While failing to save a homeless Inhuman, Daisy gets a glimpse of events yet to come. Can the future be changed, or are we all acting out a play predetermined by destiny?
1. Timey-Wimey Stuff
I love thinking about time travel or what it means to see or know the future; it raises so many questions about fate, free will, and the immutability of time. In that regard, this episode did not disappoint. We have a scene where Edwin Abbot, having seen his own future, calls for S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daisy Johnson because he saw them arriving, and they arrived because he mentioned Hydra. How did he know Hydra would be there? “Because that’s what you all yell when they come out of the sky.”
Even Coulson gets to talking about the implications of time travel, referencing the ontological paradox within The Terminator. But when Daisy sees her own future, the team tries to use that knowledge to their advantage, which brings us to thought number two.
2. Can The Future Be Changed?
A good portion of the episode is spent discussing and debating whether or not time is immutable. Can they use their knowledge of the future to change it, or is destiny set in stone?
According to Fitz, there is no changing the future, we’re merely moving through it. Seeing the future is just glimpsing into the fourth dimension, and there’s nothing that can be done about it even with the knowledge.
In this episode, at least, he’s right; no matter what they do to prevent the future Daisy saw from coming to pass, their actions either get undone or lead to the vision coming true in the first place. It’s something of a fatalistic viewpoint; if the future is set in stone, then free will is an illusion, and we’re all puppets dancing to the mechanisms of fate. With that as the only option, who wouldn’t at least try to change things?
That said, if the X-Men could exist in this universe, they might bring up some counterpoints. After all, going back in time to prevent a bad future from coming to pass is pretty much an X-Men tradition by this point.
3. True Power Is…A Little Unimpressive.
Hive/Ward finally asks Malick the important question: why go through all that trouble just to bring him over? Well, Malick’s family was under the belief that they’d be rewarded for it with the ever-cliche villain goal of world domination.
And yet Hive/Ward points out the glaringly obvious flaw in the plan: Malick is already filthy rich and influential, what more could he want? What could he stand to gain from conquering the world? Apparently what he really wants is, well, more power. So Hive/Ward offers “true power,” like the super powers the Inhumans have.
What does he get? An exoskeleton suit that gives him enhanced strength. So basically the poor man’s equivalent of the Iron Man suit (“poor man” being a relative term, since it’s only considered “poor” when compared to the multi-billion dollar wealth of Tony Stark). Sure, he enjoys it for a bit, but it’s got to be a little underwhelming given the level of powers that already exist in the Marvel cinematic universe. It also doesn’t last long against a single seismic blast from Daisy, in spite of the beatdown it can deliver.
4. Back In Lash
May and Simmons are continuing the hunt for Andrew, or at least his Inhuman alter-ego, Lash. As it turns out, they don’t really need to do much, since he just walks up to S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ and turns himself in. Anti-climactic? Maybe, but I doubt it’s over yet.
Andrew can feel Lash growing stronger within him, and he knows the next time he transforms, there’s no going back. In spite of all that he’s done, he still trusts S.H.I.E.L.D. to keep his murderous side in check. Unless, of course, there’s another game he’s playing at, since just getting Lash locked up and put away would be a rather boring way to end his story.
Still, May gets a nice final conversation with her ex-husband, where it becomes clear that she blames herself for everything that happened to him, everything he became. Andrew, in turn, gets his goodbyes. The Inhuman “vaccine” Simmons developed is not enough to counteract the transformation, so it’s time for one more transformation, with just a tiny bit of an attempted jump scare. Still, it provided some nice character development and exposition for the two.
5. Things Yet To Come
In spite of the team’s best efforts, the future Daisy saw could not be changed. Everything happened exactly as shown, even if they unfolded in ways she didn’t expect. So when she’s given one last vision of outer space, a floating corpse, and a good amount of blood, it has her rightfully worried.
The audience maybe a little less so, since this was foreshadowed several episodes ago. But now we and S.H.I.E.L.D. get to see what will lead to this.
Although frankly, I can’t look at that scene without remembering Adventure Time, and Jake’s croak dream. I was half expecting the Cosmic Owl to show up and tell Daisy “Yeah, this is gonna happen.” Still, if there’s one thing this episode has shown us, it’s that seeing the future and knowing the whole story about it are two rather different things.