Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 6, episode 9 left Mack and his team convinced they'd saved the day - and completely unaware of the many unanswered questions that mean the threat of Izel is far from over. "Collision (Part 2)" draws a fascinating contrast between Sarge and Coulson; where Coulson would never leave a man behind, even at the risk of his mission, Sarge is willing to sacrifice anyone and anything.
Unfortunately for Sarge, but fortunately for Earth, he's underestimated the resourcefulness of the SHIELD team. Quake successfully prevents Sarge's nuclear bomb detonating, and goes on to neutralize the Shrike on Earth. Meanwhile, SHIELD rescue Fitz and Simmons from the alien spacecraft, and Jaco then takes the nuke on board to detonate it. The threat seems to be over - but, of course, there are still another four episodes left in this abbreviated season. By the end of Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9, Mack's security has proved unable to prevent Agent May stealing into Sarge's cell and apparently executing him with brutal efficiency.
Agents of SHIELD has always delighted in throwing viewers a curveball every now and again, and "Collision (Part 2)" feels like it's setting one up. Sarge and the Shrike appear to be distractions, setting up the main event - the arrival of Izel on Earth, who's surely not really dead at all. Let's explore all the key questions raised by this week's Agents of SHIELD.
8. What Are Sarge And Izel?
Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9 features one brief conversation between Sarge and Izel, which implies the two are more closely connected than Sarge would ever admit. The episode makes it clear that neither is truly a hero; in fact, as hinted in episode 8, Izel reveals that Sarge was the one who destroyed Chronica II. She suggests that Sarge wasn't always a killer, but rather that his memories have been warped in order to turn him into a weapon against her. Apparently Sarge never had a family to begin with.
During their radio chat, Izel throws out one particularly curious sentence; she mentions "the skin you're wearing," suggesting that Sarge is an alien being who possesses bodies. It's still unclear how Sarge got into a body that's identical to Coulson's, of course. Meanwhile, if Izel has the same abilities, then it raises some ominous possibilities after the latest episode.
7. Is Izel Really Dead?
Izel is apparently killed when Jaco detonates Sarge's warhead aboard her spaceship, but let's face it; that's far too simple a death for an as-yet-unexplained villain with undetermined powers. Izel is last seen being approached by Jaco and Davis, but mysteriously disappears. If she has the ability to jump into bodies, then it's possible she's possessed Davis and gotten to Earth. That would explain Davis' uncharacteristic exhaustion at the end of Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9.
6. Did May Kill Sarge?
Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9 ends with Agent May killing Sarge. However, it's important to remember that a body-hopping alien is potentially at loose in the Lighthouse, which may well mean Izel jumped from Davis to May, and used May to murder her nemesis. It's also worth questioning whether or not Sarge is really dead in the first place; it's unclear if these aliens would die if their host body is destroyed. The SHIELD team may well be dealing with not one but two body-snatchers.
5. Just How Powerful Is Quake?
Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9 sees Quake demonstrate her powers on a scale that's never been seen before - even in the comics. First, she manages to use her vibrational abilities to prevent a nuclear explosion - a staggering feat that leaves even Deke wowed. Shortly after, with barely any time to recover, Quake sets up a choke-point to allow the Shrike entry into the truck; she then uses her powers against them, vibrating them apart from the inside. Quake is clearly more powerful than ever before, rivaling the Avengers.
This is probably a result of Agents of SHIELD season 5, which saw Quake injected with the Centipede Serum in order to enhance her abilities. Up until now, it's been difficult to say whether or not the Centipede Serum had a permanent effect; now, it's reasonable to assume Daisy is one of the most powerful people on the planet.
4. Will Snowflake Join SHIELD?
Snowflake is the last survivor of Sarge's team, but SHIELD aren't sure whether or not they can trust her. She's not exactly stable, and - as Daisy points out in Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9 - she's a serial killer responsible for an unknowable number of deaths on alien worlds. For all that's the case, though, it's hard to believe Snowflake's story is over; she may well yet wind up working for SHIELD.
3. Is Quake Jealous Of Snowflake?
Deke, obnoxious to the last, insists that the real reason Daisy doesn't like Snowflake is because she's jealous. It's actually possible there's a little truth to his observation; not that Quake is interested in Deke, but rather that she's feeling a little lonely, and has largely been apart from human company for a year now. Daisy's probably struggling with singleness and a sense of aloneness right now.
2. What Is SHIELD Callsign "226?"
Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9 introduces a new callsign: "226." It appears to be something of a trick, a way of indicating that a SHIELD agent is under duress and can't speak freely. Thus Fitz and Simmons claim that callsign when they communicate from Izel's spaceship; and Davis, for his part, responds in the same way because Sarge has a gun to his head. Unusually for Agents of SHIELD, this number doesn't appear to be an Easter egg to the comics.
1. When Is Agents Of SHIELD Season 6 Set?
Finally, Agents of SHIELD season 6, episode 9 seems to confirm exactly when this season is set. Towards the end of the episode, Mack remembers that he and Daisy have been working together for five years. Mack joined up with Coulson's team in Agents of SHIELD season 2, which confirms that the series is running in real-time, and season 6 is in 2019. Unfortunately, that just reinforces the continuity problem that lies at the heart of season 6, namely just how this fits in with the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Presumably Agents of SHIELD really is in an alternate timeline nowadays.