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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Past Life - Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Past Life” was written by DJ Doyle and was directed by Eric Laneuville. This was another fast-paced episode that saw Deke (Jeff Ward) and Enoch (Joel Stoffer) sacrifice themselves to save the team. Even though this episode wraps up the future storyline and starts to set up what's to come, it was still a really good episode in its own right. Special mention in this episode has to go to Natalia Cordova-Buckley for doing double duty as both present and future Yo-Yo!

The team arrives back at the Lighthouse. And let’s pause one more time to give kudos to the special effects team. Kasius (Dominic Rains) finds the skewered body of Sinara (Florence Faivre) and is clearly distraught. The ship is empty – except for Enoch – who delightfully unfolds himself when the Kree soldiers leave.

Flint needs to put the monolith back together and then Enoch uses the machine on the Zephyr to trigger it – through space or time. Tess (Eve Harlow) insists that they can’t go until everyone is out of danger. Mack (Henry Simmons) assures her that Coulson (Clark Gregg) is rescuing the Inhumans, but Tess reveals that there are more dead ones like her – or at least one because she heard someone else going through the process.

Yo-Yo insists that she go after the dead. Tess has to fly the others to safety with the trawler and Mack has to get Flint (Coy Stewart) to Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge). And yes, I loved that she referred to them as FitzSimmons! Cordova-Buckley is simply superb in this episode.

Deke is focused on killing Kasius because he’s going to still be a problem once Coulson and the team leave. Coulson promises that they won’t leave before humanity is back in charge of its own future. Coulson gives everyone their orders to move out and they’ll meet at the rendez vous point.

There’s a nice moment between Tess and Flint while Mack tries to talk Yo-Yo out of going alone. She’s adamant that she has to help – this person is an Inhuman. Tess is proud of Flint – and there’s a clear bond between the two despite the world they’ve grown up in. Yo-Yo tells Flint to look after Mack – and they split up.

Kasius orders the Kree doctor (Ryan R Moos) to fix Sinara the same way he “fixed” Tess. The doctor can’t though because the procedure doesn’t work on Kree! Telling Kasius no is a risky business at best and gets the doctor shot in the head. It would seem that Sinara’s death has put Kasius completely over the edge – he tells her that he envies her restful sleep – and then conducts a conversation with her.

Hek-Sel has brought Rose’s pictures from the ship. Kasius figures out that if they’ve been brought from the past and haven’t gone back yet – which is clearly the plan – then they haven’t cracked the world apart yet. Kasius reveals that his father had tried to capture earth but S.H.I.E.L.D. resisted him – and that’s when the earth was destroyed. Kasius is determined to crush S.H.I.E.L.D. so that his father in the past will receive no resistance! He wants to use the remaining Inhumans, and Tye (Max E Williams) points out that they are barely trained. Did he miss the doctor being killed right beside him???

Kasius relates his family’s tradition of dying with honor when all is lost. By drinking Odium. Which creates a brilliant flash of violent splendor – and a very silly looking squelch of black goo from every orifice. I really wish they had left this rather silly bit out. Kasius forces it down Tye’s throat.

Mack invites Flint to come back with them, telling him that he’s always have a home with him and Yo-Yo- AW!!! I so, so wanted this to happen… Flint doesn’t really answer, saying he still has to build a time machine – which Fitz clarifies is a portal.

Deke, May (Ming-Na Wen), Coulson, and Daisy (Chloe Bennet) rescue the Inhumans after a brief fight with the Kree guards. In light of recent events, I really, really appreciated Deke and May’s exchange about guns – and a law to make sure that only really, really good people could get them. Super-charged Tye shows up and knocks out Coulson and engages Daisy. She finally takes him down with a knife to the heart. Coulson claims a “wardrobe malfunction” – but there’s clearly still something going on with him. Daisy compares Odium to PCP…

Deke is his usual smooth talker when he sees Tess, who he also clearly likes. She’s happy to see him too, but still struggling. Couslon sees it and tells her that he’s been where she is – something like this changes you. She keeps questioning what happened and what’s real. Coulson assures her that saving people is real – and that’s worth it. Tess is finally on board, and tells Coulson he was right – they can fight back.

Kasius is between a rock and a hard place – and naturally blames everyone but himself. Much to Hek-Sel’s discomfort, Kasius continues to talk to Sinara. Rains is really good in this sequence, so I felt even worse for the very silly way they kill him. Kasius is determined to please his father to the end – and seems eager to join Sinara. He’s planning on using his Seer to send one last message.

Yo-Yo comes face to face with Kasius’s Seer and was anyone surprised that it was Elena, herself??? I was surprised and shocked when we find out that they’ve removed her arms though! Again, kudos to Cordova-Buckley – I’m so happy to see them giving her more and more to do – she certainly earns it by continuing to knock it out of the park with these performances!

Yo-Yo is shocked and assumes it’s some kind of trick – or framework illusion. Elena (I’ll use Elena for future-Yo-Yo to try and keep it straight!) assures her it isn’t. Elena has clearly been through a lot and has lost hope. Elena tells Yo-Yo that they’ve killed her and brought her back again and again to take her blood. It’s horrifying. The only time she smiles is when she realizes that Mack is there too. She tells Yo-Yo to hold him as long as she can – which of course, makes Yo-Yo desperate to know how he dies.

Elena has tried to think of what to say to spare Yo-Yo the pain, but seeing herself she’s flooded with painful memories. She tells Yo-Yo that she’s stuck in the loop – the same as Elena – and that they’ll make it back but cause everything that happens to happen. Yo-Yo refuses to believe it, and Elena says she refused too – until she was on fire, reaching for Mack! She can’t offer any solutions to change things – and she’s not sure they can…

Enoch continues to work but contacts Coulson when he’s found by the Kree. I loved him telling Coulson that he could hold out for 12 minutes! It’s hilarious because it’s so precise! It’s clear that they have to secure the Zephyr, and May, Daisy, and Coulson are all shocked when Deke – after some whining – offers to sacrifice himself to “save the weird robot.”

Daisy offers to go with him, but Deke’s done the math. All the time travelers have to be at the rendez vous when the machine is ready. He also tells her that she’s responsible for dragging the hero out of him – mainly because she can’t help herself being a hero. The world needs her to help save it! Coulson smiles as Deke’s pep-talk is clearly more effective than his.

Simmons proves that she’s an excellent teacher! I love that she has no experience with being an Inhuman but can beautifully translate the experience. Mack watches approvingly as Simmons helps Flint. She tells Mack that Flint has a gift – and he’s noticed what a good teacher she is and tells her she has a gift too. They have a plan to reconstruct the monolith.

Fitz hears the Kree coming, and asks Flint how he is in both confined and vast spaces before shoving a helmet in his hands. While the others have been busy teaching Flint, Fitz has been busy fortifying their position – he’s the weapons guy, remember! Mack raises his guns and Fitz lowers it as the Kree rush in, and Fitz presses his button… he’s booby-trapped the room and the Kree are all beheaded!

Simmons is clearly troubled and asks if this was Fitz’s way out. He logically – and dispassionately – tells her that they can’t fight them all and they need to be afraid to follow them. He’s not wrong – and he’s clearly mastered the art of fear. Simmons may be troubled, but she’s not afraid to follow.

Elena can’t think of anything to tell Yo-Yo that might help. She finally tells Yo-Yo that she remembers feeling helpless to change people’s choices – HIS choices. Yo-Yo assumes it’s Mack, but it’s Coulson. And we know that he’s hiding a big secret – what deal did he make with Ghostrider??

Daisy, May, and Coulson prepare to descend to the rendez vous point, but then Daisy tells them that she’s not coming. She admits to Coulson that she’s terrified to go home. She can’t be responsible for all the deaths. May points out that she doesn’t even have her powers anymore, but Daisy knows that’s only a matter of time. Coulson refuses to believe that it’s the beginning of the end if Daisy goes back.

I loved how this scene is inter-cut with Elena telling Yo-Yo what happened. Elena tells her that the more they fought, the closer the future came. The team makes one choice – to save HIM – and that is what destroys them.

Daisy insists that they can solve it today by her not returning. Coulson insists that he’s concerned about tomorrow – the job never ends because they’re never safe – there’s always a new threat. I think that the big reason that he’s insisting Daisy come back is that he knows he won’t be around to lead and he wants her to take his place.

Daisy tells Coulson that he trained her to fight – and now she’s making her stand. Coulson clarifies that May taught her to fight – and he needs her to leave… so he ICES her! May is pretty shocked. Elena drops the bomb that Coulson is dying – and they have to let him! And then we get a close up on why Coulson’s been being so modest about his chest – his full of black lines/veins – and that’s never good!

Yo-Yo wants to know how Coulson dies, and Elena tells her it’s already begun – he’s sick and he knows it. That Ghostrider deal!!! Their loyalty to try to save him cost them the world. They hear the guards coming, and Elena begs Yo-Yo to leave. Of course, Yo-Yo wants Elena to come with her and is horrified when she stands up and is missing her arms from the elbows down! Elena tells her that it’s not her path, and Yo-Yo finally leaves – and Elena smiles – perhaps all her hope isn’t gone yet.

We see Flint in the Guardians of the Galaxy suit in space, pulling together the monolith. I loved how this sequence moves into slow motion and turns up the classical, operatic sound track to mimic a kind of Space odyssey feel. We move to Coulson carrying an unconscious Daisy with May at his side – the S.H.I.E.L.D. “family” tableau. From there we move to Enoch finally being overrun as he works. Back to Flint in space, and then to Kasius coming for Elena. All the elements are coming together!

Hek-Sel is gathering his remaining guards when Flint sends his rocks crashing through the window and they’re sucked into space. Simmons, Fitz, and Mack are already there with Ava (Tunisha Hubbard) – and why they aren’t also sucked out is a mystery – honestly the vacuum of space isn’t that difficult a concept…

Meanwhile, Deke bursts in and saves Enoch – at least for a time as he’s mortally wounded. Enoch tells Deke that their time would be better spent repairing the machine which has been pretty seriously damaged.

Fitz expresses regret to Mack that Flint had to see him kill the guards – like the kid hasn’t seen things like that his whole life! Mack is happy to see Flint building something – because of all the death there. Blowing the rock in on the Kree was Simmons’ idea. Simmons takes out Ava’s earworm, and Coulson and May arrive with Daisy. Coulson says they aren’t leaving anyone behind, and they all notice that they are still short Yo-Yo. Coulson is sure that she’ll make it back because she’s strong, but Mack goes after her.

May introduces herself to Flint, and he tells her that he’s going to get her home. They all watch as he uses his power to bring the monolith back into being – really nice special effects here!

Mack is lured by what he thinks is Yo-Yo being tortured – but it’s Elena. He’s even more appalled when he sees her arms. Elena tells Mack to run. Kasius takes the rest of the Odium and slits Elena’s throat. And really? I was sad to see such a great character – who I enjoyed hating immensely! – go out in such a ridiculous way. I assume that this was a pretty terrific fight scene, but my television screen was half obscured for most of it by a scrolling advertisement from Bell – not cool CTV.

Enoch has determined that the Zephyr is too damaged to power the monolith – they’ll have to use his battery. They need to create a thermal feedback. Deke wants to know what happens to Enoch in that scenario. Enoch tells him that he will die and then explode… violently. In order to flip the switch, Deke will be completely atomized.

Coulson checks in with Deke – who only tells him that they’ve found a solution – not that they both have to die. Coulson tells Deke his parents would have been proud of him. Deke warns Coulson that everyone will have to be in place because they’ll only get one shot at it. And somehow, Coulson knows.

He tells Flint and Ava that it won’t be safe down there – the machine is going to explode! He tells Flint that if he wants to come back with them, it’s ok, but if not they have to leave right away. Flint points out that Mack and Yo-Yo aren’t there – it’s clear he doesn’t want to go without them. In the end, he tells Coulson to tell them that he still has work to do there – and he chooses to stay, which is disappointing!

Mack is losing the battle badly, when Simmons arrives and silences Kasius! Mack uses the shotgunAX to end him as Simmons watches the light go out in Kasius’ eyes. Mack still thinks that Yo-Yo is dead – until she comes running in and hugs him.

Enoch is running out of time more quickly than he thought, and Deke tells the team to get ready. It’s Fitz who takes the walkie talkie out of Coulson’s hands and encourages Enoch to hold on. May encourages the others to hurry up. Coulson picks up Daisy, and May doesn’t look like she approves. She warns Coulson that Daisy will never forgive him, and he tells her that he’s got to hope.

The monolith melts and it seems Deke goes out in a violent explosion. It’s unclear if the rest of the team made it back in time… but of course, the scenes for the next episode give it away…

In the final scene, Tess wonders if maybe Deke made it out, but Flint is sure that he couldn’t have. Flint is sure that the others made it back though. Tess says that at least they’ve got a chance now. S.H.I.E.L.D. gave them that chance, and now it’s up to them. Flint replies that there’s a lot that needs fixing, and Tess hands him Virgil’s tiny globe, telling him that it’s his blueprint! And of course, Flint’s power could allow him to put the earth back together!

This was another solid episode that kept the action hot all the way through. I’m disappointed to lose Flint in particular. I have to wonder if maybe Deke got sucked into the monolith? Probably a long shot at best. The bigger question is can the team really break free from the loop? If Coulson wouldn’t abandon Daisy, will she allow him to die? And is that the only way to save the Earth? I for one do not want S.H.I.E.L.D. without Coulson!!!! Or at least not without Clark Gregg. What did you think of the episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Favorite Lines: 
Yo-Yo: Take care of the big guy. He worries.
Kasisus: Then I suggest you study the condition more closely.
Mack: If we ever get out of here, I’m going to tour my bike down a very scenic highway ‘til the wheels melt off.
Deke: Guns, man! It’s like cheating. You shouldn’t give these to anyone who’s not a really, really good person! May: You’d think there’d be a law.
Deke: You look good for dead. I mean you don’t look great, but I mean you’ve been through… something…
Deke: Kinda trying to do the whole hero thing here, man. Is that your pep talk?
Daisy: It was almost nice knowing you. Deke: And you’re a pain in my ass.
Yo-Yo: Are you telling me to go back to change the world, or are you warning me that I can’t?
Enoch: My last experience will be a new one.
Fitz: That wasn’t me, that was the fiancĂ©.
Fitz: Enoch. Enoch, buddy, hang on. I know that you’ve done so much already, but please, please just hang on.
Deke: I always knew that working with you guys was going to blow up in my face, but it’s about to get literal!

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