Even if the bridges that connect Marvel’s movies and Marvel’s TV are flimsy, sometimes the Marvel Cinematic Universe reinforces that yes, it’s all connected. In “Deals With our Devils,” this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the dimensional realms from Doctor Strange are explored when Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Robbie (Diego Luna) are trapped in a quantum realm, invisible to their S.H.I.E.L.D. allies.
Doctor Strange, which came out in November, introduced the multiverse to the MCU. Beyond planetary travel, alternate dimensions and control of time itself are both now possibilities in the MCU. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the first Marvel show to explore the territory, as if Ghost Rider being a recurring character hadn’t already established that.
In “Deals With our Devils,” Coulson, Fitz, and Robbie learn that Eli’s machine trapped them into a separate realm of existence. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. does its impression of The Twilight Zone with the three invisible to their allies the whole time. To get them back, Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) and his secret android AIDA (Mallory Jansen) make use of cutting edge tech to cross the realms and rescue Coulson and Fitz. (Robbie is elsewhere, dealing with the spirit of vengeance within Mack, who has temporarily become Ghost Rider).
While it’s well-known that Marvel’s TV and movie divisions are embroiled in their own civil war, at a passing glance, it’s not hard to see the whole connected universe at work. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. also gives its unique spin in portraying the realms in a way that the big-budget Doctor Strange didn’t.
Benedict Cumberbatch doesn’t make a cameo appearance, nor is Stephen Strange even name-dropped, but the mere existence of Doctor Strange means Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had some room to get a little weird.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays on ABC.