Welcome to Bae Watch Wednesday, where I tell you all about the fictional characters you ought to be crushing on. Sorry not sorry, but I finally caught up on Agents of SHIELD and I’m high key in love with all the characters, so it’s gonna be AoS for awhile. Today’s bae: YoYo Rodriguez.
Who is YoYo Rodriguez?
Elena YoYo Rodriguez joined AoS halfway through season 3. Despite the fact that she has only been a part of the show for half its run, she is an interesting and integral character. By season 5, YoYo has become a series regular — long-overdue for this compelling character.
Season 3 was a time of upheaval. Season 2 saw conflict between SHIELD and the Inhumans of Afterlife, led by Daisy Johnson’s mother Jiaying. Jiaying wanted to protect Inhumans from attack by creating more Inhumans. Jiaying’s terrigen crystals had the unfortunate effect of killing anyone without Inhuman genes… but she didn’t care. Daisy was able to stop Jiaying, but the terrigen crystals made it into the water anyway.
Although the lethal contaminants were removed, terrigen in the water supply meant that soon there were new Inhumans popping up. One such person was Elena Rodriguez, a Colombian woman. After eating fish tacos, Elena found herself in a terrigenesis cocoon. She woke up with interesting new powers: she could move super fast, but would always return to the same spot.
Elena saw these new powers as a gift from God. Colombia was not a great place; the government was corrupt and the police force cruel. Elena knew that, with her new powers, she could help put a stop to this corruption. She began stealing weaponry from the government to destroy later. Unfortunately, SHIELD only knew that an Inhuman was stealing weapons, and intervened.
What resulted was a learning experience for SHIELD. Elena’s belief that her powers were a gift from God led SHIELD to see Inhumans in a new light. Elena was eventually released from SHIELD custody as an official asset. She returned home knowing that she would be able to have an even greater impact on the world.
Elena, nicknamed YoYo by Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie, worked on her English. She knew that if she was going to work with SHIELD, she needed to be able to communicate. She also maybe wanted to be able to converse with Mack the next time she saw him. That time came when Daisy called up her Inhuman assets to serve as the Secret Warriors, an Inhuman special forces group within SHIELD.
YoYo was pleased to be back with SHIELD and pleased to use her powers to make a difference. She was even pleased to see Mack, though she gave him some grief about her nickname — everyone called her YoYo now. They had a definite bond based on their shared faith. However, she seemed frustrated by Mack’s inability to make a move.
By the time season 4 rolled around, YoYo was an asset living in LA. She was in communication with Daisy, who had left SHIELD. YoYo even stole medicine for Daisy. She was still frustrated with Mack’s hesitancy to start something. Mack, for his part, wanted to follow the rules regarding fraternization with assets. YoYo isn’t big on rules.
When Mack found out that YoYo was stealing for Daisy, it shook their relationship a little. But YoYo pointed out that she did what needed to be done: she took action. Mack and YoYo eventually take the leap and start a relationship, and things seem to go well.
Then the Framework happens. Mack is forced into the Framework, where his long-lost daughter Hope is still alive. He makes the choice not to leave the Framework, which YoYo cannot live with. Of course, Framework!Mack doesn’t remember YoYo, but that won’t stop her. She enters the Framework to save him, staying by his side even though it will mean her death.
Mack and YoYo escape the Framework at the last possible second. Mack is touched that YoYo went through so much for him. Now that he remembers her, he knows how much she must have been hurt. They discuss starting their own family, and things seem okay. But nearly losing Mack shook YoYo, and had a lasting impact on her.
When the team finds themselves transported to a dystopian future, YoYo sticks close to Mack. She never wants to lose him again. She also respects how he works to improve the lives of the residents of the Lighthouse, the station where they are. They ground each other and help focus on the reality of their lives, not this dark future.
Unfortunately, YoYo’s reality takes a hit when she runs into… herself. Future Elena has been kept alive through cruel experimentation and warns YoYo that there is no way to escape the loop. She also tells herself that Mack is going to die. YoYo won’t stand for that.
Armed with the knowledge that she lives past the end of the world, YoYo becomes reckless. She is convinced she is invincible and takes whatever steps necessary to try and save Mack. Mack worries that YoYo is losing herself in this quest. They are almost broken apart when YoYo tricks Mack to escape with FitzSimmons and stop Hydra. The breaking point comes when YoYo kills Ruby Hale, a teenager.
Mack thinks that YoYo has gone too far. YoYo thinks she did what was needed to stop the end of the world. They seem to be at an impasse. YoYo is a doer; she can’t sit idly by and let bad things happen. In the end, though, they return to each other. They have been through too much to separate now.
Why is YoYo Rodriguez Bae?
I feel like YoYo doesn’t get nearly the attention she deserves because she’s not one of the major characters on Agents of SHIELD. But let’s be real: YoYo Rodriguez is a total babe. She’s super cute, with a captivating smile that perfectly matches her big personality. Natalia Cordova-Buckley was a good choice.
One of the things that makes YoYo Rodriguez a great character is her willingness to do what needs to be done. YoYo is a doer. She takes action. She never was one to stand by and do nothing when things go bad, and she certainly wasn’t going to start once she got her Inhuman powers and could take even more action than before.
Right off the bat, it’s clear that YoYo does what needs to be done. She’s a revolutionary. We first meet her a potential criminal stealing weapons from the government in her native Colombia. She’s set up to be a bad guy, an Inhuman using their powers for nefarious purposes. Instead, we get a hero.
YoYo knows that her country is corrupt. But she isn’t going to stand by and just let it happen. Given these miraculous powers, she knows she can actively make a difference. So, she steals weapons to take them out of the hands of corrupt officials. She destroys weapons, she doesn’t use them. She is happy she can help people, even if it gets her in trouble.
Later, with SHIELD, YoYo is never afraid to take action. Sometimes, this results in her going against SHIELD protocol. When Daisy needs medicine but won’t contact SHIELD, YoYo doesn’t hesitate to steal it. She stands by her friend. YoYo also sees no reason to dither over a relationship with Mack. If they want to be together, who cares what the rules say? Not YoYo.
This tendency to take action without hesitation, while fitting for a character with super speed, does cause some troubles. Her actions in season 5 nearly destroy her relationship with Mack. But YoYo cannot change who she is. She does what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
YoYo also brings a much-needed breath of fresh air to Agents of SHIELD. The Inhumans storyline, while often very fun, could also sometimes drag. There was a lot of panicking over new powers, a lot of being unsure if a person was good or bad, a lot of overall hesitation. YoYo ended that.
By the time we met YoYo Rodriguez, she was already in control of her powers. There was no arc where she had to learn how to master them or even just not to be afraid. Instead, we got an in charge hero, doing what she could to change the world. YoYo made SHIELD rethink their stance on Inhumans.
YoYo is also a lot of fun on the show. She’s a lighthearted character who is willing to have a good time. She never hesitates to make a joke. Even at the end, when things are dark, YoYo makes you smile. When Mack dubs her YoYo, she gets her revenge by calling him Turtleman — the slow tortoise to her action-taking hare.
The relationship between Mack and YoYo is one of the best in the show. Everyone else’s relationships are heavy, dramatic, and angst-y. Not so with Mackelena. They get each other, and they make their relationship work. It’s nice to see something go smoothly. Plus, they’re super cute together — Mack is almost a full foot taller than YoYo!
YoYo makes the show better because she breezes through, making everyone smile and enjoy themselves a little. She lightens up Mack, who has a tendency to be a downer. She supports Daisy when Daisy feels all alone. YoYo is an integral part of the team, which makes it all the more criminal that she’s not a series regular for so long. They need her to bring some light.
What’s Not To Love?
YoYo Rodriguez is one of the best characters in Agents of SHIELD. She may not have been there all along, but it’s a miracle we lasted as long as we did without her. YoYo brings a necessary breath of fresh air, lightening up the show with her dazzling smile and sunny personality.
YoYo makes things happen. When other characters would hesitate, she wouldn’t. Instead, she’d take action, and prod others to act as well. Just by being herself — by being someone willing to do what needed to be done — YoYo Rodriguez changed the way SHIELD approached Inhumans. That’s pretty intense, and she deserves respect.
Some people may not be happy with YoYo’s arc in season 5. I’ll admit, being mangled, believing herself to be invincible, and murdering a teenager all are pretty heavy issues. But it fits with who YoYo is. She does. She’s not going to sit by and do nothing. She loses her arms? That’s fine, she needs her legs more. She can’t die? Good, then she’ll do what she can to save others.
I can’t wait to see what season 6 brings for YoYo Rodriguez. She has managed to survive the end of the world — even helping to avert it in the process. She stayed true to herself, even when others condemned her. Now that Mack is director and the team is headed on new adventures, I have a feeling that YoYo’s take action personality will be more necessary than ever.