It’s not the first time Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has lost an ally, but the death in the latest episode was no less of a gut punch — so we chatted with director Elizabeth Henstridge about how it all came together.
Series co-star Henstridge made her directorial debut with Wednesday’s episode, “As I Have Always Been,” which found the team’s Chronicom ally Enoch (Joel Stoffer) willingly sacrifice himself to stop a time loop and save the rest of the team. Enoch has been a part of the crew the past couple seasons, after befriending Fitz while helping him travel through time to the future. He’s since joined the team as an ally in their time-traveling adventure, turning against the Chronicoms and fighting for humanity.
In his final act of heroism, he plucked out his own “heart” and handed it over, as it was the only way to save the team and break the loop. Enoch’s final scene is a heartbreaking one (no pun intended), as he talks about death and loneliness in a quiet moment with Daisy and Coulson. Henstridge credited Stoffer and the rest of the cast for bringing so much to those scenes, noting she wanted to make sure it carried the proper weight for what the team — and the show itself — was losing in his death.
“Joel Stoffer is just such a brilliant actor he really did those moments justice, and it was really important to me we earned that moment of stillness at the end to really let that moment sit, and be uncomfortable and sad and beautiful,” she told SYFY WIRE. “It was so beautifully written by Drew Greenberg and just incredible, and really allowed Coulson and Daisy to have some really wonderful moments as well, and that scene was so significant between those three characters. It allowed Coulson and Daisy to talk about and realize the other person’s point of view, and other person’s pain.”
Though the episode broke a lot of hearts with Enoch’s death, it also broke some hearts in another way — thanks to a love connection brewing between Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and new addition Agent Sousa (Enver Gjokaj). After Daisy figures out Sousa has feelings for her during the loop, she plants a kiss on him during one of the reboots. Yeah, it seems Daisy might finally find love after all. As for directing that moment, Henstridge said she’s a “big fan” of the particular ‘ship, and noted it was a touching moment to shoot alongside so much sadness.
“Both Enver and Chloe are so professional and you take care during any kind of intimate scene to make sure everyone is comfortable, but they were both so wonderful and excited for their characters to have a bit of a romance,” she said. “It’s a brilliant thing about doing a time loop episode because you can get such great character development that feels authentic in such a short space of time. At the start of the episode they were relative strangers, and by the end of it they kind of see each other in a different light and have been through so much, even though it’s only been a day. It feels earned.”
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Wednesday nights on ABC.