Can you change the future? Can you change the past? It’s a question many characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have asked themselves at some point throughout the series but particularly this season as the characters reflect on the people they’ve become and the situations that they’ve experienced: Daisy and Lincoln being Inhuman, Coulson killing Ward, May and Garner, Fitz and Simmons. Tonight’s episode was all about the question of fate and whether we’re really tied to it: an interesting question to pose a group of people who are constantly wondering “what if.”
We begin with Charles Hinton (Bjorn Johnson), a homeless man who seems harmless enough as far as homeless men in New York go. He’s trying to carve a small wooden bird when he’s interrupted by a guy named Edwin Abbott (Wolfgang Bodison), who owns the grocery store that Charles is sleeping outside of. Edwin’s not mean about telling Charles to leave — he attempts to give him money so he can buy food — but Charles refuses his goodwill, and when Edwin touches him, we see why. Edwin goes into a trance where he sends up a call to Daisy, asking him to help her because “we’re running out of time” and “this is where I die.”
Here’s the problem: Daisy, who listens to the call, has never met or seen this guy before in her life. But Edwin mentions Hydra, which is cause enough for the group to take him seriously, so they all go see what they can find out. Once Edwin sees Daisy, he tells her that Charles made him see this confrontation and again mentions how Hydra’s coming for him and how he’s going to die. As he says these words, Hydra planes descend on the scene and attack, and Edwin gets shot. Because, well, “this is where I die.” In the midst of the chaos, Daisy soon realizes that the homeless man must be an Inhuman. She attempts to save him before Hydra snatches him up but is too late. Charles gets taken…but not before Daisy touches him, seeing flashes of her own future: Fitz and Simmons standing in the snow holding hands; Lincoln with blood on his face, clearly hurt; Coulson shooting her. Charles gives one more plea, asking for Daisy’s help, before her vision ends. Daisy is left shaken with Charles’ wooden bird.
Meanwhile, a newly risen Hive is feeling good. Like, Neo in The Matrix good. He’s even got swagger. He joins Malick for a Hydra-infused dinner, thanks him for bringing him back, and then asks why he did it. Malick gives him a song and dance about how Hydra believed that if they brought him back, they would be rewarded… Oh yeah, and also, they’re supposed to take over the world. Hive is confused because Malick already has money and the means to do whatever he wants, so why does he need Hive so badly? Simple: Malick wants power. Well, in that case, Hive says it’s time to go aboveground and show him what true power really feels like. (Seriously, did EVERYONE go to the Loki school of “I will show you what true power is”?)
Back at base, Daisy is telling everyone about her vision, all grisly details included. No one is particularly comfortable hearing about how Daisy dies and how they all play a part, but Daisy is adamant about the fact that she has to be the one to save Charles and thinks they can reverse the future enough to make it happen. This leads Fitz to attempt to explain the space-time continuum in a way that’s ultimately confusing to anyone that’s not a scientist but also in a way that would probably make Tony Stark proud. Coulson comes up with a strategy to get Charles out of Hydra, but it involves keeping Daisy out of the equation and replacing her with May instead — which Daisy isn’t happy about. Lincoln shares his insight on Inhumans with Coulson, the fact that they were designed to fill a need…so they’re not as random as Coulson thinks. (He also threatens him if he hurts Daisy. Boy, you’re getting a bit overprotective here with your new boss.)
NEXT: Fates collide