The latest episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD season 6, "Toldja," was light on answers - but it did drop some major clues about the nature of the Shrike. SHIELD is gradually putting the pieces together, and in episode 7 they began to take the initiative. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that Mack and his SHIELD team are still out of their depth.
In theory, this really ought to be the stage where Agents of SHIELD starts offering answers; after all, SHIELD has successfully captured Sarge and his murderous band. In reality, Sarge is pretty uncooperative, and as a result the only new information he offers is more by accident than intent. The truly interesting thing is that he clearly has no idea what his connection is to Phil Coulson either, as demonstrated when Mack faced him with a holographic image of the deceased SHIELD director. Meanwhile, out in space, Fitz and Simmons continue to work to find their way back to Earth - and presumably this part of their trip is somehow tied in to season 7's main story as well.
Agents of SHIELD season 6 is only 13 episodes in length, which means we're now over halfway through. Given that's the case, let's explore all the main developments in season 6, episode 7, "Toldja."
8. What Did We Learn About The Shrike?
Sarge may be a prisoner, but he's determined to establish a power dynamic where he's in charge. As a result, he's less than forthcoming about the Shrike, preferring to risk the Earth being destroyed to becoming nothing more than a SHIELD asset. For all that's the case, though, "Toldja" does reveal two new details about the alien invaders. The first is that the Shrike feed on life, and that their exothermic reaction - which has the power to ravage entire planets when amplified at a ley line - is designed to convert said life into "fertilizer." The second is that the Shrike apparently don't like cold.
7. How Powerful Is The Shrike's Exothermic Reaction?
SHIELD successfully capture two Shrike hosts, and unwisely put them together in the same containment unit. They then initiate their exothermic reaction, and it's easily powerful enough to break through the walls of the containment unit and potentially bring the Zephyr down. This is pretty impressive, given SHIELD's containment units have seldom failed them before. Back in season 3, this tech was even capable of holding Inhumans as powerful as Hive prisoner; in season 4, a containment unit gave Aida more trouble than it gave two Shrike. These aliens are easily the most dangerous threat SHIELD has ever faced.
6. Why Does Cold Prevent The Shrike Reaction?
Mack is forced to turn to Sarge for advice in order to save the Zephyr and all aboard her. Sarge strikes a deal to free himself and his team, and in return reveals that the Shrike are vulnerable to cold. This makes sense; in "Code Yellow," Dr Benson claimed that the Shrike trigger what he described as an exothermic reaction. This kind of reaction can only be sustained if it is able to feed on an energy source.
5. Is the Shrike's Creator One Of An Alien Race?
Sarge continues to insist that the Shrike's creator is coming, and refuses to spill the beans on just who this is. He does, however, repeat the point he made in "The Other Thing," that this mysterious force is like a god to SHIELD. "I've seen gods up close," he stresses to Mack, "and I think you're gonna get that opportunity too." This sentence may actually be quite important, in that it suggests Sarge has confronted beings equal in power to the Shrike's creator before. Perhaps the creator is one of a race of powerful aliens, and Sarge has been battling them across the universe.
4. What Is Jaco?
An earlier episode, "Window of Opportunity," had revealed that Sarge has been traveling from world to world, and that he'd picked up members of his team on any planet he passed through. Jaco had been confirmed to be non-human, occasionally using a respirator because he hadn't breathed his "home atmosphere" for months. "Toldja" revealed more about this alien, who reveals that he's the only survivor of his family, who were presumably wiped out by the Shrike.
Jaco spends much of "Toldja" apparently suffering from a respiratory problem but refusing treatment. In reality, it turns out he was somehow willing a chemical reaction to take place in his body that allows him to breathe fire. It doesn't help him escape, though, because by now SHIELD has been reinforced by Quake. Daisy neutralizes Jaco with one shot.
3. Why Didn't SHIELD Tell Deke About Fitz?
Mack may have cause to regret Daisy's return, when she unwittingly reveals Fitz's paradoxical death to Deke. Naturally, Deke is horrified - Fitz is his grandfather, after all. When Deke confronts Mack, the SHIELD director takes personal responsibility for the decision not to inform him. Ironically, in "Code Yellow" Mack made a throwaway comment that this wasn't his call, implying it was Simmons'. He's a good leader, willing to take responsibility for anything done under his authority. Amusingly, while Deke is upset, his Google-sized brain can't help noting that this totally proves his Multiverse theory.
2. What Does Izel Want On Earth?
Meanwhile, Fitz and Simmons are returned to the planet Kitson, where they're nearly executed for the chaos they caused last time they were there. Fortunately for the star-crossed lovers, they're purchased as crew by Izel, a mysterious woman who wants to head to Earth in order to regain something that was stolen from her. It's unclear what this is, but presumably it's somehow related to Agents of SHIELD season 6's main plot.
1. Is Enoch Gone For Good?
With Fitz and Simmons finally returning to Earth, Enoch concludes that his mission is over and he parts ways with the SHIELD team. He has what passes for an emotional goodbye, attempting to bluff that he will not miss Fitz, but swiftly admitting the truth. This may not mean that Enoch has bowed out of Agents of SHIELD for good, though; he gives Fitz a long-distance communicator to contact him should ever the need arise.