Why would an Air Force general work for an alien race, thinking she is helping the human race, and admit she was part of SHIELD’s arch enemy? This week’s episode looks at Hale and her daughter’s past, and why the general needs Coulson’s help. There’s also dissension within the agents’ ranks, related to how Fitz had to do something Daisy may never forgive.
General Hale (Catherine Dent) finally admits she’s actually HYDRA, and tries to convince Coulson to work together to protect the world from an alien invasion.
The episode starts with General Hale at her senior year at HYDRA Academy in 1990, which includes teen versions of Jasper Sitwell and Von Strucker. She is told by Daniel Whitehall (Reed Diamond) of a program where HYDRA has its own Super Soldier as part of its world domination program. Teen Hale hopes to be part of it, and even suggests heading to outer space to get the materials they need. However, attacking Teen Von Strucker (Alex’s dad) ruins that chance. She’s assigned to the Air Force, and also ordered to give birth to the future Super Soldier. Whitehall thinks that’s a great honor, but Teen Hale doesn’t. She was hoping for something bigger.
In the present day, Hale explains to Coulson that an alien group called the Confederacy has had a long relationship to HYDRA. Apparently an alien invasion is coming (Entertainment Weekly suspects it’s a link to Infinity War) and Coulson is told of this through some special medallion Hale’s alien boss has…
Earth will be safe…if it provides some gravitonium and maybe some Inhumans. However, she has an ace in a hole, the potential Super Soldier.
One guess who she has in mind.
Yeah, Ruby (Dove Cameron), the child HYDRA told her to bear. Problem is, she has a bit too much empathy, as noted when she refused to kill her dog when she was at the Academy because that’s part of the final exam.
Hale suggests someone else: Daisy Johnson, who just got her powers back and is not happy about it. More on that later. Anyway, Hale thinks if Daisy’s loaded with gravitonium, she can wipe out any hostile aliens. Coulson is against this because Daisy could be a literal world-breaker. He’s sure of this because he went to the future. Hale, however, refuses to believe this, and shoves him back in his room.
Now, is Hale thinking that saving the world and double-crossing an alien group will make up for the disappointments she had as a teenager? She was hoping to be a future leader in HYDRA, but was relegated to being the future mother of a weapon. Maybe Hale thinks saving the Earth will make up for everything, not even thinking something could go wrong. This doesn’t really mean she’s renounced HYDRA, but rather wants to outlast it.
Besides, who’s in charge of this Confederacy? Maybe the Kree, who have wanted Earth for quite a while?
That’s why she kidnaps General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), who is recovering from that bullet in his brain courtesy of LMD Daisy last season. He even knows the shooter was an LMD. However, Hale is desperate to convince Talbot that labels don’t matter, not even “USA” or “HYDRA”. All that matters is they unite to protect Earth, and she’s the hero. He doesn’t accept this, and she captures him.
That carries over to Ruby, who apparently thinks she’s meant to be the Super Soldier. She even thinks she winds up destroying Earth until Coulson tells her it was Daisy. Suddenly Ruby decides Daisy’s not her hero but her competition. That’s a sudden shift in the story arc but it makes more sense. Ruby’s obsession towards Daisy is really jealousy over who is more powerful. That’s better than trying to make Daisy her BFF or else.
In this episode, Dove Cameron expresses more emotions aside from being cold and menacing. Her anger over being forced to kill her dog was honest. However, the way she giggles at Coulson before she shows him the last guy who said “no” to her was a bit off. If Dove had an equal range to Daisy or even May, she’d be more interesting. She doesn’t have be stoic to prove she’s powerful and evil. Personality is also important. Ask Erik Killmonger.
Oh, and the guy Ruby was talking about was Talbot, who tells Coulson he revealed everything to Hale because SHIELD didn’t save him.
Back at the Lighthouse, the other agents discover Hale is HYDRA. It also looks like Daisy is the boss for now. However, they can’t agree over how to find Coulson. She’s lost her faith in Fitz over him restoring her seismic powers to seal the dimensional crack. He wants to figure out how to find Coulson but needs to get some intel. Daisy won’t let him out, and shoves him hard with her powers. His dilemma over having to embrace his dark side to save the Earth is an example of whether the end justifies the means. So is Daisy’s decision to find Robin, the young Seer, to see if she can predict a way to find Coulson. Involving a young girl may be a step too far, and it may have consequences. Also, Hale would love to find Robin, too.
Also, there’s belief that being trapped in a time loop means the future is fixed. As Elena tries out her new arms that may make her more powerful, Mack tells Jemma Elena is convinced she’ll be OK because she meets her clone in 2091, and nothing has happened to change that.
Then Jemma shows Fitz Deke’s tool, which happens to be the same one Fitz owns. He understands Deke is his grandson, but is a bit disappointed over how he turned out. She points out that as long as Deke is there, they’re invincible.
That’s dangerous. They should work on breaking the time loop and keeping the Earth intact. They don’t know what will happen between now and the future they lived out in the first half of the season. They don’t know about what Hale wants to do. They don’t know about Ruby, and her determination to be the Destroyer of Worlds. They don’t know about the alien invasion, and who may really be leading it.
Thinking you’re invincible, or destined to be a hero, doesn’t make it so. Preparation does.
One more thing: it seems Talbot and Coulson have one thing in common, and that’s their love for Cap’n Crunch cereals. Yet Ruby doesn’t eat them. It makes you wonder who on Hale’s staff buys them.
The need to fulfill destiny will continue next week, as Elena tests out her new arms, and Ruby apparently prepares to be a planet buster.