Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Totally Excellent Adventures of Mack and the D
July 9, 2020 8:21 PM - Season 7, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Deke sings the hits. Mack wallows in models. Coulson tunes into a new frequency.
posted by sardonyx (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why, why, why was Mack painting the tires on that Mustang model? I don't have a lot of experience with models, and the one time I tried to paint one it ended in disaster due to tape bleed making a mess of some intricate striping, but all of the ones I recall from that era had rubber (or rubber-looking) tires. I can't imagine painting them. Painting the engine and body and interior? Sure. But the tires? Maybe the people (read kids) who I knew in that time period were just terrible modellers who didn't understand the necessity of painting (or coating) the tires.

I must say 1980s serious Deke has a presence that makes him look more attractive than he normally does on this show. In contrast, 1980s depressed Mack must have done a jump into the future, visited the competition and borrowed his beard from the Arrow wig department.

Clark Gregg looked like he was enjoying his Max Headroom impersonation opportunity.
posted by sardonyx at 8:32 PM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

why was Mack painting the tires on that Mustang model?

If you’re talking about that first model, wasn’t he painting the wheel chrome rather than painting the tire?

Two episodes ago I couldn’t tell if they were trying to do a pastiche of ‘70s TV or just doing a bad job of ‘20s TV, but all the ‘80s riffs in this episode landed well. The homage to Chopping Mall was especially appreciated—I recently rewatched that and was craving a reboot! (Actually I came up with a brief outline for a modern day reboot; if you’re a movie producer with rights to the Chopping Mall license, MeMail me.)

As the A.V. Club review said, this was a great combination of serious character study (who knew Deke and Mack would be the new May and Coulson) and period genre goofballery. But what I really appreciated is that the show did not make us wait for answers. After the end of last episode, I thought they would leave us on tenterhooks as to Deke and Mack’s fates for at least a couple of episodes. Not only did they not do that, but they began the episode with Deke and May together, ‘80s S.H.I.E.L.D. logo in the background. No suspense necessary, this episode was about deeper feelings.

Coulson as Max Headroom was a serious LOL moment. I wouldn’t mind if they don’t build him a body and he stays onscreen for the rest of the series.
posted by ejs at 8:48 PM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Oh and I’m sad we only got to see Deke in ‘80s costume. Would have loved to see Daisy in a Flashdance ensemble or Enoch in DEVO regalia.
posted by ejs at 8:52 PM on July 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Embracing the cheese!
posted by Pronoiac at 11:53 PM on July 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was really excited for like 3 seconds that Belinda Carlisle might have been a Hydra infiltrator.
Hooray for Chopping Mall crew/Pac Man ghosts, Fingers, Saw, Drill, and the little guy.
posted by bartleby at 1:26 AM on July 10, 2020

If you’re talking about that first model, wasn’t he painting the wheel chrome rather than painting the tire?

Maybe, but the question still stands: Why paint the wheel chrome? Usually the models came with "chromed" (well, shiny, silvery, plastic bits) bits -- typically the wheels, sometimes a cylinder head, occasionally a bumper or some other trim or even some interior parts.
Okay this was bugging me enough that I went back and looked at the video. Nope, he was running the brush (which looked dry and without any pigment on it) over the black tires. The chrome wheels looked like typical (unpainted) model chrome (i.e. shiny, silvery plastic).

Anyway, I didn't think this episode was a strong as the previous one and that it fell a bit too hard on the corny side of '80s TV conventions and tropes. I did, however, like the A-Team introduction of Deke's team.

I'm also sorry we didn't get to see Sousa or Enoch in sporting some period styles. Seriously, I want them both playing fashion plates during each time jump.
posted by sardonyx at 6:00 AM on July 10, 2020

Oh I don’t think Sousa’s ever changing his style. :)
posted by ejs at 7:58 AM on July 10, 2020

Oh, I know, but I still think he might do well in '80s preppie fashion or nice suiting.
posted by sardonyx at 8:04 AM on July 10, 2020

Nope, he was running the brush (which looked dry and without any pigment on it) over the black tires.

I mean, I'm sure the real answer is that you're overthinking it. But if you need a headcanon: It's possible he was drybrushing the tires to give them more visible texture.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:22 AM on July 10, 2020

Oh, I'm definitely sure I'm overthinking it. Normally, I don't care too much about stupid, unrealistic stuff that characters do that isn't what real people would do in the real world, as I'm not that detail-oriented when I watch TV. For whatever reason (probably the lingering, detailed shots) this just jumped out at me with big flashing '80s neon as really, really, really wrong.

That drybrushing video was interesting, mstokes650. I don't think that's what Mack was shown to be doing, but it was cool to watch anyways.
posted by sardonyx at 9:52 AM on July 10, 2020

I admit it would be a little weird to drybrush the wheels on a car (though I wasn't looking closely to see how much texture they had). My insight into drybrushing techniques is brought to you by a misspent adolescence painting Warhammer miniatures.
posted by mstokes650 at 12:03 PM on July 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Non-modeler: when you're changing a tire IRL, removing the wheel leaves you looking at a brake drum at the end of an axle. That's what he looked like he was brushing fixative on to me; an uncolored plastic lozenge/flanged disk, and about to reach for the mag wheel + tire piece to snap onto it. Is that not how car model wheels work?
posted by bartleby at 2:09 PM on July 10, 2020

I had to lighten the image up a bit because black bristles on a black tire are hard to see. By this point in the video (8:45 mark) he had pulled the brush from roughly the 2:00 position to the 12:00 position in one smooth, long stroke, following the curve of the tire (i.e. not running over the chrome).

As for model car tires and wheels, the ones I recall had a rubber ring (the tire) that snapped on (usually) a chrome-looking wheel. The wheel then popped on the axle. I guess there were some fancier and more expensive kits that included drums or calipers but I didn't see them (and as I said, I wasn't the modeller, I just knew people who were).

I really didn't mean to derail this thread and start a discussion about painting model cars.

I do have to wonder how episodes like these play with younger viewers (or if SHIELD has any younger viewers). The reason for that is during a video meeting for work a couple of weeks back, there was a bad connection, so I told my mid-20-something colleague he was breaking up, juttering and turning into Max Headroom. The response I got back was "who is Max Headroom?" I hope he was kidding me, but I suspect not, because there are other references he doesn't get.

Now, maybe because older people, such as myself, got force-fed older shows and movies from before our time while watching TV with limited channels, we're familiar enough with them to appreciate older references, to get antiquated jokes and catch homages to out-of-date shooting styles, so throwback episodes like the ones that have been running this season work for us on a level they don't for people not as familiar with older media. (Okay, this episode and the previous jump come from within my lifetime, but earlier episodes didn't, and I could understand the references in those just fine.)
posted by sardonyx at 3:05 PM on July 10, 2020

I must say 1980s serious Deke has a presence that makes him look more attractive than he normally does on this show.

I don't know about serious Deke, but singer Deke was pretty awesome. It's the eye make-up.

I really really liked max headroom coulson. Can we keep him?
posted by gaspode at 2:32 PM on July 11, 2020

I loved the episode, but since more than half of these comments have been model-painting nerdery I feel like I can do some nerdery of my own!

I appreciated the Max Headroom reference for Coulson but wanted them to go a little deeper and give his face that plasticky smoothness. In order to make Matt Frewer's face look so freakily smooth, they put prosthetics over Frewer's face that looked identical to his own features. Nowadays they could probably create the same effect with over-the-top digital smoothing.

I liked that this episode used the beats of an '80s film to create real bonding and moments between Deke and Mac. The moment that we find out that Deke has been visiting child!Mac? Got me right there. I also loved that Deke a. put together his own SHIELD team which had a couple of competent members, b. gave them the cover of being a rock band, c. clearly only knew about half the lyrics for "Don't You Forget About Me" and made up the rest, and d. thought that Cricket sold Coca-Cola and was a completely innocent person.

I'm hoping our '80s SHIELD team sticks around a little bit so we can get to know them a bit through a non-80s film lens.

The writing team turned Iain De Caestecker's unavailability from a handicap into an opportunity with all the mystery around Fitz.
posted by rednikki at 2:54 PM on July 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also, completely on point from the AV Club review:

As with most of the installments from the first part of this season, the halfway point of the show’s time-traveling final bow looks a lot like the writers watched a few episodes of Legends Of Tomorrow and thought, “Hey, that seems fun, let’s try that."

It's a bit more grounded than Legends has been lately (more like S3 than S5) but they have incorporated some wackiness, and I think it's a good thing.
posted by rednikki at 2:56 PM on July 11, 2020

you looking at a brake drum at the end of an axle. That's what he looked like he was brushing fixative on to me;

That's what I thought at first, but there are two scenes, and that's the second.

Even so, if the tires were rubber and not styrene they'd simply be pressed on. If the tires were styrene that's either the wrong cement for that application or the wrong way to apply it. The liquid cement is meant to flow into joints being held together. If the model had you put the tire on and then trap it by affixing a styrene hub, you'd use the thicker cement that comes in a tube.

I thought Mack should have had a gut after all the wallowing and beer, and then worked it off in the montage.

Also, he seemed to function well enough to shave his head but not trim his beard?

I'm not complaining, I'm just amused.

I thought they could have gone a lot farther with the Max Headroom thing.

I wonder if their 90s episode will be more like Dawson's Creek or Buffy? LoT already did F•R•I•E•N•D•S.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 2:19 PM on July 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

gave them the cover of being a rock band

Deke Shaw and The Hong Kong Cavaliers?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:24 PM on July 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

The only thing missing from the montage was a lot of welding as Nu-SHIELD made a bunch of weapons out of some barrels and whatever had been left in a barn. That was how it worked in the A-Team, and look at their track record!
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:32 PM on October 3, 2020

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