By Christian Holub
August 05, 2020 at 11:00 PM EDT
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Credit: Mitch Haaseth/ABC

Coming off last week’s episode, we know that Nathaniel Malick has now taken Simmons, Deke, and the Zephyr to look for Fitz. I was hoping that would mean we might see at least a little Fitz, and I was right!

If you thought that Deke accidentally stowing away on the Zephyr with Malick, Simmons, and the young John Garrett was going to lead to a Die Hard-type situation...well, so did Deke! And you were both wrong. Garrett finds him immediately and Malick tries to threaten Deke in order to coax his grandmother into giving up Fitz’s location. Malick uses S.H.I.E.L.D.’s own technology to explore Simmons’ brain, but thanks to the implant it’s well-hidden. Instead, his first attempts only bring up great FitzSimmons moments from the early seasons, which I of course loved but also made me worry this episode was going to turn into a clip show. Thankfully it did not, those were just a brief interlude. 

Meanwhile, Kora makes her way onto the S.H.I.E.L.D. ship. Tough for me to get invested in this character’s journey since we just met her a few weeks ago, but May tries her best. Her characteristic coldness is offset a bit by her new emotion-reading powers, just as Coulson’s classic warmth is offset by the fact that technically he’s a robot now. But even so, when May tries to talk to Kora about Malick and her mother, Kora ends up overreacting and using her powers to short-circuit the Lighthouse’s power, allowing Sybil to infiltrate their system. Coulson tries to out-hack her, but even his LMD computational powers are no match for a Chronicom. Sybil uses her technological advantage to find the locations of all S.H.I.E.L.D. bases, and then summon more Chronicom ships to destroy them. 

Kora has totally bought into Malick and Sybil’s plan to amplify the old Captain America: The Winter Soldier plan with Chronicom tech; use their alien weaponry to take out everyone who could be a threat to world peace down the line. In Kora’s words, this is a brand new timeline with new rules. They can shape the world however they want. I think this works as a metaphor for this season as a whole: Season 5 was more appropriately a “final season” that brought together various plotlines and characters dating back to the beginning of the show, but for various reasons, we ended up having two more anyway, and now have a new chance at an ending.  

Kora mentions “Grant Ward” as an example of someone who could be assassinated before growing into a villain (and unless something really unexpected happens in the finale, that might be the only mention of Grant Ward you get this season). Kora isn’t even fazed by May revealing her mother’s body. Though Kora cries and tries to give some of her energy to Jiaying to activate her healing power, she still accompanies Garrett back to Malick’s ship when summoned. She and Malick definitely have one thing in common: They both love to talk a big game for people who have only been on this show for a couple of weeks. 

There’s a dash of fun character interaction where Mack finds out about Sousa’s kiss with Daisy and encourages it, but the most interesting element of this episode is definitely the implications of where (or when) Fitz might be. Eventually, Malick is able to go deep enough into Simmons’ brain to see memories of her, Fitz, and Enoch working out their plan. As Fitz gets frustrated with his lack of progress in building a time machine, Enoch notes that it is a time machine, after all, so technically you can take as long as you want. Fitz latches onto that, telling Simmons that they can spend as much time together as they want before taking the machine to do whatever time travel stuff they need to do with it. 

The next scene we see is in a pure white room, with Simmons begging Fitz not to make a certain decision because she couldn’t bear it. Fitz is apparently explaining the necessity of giving her a memory implant. Interestingly, even though the reasoning Simmons has used all season is that the implant will prevent the Chronicoms from finding Fitz’s whereabouts, Fitz himself uses a different justification: If Simmons doesn’t know what happened to Fitz, then she can’t be distraught about it and can keep a level enough head to lead the team through their time travel adventures. That...sounds bad! Simmons’ look of horror from a few episodes ago when the implant was removed definitely makes more sense if it was Fitz related in some way. 

Here’s my guess: The only way for Fitz to successfully build a time machine was to spend literally his whole life on it. If he spent 80 years building it, then it would work and could be used for whatever they wanted, but he would be lost in the process. Or maybe something like Inception, where he and Simmons grew old together but only she was able to come back from it? 

We’ll find out for sure next week, and if the twist (whatever it actually is) was worth losing Fitz for the entire final season. In the meantime, enjoy Malick and Kora making out I guess.

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