore Deke, who is upset that he’s Code Yellow – which is perfect for the lemon… and he’s generally less than brave actions! Once they learn Not-Coulson is there, Mack turns it into an assault from an extraction. Mack takes a minute to tell Deke to stay put – he’ll be safe on the jet – and you knew right then he wouldn’t. May also takes a moment to say “Congratulations. You didn’t get yourself killed” – which is as close as she’ll ever come to saying nice to see you! It’s clear that Deke has no idea about Fitz, Simmons, or Daisy – who he wistfully asks if she’s coming…
Naturally, the alien bat/bird ends up inside Keller. He tells Yo-Yo and Benson to do whatever they have to so that he doesn’t end up like Simcoe. The bat/bird quickly attaches itself to Keller’s vascular system. Benson’s never attempted anything like unattaching it, and neither has anyone else, but regardless, there’s no time to get Keller to a hospital. Yo-Yo tries to reassure Keller, but as soon as Benson gives him a sedative, he flatlines, and it’s clear the bat/bird has taken control. Benson is flabbergasted when Yo-Yo ties Keller up – but there’s no time for explanations.
May and Mack go in, and May is clearly disgusted at what Deke’s been up to. Mack says they shouldn’t have let it get that far. May asks if he knows about Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), and Mack says it’s not his call – I suppose he means it would be Simmons’ (Elizabeth Henstridge) call?
May goes after Snowflake and we get a spectacular fight between the two. It’s beautifully shot with lots of silhouettes. I also loved Snowflake remarking that May doesn’t like guns either – and we get her signature “I never needed them.” Snowflake says “boys and their toys” – even while twirling her knife. She does like toys after all… May is winning, when Sarge shows up with a “toy” and puts an end to the fight.
Meanwhile, Sequoia comes back through the backdoor with the Bobo tea. She finally realizes something is going on and Deke goes to save her. He finds her hiding in the bathroom. I loved Sequoia – who is social-media-obsessed-self-absorbed getting angry because Deke is making it “all about him” – instead of all about her when he tries to explain what’s going on! Really, they totally nail social media influencers here! She’s going to take the tea with her until Deke convinces her to leave it – and she doesn’t even think to take her purse!
Mack is not happy when he sees all the tech that Deke has in the boardroom – I love Mack’s face of disgust! And the fact that he does comedy, drama, and action equally well. Even Deke is disgusted when Sequoia is posting their escape. Pax manages to cut Deke before Mack shows up. Mack and Pax fight, and Mack has knocked Pax out when Deke steps up with the icer Mack gave him to protect Sequoia and unloads it into Pax. And Sequoia finally seems to connect with reality! Trevor also shows up. And suddenly Sequoia is distracted.
Then Jaco shows up – and naturally Deke’s gun is now empty. Deke tells Trevor to take Sequoia, and he grabs Mack saying he’s got a plan. I loved that he lured Jaco into the game room and into the framework! Once again, Chloe Bennet is hilarious as framework Daisy. The look on Mack’s face when he sees Daisy is hilarious! Mack is utterly disgusted – and Deke offers him 2% of the entire company if Mack keeps it between them!
Snowflake is all ready to make a butterfly out of May, but Sarge tells her no! May wants to know what he wants if he’s not going to kill her.
Benson tries to operate, but Keller is burning up. He doesn’t know what’s going to happen when the accelerant the alien is pumping into him reaches a higher temperature. He could take out the entire base! They try to get Keller into isolation, but he manages to get off the gurney and onto his feet before they can. Then he turned into something that looked like it was from The Thing. I knew there was no saving him as soon as his arm disintegrated into a giant crystal – clearly, those bird/bats in the video were coming out of that world as they finished breaking it apart.
More spikes continue coming out of Keller. Benson tells Yo-Yo to run as far away as she can, but she only runs for the knife. She comes back and uses it to kill the bat/bird and with it, Keller – who seems to have a moment of recognition. It’s clear though that there was no saving him at that point.
Meanwhile, Snowflake drives the truck as she and Sarge make their getaway – leaving Jaco and Pax behind! They’ve taken May prisoner!
The final scene is Sequoia’s Instagram post of her day – and it’s hilarious! I loved her fluffing her hair as she says she’s under attack, her #asianpride at drinking Americanized bubble tea, the dreamy poll she has for Deke, her latching on the Trevor as her hero, the transformation we see in Trevor from his lemon t-shirt to the final shot of him showing off his arms in the cut off t-shirt, and finally, Deke and Mack seriously arguing in the back of one shot!
It looks like Sarge and company are not what we thought at all. They don’t appear to be the threat – the bat/birds are. I was sad to see Keller go, but of course, we want Mack and Yo-Yo back together, right? What does Sarge want with May? Information about S.H.I.E.L.D.? Earth? Coulson? We can be sure that she’s not going to tell him anything that she doesn’t want to. I can’t wait to find out! What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!