The team wrapped up its mission in the 1970s, though not everyone made it out alive by the time the Zephyr made its next jump into the future. Oh, and the Chronicoms have definitely upped the ante.
**SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers ahead for “Adapt or Die,” the latest episode of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which aired Wednesday, July 1, 2020.**
It turns out the Chronicom infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. went a lot deeper than first believed, as the team runs across a body-swapping station stashed in the bottom levels of the Lighthouse. In addition to rewriting the time stream by teaming up with HYDRA to accelerate its evil goals by a few decades, the Chronicoms are also replacing key players in S.H.I.E.L.D. with an upgraded system that actually copies over the personality of the person, too — which means they’re even harder to spot out in the wild. Thankfully, May’s emotion-sensing powers show a void when they run across a Chronicom, so they at least have some semblance of a radar.
After being captured by S.H.I.E.L.D. forces last week, Coulson and May hang around long enough to rescue General Stoner from a foiled replacement plot, so he finally buys into their wild story about alien doppelgängers. He and May get a bit of time together, where May finally explains why she’s been so cold to Coulson, even with her lack of emotion. She says she’s mourned him enough times already, and she’s damn sure not doing it again for his LMD version. Which, hard to argue that. It’s a fair point.
Coulson tracks the Chronicoms to their hidden time ship — which has apparently been stashed underground, below the Lighthouse. Which explains why Mack’s team couldn’t find it. Coulson pops into the Chronicom virtual environment for a one-on-one chat with the mysterious Cybil, the Predictor who has been helping the Chronicoms plot their strategic changes to the time stream. She’s surprisingly open and honest with Coulson, but makes it clear she views her race as superior to humanity — which is why they want Earth for themselves.
But in classic Coulson fashion, he makes an impassioned speech about the sacrifice and heart that makes humanity worth fighting for. He also drops one of the show’s greatest lines along the way:
“Dying? It’s kind of my superpower.” - Coulson
Even though he isn’t exactly human himself these days, Coulson tells Cybil he’s long ago lost his fear of death. So, he clocks another one by using all the explosives they had on hand to blow up the Chronicom ship. So hopefully, this means he’s destroyed some of their time-traveling abilities and dealt a blow to their supply of fresh Chronicom hunters, which should hopefully derail the body-swapping plot.
It also means Coulson is dead. Again. But as May says, he always finds a way back. Can’t wait to see how they get him out of this one.
Daisy and Sousa
Not surprisingly, Nathaniel Malick’s little side-plot to kidnap Daisy and Sousa to steal their Inhuman powers (he wrongly assumes Sousa has an anti-aging power) goes wildly awry. He nearly kills Daisy draining her of blood, spinal fluid, and everything else, only to take on just enough of her powers to shatter his bones and bring a building down on top of him. But even half-dead, Daisy manages to smuggle out some broken glass that Sousa can use as a weapon to facilitate their escape.
Sousa really gets a chance to shine, as only a 1950’s hero can, keeping Daisy awake with stories of the old days so she won’t fall unconscious, and literally carrying her out when she couldn’t stand, bum leg and all. There’s a great bit of chemistry between these two, here’s hoping they get teamed up again soon.
Simmons’ mystery explained
We saw last week that Simmons was scratching at a glowing implant in her neck, which Enoch seemed to know a lot about. Deke walks in on Enoch tinkering with it in Simmons’ head, assumes he’s turned traitor, and knocks Enoch out cold. Turns out Deke wildly misread the situation.
The implant was developed by Fitz and Simmons to block Fitz’s location from Simmons’ mind. So she really doesn’t know where he is, so she can’t give up his location if she’s ever captured by the Chronicoms. She tells Deke that Fitz is hiding out in a location where they can monitor the Chronicoms, but it’s too dangerous for her to know where it is. So the implant blocks that information. The only problem is that it's been malfunctioning and making her forget the wrong things, so Enoch was trying to repair it.
Here’s hoping we’ll get a peek at that location soon, because Fitz is sorely missed.
Mack’s robo-family reunion
As for Mack, he and Yo-yo spend most of the runtime breaking into S.H.I.E.L.D. in an effort to rescue his parents, who were taken hostage by the Chronicom forces as collateral. It’s a sweet story, as Mack gets a bit of time to bond and reconnect with his parents, and is giddy to introduce Yo-yo to them — even though they don’t have a clue he’s their adult son. This being .S.H.I.E.L.D., though, there’s always a twist — and it’s a brutal one. May senses nothing from Mack’s father, and after being confronted, he’s revealed to be a Chronicom in disguise. His mother is, too. During the ensuing fight, Mack’s doppelgänger father tells him his real parents have been dead for some time. The exchange ends with the team tossing Mack’s doppelgänger parents out of the plane mid-flight.
All this happens right before the next time jump, and as soon as the ship lands, Mack takes off on a motorcycle to clear his head, understandably distraught to learn his parents now died while he was still a child. This raises an insane amount of questions about how it will affect the timeline, with Mack’s entire life in the now “main” timeline seemingly derailed by this.
Deke steps off the ship to find Mack, but as soon as they’re off, the ship jumps — leaving Mack and Deke stranded in… who knows when?