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Everything went pretty much haywire last week, with Malick’s forces kidnapping Simmons and stealing the Zephyr in the process — leaving the S.H.I.E.L.D. team at the Lighthouse with few options left to stop Malick and the Chronicom predictor, Sybil.
**SPOILER WARNING! Spoilers ahead for “Brand New Day,” the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which aired Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 on ABC.**
Considering the fact that Sybil has been predicting their moves all year, Daisy finally decides to shake things up and act unpredictably — hijacking a Quinjet alongside Sousa and Mack to head to space and pursue the Zephyr in an effort to rescue Simmons. Since the ship isn’t actually made for that, they have to breach atmosphere and basically drift to the ship — arriving a bit too late to actually do any good.
Malick uses the ship’s orbital set-up to send out a signal to the Chronicom fleet, which jumps in and uses their weapons to wipe out S.H.I.E.L.D. from space. That’s right — every S.H.I.E.L.D. base is destroyed, including the bases we visited over the first few seasons and even the Triskelion (which in this tweaked timeline opened far earlier than planned). So how does all that mesh with the MCU we know and love? Which, you know, didn’t have S.H.I.E.L.D. cataclysmically destroyed before the first Iron Man film.
As Daisy’s sister Kora explains to the team once she turns herself in (itself a ruse recommended by Sybil), they’re living in an altered timeline now. Which means that, even if they could make one more jump back to 2020, it’d be a dramatically altered world than the one they left. A splintered timeline, now separate from the MCU proper. It’s a wild move, though it makes sense — S.H.I.E.L.D. has always played by its own rules, and spinning itself off for the last batch of episodes means literally anything is possible now. Now it seems there are no rules.
Kora claims she wants to get to know Daisy, but she’s hard to read. She uses her abilities to knock down the firewall at the Lighthouse, which allows Sybil to hack her way into the base’s computers and access all the S.H.I.E.L.D. base locations. You know, so they can wipe ‘em all off the map. Kora also makes an offer to the team: Join her to wipe off a list of baddies (including young Grant Ward!) to try and make a better future. Basically, HYDRA’s Project Insight from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, just a few decades earlier. May also makes an effort to reach Kora, showing her the body of her mother, who was killed last week by Malick. Though she genuinely seems distraught, and even kills one of Malick’s men along the way, she eventually teleports back to Malick. So, hard to know if she’s playing her own game or not.
Excellent fake out having Deke hide out in the Zephyr, possibly setting him up to be the hero to free the ship… and to be caught in the first 5 seconds of the episode. But only after he drops a few Die Hard quips, of course. Instead he’s used as leverage to beat up and torture Simmons, as Malick uses the Chronicom tech to try and dive into Simmons’ mind and figure out where Fitz has been hiding. He makes some progress, as we finally get to see Fitz again via these flashbacks to their time building the time machine. They talk ominously of some blood work, as Fitz recommends they take some time off to spend together, since once the time drive is complete they can always jump back to where they need to go. There’s definitely an awful secret brewing around Fitz… and it’s getting scarier by the week.
The Sousa/Daisy love connection definitely took a step forward this week, and that’s made for one of the most fun surprises of the season. Even Mack approves, and coins a comic book appropriate nickname for the couple: “Quake and the Man Out of Time.” Watching Sousa crack up at the silliness of those superhero code names.
So our new status quo is that every S.H.I.E.L.D. base has been destroyed, a Chronicom fleet sits above 1980s era Earth, Malick has control of the Zephyr, and half the team is stuck in space trying to reach the Zephyr. So yeah… good luck, Agents.