Spoilers ahead for Episode 7 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 7, called "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. only featured a couple of agents for most of the hour in "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D," which saw Mack and Deke stuck in the early 1980s after being left behind by the Zephyr. Although Yo-Yo and May came to the rescue thanks to Simmons by the end of the episode, a lot happened while Mack and Deke were the only ones stuck in the past, and there are some big questions worth pondering as S.H.I.E.LD. continues heading toward the series finale. Read on for six of them!
How Much History Did Mack And Deke Change?
Mack and Deke were stuck behind in 1982 and weren't rescued by their friends until 1983, but they didn't spend all that time together. While Mack went to mourn his parents in isolation, Deke went ahead and stole some of the biggest hits from the 1980s to form a band/secret agent squad. After witnessing Deke hilariously lead the Deke Squad in a plagiarizing performance of "Don't You (Forget About Me)" that was a "Deke Shaw original" written years before The Breakfast Club even premiered, Mack was pulled in to the action.
I guess it would really be more fair of me to ask how much history Deke changed, since Mack's mourning alone was unhealthy but not potentially ruinous to the time stream. Deke was the one making waves rather than ripples by using his future knowledge to steal '80s hits. In the process of making a name for the Deke Squad and building his own celebrity, how much was history changed? And how different will the world be if and when the agents make it back to 2019? Will Deke's shenanigans do more damage than even Mack guessed?
What Happened To The Deke Squad?
Deke's band was more than just a group of musicians who unwittingly performed songs Deke stole from the future; they were also secret agents (and one drummer). Roxy Glass was guitarist, vocalist, and the brains of the operation who ran covert ops and tactics. Tommy and Ronny Chang, a.k.a. The Chang Gang, were masters of disguise and "total honey pots," according to Deke. Olga Pachinko came from the Balkans and spoke limited English but was fluent in "the international language of demolitions." Cricket was the drummer/coke dealer who never drank Coke.
With the exception of the saintly Cricket, the entire Deke Squad was still alive as of the end of the episode, and even Mack acknowledged their worth as agents. So, what happened to them after Mack and Deke left 1983 and returned to the Zephyr? Did Roxy take over lead vocals and they became a regular band? Did they become the early agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in this altered timeline? Did Olga ever express her feelings for Roxy in English? After Nathaniel Malick came back with a lot more significance than expected, I won't rule out the Deke Squad still having a part to play in Season 7.
What's Wrong With The Zephyr?
Mack and Deke were only left behind in 1982 in the first place because something went wrong with the Zephyr, and Simmons wasn't able to warn Deke quickly enough for him to grab Mack and return to the ship. The Zephyr had been seriously damaged in the '70s, and Simmons had already told the team early in Season 7 that the ship was designed to ride the tides of time forward, not travel backward in time, but they went back to the '80s for Mack and Deke. What does that mean for the Zephyr?
Simmons' somber expression suggested to me at least that the Zephyr is far from in perfect condition, and the trailer for the next episode confirms that there are going to be potentially catastrophic issues with the time drive. So what's wrong with the Zephyr, as of last week's episode and enduring into "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D," yet let the agents come back to retrieve Mack and Deke? Can the Zephyr be repaired, if the problem is so severe that even Simmons and Enoch haven't been able to fix it? Is this somehow what brings Fitz into the fold?
Why 27 Days?
When Simmons dropped off Yo-Yo and May to go find Mack and Deke, she informed them that they had 27 days before they needed to return to the Zephyr, where Simmons would theoretically be waiting for them. Simmons was very specific about 27 days, and even handed over a watch to make sure that another two agents weren't left in the past because they missed the window. What is happening that the window was 27 days, and that Simmons was able to calculate it so precisely? And why 27 days?
Originally, I assumed that S.H.I.E.L.D. had some adventures in store either on the Zephyr or for the Deke Squad and Co. in 1983 to fill 27 days, but the promo for next week shows the group back together. If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is skipping over the 27 days, was there a reason for giving such a specific amount of time? Or was it chosen because that seemed like enough time for the time drive to go out of control, Daisy to heal, and/or an off-screen mission in 1983? Or should we just forget the 27 days and worry about what happened to Yo-Yo's powers?
Is Nathaniel Malick The Real Big Bad?
All signs have pointed toward the Chronicoms as the big bad of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s final season, but the end of "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D" leaves me wondering if Nathaniel Malick is really the supervillain of Season 7. The episode revealed that he survived his attempt to steal Daisy's Quake powers, and the robot/Cylon/Dalek version of Sibyl managed to retrieve the time stream from the Lighthouse to deliver to Malick, telling him that he now has the one tool necessary to control his world's future. Is he the real big bad?
Well, Sibyl commented that she's confident they'll make the perfect pair, so the Chronicom threat clearly isn't finished just because Coulson blew up the hunters. That said, a Malick as the big bad of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s final season might be perfect. Everything S.H.I.E.L.D. goes back to Hydra, and if Deke had killed Freddy Malick back in 1931 to end Hydra, Freddy never would have fathered Nathaniel. Still, this would be a late introduction of the big bad of the show's final season, so we'll have to wait and see. Is Nathaniel the worst of the worst of Season 7?
Is There Enough Time To Finish Everything?
The final season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. received an order for 13 episodes, and the season is more than half over at this point with a lot left to resolve. "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D" was, despite all of its merits, more shenanigans than actual plot development. If this was a 22-episode season, I wouldn't be concerned, but S.H.I.E.L.D. has to deal with Yo-Yo's powers, what happened to May, what will happen to Daisy, where Fitz is, defeating the big bad(s), and presumably fixing the time stream. Are six more episodes enough time to finish?
Admittedly, while not a lot of screen time in "The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D" actually furthered the plot, there have also been episodes like last week's that are packed with plot. I actually really appreciated S.H.I.E.L.D. giving a sort of breather of an episode after how heavy the previous installment was. A lot might depend on how much S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to feature Iain De Caestecker's Fitz. If he could only return for the last few episodes, Fitz's story might not be resolved until almost the very end, and it's a pretty key story to the season.