"Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Season Seven Talkback (Spoilers)

Yojimbo

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"A Trout in the Milk" - Episode 5 (128)
June 24, 2020 @ 10 p.m. ET on ABC
After a bumpy landing in the disco decade, the team – Daniel Sousa in tow – reunites with more than one familiar face at the S.H.I.E.L.D. hangout and discovers exactly how to dismantle the Chronicoms' latest plan. But when they get too close for comfort, the Zephyr unexpectedly leaps forward again, this time to a date pivotal to not only the future of S.H.I.E.L.D. but to the future of Director Mack as well.
 

Gold Guy

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Whoops, I'm late.

I'm pretty pleasantly surprised that Sousa will be sticking around for now. I like the guy.

I'm a big fan of noir movies, so the black-and-white/narrator thing was right up my alley. And they even had an in-universe explanation!

So May is an empath? Still have no idea where her sub-plot is going.

Still no sign of Fitz...
 

Yojimbo

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Favorite vintage title card so far! That was so cool. :D

Okay, the Chronicoms can be even more dangerous. Just 5 episodes in and they already pulled some nasty tricks.

Loved Mack and Yo-Yo having a heart to heart, telling her she always bounces back. Great callback and the right thing to say for her current problem. Coulson saying he was from processing was a funny season 5 callback.

Very cool May told Stoner she was Chastity McBride, that's a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent from 80s comics.

Loved all the name drops. Coulson mentioning Dooley when they go to the bar, the Insight targets - Isabelle Hartley, Gabe Jones, Bruce Banner, Victoria Hand, Robert Gonzales, Nick Fury, Peggy Carter. Also Conrad Murphy and Michael Phillips, one is from Secret Warriors comics and the other from Punisher War Journal. And the old school S.H.I.E.L.D. suits from the comics, lol! So awesome!

The scheme was to expedite Project Insight from TWS! Omg, great twist.

Troubling to see there's an implant inside the back of Simmons' neck and she's forgetting...

I don't blame Mack saving his parents and by extension himself and his brother's future. Man, that was an evil move on the Chronicom's part.

Oh man, not only was Wilfred an anachronism, but so was Nathianel and now he wants to steal Daisy's ability using Whitehall's research. Poor Deke, felt responsible for Wilfred and killed him the third chance he got. Aw man, they didn't show that dang photo Wilfred had. Next week I guess.

This was a fantastic episode. Definitely had me on the edge of my seat.
 
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Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. "A Trout In The Milk"

Things got a little TOO dire at points, but ultimately, I enjoyed it.

Sousa's reactions to everything were fun because he thinks the 70's are state of the art while everyone else finds them quaint. Him complaining about the smaller size of the computer is a perfect example of how out of his element he is.

Whitehall, huh? It seems the last season will be going full circle.

Very curious as to what is going on with Ennoch and Simmons. I always find it adorable when Deke calls Simmons Nana too.

I'm not sure of the victory status of the Chronocons at the end. I think Deke impulsively shooting Malick was a good move because I don't think they would have expected it (which is why he did it). Mack taking out the rocket seems to be an inelegant workaround to not having to kill his parents. The Chronocons obviously put his parents there to force him to allow the launch to continue. They would have done more if they had counted on SHIELD actually destroying the rocket themselves. Whatever Malick claims, the fact that the missile was destroyed after all says the Chromocons are not as good at this as they think.

I loved the main title and really wish the series itself had gotten a regular weekly main title. The lack of theme music is one of the worst things about most network TV shows.

Solid week. I'm glad they finally got Ennoch back. Although his Terminator references could use some work. ****.
 

Yojimbo

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If you're into freeze frame, the shots of the Project Insight list of targets seems to have a few more things. Maybe a relative of Amador from S1. Some think Andrew and Margaret Nelson are Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter. There's even a nod to Cloak & Dagger, one of the targets is Nathan Bowen.
 

Gold Guy

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Pretty good episode. I like how they raised the stakes from the team trying to stop the enemy from changing to stuff to now having to react to stuff already changed.

I think, considering the circumstances, Sousa is doing a fine job adapting. And I don't care much for bell-bottom pants either. The team probably should have been more upfront with him about what they know and don't know, but I guess they haven't exactly had a lot of time.

Still no Fitz, but at least he got name-dropped.

Like probably everyone else, I loved the 70s opening theme. Groovy.

I'm no fan of Whitehall, but I guess even he has a heart deep inside. I wasn't upset when he got shot, though.
 

Yojimbo

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"Adapt or Die" - Episode 6 (129)
July 1, 2020 @ 10 p.m. ET on ABC
The stakes are higher than ever when, after blowing their cover and damaging the Zephyr in the process, the team must scramble to rescue Mack's parents, save S.H.I.E.L.D. from a chronicom infestation, and fix the ship... all before the next time-jump. Meanwhile, Daisy and Sousa find themselves at a disadvantage against a power hungry Nathaniel Malick and his goons, and Coulson will have to do the thing he does best in order to save the future.
 
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Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!
Psst, @Yojimbo? "Adapt OR Die".

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. "Adapt Or Die"

Man, what happened to Mack's parents was not cool. I did not like that. At all.

I'll tell you one good thing about Mack and Deke being stuck in the past: It might give them an edge with the Chronocoms when they next show up. The reason the Chronocoms seem to be winning is because they are doing all of this nefarious stuff during the missing years between the time jumps. For this next jump at least, maybe SHIELD can play a bit of offense.

I really like Coulson's conversation with Sybil and how interesting he found the whole thing. May is right that he'll be back again, but I have to say Clark Gregg has really grown into the role. He does nuances with Coulson he didn't used to do.

Patrick Warburton as Agent Stoner was fun. "I believe you." Heh.

I guess May's new role is as the team Chronocom detector. If Mack's parents are any indication, this will not be a remotely happy assignment.

That bummed me out but next week actually looks fun. ***.
 

Yojimbo

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Real emotional stuff this episode. Simmons, Mack, Daisy, Coulson. Daisy being violated like Jiaying was, so freakin' gut wrenching. And the reveal of Mack's parents being dead. Oh man, there's no way, this all doesn't get reset at the end somehow.

Ha ha, yeah, May's going to be the Chronicom detector. Convenient.

Okay, so Simmons is just manipulating her memories. I wonder if Fitz is hiding on a Chronicom ship or in a rebuilt Framework.

Deke, Deke, Deke. You could have really done some serious damage to your grandma with that impulsive choice.

And May gives Stoner the Hydrogen Wave Crisis cover story. I suppose you can argue that was always what the crisis was, a cover up or you can argue this is a new timeline (and hopefully is eliminated in the penultimate or finale sort of like Runaways). I guess Luke, the head Chronicom Hunter in these past episodes, is a goner. And the other anachronism is hopefully dead. If the cave in didn't kill Nathaniel, the side effect of quaking his body did. Don't wanna see this creep back again.

Loving Sousa still. And this is when we find out more about the loss of his leg. Glad to see he's accepted his new predicament and team. Only gripe is they kinda sped through the prisoner sub plot, though not that we have to see the horrid details, and never showed how they got back to Zephyr. I loved that despite all the horrendous things happening, Daisy was still resourceful enough to play along and break glass by accident so she could steal a shard. It's not all about her powers. She was a clever hacker living in a van once.

Now that Deke and Mack are stranded, I wonder if they'll dare to use the left over Chronicom tech to make Coulson a new body but things go awry. But the Max Headroom nod in the promo made me chuckle. So I guess next week will be a real stand alone with just Mack and Deke trying not to go nuts in the Lighthouse until they meet up with the team again. Sort of like the one Desmond episode with Clancy Brown in Lost. Also looks like a Chopping Mall callback is in store. lol.
 

Yojimbo

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"The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and The D" - Episode 7 (130)
July 8, 2020 @ 10 p.m. ET on ABC
After being unexpectedly stranded in 1982, Mack retreats to his childhood home to process the death of his parents, while Deke gets to work scouting a chart-topping group of new agents. With no idea if or when the team is coming back for them, time seems to finally be on their side... at least until the killer robots show up.
 

Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. "The Totally Excellent Adventures Of Mack And The D"

Give me a second to settle down. I am beyond angry. I am biting my lips to not scream out in rage and alarm my neighbors, but I don't think I've ever been angrier watching this show Why?

Because the episode was amazing. Because it was fun. And the thing that made me especially mad was how effortless it was. Upon seeing something as great as this and much of the rest of this season, I realize why Jeph Loeb's tenure at Marvel Television was so bad, and why Disney+ is probably going to scrap the entire thing out of continuity.

Marvel movies are fun. Marvel movies tell silly, ridiculous, broadly comical jokes. That's why everyone loves them. And not a single Marvel series besides this show this season has ever been the slightest bit of fun. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage in particular are freaking grim, and Loeb is doing wrong by the MCU. As the Netflix stuff was going on I gave it a little benefit of the doubt, and believed the variations in tone perhaps made the MCU more well-rounded.

Except none of the movies are like that. And all of the shows are dour and unforgivably pessimistic. This season is how all Marvel shows should have been all along. To be honest, the only depressing Marvel show worth anything is Cloak And Dagger. It earned every bit of pathos, and had a redemptive subtext in the background. But it's the only Marvel show besides this one this season worth anything, and it's only after seeing this episode that I realize that.

I can't list things in the episode I disliked. Because I didn't notice anything worth disliking. What I can do it basically do a long list of everything I liked. And the list is gonna be SO long, maybe you'll understand why I am furious we finally getting this kind of Marvel show now when it's already too little too late.

1. Funny (and cartoonishly gory) 80's robots.

2. Coulson as Max Headroom in a VHS player.

3. What I love about the Deke Squad is that it's a really great idea to keep SHIELD going on the cheap during a low tech era. Mack can talk smack about Deke turning everything into about himself, but that part doesn't matter if it's effective.

4. Cricket was only hired because they needed a drummer. And he's killed off in a tribute to Spinal Tap.

5. Deke showing anger at Mack for the first time ever for insulting his team. It lets you know he takes this seriously, and is also that he's the guy who always has your back.

6. Mack being shocked that Deke has been looking out for his younger self the entire time.

7. Deke forgiving the Changs for bailing, hugging them, tell them they were still on team, and telling them he loves them. Honestly, I think at this point Deke is the best character Marvel Television has ever produced. That's just amazing, insightful character stuff that usually only the movies bothers to do. For some reason to movies want me to love their characters while the TV shows want me to hate theirs. Deke is the glorious exception.

8. 80's movie quips. Mack Daddy may be out of line, but everybody was embracing the cheese.

9. The first thing Yoyo does upon seeing Mack is run up and give him a big hug. A lesser show would try to make their reunion more profound. But that's what she'd do in real-life and not TV, and it effected me greatly because it was so realistic.

10. The girl telling Mack how Deke goes on and on about how great Mack is. Just hearing the fact that Deke does that despite how badly Mack treats him shows why Deke is a refreshingly positive character.

11. Deke thinking Coke referred to the drink. His confusion there is plausible, and his naivete is adorable.

12. Mack telling Deke he didn't ask him to stick around and help him, and Deke saying he didn't have to. Did I mention I love Deke?

That's just off the top of my head. If I rewatched that I'd list another dozen things I loved. Do you get why I'm mad? Why do I have to spend review after review infuriated at Matt Murdock and Elektra, Frank Castle's sociopathy, Kilgrave's creepiness, Mariah Stokes' self-loathing, or every single thing about the premise of The Inhumans? That was fun. That was effortless and easy. We could have had this all along. For (counts) 12 series. That's insane we've been denied that. If the tragedy were better I might be willing to suffer, but outside of Cloak And Dagger Loeb's stuff absolutely sucks. It bothers me that the last season of this continuity (besides I guess Helstrom) is the only one I've been permitted by the producers to enjoy.

There are dark themes in the season's episodes. Mack's parents deaths are heart-wrenching. But the series allowed us to both have fun and put in the proper level of grief without turning things into a moral about how much people suck. In reality, grief can bring people together, and bring out the best in people (which is what I liked about Cloak and Dagger). This episode told me you can also do that in the same episode you have Johnny Fives with buzzsaws for hands and Coulson as Max Headroom on a VHS player. It's not either or. You can milk great drama from the characters from processing grief correctly, instead of someone like Jessica Jones or Hogarth destroying everybody around them. And you can have fun and feel good around the margins. And it's so easy and no fuss and no muss and I'm getting angrier and angrier thinking about how badly we've been ripped off for literally years and hundreds of hours of television.

Loeb wanted to ride on Kevin Feige's coattails without once bothering to figure out why we like Kevin Feige's movies. That specific reason seemed besides his point. And this episode and this season say how much we were robbed of basically over two hundred hours of fun television. We didn't get that and we should have. It was not to much to want or ask for and we were punished for liking the franchise instead.

I think the thing that scares me most is that Agents Of SHIELD has had a couple of passable seasons before this (namely the first and sixth). But it can never stick the landing. My fear is that as much fun as this season is so far, the last episode will blow things by, say, killing off Deke for no reason. I thoroughly enjoyed that, but part of me is wondering how and why the bottom will fall out. The fact that I haven't enjoyed any previous Marvel season suggests this show is in uncharted waters. Them blowing the finale and the season strikes me as more likely than it isn't. And it's another thing to make me angry and worried because this specific episode was everything I ever wanted in a Marvel show. *****.
 

Yojimbo

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I liked the episode was stand alone and pumped the brakes. It's one thing this show has been good about doing since the first season. Just adds to the anticipation of the back half of the season.

Sybil and Coulson's predicament in the 80s was rather interesting. Very much like any robot villains like Brainiac in DC or even since The Winter Soldier has been referenced already, Arnim Zola vibes.

Mack should have brooded in a room on Zephyr. But then again this was sort of like a Fat Thor brood. He lost his daughter a second time and now he lost his parents and had to kill their doppelgangers. What a cruel twist that he ended up in his worst nightmare, a scenario very much like "Chopping Mall." It was a nice twist to see the episode turn into the 80s Horror Slasher genre.

Wasn't surprised Deke did a slide back and either consciously or subconsciously stole the songs. I guess since it was a River's End, a small town, the impact on the timeline was low. And if you think about it really, everyone claims someone stole their song. Lol.

And of course, the episode was a love letter to the 80s. Coulson and Sybil doing their best Max Headroom. All the songs Deke stole. The Deke Squad's wardrobe. '80s acting' and the robots. The pairing of Mack and Deke even felt kinda 80s. A tough Russian chick. "Mack Daddy." "Nope" :D :D

I guess they got lucky LMD Coulson blew up the Chronicoms and the time drive went on the fritz, which likely had to do with Zephyr only jumping 20 months ahead. If it didn't, they probably would have been stranded until the 90s or 00s. But come to think of it, in theory there's still a garrison of Chronicoms presumably led by last season's Hunter leader Malachi and they would have detected the Chronicoms' status in the past and sent another team to investigate.

Aw man, Nathaniel made it. I guess he always was a back up pawn of the Chronicoms. Someone told him where Daisy and Sousa were in 1976. I hope Nathaniel doesn't repeat the big bad route that AIDA did and made her body full of different Inhuman abilities. But because of the injection she took to defeat Graviton, Quake is still stronger. Perhaps Sybil is planning on make an army of Inhumans her new Hunters. Still, it's funny that all three Malicks turned out to be antagonists to the team in this series.

My one gripe is in all that time, Deke didn't bother to excavate the rubble and accidentally find the Time Stream device and secure it.

So next week is meeting Jiaying in 1983 or 1984 (depending on when in 1982 Mack and Deke arrived plus the 20 months) before the Hunan massacre, Whitehall, and going insane from the trauma. Wonder what they plan on revealing about her. Glad to see they're addressing Yo-Yo trying to get control of her powers for 1 or 2 episodes. Next week's episode just has to have an end tag with Fitz in it.
 

Gold Guy

Two is always better than one
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I enjoyed this episode more than I thought I would, and I'm not even an 80s kid.

Deke is a real bro. I've always been fond of him, but he was pretty instrumental here. His team could use a bit of work, though. I wonder if we'll ever see them again. Like, would they still be SHIELD agents once we return to the present?

Still no Fitz...
 

Yojimbo

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"After, Before" - Episode 8 (131)
July 15, 2020 @ 10 p.m. ET on ABC
With the Zephyr's time drive malfunctioning, the team is quite literally hurling toward disaster and Yo-Yo may be their only hope. The only problem? To get her powers back, she'll need to enlist the help of an old adversary and revisit part of her past long hidden away.
 

Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. "After, Before"

Passable. Decent. Acceptable. Which coming off of a contact high from last week's Best Episode Eva! is Good Enough For Me. I don't actually demand much from my TV. "Okay" will do in a pinch.

Considering the Inhuman dude lost his eyes during what happened here, it raises the question of what part of the backstory of the show we witnessed in season two was part of this new timeline. Did he originally lose his eyes in a different way? Begs the question.

Wished Ji Ying and Sousa had shared a scene for a mini-Dollhouse reunion. Maybe in a couple of weeks.

I love Coulson's increasing depression over the idea that he's a robot. And the most depressing thing of all is that this seems like forever. I think the dude could use a pep talk.

I like that idea that Yoyo can still run fast, but she can't go back instantly the way she used to. It's an evolution of the power. Perhaps she should change her name to Yo.

I don't care if I wasn't amazed. I was entertained. ***.
 

Yojimbo

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Incredible. I mean it was sort of the white elephant in the room given Jiaying's longevity, but outright confirmation she's had at least one child before Daisy. I guess in the original timeline, as Sibyl alluded to, Kora did kill herself. I would guess this tragedy is what spurs Jiaying to take a sabbatical from Afterlife and that's how she meets Calvin in Hunan then Daisy is conceived. And also, the tragedy also convinces her to never try to suppress an Inhuman's gift again. Still overall, I liked that we got to see what Jiaying was like before she was violated by Whitehall and went nuts. She truly cared about Elena and May and tried to help them despite the likes of Li opposing her decision.

Seemed to me like Kora's gift is similar to Ted Sprague on Heroes who had a difficult time mastering his ability to control radiation and often caused explosions. But with Kora seems not nuclear and more simply self-detonation or she can focus it on a part of her body like her fist.

I was glad to see Elena's issues led to a focus episode and an evolution to her ability. That it was super speed all along and the "Yo-Yo" part was just her repressed guilt. I think we've seen her grandmother's necklace before and that is a callback. Also nice to delve a little into her past, and her cousin Francisco who was offed in their debut episode in season 3. Or her father being murdered by some syndicate. The interesting bit with the mention of Elena's father, that in the comics, Elena was the daughter of John Horton/The Griffin. If you recall in season 1, John Garrett told Ward about how back in the day he captured Horton and couldn't believe he gave himself lion paws or something. Of course, I would presume this relation is not the case in AOS. Loved the pairing with May and Elena. Two peas in a pod when it comes to how closed off they are with their emotions yet still care so much for their team. The bit with Elena and the Diviner was cute - Oops, it's a prosthetic. Tap to cheek. heh. As soon as I saw the candles and meditation scene, I knew they were going to abandon it. lol. But a lot like Mack and Deke last week, May and Elena made for a really great story this week. It's also great that May's empathy continues to be an asset and Jiaying was able to tell she had it. And seems they're continuing that next week with pairing Daisy and LMD Coulson.

Simmons' potentially last message to Fitz was gut wrenching, even though I mean we all know they're going to reunite. Henstridge has that emotional acting down pat. No Fitz and only 5 episodes left. Man. I've been wondering about it, but finally neat to see Sousa got a cutting edge prosthetic. Deke offering Enoch a spot on his band, and Enoch stating he could keep a beat was pure awesome. :D Or his I once lived with a tribe of Neanderthals line. lol. It was a little sad to see how "depressed" LMD Coulson seemed, processing the past 20 months I suppose.

Figures Sibyl would send Nathaniel to Afterlife. By anarchy, made we wonder if the plan is to unleash a Terrigen Bomb on the planet. Or is he going to transplant gifts our of everyone in Afterlife into his and Sibyl's underlings? But I guess we won't know what he's scheming until the end of July. Feels like they might defeat and kill him off in the third to last episode then deal with the Chronicoms in the present in the final 2 episodes. It's also funny to see the similarity of the evil couple of Nathaniel and Kora like we saw in the past seasons with others like Ruby and Werner or Ward and Kara. It's also scary to see that somehow he figured out how to fix himself like how S.H.I.E.L.D. had to figure out when Daisy first got her gift. And he's had 7 years now with the gift to master. By the next jump, he'd have the gift longer than Daisy and could be a real problem one-on-one even against her. My only gripe was his cliche villain outfit. Guh.

Next week, seems to be another stand alone episode... Groundhog Day style.
 

Gold Guy

Two is always better than one
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I thought this was a pretty good episode. For awhile, I had been wondering what the point was, giving May empath abilities/having Yo-Yo lose her powers, so I was glad we got an episode that addressed both issues. May and Yo-Yo had a lot of fun moments (the meditation scene got some laughs from me).

Nathaniel is getting annoying. I guess he gets some points for stopping someone from offing themselves...even if he doesn't have the most altruistic reasons. I didn't dislike his new villain costume, per se....but it seemed way too hot for a thick coat. :p

Still no Fitz, but at least he got mentioned. Geez, I wonder what his fans are feeling at this point.
 

Yojimbo

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"As I Have Always Been" - Episode 9 (132)
July 22, 2020 @ 10 p.m. ET on ABC
A time storm ravages the Zephyr, propelling it toward destruction while simultaneously forcing Daisy and Coulson to relive their failed attempts to save the team over and over, until they find a solution or are swallowed by the storm. Making it to their next destination will take trust, courage and sacrifice from everyone on board, but it will all come down to having enough time.
 

Fone Bone

Hindsight 2020!
Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. "As I Have Always Been"

I can't say I'm glad where the episode ended up, but I felt it was a very interesting dynamic that Ennoch is by turns the villain and the hero of the episode. He's working against them all, and he's also the only one who can save them. It gives me definite mixed feelings about his sacrifice, although his death scene with Daisy and Coulson was quite moving.

What exactly did Gemma remember that elicited that scream? I almost don't want to know.

Coulson was the most fun character in the episode because he was the most frustrated in how helpless he felt. He also found the loop a great metaphor for his upcoming Immortal existence, and seeing everybody die is not something he is going to look forward to. The fact that Coulson is so afraid of this specific thing means that I think Coulson is going to die for good in the series finale. At this point that would be a happy ending for him.

Yeah, not shocked Daisy digs Sousa. Both of their actors are ridiculously hot. Everyone else is out of each other's league.

My favorite moment was when they replayed the title card. However I would have loved if it they did that more than twice. But it was still funny twice.

I'm upset about Ennoch dying but I think it was interesting to explore the nature of death and loneliness with the character in his final scene. That's good drama, and my biggest complaint about killing characters off is that it tends to be a lazy writer's substitute for drama. But you can't argue the writers here aren't plumbing the correct sci-fi dramatic depths. So while I will miss Ennoch, I feel his death perhaps had something interesting to say in a way the Groundhog Day riff probably did not. Whether I'm happy about it or not, that is good and successful drama. ****.
 

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