Of all the ways for Agents of SHIELD to wrap its final season, becoming Legends of Tomorrow was not even a consideration. At least this homage to DC’s time traveling series had its best episode yet with Out of the Past.
This one took on a noir flare complete with Coulson having an inner monologue and seeing things in black and white. He’s still in Sousa’s custody after infiltrating the SHIELD base. But the bigger news is that it’s July 22, 1955 – the date Sousa becomes the first fallen agent of SHIELD. Before that dubious honor, Sousa played courier for a gadget that helps Howard Stark out immensely. An early model Arc reactor was asking for a bit much, but it would have been cool for the gadget to connect to something else in the larger MCU.
Sousa agrees to work with Coulson to take the device to Stark setting up a fun, old school tension-filled train scene with Chronicoms and Hydra spies. Good thing Mack and Daisy arrive in time to help Sousa. It was also a nice touch to have Mack, Daisy and Coulson blow off Sousa’s big reveal that Hydra infiltrated SHIELD. Just imagine if he’d gotten that information out though? This seems like fun premise for an episode of What If?
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Deke and Elena don’t partner up very often so this was a welcome fresh dynamic. Deke is still amazed that sexism and racism are still a thing in 1955. In a nice moment that has a great dual meaning, Elena assures him it gets better, just not fast enough. While Elena gets the device intended for Stark, the
Chronicoms Hydra agents kidnap Deke and bring him to their boss, Wilfred “don’t call me Freddy” Malick.
This kind of encounter on a time traveling show is kinda fun and pays off an episode 2 subplot where Deke decides not to kill Malick. To square things up, Malick lets Deke walk out alive. Good thing Deke never mentioned anything about Stark.
In a running joke for the episode, various team members call Enoch up since he’s the only one who’s got the ability to transfer calls to the Zephyr. No one seems all that bothered he’s been stranded for two decades, but they’ve got more pressing matters. And it’s not like Enoch is too busy to play operator…
We don’t have to wait much longer to figure out what’s happened to May. In dealing with the emotionless Shrike, May lost the ability to tap into her own emotions and now can only reflect those of people in her close proximity. That’s interesting.
Mack was conflicted about killing Malick, but won’t sit by and let Sousa get killed even if it’s in the history books. There was a nice fake out with Coulson zapping Sousa and then getting shot by Malick’s hitman while posing as Sousa.
That minor reboot cleared Coulson’s internal monologue and restored the color to his vision in a cute touch. Congratulations on cheating death Agent Sousa, but condolences for everyone thinking you’re dead.
With Sousa written out of history, plucking him out to join the team works. SHIELD played by the rules and snatched him from the time stream locking his “fate” in place. Now whatever happens to him is fair game. That’s actually a good way to address screwing around with time in a way the Legends writers never seemed to be too bothered or interested in caring about.
In the post-credit stinger, the Chronicom meets up with Malick to discuss stopping SHIELD. That’s an intriguing development and I’m curious if any of this interaction actually helps give Hydra the edge in staying hidden from SHIELD for so long.
Next episode takes place in the 70s, which still allows for the obligatory 80s and 90s episodes before settling in to present day. But can somebody please find Fitz?
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: ABC