Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S05E12) "The Real Deal"

“The good ones…THE REAL DEAL… they’re not heroes because of what they have that we don’t. It’s what they do with it.” – Phil Coulson (to Mike Peterson) in the pilot episode

All is not well in the Lighthouse. After the explosion at the end of the previous episode, a lot has shaken loose and I’m not talking about just the floorboards here.
spoiler
It would seem we now have a tear in space-time which opens to another dimension due to the three monoliths that blew to kingdom come. Or is it because the TARDIS exploded? Hmmm.
amy-pond
All sorts of terrifying things pop up and, uber genius that he is, Fitz determines the rift is bleeding a fear dimension into our reality, manifesting our worst fears into physical form. Daisy and Deke can totally confirm it, having barely survived an attacking Kree Warrior that came outta nowhere. That’ll teach them not to search through their supply stores!
I gotta confess: watching Deke navigate the violent yet thoroughly funny reaction to tasting orange scented spray was worth their near death by Kreeper experience.
cherry
trick
The humorous-slash-terrifying moment behind them, the whole team regroups for Fitz’s plan on how to deal with this rift thingie. He has a device, you see, that you simply have to put in the rift and presto, it’s fixed. Well, not totally fixed of course, just temporarily.
There’s just the tiniest problem of, you know, possibly being sucked into the fear dimension or being slaughtered by various horrifying manifestations of our people’s worst nightmares. No bigs. Daisy’s ready to go for it, so is May because she’s their Specialist. Coulson ixnays both options because he’s the one for the job.
May and Daisy, in particular, begin their rebuttal in earnest and I’m sure Coulson’s reply woulda been fantastic except he collapses halfway through his impassioned response.
shouting
The news from Jemma is bad. Coulson is dying. Like for real. (Perhaps it’s time to revive the #CoulsonLives and #SaveCoulson hashtags? I think so!). The wound Loki gave him a million years ago during the Avengers movie is now thoroughly taking its toll, thanks to Coulson’s deal with the Ghost Rider to hop into his body to deal with Aida at the end of last season. The price for that was all of his GH.325 being burned away til only the dead parts remain. There’s nothing to heal because the tissue is dead.
Daisy is furious and broken up. They had a solution for this when they were in the future if only he had said something. And here Coulson just wants to give up?
hell-no
Daisy’s already lost her birth mother and father, people with whom she had a very limited and tumultuous relationship. But to lose Coulson is utterly unimaginable. He wants her to be the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she needs him to understand: he’d given her everything and he’s the one she believes in more than anything. He is S.H.I.E.L.D. He is the symbol.
May is equally upset but, being May, her outer response is much more muted. She’s not pleased that this was why they slowed down anything between them to a crawl. He didn’t think it was fair to her but she’s not okay with that. She has the right to make that decision for herself.
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When a robot Jemma tries to smother Yo-Yo with a pillow, they know they’re out of time and have to act NOW.
So Coulson travels down to the level where the rift is, ready to apply Fitz’s “bandaid” when Mike Peterson of all people stops him and decides to tell him the truth: All of this…everything we’ve seen the last 5 years has just been a figment of Coulson’s imagination. He’s on the table still being operated on after Loki wounded him. And the rift? That’s just the light Coulson needs to move towards.
Coulson starts to edge forward but then decides that this Mike Peterson is a lying liar. fear dimension Mike is not impressed with Coulson seeing through his ruse and he gets a little handsy with him trying to drag him to the rift.
not-cool
Thankfully, the real Mike Peterson shows up just in the nick of time and makes fast work of the faker, and Lash and Hive and some Vrellnexians. Just a trifecta of terror offerings, courtesy the fear dimension.
Deathlok’s appearance isn’t by happenstance. Coulson had sent Deke out to do a bit of shopping and legwork earlier for him. Part of that included getting in touch with Mike, who also brought a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents left stranded after the whole Aida/LMD nightmare, including Davis!!! He’s back and he’s okay, thankfully.
Deke also picked up a few other special things, like Jemma and Leo’s wedding rings and her dress. No kilt though. (dangit)
The wedding was beyond my wildest dreams, set in a lovely forest dell generated by Deke’s red alert fear of shrubbery and insects. Leo winged his vows, whereas Jemma had them all written out.
preparation
Mike and Deke play the role of two dudes at a wedding and they shoot the breeze in while the ceremony goes on. And we learn both from Deke’s dialogue and from the scenes with General Hale and her team that he shares a special relationship with our newly wedded nerds.
While he goes on about the ring he picked up for Jemma and how it reminded him of his mom’s ring, that it actually came from his grandmother, we see Hale’s team revealing Deke genetically matches Jemma and Fitz.
No one on our team knows of course. But when the news comes out, they’ll be ready for the celebration, thanks to Deke and is love for Zima.
perfect
Lingering Questions:

  • What can seal a rift connecting them to the fear dimension without blowing up the world?
  • Can Coulson be healed? If so, how?
  • Did anyone else secretly wish Hunter and Bobbi had made a cameo appearance at the wedding?
  • Philinda: WHEN??
  • Where will Fitz-Simmons get to honeymoon? I’m guessing the Seychelles are out. Maybe Level 42.
  • How long will it take before someone on the team finds out who Deke is?
  • Is Jemma already pregnant?
  • Can someone please get Deke something else to drink???

Favorite Moments:

  • The very touching scene between Mack and Elena. He’d do anything for her.
  • Daisy falling apart in Coulson’s arms
  • The sweet moment between Coulson and May
  • The wedding. Every second of it.

Final Thoughts:
Because it’s a special episode…their 100th, I went into “The Real Deal” with a lot of expectations. And I was not disappointed. It delivered on every emotional front.
From the team finding out the real deal with Coulson and the repercussions from such an admission to watching S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “monsters” be manifest once more in all their terrifying glory to the surprise wedding and Deke reveal, it was all there.
We know the team won’t stop til they save Coulson regardless of what he says he’s at peace with. No doubt Yo-Yo will fill them in on what her other self warned her about trying to save Coulson and that still won’t be enough to stop them so I’m anticipating all kinds of fireworks for our team.
There was so much weight in in Daisy’s response not only to Coulson’s condition but to his desire she lead the team. So much heart. I’m crying just thinking about it now.
Seeing Deathlok and the fear dimension pre-Deathlok Mike Peterson was a great touch and I loved how this episode confirms that he has continued on as a hero. He too is the Real Deal. His path, which he thought was locked in after his actions in the pilot episode, instead led him to be the man he knew he could be.
That makes me hopeful…not only for their mission but for Coulson himself…that though things may seem hopeless now, their tragic futures aren’t set in stone.
I give “The Real Deal” 5 perfectly-timed Quinjet arrivals out of a possible 5.
quinjets
You can @ me on Twitter @theuberfan any time to discuss all things S.H.I.E.L.D.
See you next week for an all new episode!