This week on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Yo-Yo aimed to get her Inhuman mojo back, and to that end was accompanied by May on a trip to Afterlife circa 1983. Alas, they were not alone in their interest in the Inhuman homebase….
With the Zephyr’s pit stops in time getting shorter and shorter — akin to the pattern of a rock skipping across water — the ship runs the risk of soon doing a “jump within a jump,” which does not sound good. But a rapidly pulsating protective shield surrounds the jump drive, preventing anyone from disconnecting the regulator. Unless said person was superfast.
Yo-Yo and May make a beeline in the Quinjet for Afterlife, where they don’t get the friendliest reception from Jiaying’s associate, Li, who with blind teleporter Gordon is chasing a young woman named Kora through the woods. Delivered to Jiaying, Yo-Yo proves using a diviner that she is an Inhuman, but lost her powers — presumably due to Shrike poisoning. Jiaying is curious to know how a power might be removed, so she agrees to run Yo-Yo through some therapies, including a proposed “mind meld” of sorts with newly empathic May. But when that touchy-feely tactic falls short, the ladies decide to slug it out, via a sparring session , an exercise that sparks for Yo-Yo memories of Tess’ death, Ruby’s, and others. The final flash May senses, though, is of a young Elena, cowering in a closet with a little boy.
Sitting down with May, Yo-Yo detailed that around age 10, after her dad got mixed up with some bad people, she went to live with her uncle and cousin. Trouble followed her, though, and on the night glimpsed, one of her father’s enemies roughed up/leaned on her uncle for money owed. When the thug at one point spotted and set aside her abuela’s gold cross necklace, Elena sneaked out of the closet to take it back. When the thug realized it was gone, he took it out on the uncle. A fight over a gun ensued, and the uncle wound up dead.
“I should never have taken it,” present-day Yo-Yo lamented. “I should have stayed still.”
Like a bad penny, Nathaniel Malick showed up at Afterlife to woo away the disgruntled and highly combustible Kora, whose powers Jiaying was hoping to remove — seeing as the young girl is her daughter (and thus Daisy’s half-sister??). Returning to the Zephyr, Yo-Yo sighed that, still powerless, she could be no help with the time drive. When May reassured, “You’ll bounce back,” Yo-Yo had an epiphany: “I don’t have to bounce back!” And on that note, she speedstered one-way to the time drive and extracted the regulator between pulses — though, at episode’s end, the Zephyr nonetheless got pulled into an unexpected jump, the ship and team’s fate left TBD.
TVLine asked Natalia Cordova-Buckley about discovering Elena’s sad backstory, and this is what she said:
I love that it came up, because though it had never been discussed with the writers, I always had some sort of idea that something very, very tragic must have happened to Yo-Yo. We never really discuss if her mom is still alive, if she knew about her dad [who in the comics was a villain]… That was never spoken of. But I knew that if that was her past in the comic books, on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. something really harsh had to have happened for her to have the guarded personality she’s got.
Also, I love that it reflects her way of always trying to save the people she loves, but sometimes she makes a mistake — and she holds that pain in her heart. She always thought that doing what she did [that night] when she was young hurt her family, so she has carried that a long time. What’s interesting about doing TV shows is that that wasn’t written, and yet somehow in every episode it appeared there’s a bit of the heaviness Yo-Yo carries from her past. It was awesome for the writers to pick that up and bring it to life. In a lot of hero stories, whether they’re fictional or people that have lived in this world, there’s always a very tragic crime that defines who they are, and I always wondered what that was for Yo-Yo. This brings it full circle, and you understand why it’s all so personal for her.
TVLine also asked NC-B and Ming-Na Wen when the Zephyr landed after its latest, unwanted jump. If the outcome is anywhere near as bad as feared. “It’s never good,” said Wen. “It’s never good.”
Also in this week’s episode: Jemma gifted Sousa with a snazzy prosthetic leg… Coulson slowly but surely received a new body… and we (and Deke) saw Jemma record a video message to Fitz, inviting us to wonder when we might see him in the flesh. (This was prior to castmate Elizabeth Henstridge throwing patient fans a bone here.) Alas, Cordova-Buckley and Wen (quite adorably) played coy when asked about the MIA genius.
TVLINE | We’re past the final season’s midpoint now. When will we see Fitz again — sooner versus later?
MING | Who’s Fitz…?
NATALIA | Fitz hasn’t been around…? What do you mean?
MING | Yeah, what?
NATALIA | I don’t think we can tell you….
MING | But Matt tried, one last time! You tried one last time before the series ends. [Laughs] You’re the eternal optimist.
What did you think of the episode “After, Before”?