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    Five Thoughts on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “Past Life”

    By | February 5th, 2018
    Posted in Television | % Comments

    Here we are, folks, the mid-season finale. It’s time to fight some Kree, get back from the future, and maybe or maybe not doom the world to an inevitable death by time loop.

    1. Know Thyself

    One of the most interesting parts about this episode was when Yo-Yo met herself, or rather, her future self. Natalia Cordova-Buckley did a great job playing both versions of her character, and it was just the right blend of emotional and unnerving to sell the scene.

    This most certainly explains how Kasius recognized her earlier, and how he knew about her powers. The idea that he constantly had her killed and revived is pretty gruesome, and using her as a “seer” by having her remember what her past self did in their present is a clever concept.

    Of course, this continues the concept that they’re in a time loop, which on one hand helps keep things paradox-free, aside from ontological paradoxes, but also continues to hammer in that no matter what they do, the Earth is doomed.

    Oh, and so is Coulson, as future Yo-Yo reveals.

    2. Coulson’s Second Death

    Yes, it seems Coulson is dying again, and it is trying to save him that sets Daisy down the path of apocalypse. (That’s “apocalypse” the event, not Apocalypse the character, or Apokolips the planet.) We don’t know what the exact cause is, aside from black veins spreading from his chest, but it’s coming, and future Yo-Yo says it has to happen, even though she knows they’ll still try to stop it because, again, time loop.

    So, will Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. kill off the character they brought back from the dead in order to make the show even happen? That all depends on how much longer the show gets renewed for, I suppose. Still, we’ll undoubtedly get a lengthy emotional arc about how much Coulson means to the team, and how they’re frantically trying to save him, only to realize that to save the world, they have to let him go.

    3. Flint’s Time

    As promised, Flint is the key for returning the SHIELD team home. He is not, however, the key to preventing the world’s destruction in the first place, as he’s left in the future. So no Flint/Quake team-ups of tectonic proportions for us.

    That said, the scene with him floating in space before pulling all the monolith fragments together and launching them into the Lighthouse was pretty darn cool; and I had to notice that the inside of the space helmet looked suspiciously like Iron Man’s helmet, down to the way it was shot.

    The episode also ends suggesting that Flint and Tess are going to start rebuilding the world. It’ll take quite a bit to pull all those rocks back together into one planet, not to mention restoring it to habitable conditions (Gravitonium being the MacGuffin that even made it last this long in pieces), but at least it’s ending on a more or less optimistic note for the future.

    4. The End of the Kree

    Now I know the Kree have been portrayed as pretty much the galaxy’s biggest jerks, but boy did the team ever not take it easy on them. Sinara’s dead body was left on display like a masthead on a pirate ship, making her really just more of a prop to show how Kasius is affected.

    But that can’t compare to Fitz’s razor wire trap. Three Kree decapitated in the traditional “pause for a moment then watch their heads fall off from the super clean cut” style, then the bodies are left as a warning to make the rest afraid to follow them.

    Channeling your inner Framework-self I see, Fitz.

    At least Kasius got something of a decent end. He utilized all his resources, inflicted a lot of emotional pain to Mack via the future version of Yo-Yo, and then… made the foolish mistake of ingesting his family’s berserker drug and going to beat Mack one-on-one. Sure, he’s tough, but he’s never been portrayed as a fighter, nor did the situation seem quite so desperate as to require that, since it was clearly shown to be a last resort that would end his life.

    That said, Simmons helping beat him by slipping the control device into his ear while he was focused on Mack was a great bit of poetic justice, and the shotgun-axe keeps getting cooler with a bayonet mode.

    Continued below

    Perhaps post importantly, we now know that Kasius’s father wanted to take over the world in the past, only to find it was already destroyed. This may present a future plot point.

    5. Back to the Past?

    So the episode comes to its explosive conclusion. Enoch and Deke, having completed their character arcs, sacrifice themselves in the belief that they can get the SHIELD crew home and save the future. The monolith goes off, but we don’t get to see if it worked just right or if everyone managed to get back to it in time.

    Of course, they’ll be returning to a time where they’re on the run for everything that happened last season with the Framework and Director Mace, so we’ll have to see how that works out.

    We can’t forget Daisy, of course, and how she was willing to remain in a doomed future to prevent it from coming to pass. Once more, we’ll ignore the paradoxes that would create, and focus more on Coulson knocking her out to ensure she’d come back with them, thus demonstrating once again that they’re on a predetermined path in a never-ending time loop.

    The next episode is set to air in March, so next month we’ll see how it all goes down.

    Until then, thanks for taking the time warp with me.


    //TAGS | Marvel's Agents of SHIELD

    Robbie Pleasant

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