It's time for #Mackelena to rise up on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tonight's episode finds Mack and Yo-Yo running point on the uprising against the Tree in the Lighthouse. Titled "Best Laid Plans," it finds our favorite team of special agents divided once again. Coulson, Daisy and Fitz Simmons take a bumpy flight down to the surface of what remains of Earth to reunite with May. Meantime, Yo-Yo and Mack, who stayed behind to watch over Flint, find themselves outgunned and outmanned. Nevertheless, they're bound and determined to lead a revolution against Kasius and his Kree minions.
This season's space-bound story arc has provided many great moments for different members of the cast to shine. This episode puts the focus on Mack and Yo-Yo and their fan-favorite relationship. And whether you go with #Mackelena or #YoyoMack, we can all agree the pair is utterly adorable.
SYFY WIRE spoke with actors Henry Simmons and Natalia Cordova-Buckley about this week's episode, which is chock full of twists and surprises. Don't worry, we're keeping it spoiler-free here so you can read on without fear of learning anything ahead of seeing the episode for yourself tonight.
We also talked about their playful banter and why that's important to the relationship on screen, Mack's uncertain future, and if poor Team SHIELD will ever see sunlight again (because it's been a long time!).
I wanted to start with an observation. The way you two bicker is so charming. It's like you're an old married couple — and I mean that in the best way!
Henry Simmons: (Laughs)
Natalia Cordova-Buckley: Yeah, old. Maybe on one side, please. Old man, young woman.
Henry: I love that aspect of our… I love that [the writers] write that in. Because that's real. No relationship is just, everything is fine and everyone agrees on everything. It shows how very strong our characters are as individuals and how that comes up sometimes when we're together. There's bickering, 'I'm going to do it this way, you're going to do it that way,' I love that. Because it just adds layers and nuance to our characters. I love it. I hope they do more and more of it.
Natalia: I love it, too. I think it's very reflective of their personalities. They'e both really good, kind human beings. But they're fiery, they both have tempers. They're very 'my way or the highway,' also because they're older. And I love that. It's not the common relationship you see in the typical superhero show, which is more young and immature. When you're older, you're more set in your ways. I love to see that, even with all the immense love they have for each other, the respect and admiration, they still bicker about the silliest things to get over. But even when they're about to go… face the bad guys, they're still showing their independence and individuality, and 'no, it's gotta be my way,' and having it work. I'm really grateful the writers have put that stuff in, because if not, these relationships can become so… just one note.
Henry: Very one-dimensional.
Natalia: It's cute and it makes them human.
Your characters have different mindsets about the rebellion in this week's episode. Mack believes you only kill as a last resort. But Yo-Yo has more of a 'do what has to be done' attitude. And it reminds me of what Clark Gregg has said in past interviews: that Mack and Yo-Yo represent each side of Coulson. In this episode, their differences come into play. Do you think that clash of opinions makes them stronger?
Natalia: I love that they'll bicker all the time and then come up with a plan they both agree with. It's actually a great marriage in a way. If you watch Yo-Yo with Mack, I think people could learn a lot about what a good relationship is. Because they really let each other be. And Yo-Yo's not just a 'take no prisoners' person. She's not the kind of person to just kill people on a whim. But she's much more open to things having to get done a certain way. She's much more rebellious when we met her than the majority of the team. She was fighting against a corrupt government in Colombia.
I think for Yo-Yo being with S.H.I.E.L.D. has made it easier for her to go, 'if he's gotta go, he's gotta go.' She's become a bit more radical in that sense. And I love that Mack hasn't become that way. Even losing Hope, he still has his kindness and humanity attached to him. I think that's what Yo-Yo loves most about Mack. And he brings the hope out in her. And for me, representing Yo-Yo, for me that's what makes her most attracted to him. He doesn't lose his faith no matter what. And as we saw in that Flash Forward, Yo-Yo has lost her faith. She's lost it because she's lost her Mack.
Henry: There's a verse in The Bible [Proverbs 27:17] that says, 'iron sharpens iron.' These two people, Mack and. Yo-Yo, are leaders. They're very strong individuals with strong opinions and the thing is, when they have disagreements, they're in essence sharpening each other. They're making each other better individuals so they become better as a team. It also shows… it also shows nuance in their relationship. As Natalia alluded to, this is what happens in relationships.
Henry, should we be worried about Mack's ultimate fate? In the previous episode, "The Last Day," you weren't around in the future we kept seeing in those Flash Forwards. Why wasn't Mack there?
Henry: Yeah, you should be worried. I'm worried! I mean, look. Heck yeah, you should be worried if you care about Mack!
Natalia: 'Mack is gone.'
Henry: Look, I don't want to hear that. 'Mack is gone.' I don't want to hear that! Those three words I do not want to hear.
Natalia: Well you are.
Henry: Hey! But… here's the thing. We are starting a revolution. The human race versus the aliens, the Kree, and Kasius. And in any revolution, there are casualties. And… I leave it at that.
Talking specifically about the latest episode, can you set the table for viewers in terms of what they're going to see?
Henry: The thing I can say is, we don't have the resources. Humans and Inhumans — well, it's really humans because how many Inhumans are there? Not many. The human race, doesn't have the resources to fight the Free. They have everything at their disposal. There has to be something, a way, where we figure out how to survive strategically. All I'll say is in the process of trying to figure that out, in this fight…just because you start a revolution, it doesn't mean you succeed. There is a possibility that we don't succeed and we have to maybe deal with those consequences.
Natalia: Ultimately, we [the actors] are in the same boat as you all. We're as lost as all of you are, when it comes to the rest of the season. We're a little bit ahead, but not that far.
Henry: Yeah, really.
Natalia: So really, just enjoy the ride. We still don't know how it all ends.
Can we address a serious topic now? I'm a bit concerned about all of you on the set, because I don't think you guys have seen the seen the sun in quite a long time.
Henry: Oh man.
That's the downside of tackling a season-long story that takes place in space. How's the Vitamin D situation on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Henry: (laughs) Oh my gosh, let me tell you something. There are times when we are shooting and they tell us we have five minutes, and we just go outside! Just to see the sun for a moment because, when you're on stage and on those sets, it's so dark, you lose sense of all time, temperature and weather. Everything. It's just… Natalia, there were days where, especially in those scenes with Gryll and all that, oh my goodness, with all the smoke and darkness…
Natalia: Yeah, yeah.
Henry: Let me put it to you this way. You step in there, you get into character really quick (laughs). Because It creates a certain mood. And our set designers did an absolutely wonderful job.
Natalia: We haven't seen the sun, we haven't seen a shower, we haven't seen a bed. It's definitely apocalyptic.
Natalia, do you have a favorite nickname that Mack uses on the show?
Natalia: For Yo-Yo?
Henry: For anybody.
Yeah, I mean out of all the nicknames, because he's got one for most everyone.
Natalia: Well, I love that he calls Flint 'Pebbles.' It's just cute, it's… as I've said before, Yo-Yo really fell for Mack when she saw him with Hope. So whenever he's fatherly, like now with Flint, I think it sort of melts her. So that nickname is such a dad thing, it's cute.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Fridays at 9PM on ABC.