Season 7 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is coming down to its very last handful of episodes, and the show continues tonight with Episode 9, “As I Have Always Been!” Last week improved the lives of a large portion of the team with Yo-Yo rediscovering/improving her powers, Sousa gaining new legs with an advanced prosthetic, and May’s empathic abilities becoming even more powerful. Even with those great moments, it all leads up to one of the absolute craziest and most emotionally draining episodes this show has produced in a while.
Firstly, I have to give a world of props to the star of this week both behind and in front of the camera, Elizabeth Henstridge. Not only did she play one of the most important roles in this week’s plot, this episode brought her directorial debut, where she absolutely killed it! Every single episode this season has seemed to have its stakes raised to new levels by the week, and with so much action, humor, and drama to handle all at once, I think it’s safe to say that she absolutely nailed double duty as starring actor and director.
Although the overarching plot of this season has dealt with the S.H.I.E.L.D. team traveling through time to combat the Chronicoms, this week took the intensity to its highest levels yet as the show took its shot at a time loop/Groundhog Day-style episode. These types of plots are always tricky to get right, but as the team behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been doing all of Season 7, they did an incredible job with getting it right. There was just enough expositional dialogue to let the audience know what we needed to know, and the plot didn’t have to waste a lot of screen time making sure all the sci-fi time-loop elements were spelled out to the letter
Chloe Bennet and Clark Gregg had the chance to shine once again as a tag team, showing off the incredible chemistry they’ve built over seven years by playing the only two characters who knew what was happening. Frustrated Coulson is always hysterical, and having Daisy not remember what happened in every single reset was a nice way to keep each section of the episode semi-fresh. Coulson even had the chance to ride an emotional rollercoaster, not only still struggling with having to live as a machine, but with the continuing theme of death staring him in the face so blatantly by having to see different members of his team and family die dozens of times in so many different ways.
Once again this week, along with the top-notch humor and action, there were some major plot points with some intense drama that paid off in spades. One of the biggest highlights in this regard was Daisy and Daniel Sousa finally sharing the first kiss that the season has been building up to for over two months. The way they’ve connected and found ways to understand each other and work together is turning their relationship into one of my favorite couplings of the series, and it feels like one of the most genuine connections of any probably since Mack and Yo-Yo.
Even with everything mentioned already, the top performance of this week undoubtedly should be recognized as the one by Joel Stoffer as Enoch. Having to play both the antagonist and the savior was quite the task, and he excelled at it just as he has for his entire run on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The way he made the viewing audience laugh, cheer and cry was absolutely amazing, and he deserves so much commendation for it.
That being said, his performance was one of the highlights of the season as Enoch met his terribly unfortunate demise. After playing the role of unwilling enemy as the team worked through time loop after time loop to remove Simmons’ implant, he showed no hesitation in giving his own power source up so that his friends and family could live on. It was one of the most moving and emotional deaths for any robotic character I’ve ever seen, and I know I personally am going to miss Enoch so much as the series comes to its end.
His last revelations about how this will be the final mission for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents also felt incredibly ominous, even considering that fans have known for a while that this is the last season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. With only four episodes remaining and major threats like the Chronicoms and Nathaniel Malick still lurking, it feels like what fans are most looking forward to is the way the show brings the story of the core team to a close. Whether they all stick together or have to go on their own new journey, I know I’m not alone in saying how anxious and excited I am to find out where the core team stands at the very end.
4.75 HEART-CRUSHING CHRONICOM DEATHS OUT OF 5
I may sound like a broken record, but nearly every single episode of this show’s final season has been an absolute knock-out. Malick and Cora seem to still have some major devastation planned as the heroes escape the time loop, and I’m so excited to see the possibility of redemption for Jiaying as the season closes next month. Only four more episodes until the series’ curtain call!
- The opening logo work was again top notch, not only with the callback of the font from Season 5, but having it come up twice to start the time-loop plot.
- Coulson had some of his most hilarious and classic dialogue this week, very fitting for a man who knows he’s going through time-traveling shenanigans and tomfoolery.
- Out of all the men this series has put Daisy with, Enver Gjokaj’s Daniel Sousa blows away the rest of the competition. The choice to make him a core part of the team is one of the best decisions the show has made.
- Can we PLEASE get Fitz back before the end of the season?! ASAP would be great!!!
- Again, major props to Joel Stoffer, Elizabeth Henstridge, and the entire team behind this show. Every week has given a new cast member the chance to have a shining moment and I’m so excited to see this trend continue for the final four episodes!