The suspense is killing us. Events continue to fall into place for an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. endgame, and the closer the team gets to crunch time, the harder it is to discern if they’ll actually be able to escape the time loop that ends with a broken Earth and the remnants of humanity enslaved.
No pressure, right?
Spoilers ahead for “The One Who Will Save Us All,” the latest episode of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which aired Friday, May 4, 2018.
After setting up Daisy as the potential Destroyer of Worlds, the story has taken a surprisingly cool left turn to reveal that Talbot is actually the person who will wield the near-limitless power of Gravitonium. He’s also driven mad with the power (not to mention the competing voices in his head and lingering brian damage) it brings, and even embraces a costume right out of the comic pages. Talbot is officially the MCU’s version of Graviton, a baddie dating back to the 1970s with the power to (you guessed it) manipulate gravity.
We see Talbot carry Coulson up to the alien ship, and he effectively takes it over by force after giving the Confederacy a taste of what he’s capable of doing with the flick of his wrist. Now in control of the ship, Talbot quickly maneuvers himself into a meeting with the Confederacy itself, absorbing one of them (he’s effectively stopped being human and is just a human-shaped pile of Gravitonium at this point it seems) and taking a seat at the table in an effort to defend humanity. But, after pushing the Confederacy into some real talk, he realizes the deal Hydra spent so long brokering is effectively a scam.
The reason? One word: Thanos.
It seems the Confederacy was aware the Mad Titan had his eye on Earth, and the coalition of apparent low-level players (comprised of, as we learn, the comic-based alien races the Rajak and Remorath, among others) had no intentions of actually trying to protect Earth when Thanos came to call. Instead, they were going to milk Hydra for as many assets as they could get before Thanos showed up to wreck the planet. They tell Talbot this because, as anyone who has seen Infinity War is certainly aware, Thanos has arrived. The jig is up. Talbot also meets an ancestor of Kasius, meaning this definitely all connects to the terrible future. Also: This episode seems to take place in the early parts of Infinity War, for those trying to keep the timeline straight.
The Confederacy effectively tells them humanity is doomed now that Thanos has arrived, so Talbot responds by wanting to head off to New York to help out the Avengers. He obviously doesn’t make it, but this makes for easily one of the biggest tie-ins to the big screen since The Winter Soldier. It also connects pretty much the entire season’s arc to Infinity War, in a roundabout way. This all started because of Hydra, and Hydra did it all to fuel its deal with the Confederacy — a deal the Confederacy only made because they knew Thanos was eventually coming.
The big question now is what this means for the final two episodes of the season. With that much power, Talbot could potentially be the savior Earth has been looking for (he even refers to himself as Earth’s Mightiest Hero at one point), but his broken psyche is just no match for that much power. Within hours he becomes wildly paranoid, and it seems the real big bad of this season will be Talbot. With him now potentially heading back to Earth to search for more Gravitonium within the planet, it sounds like the perfect catalyst for accidentally busting the world apart. The real question is whether or not this has happened before and is happening again, or is Talbot getting super-powered a splinter in the timeline?
*The team itself is still plenty fractured. Mack and Yo-Yo are still at odds; Daisy and Yo-Yo literally come to blows; Mack is disappointed in the man Fitz has become; and Deke is still dealing with his feelings for Daisy, made all the sadder when she confesses she still never really got over Lincoln in the first place. It’s amazing just how much this team has been through, but despite it all, it’s encouraging to see Mack still holding the line for what’s right. S.H.I.E.L.D. is supposed to be the shield, and that’s what he’s still fighting for, be it aliens, super-powered baddies, or Nazis on the other side.
*Kasius’ super-powered drug pops up in the present day here, used by the attacking aliens for an epic face-off with Mack. Simmons is figuring out how it works, so it stands to reason that could be a plot point yet to come.
*Daisy and May’s efforts to secretly save Coulson took a major step forward this week, as Daisy literally digs up her late mother once she realizes her DNA is a necessary component in the centipede cocktail that was part of the Deathlok program (boy, isn’t that a mouthful). It’s taken a backseat of late, but Coulson is still dying. With the writers teasing the finale as a suitable series ender, his fate will certainly loom large.
*A geeky aside: The teleportation tech that Hydra has to meet up with the Confederacy is a legit game-changer, right? Like, the Avengers could definitely get some use out of that in Avengers 4, wouldn’t you think? It’s extremely unlikely we’d ever see any TV-to-movie crossover action, but still, those little questions do make you scratch your head.
*S.H.I.E.L.D. officially has a spaceship, and in preparing the Zephyr for space flight, the team also fulfilled a piece of the prophecy that ends in a broken future. Again, can they break the loop?
*Daisy and May are now on Talbot’s ship, and they all seem to be prisoners. The team is, once again, divided. Both literally, and figuratively.
*Hale’s attempt to trigger Talbot’s brainwashing was a clever, and gutsy move. It obviously didn’t go well (R.I.P. Hale), but still brave.
*Quake seems to give her full blast at Talbot, and he doesn’t even budge. Yeah, he’s not going to be easy to stop.
*Post-credit scene: Kasius has Daisy as a prisoner, an event that once again has some clear implications to the future we’ve glimpsed. It’s going to be an interesting two weeks. Also, here’s hoping ABC brings this show back next year, because it’s better than ever.