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
Daisy sits down with Fitz and Simmons to tell them everything she can remember about her vision because whatever bad thing happens, it apparently happens tonight. They’re attempting to find the building Daisy saw by using all of the servers, though May interrupts them to make sure they’re not using ALL of them as she’s got her own private search going. Simmons admits that they’ve been looking for Garner, which leads her to ask May if she thinks they can change the future. The real problem, May says, is changing the past.
Malick brings Hive to Transia Corporation, which specializes in super cool technological advancements. He calls a meeting and brings out a state of the art prosthetic glove, but he really wants something else: the exoskeleton armor. Oh, AND he wants to buy the company. The board is obviously shocked, but Malick gets them to agree to his proposition pretty easily once Hive brings Charles in and shows them how they’ll all die (see? REAL power). And then Hive kills everyone anyway, taunting Malick about not being an Inhuman (and therefore not having the same real power everyone else does) and urging him to put on the exoskeleton. Once Malick does, he realizes he’s now as powerful in strength as he is in wealth. But, it’s not QUITE enough. Because to be truly powerful, you have to kill someone with your own hands. (Methinks someone isn’t over what happened on that planet.) Malick, to his credit, seems hesitant to agree to this, but power overtakes him, and he eventually follows through on Hive’s request.
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Meanwhile, Coulson has tracked down Charles, who doesn’t live alone: He has a wife, or he had a wife named Polly (Lola Glaudini ), who comes to the base and sits down with Daisy. She tells her about how Charles experienced terrigenesis, and when he took her hand afterward, they saw flashes ending with a horrific car crash. She explains how the flashes happened again and again and how each time she would see horrible visions — anytime Charles touched someone, they would both see someone’s death. When the visions started coming true, however, Charles went insane, and being powerless to stop them sent him over the edge.
Daisy brings out the bird Charles had carved, which she learns is a robin — their daughter’s name. Charles left his wife and daughter behind when he realized he would never be able to hold her again. This conversation makes Daisy even more determined to save Charles, and so May makes her show everyone exactly what she experienced so that the team can play it out and prepare for what’s coming. They manage to practice enough that they start to feel pretty confident about their chances in proving fate wrong before they’re informed that the building Daisy has been looking for has been found.
But Garner chooses this moment to walk back into their lives, having surrendered himself. Lash is taking over for the last time, and this time, Garner can tell the transition will be permanent…so he came to say goodbye. Naturally, this changes things, and Coulson demands that May stay and talk to her husband. While May actually wants to go ahead with the mission, Coulson convinces her otherwise, and, well, I guess Daisy is meant to save this guy after all. (Anyone else love that Coulson called her Skye before she left? Really nice touch from episode writers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon.
NEXT: The past can hurt. But you can either run from it or learn from it.
Alone with Garner, May attempts to give him the vaccine Simmons worked on. It’s a long shot, but it’s the only chance they have. Garner uses his time to tell May about how being an Inhuman changed him. Every other time he’s changed, he’s felt a little bit of Garner in Lash. This time, he can’t feel that, so he knows things will be different. But if that’s the case, he wants the monster in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s hands. A distraught May wants to know if he would change anything, but Garner says no. As for May? Well, like she said: The real problem is changing the past. Garner starts to change for the last time, and the moment is heartbreaking, especially because, for one moment, we think maybe Simmons’ vaccine will work. Alas, there’s only Lash, and Garner no longer exists.
While Daisy goes to Transia, Coulson, Lincoln, Fitz, and Simmons watch a live feed…and they catch sight of Ward (well, Hive) before the feed shuts out. It’s Fitz who deduces it’s not Ward but something else because, well, he would know, right? But there’s no time to ponder WHAT Ward is because Daisy’s already in the building, with everything playing out according to her vision — including Coulson coming in to shoot her. Daisy suddenly realizes Coulson shoots her through a one-way mirror (which means he doesn’t actually shoot her) and when he arrives on the scene, he tells her they figured it out through the security feed. He also tells her Hydra took Charles to the roof and, oh yeah, Ward’s here. How’s that for a weird day?
Daisy goes to the roof, and Coulson tells Lincoln to find Hive, but that doesn’t exactly end well (see: accurate vision of Lincoln with blood on his face). It’s not going well for Daisy, either, as Malick is waiting for her with his new powerful hardware, which allows him to have an advantage. I mean, a really big advantage. Daisy gets pretty badly beat, to the point of near-death, which leads Simmons to wonder whether the death Daisy saw wasn’t Charles’s but her own? Daisy ends up being saved by Charles, who touches Malick and gives Daisy enough of a reprieve so that she can blast him away with her powers. Daisy finally realizes Charles was meant to save her, and in doing so, Charles finally made a difference. Daisy gives him back the wooden bird and promises to take care of his daughter, who Charles is afraid will grow up to be like him. As she takes his hand, she sees a vision…of the blown up quinjet that we saw from the premiere. (Remember, that was a moment three months from now.)
Oh, and by the way, Malick’s not dead after Daisy’s attack. But he’s certainly terrified based on the day’s events. Which is just fine for Hive, who has everything he needs in terms of being in charge. He wants Giyera to go somewhere for technology they’re interested in…which is, what? The missiles? Is he after the same thing Blake is? Is he after something else? I wish I could see the future, but alas.
- STRANGE OUTLANDISH THEORY ALERT: Many people, myself included, have wondered if it’s Elena in the quinjet based on the character’s necklace after we saw her in the premiere. But could it be Robin, Charles’ daughter? (Probably a long shot considering whoever it was had a S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on their arm.) Or…could it be Daisy herself, unable to escape death?
- I would also kick Lincoln off the team for not seeing the original Terminator.
- I love, love, LOVE seeing May and Simmons fight, even if it’s just sparring. Did I mention that?
- “I think we’re supposed to hold hands now.” Someone tell me that they also had a moment of heart melt here.