It's been a long (long, long, long) wait, but Marvel's OG series is finally back for one last adventure — and the team heads back in time to save the world one last time. They've even brought an old friend back to life for the ride.
Spoilers ahead for "The New Deal," the Season 7 premiere of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which aired Wednesday, May 27, 2020 on ABC.
We already knew Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be headed into the past for its final season, and now we know exactly what the board looks like for the team's last mission. Simmons has been prepping for this for a while, and takes the team back to New York City circa 1931 in pursuit of the Chronicoms, which now have their sights set on Earth. They don't know why the Chronicoms are there, but they've been studying Earth and know every details of the timeline — so they can make surgical strikes (or "pull the thread") in just the right places in the timeline to effectively erase S.H.I.E.L.D. from the history books. If there's no S.H.I.E.L.D., they presume there are no heroes to stop them further down the time stream.
But diving into S.H.I.E.L.D.'s history means they're going to need an expert with the knowledge and skill set to spot the clues everyone else might miss — so say hello to LMD Coulson. It's kind of funny how many times Coulson has been resurrected at this point, and it took this long to actually make him an LMD. But they did it, and now he's back, with a few Chronicom tech updates to boot. Coulson is understandably disoriented and a bit pissed about it all, but once he knows the stakes, he realizes he has to help. So Agent Coulson falls in line under Director Mack, and uses his keen S.H.I.E.L.D. history to lead them to a speakeasy base run by Patton Oswalt's Koenig. Or well, Koenig's great grandfather, probably.
As for the Chronicoms, they're stealing the faces of New York cops to try and yank at that mysterious thread, which the team assumes is to assassinate FDR before he's elected president and founds the SSR (which eventually turns into S.H.I.E.L.D.). But nope, the target is actually a relative nobody working at Koenig's club: Freddie Malick, eventual father of HYDRA leader Gideon Malick. Diving into our own MCU history, fans are likely aware of that Winter Soldier twist that found HYDRA was deeply entwined in the origins of S.H.I.E.L.D. Well, take one out and they're both gone.
The team's first mission is to make sure HYDRA remains intact, which really seems full circle, considering just how many seasons they spent trying to stop HYDRA. It seems the Chronicoms are the ones who really know how to cut off the right head. As for saving Freddie, that was a nice twist. It seems like we'll be visiting a few different time periods this season, and it stands to reason this fake-out approach could stick around. Because the Chronicoms aren't looking at the obvious timeline tweaks, they know the little changes that can have the biggest consequences.
The episode ends with a fan favorite team member looking a bit feral. Last season ended with Agent May on the verge of death, though Simmons used her new tech upgrades to save her. But, as Enoch tries to care for her recovery, May wakes up and goes rogue. We see her hiding in the ceiling, and it begs the question of just how much lingering damage May might be suffering from her clash at the end of last season.
Fitz is nowhere to be seen this week, after being separated from Simmons at the end of last season by the Chronicoms. He was sorely missed, and hopefully he'll be reunited with Simmons and the rest of the team soon. FitzSimmons has been through a lot over the length of this series. If they don't get a happy ending once it's all over, we riot.
Yo-Yo gets an upgrade thanks to Simmons' tech upgrades, and now she's sporting a new pair of arms that apparently return the sense of touch back to her — after spending the past season sporting a pair of robotic arms. Which makes sense, especially if they're time traveling. Robo-arms stand out a bit when you're strolling around 90 years in the past.
Seeing Coulson and Daisy having a moment to just decompress the weirdness of all this was a great scene. It's so refreshing to see these two just teaming up and kicking butt together. If this is a last hurrah, hopefully there'll be plenty more moments like that along the way.
Simmons looks like a changed woman, and you can see the pain and determination in her face. She doesn't blink when it comes time to torture and fry a Chronicom for information. We've seen her deal with a lot over the years, but the lead up to this season has clearly changed her.
Up next: More alien craziness, and Deke pulls a gun.