‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: Experience the 1980s with “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D” in Season 7, Episode 7


Last week’s episode ended on a major cliffhanger: After Mack had left the Zephyr to get some fresh air after losing his parents to Chronicoms, Deke went after him. However, there were some technical difficulties, and the Zephyr made another jump without them, leaving them stranded in 1982. This week finds them adjusting to the new timeline, Deke more than Mack. It turns out, though, that Deke had been working on something else other than trying to fit in with a band. The Chronicoms may not be completely gone, and Coulson may or may not be back after sacrificing himself.

Find out what happens in the newest episode of the last season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D.”

Continuing where last week’s episode left off, Deke runs over to Mack and tells him the Zephyr’s gone. They’re stranded. Deke says they left them behind; something must have gone wrong. Mack suggests the mission’s over. Coulson’s explosion should have taken out the Chronicoms, so he guesses they won. Then why would they pit stop in 1982 for five minutes? Deke says that doesn’t make sense, and Mack tells him that none of this makes any sense. They can’t understand it. That’s why no one should ever mess with time, no matter how bad things get. Mack tells Deke he could have followed orders.

“Who are you to take a life into your own hands, even if you think it’s right?”

Deke tells Mack that he’s there if he ever wants to talk, but Mack says he’s good and starts up the motorcycle. Deke tries to stop him, saying they need a game plan. The Chronicoms could still be out there; maybe that’s why they’re there. Mack tells Deke to figure it out, then rides off.

Mack gets to an empty house, and sometime later, someone knocks on the door. Sure enough, it’s Deke. He says it’s been too long, and he figured to just bring the hang to Mack, where it seems he’s gone full cabin fever. He tells Mack it’s not the easiest thing trying to find him without the Internet. Mack holds up a kickball that Deke had brought, Deke thinking maybe he’d want to kick it around, go to the park, and get some fresh air. Mack, though, has other ideas and throws the ball outside. Deke goes after it, and Mack locks the door. Time passes, Mack has a full beard, and Deke is outside, telling him it’s New Year’s Eve; he thought he might want to celebrate. He doesn’t answer, and Deke leaves some goodies out on the porch for him, wishing him a happy 1983. Deke comes by again later with more things but sees his past groceries still on the ground, now looking like trash. He writes down something on a flier and slips it under the door before leaving again. Mack sees the paper on the ground, “Swayze’s. Come tonight. It’s urgent!!!” written on it. On the front is a Swayze’s Bar flier.

Mack shows up at a packed Swayze’s Bar. He tells a bartender he’s looking for a friend of his, Deke Shaw. “Sometimes he calls himself … The D.” The bartender asks if he’s trying to be funny; every person there came to see him. Lucky for Mack, the band just came out for the encore. The crowd cheers, the band warms up, and Deke takes center stage, thanking everyone for coming out. He tells the crowd he wrote this next song, which turns out to be the classic song “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Deke and his band, aptly named The Deke Squad, start performing.

After the performance, Deke finds Mack, ecstatic that he made it. He asks Mack what he thinks. He feels like the crowd really responded to his new material. “I’m pretty sure that last song was from The Breakfast Club.” Not until 1985, it’s not, and right now, it’s a Deke Shaw original. Mack says this is just like him. He steals something from the future, and he pretends he created it. He came by because his note said it was something important, but it’s really because Deke wanted Mack to see his stupid cover band. Deke tells him it worked. Deke introduces Mack to The Deke Squad: Roxy Glass — brains of the operation; Tommy and Ronnie Chang — masters of disguise; Olga Pachinko — resistance and demolition; and Cricket — a drummer. Mack appreciates the effort Deke put in but says this is terrible spy craft to be this high-profile. Deke says that’s the whole point and to think about the practical applications. They move freely from town-to-town, and big cases of high-tech “equipment” are part of the gig. Deke’s friends are a long way from being S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, but that’s where Mack comes in. Deke says they need a leader, especially with all the enemy chatter they’ve been picking up. Knowing they need to cool it on the robot talk, Deke says they can’t talk there; they have to go back to HQ.

The Lighthouse has been turned into a club with lights, neon signs, music, drinks, and a hot tub, and Mack is less than amused. Mack says this is a top-secret military facility, not a party pad for them and their friends. Deke tells him it feels like he’s overreacting, and Coulson seemed fine with it. He says that Coulson’s body disintegrated when he blew up the Chronicoms, but his mind, life data, stayed safe and sound on a hard drive. Coulson comes up on a TV, intact and still making jokes. He tells Mack it’s good he’s there; from what he can tell, Sibyl is still out there. They’d think Sibyl would have died in the blast, but Coulson made it out on a hard drive, which got him thinking about the ways she might have escaped. Deke shows Mack a file, saying that Coulson found evidence that Sibyl slipped into the River’s End power supply. Coulson’s been monitoring the local grid, and more of those symbols appear every time there’s a power surge. “I think Sibyl’s building new Hunters.”

Mack wheels Coulson’s TV through the Lighthouse, and Coulson knows this last year hasn’t been easy for him. Mack’s not wrong, but Coulson admits the hardest part has been not having the team around. The two meet up with Deke, who was hoping Mack could sit in on a training session, something he cooked up called “The Gauntlet.” Deke’s team huddles up, and Deke says he really wants to show Mack what they can do. Roxy tells him not to worry; they got this. They start their training with paintballs and explosives, but Olga used a live one, stopping the training. Deke tells Mack it probably wasn’t a good idea to run The Gauntlet right after a gig, but Mack thinks his problems run deeper than that.

“Don’t give up on us yet. You still haven’t seen the best part.”

Deke opens a cabinet to show a gun that he designed himself. Mack says it’s a bad idea, but does he think Deke will let his director go out into the field with anything less? Mack says he’s not his Director. Coulson said he’d be reluctant. Deke tells him he’s been on the bench for long enough. The team needs him to get it together. That’s not a team; according to Mack, it’s “a bunch of losers playing dress-up led by a Peter Pan in constant need of attention.” This is Deke repeating the same old patterns; he builds something out of a lie, he pretends it’s his, then surrounds himself with a bunch of sycophants. Deke says they have his back and won’t give up on him when the going gets tough. Just like he didn’t give up on Mack. Mack didn’t ask for that, and he didn’t have to because that’s what friends do for each other.

Sibyl, now a fully-fledged robot, and her new robot hunters make it to the Lighthouse, and one of them kills Cricket. Meanwhile, Roxy follows Mack, but he tells her that he doesn’t need a lecture. “No, you need an ass-kicking.” She says that was not cool, and Mack tells her that’s between him and Deke. Deke is her buddy, and Mack’s too, with the way he’s always going on about him. Another hunter makes its appearance and starts shooting toward the two while they take cover.

Cricket’s girlfriend, Tawni, comes over to the main area where Deke and the others are, covered in blood, telling them that Cricket’s dead. It murdered him. The robot then grabs Tawni and kills her, then shows itself. Olga gets closer to the robot, speaking Russian and holding a knife. The robot raises its saw. Meanwhile, another robot makes its way through the Lighthouse, and Mack and Roxy are still hiding. Deke was right, and Mack tells Roxy that he and Coulson believe Sibyl was building an army. They killed his parents, but Mack says someone’s going to pay. The robot gets to Olga, nearly killing her, then makes its way to the others, but not before Roxy captures it with the help of Mack. He shakes hands with Deke, solidifying that they’re on the same team. Mack says he has a few ideas of what to do next if Deke’s team will have him.

Mack suits up, grabbing the gun that Deke designed. They don’t know where the robots went, but Coulson has a theory. He’s been trying to figure out why Sibyl would attack the base. There have to be better ways to take out S.H.I.E.L.D., especially if they know which threads to pull. The Time Stream must be on the base, and at the same time, a robot finds it. Mack thinks it’s time they add a new wrinkle to that Gauntlet of Deke’s. Mack finds the robot and starts shooting at it, calling out for Roxy with an explosive, and Olga does the same. The others shoot at the robot, having it wheel over an explosive and short-circuiting it. Another robot shows up, which turns out to be Sibyl, saying she’s made the necessary preparations. She blasts lasers at everyone, and they take cover. Mack gives Roxy an explosive to throw at Sibyl, even though it’s not rigged to a detonator. Deke distracts Sibyl while Roxy throws the explosive, and Mack shoots at it, blowing up Sibyl. A small piece of a robot, however, still has the Time Stream. Mack says he’s been over every square inch, and Sibyl is nowhere to be found. She must have gotten them out somehow, which means she’s still alive.

On the Zephyr, Yo-Yo and May leave to retrieve Mack and Deke. May assures Yo-Yo that Mack’s okay. “Okay and alive are two very different things.” It’s been 20 months, and Yo-Yo says that no one should ever have to go through something like that alone. They’ll be there soon. The two get to the Lighthouse; Yo-Yo is relieved she’s reunited with Mack. May tells Deke it’s good to see him, as well as Coulson. Jemma gave specific orders to find his hard drive and said it was their most important asset.

Outside, the lone robot with the Time Stream wheels its way to its destination, soon reaching Nathaniel Malick. On a screen like Coulson, Sibyl tells him that he now has the one tool necessary to control his world’s future. She’s confident they’ll make the perfect pair.

The final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on ABC, streaming the next day on Hulu and On Demand.

Megan has been passionate about writing since she was little and has been passionate about all things pop culture and nerdy since almost as long. Joining Nerds and Beyond in 2019, she also graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Megan is constantly binge-watching shows and finding new things to obsess over. 9-1-1 and Marvel currently reign as the top obsessions. You can find her on Twitter @marvels911s if you ever want to discuss some certain firefighters.

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