Mack, May and Daisy, the remaining members of the team, scramble to figure out what happened to Coulson, Fitz and Robbie.
Eli has the power that he always wanted and he uses it to kill two agents on the way out of the building. Unable to find Fitz and Coulson, Mack and May return to the plane where they, along with Daisy and Mace, watch the video of their teammates disappearing. They all have different ideas about what to do next but, on some level, they all agree that they need to find out if they can help their friends. In order to best do this, they need Simmons with them. Unfortunately, Mace has shipped her off to help the Senator and has no idea where she actually is. Simmons has been taken to a secret location to figure out what Senator Nadeer’s Inhuman chrysalis will become. She manages to do enough to get the Inhuman to start to come out of the shell, but she’s immediately removed from the facility and sent back to SHIELD (but she doesn’t arrive until the end of the episode).
What they don’t know is that their friends are right along side them. The blast from the particle accelerator (there seem to be a lot of those on TV these days) they all seem to have been phased into some frequency or realm that is out of sync with the rest of the world. They can still see and hear everything, but things are murky and they can only talk to or touch each other. Even though they can’t touch or talk to any of them, the stranded trio decides to stay close to their friends in order to try and convince them that they’re still alive. This leads to some interesting revelations as they are able to eavesdrop on their friends for a little while. Coulson overhears May getting sentimental about him and Fitz overhears Mace talking to the Senator.
The Ghost Rider realizes that they are being pulled down (presumably to hell), and he wants no part of that. The Rider leaves Robbie’s body and jumps into Mack in order to go after the guys that are suspected of working with Eli. Daisy doesn’t know what’s happened to Mack but, when she sees him ride off the jet on his motorcycle against the director’s orders, she gives chase in Robbie’s car, with Robbie going along for the ride. Mack and the Rider make it to the gang’s hideout and Mack starts tearing through the bad guys. When Daisy tries to talk to him, the Ghost Rider appears. Before the Rider does anything drastic, Robbie makes an appeal to him. Robbie reminds the Rider that they made a deal that’s not finished yet. He promises that he will help the Rider take his vengeance if he rejoins Robbie to help him finish the fight with his uncle.
Without Simmons available, SHIELD turns to Radcliffe. He shows up at the lab with AIDA. May is sure that they can use the information in the Darkhold to get their friends back, but Radcliffe is sure that the information in there is too much for a human mind to hold. Fitz realizes that AIDA can read the book and suggests the idea to her. AIDA picks up on the suggestion, revealing to May and Coulson (who’s still invisible) that she’s an android. The gamble works and AIDA is able to use the Darkhold to construct a gate that Fitz and Coulson are able to jump through. The team believes that Robbie was lost to the other side after puling the Rider out of Mack but, eventually, Robbie and the Rider make it back through the portal as well. When they get there, Mack is waiting on them with an offer to help the Rider carry out his revenge.
- Mace: “First we sharpen the axe. Then, we chop the tree.”
Mack: “My axe is plenty sharp; and a shotgun”
- Coulson: “What are they doing? Do we look that stupid on coms?”
- He’s a minor part of the episode, but Gabe is still on board the jet. He’s lamenting the fact that he didn’t really know what was going on with his family.
- When everything goes down with the team, Mace tries to call the Senator in order to get Simmons back. It’s unclear whether or not Simmons was removed from the facility because Mace called to get her back or because they wanted to keep the identity of the Inhuman a secret. It’s probably the later, though.
- AIDA is shown constructing a model of a human brain after she interfaces with the Darkhold. Clearly, that interaction is going to have some lasting consequences.
- The Ghost Rider reveals that Mack has lost hope and is full of pain, which is why he can inhabit him. Poor Mack.
- Fitz starts to lose it while they’re on the other side because he’s worried about Simmons. He yells at Coulson for “throwing in the towel” like Daisy did by stepping down as director. Later, he almost reveals that he heard Mace’s conversation with the Senator, but he’s interrupted by Simmon’s return.
This episode had an interesting way of telling the story. They played almost every scene twice; once in the real world and again in the sepia world. It feels kind of similar to a flashback mechanic, but a little bit different. It was a cool way to show how the missing trio was able to affect things from the other side. The episode in and of itself was also a cool mechanic to get some more character information.
We learned a little bit about quite a few characters in this episode. The most depressing thing that we learned is that Mack’s apparently been having a really hard time handling things. I’m not sure when exactly his spirit turned all doom and gloom, but the Rider made it pretty clear that Mack is not doing well. It’s also pretty clear that Fitz is still harboring a bit of resentment towards his teammates and former teammates for the current state of SHIELD. His lash out at Coulson was probably in part because of the stress of the situation but, based on his recent conversation with Daisy, he’s clearly not over it. It’s great to see Iain De Caestecker get the opportunity to do a dramatic freakout, but I’m not sure the character can continue on with that pent up frustration.
The other big reveal, which wasn’t really much of a reveal, is that May appears to be expressing feelings for Coulson. These two have been circling each other’s orbit since the show started. In the beginning it seemed to be because the writers wanted to solidify the idea of May and Coulson as a make-shift family group for Daisy. Then, they immediately back tracked that idea by introducing May’s ex-husband Andrew and having them get back together. There were also the couple of significant girlfriends that Coulson had only to have those relationships end badly. Now, with both all those obstacles passed, they seem to finally be ready to give these two another shot. Granted, there’s still the chance that this is a set-up to some kind of crash in the mid season finale.