Well, THAT was bonkers. When season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ended with the agents being kidnapped and Phil Coulson waking up in space, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I had a few guesses. I figured we might be getting our introduction to Abigail Brand and S.W.O.R.D. (S.H.I.E.L.D.’s outer space division) as Coulson and the others worked on some plotline featuring the Kree or the Inhumans or something. But it turned out to be way more complicated than that, and now I’m not sure where this season is going.
We even start things off with a bizarre, still-inexplicable opening sequence of an alien getting dressed for work. We’re not sure what this alien really looks like (we just get a shadowy outline of him in the shower) but in his human suit he is the bald guy who ordered the kidnapping of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents from that restaurant. Also he swims in a pool to the tune of Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime,” which definitely feels like something, but I’m not sure what exactly.
After the kidnapping, Coulson and the others (but not Fitz, for some reason) are taken to a dark room…along with another monolith! Unlike the last one (the one that sent Simmons to Hive’s planet), this one is white, and it also has a different effect, as we’ll soon find out. The similarity is that it also dissolves into a portal that whisks the team off to that space station we saw at the end of last season.
They get separated, naturally. Coulson ends up in a compartment with a hole blown in it, though luckily that gets repaired quickly. Unfortunately, there are bigger problems than just a faulty airlock. This space station is plagued by Xenomorph-like aliens that Virgil, a helpful pilot, describes as “roaches.” Virgil recognizes Coulson and acts like he’s been waiting for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to arrive. Mack arrives and knocks Virgil out cold, with Yo-Yo and Simmons arriving not far behind. So far, the definite bright spot of this season looks to once again be Henry Simmons’ performance. After coming into his own last season (especially anchoring the Framework arc), he’s already the funniest and liveliest character on-screen during this premiere, which counts for a lot with all the unexplained sci-fi gobbledygook going on. Speaking of gobbledygook, the station is run by blue-skinned Kree, who run the place according to their savage whims. Virgil’s able to give a bit more information, but then promptly gets killed by a roach before he can explain more.
Speaking of which, another player soon arrives in a leather jacket and distinctly Star Lord-looking face mask. He finds May and overcomes her with the help of some anti-gravity device. After tying her up and gagging her, he implants her with a black device on the inside of her wrist, calling it a ‘Metric.’
Once he and May help save Coulson and the others from the Kree, they start to piece things together. This monolith was different. Instead of sending them through space, it sent them through time, and that space debris floating outside the station’s windows … are the remains of Earth.