Friday, May 2, 2014

Recap: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "Deathlok"

The final Recap of this show. For a while, at least. Allegedly, this season is 26 episodes, but I don't know when the other five are supposed to air. But enough about that. "Deathlok". With no hyperbole, this episode contains the biggest misstep of the entire series so far.

Take a second to let that sink in, then let's begin.

Yes, bigger than Ego pulling a Wizard of Oz.

The episode opens with our Hulks at a mall. ...you know what? Hulks doing things that should cause a panic but doesn't for some reason? Doesn't even faze me anymore. Like the callused fingers of a guitarist, my brain feels no pain.

All the Hulks are being themselves. Hulk is politely tolerating the situation (a sentence I never thought I'd type, until this show came along), A-Bomb laments the potential lack of girls, Skaar's excited for the food court, Red Hulk basks in the attention, and She-Hulk excitedly squeals over the mall sale flyer that person or persons unknown sent them.

She-Hulk: "Today only, 70% off all fashion accessories."

I never thought I'd miss the writers' poor attempts to make She-Hulk not act like a stereotype. ...actually, it's kind of a toss up. Anyway, they enter the packed mall.

A-Bomb: "Sure, we've punched planets, wrestled dinosaurs, and we've got a talking jet, but were also mall-goers! Just like you."

Wait, does the jet still talk? Because it never did that past the episode where it started doing that. I just assumed that the Hulks ended up lobotomizing the AI on the orders of S.H.I.E.L.D., or something. But that's a point to raise another time. No, while we're digressing, why are the Hulks allowed to park their non-talking talking jet in the mall parking lot?

Anyway, the hulks all go off and do their own thing. Suddenly, a blue energy sphere appear in the food court, and a half-robotic skeleton appears. Slowly, the skeleton grows muscles, tendons, and other assorted fleshmeats (and robot parts) until kneeling in the middle of the food court is what appears to be a zombie-cyborg that teleported in Terminator-style. The crackling blue energy radiates out, knocking over the food court-goers, and the caption identifies him: Deathlok.

Hello, shameless tie-in to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

As Hulk considers smashing Deathlok just for being, Deathlok scans the area and selects a target: a young woman. Hulk leaps in, only to get taken out in one shot. Deathlok takes aim at the woman... The intro plays... And A-Bomb saves her, allowing her to get away.

It's like a 90's-splosion.
Rulk clears the area of civilians, Hulk keeps fighting, Skaar watches, A-Bomb helps, and Deathlok protests that the Hulks are supposed to help him fight the young woman, whom he refers to as a "monster." She-Hulk, meanwhile, takes said "monster" to safety as the other hulks fight him. Deathlok keeps protesting that "that ain't a girl," and said girl transforms right in front of She-Hulk into... we don't see. But she manages to take out Shulk.

The fight with Deathlok continues, and She-Hulk joins the fray, as Deathlok changes his homicidal focus to her.

Deathlok: "Listen, idiot. 'She' is not your friend. She's a shapeshifting alien and she's about to take over your planet."

Calling the Hulk an idiot? I finally have someone to root for.

Anyway, the "real" She-Hulk appears, and the two fight. Deathlok fires at both of them, taking out the alien, which reverts into a Super-Skrull!

This guy.
Red Hulk: "Top dog in a violent race of world-conquering shapeshifters."

In a cutaway, Rick exposits that the Super-Skrull has all the powers of the Fantastic Four, and Deathlok explains his origins when we cut back to the present. He's a freedom fighter from the future, sent to the past to stop the Skrull invasion. The one that takes place today. At the mall. I am so on board now.

All that Rick takes away from the conversation, though, is that he's totally naming his band "Deathlok."

Hulk tells Deathlok that they started smashing because Deathlok was going to probably hurt innocent civilians, but said civilians reveal themselves to be Skrulls, too. Uh oh. Getting flashbacks to a certain other green, poitny-eared alien....

Kill it! Kill it with fire!
Hulk: "Knew I hated the mall."

Super-Skrull turns invisible, and instructs the other Skrulls to distract the Hulks while he goes off to ready the weapon that will wipe out humanity. As you might expect, the Hulks start smashing. Unfortunately, the Skrulls shapeshift into copies of the hulks, to everyone's confusion. After a prolonged fight, the hulks unleash a solid clap that knocks out all the Skrulls. Convenient.

The team regroups, and Deathlok lasts a hole in the floor, which leads to the Skrull base. After a couple of cut away bits, including one where Rick muses about getting Deathlok's robo-eye footage (explaining where a few shots came from), Deathlok reveals that Rick's vlog is how he knew to come here from the future.

Deathlok: "Came with my mission download. It's how we knew it happened today. Your broadcast was the last footage of Old Earth." 
Hulk: "What do you mean 'Old Earth'?" 
A-Bomb: "And 'last footage'?"
Skaar: "And 'down-load'?"

Okay, that was funny.

The team infiltrates a sciencey room, and wonder exactly what the Skrull weapon is. After a short kerfuffle with Skrulls, the hulks end up under the rocket thrusters of the mothership, which had been disguised as a mall this whole time. Being hulks, they survive the immense heat of the lifting-off spaceship. They make their way back to the non-talking talking jet, and infiltrate (see: crash into) the mall-ther ship. They interrogate a few Skrulls, and get some info: Controls are up, the weapon's down.

Deathlok, Shulk, and Hulk head up after Super-Skrull and the controls, and the others go to deal with the main weapon. Unfortunately, the ones going down get led into a trap, and get dropped out of the ship through the pod-bay floor. Luckily, there's an antennae under the ship to hold on to, a la Luke Skywalker under Cloud City.

Meanwhile, Deathlok tells Hulk that he has a last-resort weapon against the ship. Much like Iron Man, his heart has been replaced with a small energy core. If need be, his core can go boom. It seems as though Deathlok is intent on using it, too. If he fails, he dies. If he succeeds, the future he came from is gone. Either way, he's not going back.

Hulk (cutaway): "He gave up everything to save a world he can't return to. I'm gonna make sure his trip's worth it."

They throw in a concussion bomb, and rush in to deactivate the weapon. Then A-Bomb arrives, for some reason.

A-Bomb: "Wait! Stop! These creeps tried to dump us off the ship, but we found out their secret!"
Hulk: "Where's Pink Hulk?"
A-Bomb: "She is safe! Do not worry!"

Cue "A-Bomb" getting knocked down by She-Hulk. Also, nice sexism there, A-Skrull-Bomb. You just automatically assume that Pink Skrull's a girl? If he existed, he'd be so ticked off.

Hmmm... how do I tell people not to check the Urban Dictionary definition of "Pink Hulk" in a way that doesn't make them want to do it? ...Not like this.
But Super-Skrull appears, and the Skrulls' solar laser activates as the other hulks renter the ship through the side. The Hulk figures out that they're going to boil the ocean to kill all the humans, and the boss battle begins. The three wayward Hulks rejoin with Shulk and Deathlok, and they go to sabotage the weapon. Cue fight scene with everyone, and Super-Skrull gets tied up in his own stretchy arms. With two minutes remaining, Deathlok starts his self-destruct cycle. She-Hulk takes his chest reactor out, jams it into the floor of the weapon room, and the team escapes in the jet after Super-Skrull Human Torches out of there.

To be continued?
Back at base, we see Deathlok come back online in a first-person Robocop style, thanks to his new Stark Industries arc reactor. He reveals that he sent them the flyer that brought them to the mall in the first place (which shouldn't be possible, since he arrived from the future straight to the mall), and Hulk invites him to stay with the team. Unfortunately for me, because I think that would have been awesome, Deathlok declines, and goes to see the world he sacrificed his future to save.

In a cutaway, Hulk delivers the Aesop about how no one should have to hide who they are, and the episode ends.

Let's review.

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