Marvel's Agents of SHIELD: 5.08 The Last Day
Last week left plenty of intrigue and story to look forward to, splitting the main plot in two. The first saw Flint, Mack and Yoyo staying on the Lighthouse to free its inhabitants from Kree rule, and the second, May and crew on the Earth’s surface, deciding how to proceed. Even though there’s an awful lot happening in this episode, it’s not so hard to keep up and it certainly generated bubbles in the think tank.
Outside of the main story, the Last Day focuses its attention on the past, showing flashbacks of the team before and after the Earth’s destruction (2018 through to 2022), bringing up a young Robin who keeps speaking as if she’s in the future. Happening periodically throughout, the flashbacks were very off putting and confusing. It seemed the function was to showcase a softer, emotional side to May as Robin’s primary carer, which I enjoyed, but overall it generated more questions than answers. Time travel story-lines are always dangerous, as it’s difficult to make sense of everything. Look at The Flash, which uses time travel perfectly, addressing parallel universes, time paradoxes etc. This episode, on the other hand, suggests to me that, even though the team are sent into the future, the events involving them leading up to the destruction of Earth still happened, even though they have no recollection of it.
May being reunited with the majority of the team is a really heartwarming scene, but it missed Mack and Yoyo who would’ve been the cherry on the cake. The flashbacks fill in some blanks leading to the present day; for example, on the Zephyr, Fitz finds a machine that could potentially return the team to their time, we (the audience) discover in flashbacks that Fitz built it (even though he couldn’t have as he was frozen, but I’ll play along).
Having to deal with two completely separate timelines, as well as several story developments, makes for, in my opinion, too much information to process, leaving my brain playing catch-up while trying to be entertained. I found I didn’t care for the flashbacks. I appreciate it shows events and character arcs leading up to present events, but because the main cast either don’t remember anything or don’t recall those emotions, it seemed like wasted time that I hope the writers rectify in the future.
Outside of the flashbacks, the plot on the surface thickens. We meet Samuel Voss, an acquaintance of Deke’s father. His presence is immediately warming and friendly; he wasn’t overused and played a pivotal role. He and his group of merry men have been protecting Robin, waiting for her premonitions to come true. The sudden turn they take on the team was unexpected and an exciting surprise, even though the outcome was inevitable. Voss stabs Robin, preventing her from helping the agents and, while May holds her, the emotions seen from flashbacks finally converge. This seemed worthless, as May never developed the same emotional connection as she did in the flashbacks. Regardless, Robin reveals that Flint is the key to fixing everything. This seems a bit easy doesn’t it? I assume this means Flint will use his new rock manipulation abilities to rebuild the Earth; hopefully, it’s more than that.
Speaking of Flint, he, Mac and Yoyo are on a mission to free Kasius’s human slaves. The situation changes when alien creatures introduced in the season premiere, are released to stop them. The action sequence that follows is fun if a bit short; the CGI looked like it could use some further rendering and I would’ve liked to see more from Flint. Currently, Mack and Yoyo are like his parents, wrapping him in cotton wool, which is hindering his progression. I hope he is given more to do and gets to show off his powers in the future.
With the large amount of story and character development we get in this episode, there’s still a ton of mystery. How did Daisy destroy the Earth in the first place? How will Kasius answer the revolution that has been caused by Flint and crew? Perhaps the most intriguing element to me is the time aspect. Presumably, the agents will not only discover how these catastrophic events occurred but also rectify them; does this then mean that this scenario will be preventable, changing the future? If so, this could have a detrimental effect, as the work the team are currently doing could well be futile and a waste of time.
Although this may have been the most confusing episode of the season, it’s still very interesting in terms of story and character. There’s no doubt it needs refining and further explanation to make things a little clearer, but so far I'm as excited now as I was in the first episode of season five.