Coulson and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. are thrust backward in time and stranded in 1931 New York City. With the all-new Zephyr set to time-jump at any moment, the team must hurry to find out exactly what happened. If they fail, it would mean disaster for the past, present and future of the world.
In New York City, 1931, Captain William Dole and two other New York City Police Department officers await the arrival of Jimmy Bottles at Cut Rate Drugs. However, three Chronicom Hunters named Luke, Cain, and Abel walk in. They fight, and the Hunters win. Luke takes Dole's face along with his uniform. Bottles arrives late only to have the other Chronicoms take his face as well.
Meanwhile, on the Zephyr One, S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Jemma Simmons introduces the chronicom-enhanced LMD of Phil Coulson to Agent Daisy Johnson and Director Alphonso Mackenzie. Johnson activates him, Coulson wakes up to many memories flooding his head of what he missed after his death. Mackenzie then shuts him off. They proceed down to the vehicle area of the Zephyr and argue about what to do about the new version of their friend. Simmons explains that there are launch windows for time travel and the Chronicoms took one and they followed them to 1931. Yo-Yo Rodriguez just sits there as Phil Coulson's LMD is then reactivated. Director Mackenzie and Coulson have a brief conversation about the situation after which he orders everyone to suit up. Deke Shaw grabs them Prohibition era style clothing and they walk the 1931 streets.
Coulson, Mackenzie, Johnson, and Shaw walk down the streets of NYC and Shaw explains time travel to the group. Rodriguez stays behind so that her robotic arms don't bring attention. The team goes undercover as Royal Canadian Mounted Police and investigate the faceless bodies. Coulson finds a bottle of whiskey with a swordfish emblem on it. He uses his new advanced intellect and remembers that there is an old SSR safe house near there. Mackenzie and Coulson leave to investigate while Shaw and Johnson stay to further analyze the bodies.
Enoch controls the Healing Pod containing a fatally injured Melinda May, while Simmons and Rodriguez look on. Simmons tells Rodriguez that the Shrike tissue is dissolving and her body is breaking it down, and she is cleared to go outside. Simmons then opens a case and reveals to her a new pair of of mechanical arms that look like human skin. Yo-Yo worries about accepting them, but Simmons tells her to take her time to process it.
Coulson and Mackenzie arrive at the safe house and knock. A man opens a slot in the door and asks for a password. Coulson replies with "Swordfish." After getting let in, the duo goes to the bar and ask to speak to the man in charge, "Gemini". The bartender then pulls a shotgun on them.
While Shaw analyzes the bodies, Johnson peers out the window and sees more cops coming, but the cops are the Chronicoms. Johnson walks out to try to stall the officers from coming in. Luke recognizes Johnson as Quake. Johnson is asked by Cain to help him investigate a suspicious truck out behind the drugstore. She goes with him and Cain pulls out his pistol. Abel tells a real officer standing guard to not come in, there might be screaming. He then smiles as the officer looks ahead, terrified.
Abel comes inside the store as Shaw finishes analyzing. Abel grabs him by the neck, and asks how many others there are. Outside, Johnson is looking at the truck when in the side mirror she sees Cain holding a gun. She fights him, and Shaw escapes by jabbing the scanner into Abel's face. Shaw runs to Johnson who quakes Cain into the truck and Deke hot-wires it, allowing them to escape just as Abel does.
Back at the safe house, Freddy closes the door, and Tillman asks what they were doing there. Coulson tells him he doesn't want to cause trouble. Tillman doesn't believe him, because they came looking the same day Jimmy Bottles goes missing. Coulson, realizing that he is bulletproof, grabs the gun. It misfires, grazing Coulson's shoulder. Mackenzie defeats everyone else in the bar. With a shotgun in his hand, Coulson asks again to speak to the man in charge. Ernest Koenig come out and introduces himself. Coulson smiles recognizing the last name.
Back on the Zephyr, Rodriguez finally tries out her new arms. She goes to Simmons, who asks how she's doing with the arms. Yo-Yo asks if Simmons will try to send a message to Leo Fitz. She says that she can't, because the Chronicoms might be listening. Shaw and Johnson arrive with their stolen truck and Cain in the back. Daisy uncovers Cain, and Simmons tells everyone to tie him up and get some answers.
At the bar, Koenig tells Coulson and Mackenzie that he was bribing the police officers to look the other way while he was supplying illegal alcohol to a party for the governor of New York, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Coulson thinks that the Chronicoms are planning to hit the future President at the party. He created the SSR which is eventually formed into S.H.I.E.L.D.. At the party, Luke and Abel arrive and take in their surroundings.
At the party, Mackenzie and Shaw appear as bartenders while Johnson and Coulson are guests. Johnson and Coulson go to the entrance to secure it. Back on Zephyr One, Simmons pulls out some hardware to overload the Chronicom's system. She stabs it into the back of Cain's head and starts typing code on the keyboard to get Cain to spill answers. Johnson walks up to Coulson and apologizes for bringing him back. He is okay with it and then Johnson tells him his fanboy is showing when FDR steps up to the podium. Mackenzie asks Freddy how he got into the illegal alcohol business. He says that when his dad died, he had to do things to survive. Shaw agrees, sensing a connection with Freddy.
Simmons interrogates Cain who keeps repeating, "Location Unknown, Acquire Target." Simmons turns the device up even more and he vibrates harshly. Enoch warns that he could die if Simmons pushes him too hard. Governor Roosevelt sits at a table while Johnson and Coulson look on. Daisy is concerned, that he is too exposed. Phil says that maybe the Chronicoms don't want to be seen killing the governor.
Cain vibrates uncontrollably, and FDR starts to get up from the table. The team runs after him. As Roosevelt is getting into his wheelchair, Coulson and Johnson come around the corner. When they realizes there's no danger, Coulson helps FDR into the wheelchair and shakes his hand. Roosevelt tells Coulson his disability will be their secret as he has not shared this detail to the world yet. At the bar, a strange woman named Viola, knocks on the table telling Freddy she is his contact. Cain overloads, so Simmons pulls out the device. But she can't stop it because he's doing it to himself. He self-destructs, but before melting, he says the name, "Freddy." Viola says that they should go somewhere more secure to talk. Freddy follows her. Abel tightens the barrel on his gun, and Luke orders him to kill Freddy as soon as the handoff is completed. Simmons informs the crew that FDR isn't the target. Viola tells Freddy that if he delivers a package to the docks, his family's fame, wealth, and glory will be restored. He asks what the package is. She pulls out a small case and gives him a vial.
The Chronicoms come out from their hiding places and they shoot Viola. Luke stands over Freddy but just before he's about to shoot him, Johnson appears and quakes the Hunters. Shaw gives Freddy a hand and they leave. Coulson then tells a critically injured Viola that he'll be right with her and goes to help Johnson. As Johnson is about to be killed, Coulson punches Luke, sending him flying. Johnson uses a baseball bat to send Abel flying into the party, where many officers surround him.
They take Viola back to Koenig's where Coulson informs him that their doctor will be there shortly. Coulson asks Koenig about Freddy. Ernest then calls him by his full name, "Wilfred Malick." Johnson asks Coulson if Freddy is the father of Gideon Malick, to which he confirms it. He says that in order to save S.H.I.E.L.D., they have to save HYDRA. In the car, Mackenzie asks Freddy where he needs to go to make the delivery.
On the Zephyr, Enoch tends to May's wounds but turns around to find her gone. He searches for her while she watches from above after climbing the wall.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Yo-Yo Rodriguez
- Jeff Ward as Deke Shaw
- Joel Stoffer as Enoch
- Tobias Jelinek as Captain William Dole / Luke
- Joe Reegan as NYPD Officer / Cain
- Darren Barnet as Freddy Malick
- Nora Zehetner as Viola
- Greg Finley as Tillman
- Luke Baines as Luke
- Patton Oswalt as Ernest Koenig
- Joseph Culp as Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Karl Kwiatkowski as Patrolman Fischer
- Amos Glick as Waiter
- Ryan Gray as NYPD Officer / Abel (uncredited)
- Martin Blasick as Bandleader (uncredited)
- Kerry Crutchfield as Drummer (uncredited)
- Unknown Actor as Cain (uncredited)
- Unknown Actor as Abel (uncredited)
- Unknown Actor as Jimmy Bottles (uncredited)
- Chronyca-2 (mentioned)
- Multiverse (mentioned)
- War Against the Chronicoms
- Attack on Pearl Harbor (mentioned)
- Launch of Apollo 11 (mentioned)
- Yo-Yo Rodriguez's Prosthetic Arms
- Quake Gauntlets
- Chronicom Rifle
- Cryo-Freeze Chamber
- Healing Pod
- Facial Reconstruction Scanner
- O'Harren's Scotch Whisky
- Super Soldier Serum (key ingredient)
- Phil Coulson's Prosthetic Hand (indirectly mentioned)
- Framework (mentioned)
- Toolbox (mentioned)
- Project T.A.H.I.T.I. (mentioned)
- Chronicom Hunters
- New York City Police Department
- Strategic Scientific Reserve (mentioned)
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police (mentioned)
- Fair Employment Practice Committee (mentioned)
- Phil Coulson
- Glenn Talbot
- Ghost Rider
- Leo Fitz
- Nick Fury
- Freddy Malick's Father
- Owen Shaw
- Gideon Malick
- Marx Brothers
- This Is Your Life
- Horse Feathers
- Dracula (poster)
- The Phantom of the West (poster)
- Apollo 11
- Butterfly Effect
- Timestream Theory
|She's a Rainbow||Jesse O'Mahoney & Theo Golding|
|Smoky Sunday||Geoffrey Gascoyne|
- The title is a reference to Franklin D. Roosevelt's famous United States reformation also called The New Deal. Phil Coulson himself jokingly refers to it during the episode.
- The New Deal is the first and only season premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. not to be written by showrunners Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen.