Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this week served up another blast from the future, one family reunion and multiple flavors of heartbreak, before revealing exactly what (or who) Nathaniel Malick is now after.
Back in 1983, Malick chats up the “hottest recruit” at S.H.I.E.L.D.’s NYC hidey-hole, warning the up-and-comer that he and the agency are headed for a bad break-up in about seven years, after which he will fall into HYDRA’s loving arms. After demonstrating his quake power, Malick manages to win over the guy — aka young John Garrett (played by the late Bill Paxton’s son, James)!
Over at the Lighthouse, just as Roxy and Deke’s other mentees are heading off to the actual SHIELD academy, Coulson & Co. return and realize that development of the Triskelion is far ahead of schedule — again signaling that they need to make the timeline right. They also need to follow through on their promise and secure Afterlife, before any other parents are lost. Daisy meanwhile privately asks Jemma about the last thing she remembers before implanting “Diana,” and whether it was, like, violent or something. When Jemma asks why she is do curious, Daisy explains that when they removed the chip during the time loop, she appeared downright devastated/inconsolable.
Later, May is about to tell Daisy about Kora when Gordon teleports in with an irked Jiaying, who reports that Malick began hunting her people after SHIELD led him to her front door! “Disposable” Coulson volunteers to head to Afterlife with Gordon to do recon. When Jiaying charges them with bringing back her daughter, Daisy calls out May, who blames the immediate crisis of the time storm yada yada. When Daisy wonders why she never heard about a sister, May notes that maybe Kora had gone through with taking her life, which they had interrupted weeks prior.
Malick brings Garrett to Afterlife and shows him the marvels of the time stream, Sybil, and the tech they have kinda perfected to transfer powers from Inhuman to human. He also introduces Kora, before tasking her with using her power to put newly neutered Li out of his misery — which she does after but a moment of hesitation.
Inside the Zephyr, Deke and Jemma mourn Enoch a bit, as they look at his “heart” jerry-rigged into the time drive. When Deke asks why Fitz doesn’t seem to be communicating with the time drive anymore, Jemma suggests, “Maybe he never was?” Maybe the Zephyr was simply pre-programmed to follow the Chronicoms? Jemma notes that Fitz has not replied to any of her messages, and speculates that “Diana” is meant to keep her from remembering “too painful” memories, but Deke insists that his Bobo is out there, and they will get back to him.
When Coulson and Gordon arrive at Afterlife, Malick and his goons are waiting for, and quickly detain, them. Coulson is introduced to Kora and then realizes he has “reunited” with Garrett, who has used the time stream to see all that Coulson will one day do to him — including vaporization via space laser. Hooked up to absorb Gordon’s powers, Garrett is freaking out about maybe “inheriting” the whole non-eyes thing, when poof! He giddily portals out of his chair to elsewhere in the building.
When Daisy gives Sousa a sense of how things “got really bad” with Jiaying in the past, er, future, he suggests that “maybe now is your chance to experience what she was like before then?” And yes, maybe even disclose who she is to Jiaying. After all, the timeline is already screwed, says the non-dead prosthetic wearer from the 1950s, who being the square he is offers to “chaperone” the ladies’ reunion. Daisy urges Jiaying to trust her and her friends, because Afterlife is important to them, as well. Sousa cuts to the chase and blabs that Daisy is “no outsider” to the commune, after which Daisy demos her Quake power. When Jiaying asks, “Where did you learn that?,” Daisy says, “From you. In 30 years.”
Jiaying says that Malick has used his knowledge of the future to warp Kora’s mind and turn her against her mother. She says that Kora had been shy and sweet until terrigenesis, after which she became volatile and the others at Afterlife wanted her gone. Jiaying shares that she had thought her own power was her greatest gift, “but I was wrong — it was her.” A bit gut-punched by her mom’s testimony, Daisy shares that “hen I finally found my mom, she wasn’t who I hoped she would be.” Still unaware of their connection, Jiaying offers that “sometimes when we are trying to do the right thing, it comes out all wrong.”
At Afterlife, Gordon uses his last bit of energy(/life?) to teleport him and Coulson out of their lockup, after which they meet up with Mack and Yo-Yo, who go about freeing the hostages and getting them to the Quinjet. Malick and Garrett meanwhile have teleported to the Lighthouse. May runs into/”reunites” with Garrett, who hints that he is searching for “an open-minded gal to tag along on a road trip,” and it ain’t her. When he teleports away mid-fight, May alerts Daisy to keep Jiaying safe. Malick, though, finds Jiaying and Daisy, and quickly blurts that they are mother and daughter. As it dawns on Jiaying that she is the mother who hurt Daisy, Malick takes pleasure in recapping the duo’s complicated history. But just as he gets to detailing Jiaying’s gnarly ultimate fate, Daisy interrupts him with a quake. Malick, alas, gives even better than he gets, knocking down Daisy with his own vibes. Jiaying goes to absorb Malick’s life force, but he breaks free — and then uses a flick of a quake to snap her neck, as a horrified Daisy looks on. “I guess she won’t live forever,” he coldly snuffs. And to Daisy, he taunts, “I guess you won’t live at all.” 😟
As angry as we have perhaps ever seen her, Daisy begins to rumble the entire Lighthouse jungle, exploding light bulbs and all, but her outburst is cut short when May sneaks up on and wings Malick with a bullet. As Daisy sits at lifeless Jiaying’s side, May can only wonder who Malick and Garrett were after, if not Jiaying…? The answer: elsewhere, Garrett gets the drop on Jemma and teleports away with her, before Sousa can shoot him.
Coulson boards the Quinjet with an unconscious Kora, whom he had iced at Afterlife, joining Mack, Yo-Yo and the rescued hostages. When Sousa reports that the bad guys took Jemma and are about to fly the Zephyr out of the Lighthouse, May wonders, “Where’s Deke?” and tries to alert him. Deke, though, misses her hail and soon enough realizes that he is aboard the hijacked Zephyr!
In the final “bonus” scene, Jemma asks her captors why they took her. Malick explains that Sybil “ran the numbers” and every outcome where they don’t succeed has one thing in common — Fitz — “and now you’re going to take us to him.”
What did you think of SHIELD‘s ante-antepenultimate episode “Stolen”? Did Daisy just get Marty McFly’d out of existence, with her mother’s premature death?