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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Brand New Day - Review

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Brand New Day” was written by Chris Freyer and was directed by Keith Potter. This is Fryer’s first credit as a writer, but he has been on the production staff of the show since 2015. There were some great scenes in this episode, but it also felt like a ‘we need this episode to set up for the last two.’ We get teased by seeing Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) – FINALLY! – but only in Simmons’ (Elizabeth Henstridge) memory – until she seemingly forgets him entirely! I loved that our team really proves how much they are a family in this episode – Daisy (Chloe Bennet) goes to her real sister’s rescue, and perhaps my favorite scene, Mack (Henry Simmons) demanding to know what Sousa’s (Enver Gjokaj) intentions are! But let’s dive in for a deeper look…

As the episode opens, we see Daisy’s distressed face in close up as she watches Simmons on the Zephyr disappear from the satellite as it goes into space. I loved that Sousa was sure they’d jumped. May (Ming-Na Wen) still has the emotional super-power and feels Daisy’s guilt. She’s wishing that she’d killed Nathaniel (Thomas E Sullivan) when she’d had the chance – me too Daisy, I really wish I’d been spared from this actor! Mack, YoYo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) and Coulson (Clark Gregg) return with Kora (Dianne Doan) and the other prisoners from After Life. Daisy maintains that she won’t make the same mistake with Kora that she made with Nathaniel. If Kora proves dangers, she’ll kill her…

They’ve dropped the other potential Inhumans at a hospital. Kora barely says hello to Daisy before she quakes her up onto a wall and pins her there. Mack insists that she let her down – but has to make it an order. Kora insists that she’s there to help, to save lives. She wants to be an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!

On the Zephyr, Nathaniel is angry when a crewman calls him Sir – an indiscretion for which Nathaniel will later kill him. Nathaniel insists that he’s trying to make it so that no one has to call anyone sir. Nathaniel tells Kimball (Katy M O’Brian) to “send the signal.” Meanwhile, Zeke (Jeff Ward) makes hilarious references to Die Hard, styling himself as John McClain. Unfortunately, he’s capture almost immediately…

Back at the Lighthouse, YoYo locks up Durant (Gabriel Sousa) and the other prisoner. Mack points out that Fitz came up with a way to trap the old Gordon and if they can find the specs in the records, they might be able to capture Garrett (James Paxton). They also discuss the fact that capturing Kora was just too easy – and d’uh! Mack points out that while they may be easy to manipulate because they’re predictable – it’s their vulnerability after all – so is the enemy. They’re always planning to ruin the good guys’ day!

Kora insists that she’s the perfect candidate for an Agent – the perfect instrument to save lives. It’s pretty clear that she doesn’t even believe it herself. While Doan is a better villain than either Paxton or Sullivan, the sneering, spoiled brat delivery of each of them really makes me want to spank them rather than fear them. Kora insists that she killed Li only because he was trying to kill her. Daisy insists that she wants to know what Nathaniel’s plans are for Simmons. Kora tells them that they are “out of reach.” Kora insists that their plan is to reduce suffering. Daisy points out that she’s suffered plenty at his hands.

Coulson wants to know what instrument they’re using. Kora tells them that they are using knowledge of history. Lives have already been saved – Sousa and Durant for starters. Mack points out that not all lives were saved. Some were taken. Kora tells him that she’s sorry about his parents and that they didn’t deserve to die, but it was also the proof they needed. Coulson is the first to get it – they’re in a new timeline. The old one is long gone. Kora points out that Daisy grew up without a sister because she died alone weeks ago. Mack remembers his parents. But Daisy says she has more definitive proof. She’s still alive despite the fact that Jaiying is dead – but she doesn’t say it.

Kora tells them that it’s a brand new day – echoing the title. May wants to know how Kora plans on S.H.I.E.L.D. making the universe the best it can be – and Kora tells her simply, “by killing.” I loved Mack jumping in to dryly tell her “I’m not sure you understand the S.H.I.E.L.D. motto here, lady.” Kora insists that it’s the S.H.I.E.L.D. method even if it isn’t their motto. She offers to list the people they’ve killed. Coulson stops her, saying that they’ve all made hard choices – that they’ve agonized over. And we get a close up of May – who still agonizes over her choice – which blew up her life. She tells then she has a list of 30 names that they can kill right away to save 1,000s. Coulson points out that it’s still just Project Insight. Mack insists that they aren’t a death squad. Kora tells him Sibyl predicted she’d say that and that Daisy would say… “Let me talk to my sister alone.”

Daisy tells Kora that they aren’t morons. Kora tells her that Nathaniel says that S.H.I.E.L.D. is just another institution of control. She wants to work together. She tells Daisy that she always wanted a sibling. They have the same blood. Daisy believes in S.H.I.E.L.D. and there must be a reason. Bennet is terrific in this episode. Daisy considers what Kora has said and then asks her about growing up in After Life. Kora tells her that she had a happy childhood – or thought she did because she didn’t realize that she was in a prison. Kora tells her that every child loves her mother. Daisy responds not every mother loves her back. Kora tells her that she’s sorry she didn’t get that. Daisy tells her that she’s sorry she threw it away. Kora just wants to spend time together to talk. They could be unstoppable. Daisy laughs – like a sister, superhero squad? Kora is serious though. She tells Daisy that there’s no future in which Daisy lets her sister fight alone. And then Daisy realizes that Sibyl was right – and leaves the cell after throwing Kora the keys to her handcuffs.

Nathaniel is using the Chronicom technology to invade Simmons’ memories. Which is a nice treat for us as he visits some of the Simmons/Fitz greatest hits. We are first treated to Fitz and Simmons in the pod on the bottom of the ocean. And then we get a scene a little later. Nathaniel is furious that he can’t see any memory he likes. He knows that she’s blocking him, but backhanding her across the face doesn’t faze her. Unfortunately, he’s got Deke to use as leverage. Simmons tries to tell Nathaniel that Deke doesn’t know anything. Garrett drags Deke in who’s clearly been beaten.

At the Lighthouse, Daisy has changed into her Quake outfit and grabbed a go bag. Sousa bumps into her in the hallway, and looking at her suit, remarks “that’s… different.” He asks if she’s going somewhere, and she tells him that she knows he wants to help, but for once she asks him not to. He insists that she needs back up and tells her that he learned a long time ago not to let someone do something stupid on their own. She asks if he learned that in the army, and he tells her the Boy Scouts! Of course, Sousa was a Boy Scout!!!!!!!! She asks him if he ever snuck off the base, left his post. He asks if she thinks he’s that kind of guy – which he clearly isn’t. It’s unpredictable, so she DOES ask him to come. It’s out of character for loner Daisy to take someone with her and out of character for straight arrow Sousa to leave his post! Perfect!

On the Quinjet, Sousa points out that it can’t go far in space. Daisy tells him that Sibyl is working on probabilities and predictions. The only way to get ahead is to act unpredictably. Daisy points out that they dropped Kora in her lap because they knew she’d want to save her sister. The problem is that they have underestimated the fact that the team is family. Daisy already has a sister – Jemma Simmons!

Sousa asks about the plan, which turns out to be a 1,000 mile hail Mary as they burn off all their fuel to float to Z1 in space. Daisy finally has to admit that she’s the only member of the team who has never flown a Quinjet! And then Mack comes onboard – carrying the shotgunax which is a dead giveaway that he’s coming too! – and demands to know how they are going to get the hanger doors open without Director authorization. Daisy tells him this is the only way to get Deke and Simmons back. Mack asks – by abandoning your post and your sister? Daisy starts to say no, and then realizes that the answer is yes. She points out that if they are going to beat Sibyl, they can’t be predictable. And Mack adds – they can’t play be her rules. He was always coming – and always planning on being unpredictable! And Mack CAN fly the plane!

May just shakes her head as she watches the radar – first Deke and Simmons, now Mack and Daisy. Coulson knows that they’re heading to space. May doesn’t like it, but Coulson does – if you’re going against a super-computing oracle, you have to go against the flow! Coulson comments, Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. going rogue – and May says she’s seen that before… Coulson turns their attention to Kora – they need to predict her now. May says that she seemed sincere. Coulson tells May to take a run at her.

Back on the Zephyr, Deke resists breaking under physical pain, so Nathaniel threatens to break Simmons’ skull and put her in a coma to go through her memories. He discovers the device in her neck while quaking her. He then quakes Deke – for killing his father – and I thought at first that he’d killed Deke. There’s really no reason for him not to… Nathaniel tells the others to figure out how to get the device out.

On the Quinjet, the three leave the atmosphere. Sousa comments that his stomach feels funny right before he starts to float up out of his seat! He’s the only one who hasn’t been to space before! Mack turns the gravity on and Sousa thanks him. He then comes up to the cockpit and is in awe of the view. Mack tells Sousa to strap in and they make their hail Mary to hook up with the Zephyr.

May comes to Kora, and is perhaps the least likely to win her over. Kora tells her that she knows all about the Cavalry and what she did in Bahrain to Eva. May tells her that she made peace with it a long time ago, but of course, Kora identifies completely with an Inhuman who couldn’t control her power. May points out that Eva fed off the suffering of others, but Kora doesn’t care. May said Eva would have done worse – isn’t that what the list is about? But Kora just sees another child who couldn’t control her power. Kora starts to get out of control and May tries to calm her. Kora then zaps the power grid of the Lighthouse. Of course, it’s really just part of the plan to lower the firewalls and let Sibyl in. And her first message is “Hello Coulson” – setting us up for a battle between these two.

Coulson points out that that’s why Kora was there. Sibyl is still in the power grid. May is relieved that she’s still just code. Coulson asks her if she’s thirsty – as he was. Sibyl tells them that she’s just hungry now – and Coulson remarks “That’s not creepy at all…” May keeps reading the messages – like that annoying person at the movies who says the subtitles out loud! Coulson tells her that he can read English so she doesn’t need to. And then May asks if he can read the rest of it. He looks at her incredulously, but she points out that he just said that he knows what it’s like to be code. Coulson doesn’t think he can read it…. But he takes a closer look all the same.

Daisy has pretty much given up on going home and asks Mack if he thinks the O.G timeline is still out there. Mack isn’t sure – he’s got his hands in the guts of the Quinjet – the kind of practical assignment that he prefers. He’s diverting everything to life support. Daisy tells Mack that Enoch (Joel Stoffer) said this would be the team’s last mission together. Mack asks “even if we survive?” and Daisy confirms that’s what she understood. Mack is philosophical about it. Maybe it’s time. It’s been a crazy ride. I loved that this discussion also reflects what’s happening to the cast. This is normal for a television series too. Mack suggests that just because they won’t be working together doesn’t mean that they can’t stay in touch. I really loved this scene. Daisy says that they aren’t just going to turn into the people who used to work together. We used to be close a long time ago. But Mack says it sounds like they might. Daisy tells him that they’re her family – she doesn’t know who she is without them.

Mack insists that she knows exactly who she is with anyone – and then Daisy looks to the back of Sousa’s head who is sitting in the cockpit. Mack teases her. She confesses that in the time loops, they kissed. She calls Sousa a dork – and Mack says the whole thing is messed up because Sousa doesn’t remember it! Daisy laughs and asks why Mack is smiling. He tells her because YoYo owes him $20! Daisy says it won’t be the same. Mack agrees, but also tells her it’s ok.

Back on the Zephyr, Deke comes to as Simmons tells Nathaniel that only she can use the device – though didn’t we see Enoch using it? Regardless, I was relieved that Deke wasn’t dead. Nathaniel throws the device through a window and tells Simmons that he’ll simply go into Simmons’ memories himself and find “that little wizard!” Simmons warns him that the deeper he digs, the deeper Fitz will go until he disappears completely. And we know she’s not wrong - *sob.*

Coulson tells May that Sibyl is looking for something – communication files. He can’t read all of it, just bits and pieces, but he’s trying to slow her down. It’s all he can do. The only person who can purge her from the power is Kora. They need to get her to come around. May says she’s due for the “Couslon talk.” But Coulson doesn’t think so. He tells her that that’s her now. He has a new super power that he’s very busy with – and so does she. Coulson tells her that they aren’t who they used to be. He tells her that she’d been trying to get a rise out of her to see how powerful she was. Now she should try to see how good she can be – like she did with YoYo, like she always did with Daisy and even with Coulson. And Coulson calls it a brand new day too.

The prisoners get out as the automatic locks are turned off. There is a brief moment of danger for YoYo, but she’s too quick and gets them both to command. Kora comes out of her cell. Coulson tells her that they are assassins – these are the people Nathaniel is saving. They need her to help them stop Nathaniel and Sibyl from sowing chaos and restore the timeline. Kora kills Durant – and is clearly a psychopath.

Kora suggests that she could help push the timeline back in their direction – but Sousa would have to die first. Coulson tells her that they aren’t going to start killing from her list either. YoYo wants to know what the first name is. She wants to point her in the right direction. May points out that there is no name that comes free of consequences. Of course Grant Ward is the first name. I was really hoping that we’d get Brett Dalton back – but that doesn’t look like it will happen. Coulson points out that Ward is just a child right now. Kora looks at May as she says they aren’t against killing kids.

Kora points out that so much suffering can be averted with just one death. They’d have Andrew, Lincoln, and Rosalyn back. Coulson asks if Garrett is next because Garrett made Ward who he was. Kora insists that Ward would have been worse without Garrett. But Coulson and the others have seen a world in which Ward was put on the right path by the right person – and he was a good person – people can change, even Kora. She responds that her mother thought that too, but she’s going to show her that she’s on the path she was meant to be on. May tells her that Jiaying is there and suggests that they show her right then.

Back on the Quinjet, Sousa is waxing poetic about being in space when Mack interrupts him and wants to know what his intentions are. I adored this scene – and I’m really, really sad that we won’t have more episodes for these two to share scenes with. Mack clarifies – with Daisy. Sousa tells him that he doesn’t have any intentions. Mack tells him that he’d better get some – and quick! Mack tells him “this thing is coming for you.” Sousa looks confused – and I loved that Mack was really taking the piss out of him here. Mack tells him Daisy’s into him. He’s not sure that she even knows it yet, but once she gets something into her head… And Sousa finishes, she won’t stop.

But then Mack turns serious – he really is her big brother! He tells Sousa that Daisy has been hurt badly. Sousa gives her a considering look where she’s asleep in the back. Mack tells him that he’s happy that she’s ready to dive back in and that it’s Sousa – he likes him. And of course, Mack would like Sousa! They are both straight-shooting, straight-up hero-good guys! I also loved that Mack points out that Sousa is a straight arrow – and Sousa is confused as he asks if that’s bad! Mack warns him that he’s not about to let her get hurt again – and asks if Sousa understands. Sousa says, “I think you’re threatening me” – to which Mack answers, not just me – every member of the team. Sousa tells him that he hears him loud and clear and that he would never hurt her. Mack muses “Imagine that. The man out of time and Quake. It’s like a damn comic book.” Um… yes please!!!!! Bring on this comic book!!!!!!!!!!!! But Sousa hasn’t heard that name before – her superhero name. Sousa thinks it sounds hilarious! And the two share a laugh over it.

And then finally, we are in Simmons new memories. There are no indication of where this is – the walls are covered with plastic, there are no windows… Enoch and Simmons are studying her brain, in preparation if implanting the device. It was SO good to have more Enoch too. He tells her that her brain is one of the better ones that he’s studied – the nineteenth century was a strange time. The two are interrupted by Fitz who teases them that he might be getting jealous at all the time that they are spending together. Simmons tells him they are close to a working design, but Fitz is not progressing with his work. Enoch says it doesn’t matter how long they take to build a time machine. He asks Enoch to give them a moment – and of course Enoch is completely tone deaf about it! He finally realizes that they want to be alone.

Simmons is ready to be full speed ahead, but Fitz agrees with Enoch. It doesn’t matter how long they take. They could take some time to just live. No mission. No end of the world. The could just be. Simmons asks – ominously – if this about the blood work. WHAT BLOOD WORK??? WHO IS SICK??? Fitz says no and yes – but mainly because they deserve it. Fitz points out that if May and Coulson taught them anything, it’s that they should take the time they have. Nathaniel “watches” and says “ominous” – but wants more. We at least get Simmons and Fitz in an embrace of sorts.

Back at the Lighthouse, May gives Kora the truth – Jaiying’s dead body. Kora says it’s ok because she can heal. That’s her power – she just needs some help. Kora cries as she tries to get Jaiying to take her energy. May puts a comforting hand on Kora, who sees her mother’s neck is shattered. She wants to believe that it was Daisy, but May tells her that Nathaniel killed Jaiying because she was trying to protect Daisy.

In the final memory with Fitz, Simmons is furious. The device was only supposed to forget Fitz’s location. Not this. Fitz tells her to be strong – and if she remembers, she won’t be able to do what she has to do. This scene is in a white room – again even less location data. Nathaniel ponces about the room having a mini-tantrum – which must have made filming the scene challenging! Simmons is frantic, saying she doesn’t want to forget, and Fitz takes her in his arms, comforting her. And then suddenly, Fitz is simply gone. And Simmons is in the blank room alone saying she doesn’t want to forget.

Nathaniel and Simmons both come out of the machine. Nathaniel is angry, but tells them it doesn’t matter – they’ve scored front row seats to the greatest show on Earth. Simmons goes to Deke to make sure that he’s ok. He asks if she’s ok. Deke asks what happened. It seems clear from Nathaniel’s attitude that he didn’t find Fitz – and then Simmons asks “Who’s Fitz?” OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back in the Lighthouse, May tries to comfort Kora. She tells her that Jaiying wasn’t perfect but they loved each other – she felt it. Kora insists that Jaiying only loved who she was. May tells Kora that Nathaniel is using her pain against her. Kora insists that Nathaniel isn’t using her, he saved her. He showed her how to live and she can never repay him for that. May tells her that all he wants is chaos. Kora starts beating on May, and insists that May can’t feel what’s inside her – but of course, now May can. And May fights back – we get a brief, ok fight scene – I did love Kora using her powers – cheating! – and May matrixing to avoid getting hit. Garrett jumps in at that moment and teleports Kora to Z1.

YoYo is with Coulson who is working on the computers. I loved her asking him if he was a computer genius now, and him simply answering yes! Coulson finally discovers what was going on. They didn’t take Z1 to space to hide – they went there to take out all the S.H.I.E.L.D. bases.

We get a short, adorable scene on the Quinjet as Daisy and Sousa get ready for boarding Z1. She thanks him for being there, and he tells her that it was nothing… Quake. He keeps peppering his answers with Quake, and she asks him if he’s being funny. She tries to explain that the press gave her the name. Meanwhile, Mack is in the cockpit killing himself not to laugh out loud! The two get very close – and the chemistry just crackles here! He teases her that they should put a Q on her utility best so that the public knows it’s her! She is laughing as she says, sure, make fun of the person who can literally turn you to dust. Sousa says, yeah, you can quake me – and I’m betting she can! LOL! But there’s also a more serious undertone here. He knows what she is, and he doesn’t care. It’s a comfort level that Daisy needs.

They are interrupted by the arrival of the Chronicom fleet. They all realize that Nathaniel came up there to call reenforcements. They watch as Nathaniel gives the signal and the ships fire. Coulson is on the radio trying to warn the bases but he’s too late. We even get to see the Tryskelion blown up again. Coulson states “They’re doing it. They’re destroying S.H.I.E.L.D.”

The final scene is Kora being reunited with Nathaniel – and YUK – they are apparently a couple. Leading me to wonder, who will tire of whom first and kill the other… There’s no way that this show won’t end with our heroes winning, but we should be prepared that not every character will survive. I’m hopeful that Fitz is alive – and hiding with their baby – is THAT the blood test he was referring to? I think that Simmons gave us the clue that going deeper would erase Fitz – from her memory entirely to keep them safe. My big theory for how it will all end and why the team will be separated? I think they will all have a choice as to which timeline they want to end up in. And I don’t think they will all choose the same one. Alternatively, if Simmons, Fitz and baby are reunited, they may finally get that 9 to 5 lab job. Daisy, Mack, Sousa, and YoYo will no doubt all want to stay in the field. But what about Coulson and May? Could LMD Coulson come to terms with this new existence? What if he did have an end date? What are your theories, hopes for the ending? And is it ever possible for a series to keep fans happy with an ending? If ever there was a show that could do it, I think it is S.H.I.E.L.D. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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