Release the ferrets! Prodigal spies Leo Fitz and Lance Hunter have returned! Huzzah!
In the aptly named episode Rewind, we jump back to the end of season 4 and the fateful last meal that the team ate at the diner before their expected arrest. The meal ended with a trip to future space for everyone but Fitz. He’s been MIA for the first few episodes of the season, other than a brief cameo at the end of the previous episode. Rewind follows his adventures and misadventures from the moment of the team’s arrest until he arrives in the year 2091 to rescue the team. He’s had a little help from old and new friends along the way.
This time, we see the diner scene from Fitz’ perspective. He’s just come back from being turned into an evil
Nazi Hydra genocidal maniac in the Framework, doing inhumane experiments on inhumans and becoming the lover of supervillain LMD Aida. Fitz is having a hard time shaking the guilt, and living with the realization that he’s capable of that kind of evil.
Everyone is finishing their meal, and deciding whether to have pie, when the lights go out and the alien with the beer truck arrives to whisk them away to future earth by monolith. Fitz is in the middle of saying that he’ll take responsibility for the entire Framework debacle when he realizes that everyone else is suddenly gone, and he’s lost time.
Before he can begin to figure out what happened, the real military police arrive and arrest him. They take Fitz to a secret facility, and interrogate him for hours. The security footage has a 2 minute gap. The other agents can be seen arriving and eating, then there’s the 2 minute blackout, then the lights come back on and they’re gone. The truck was an English Ale truck, and it disappeared during the blackout.
Fitz repeatedly insists that he doesn’t know what happened:
Fitz: There was no crystal ball or “Beam me up Scotty.” I don’t know how they got away. I have a theory. You did it. You drugged our food, or used some kind of gas. And now you have them in rooms just like this one, and you’re messing with their minds, just like you’re messing with mine. So, why don’t you tell me- where the hell are they?
The commanding officer, General Hale, believes Fitz at this point, though there’s a discussion about LMDs and who killed who- a DaisyBot shot Talbot, Aida killed Radcliffe, Fitz takes responsibility for Jeffrey Mace. “Alibis by Asimov. Blame it on the robots,” quips the general.
Fitz has had enough and gets up to walk out. Hale stops him and tells him he’s not done until she says he’s done. He’s escorted to cell and dressed in a prison orange jumpsuit. They continue to interrogate him, escalating to advanced lie detector tests. When he beats the lie detector, Fitz asks to help with the search. He just needs books, paper, pen, and a TV to watch soccer on.
His first theory suggests that he had a psychotic lapse due to his past brain injuries. He doesn’t remember it because his brain injuries also caused him to black out. Lt Evans shoots that theory down, saying that everyone else in the diner had the same 2 minute lapse that he did. Fitz starts to talk about the high pitch whine he heard, and asks for more books.
He also asks for a letter to be posted to a soccer fanzine. Lt Evans and Lt Lucas aren’t sure what to do. They decide to keep him happy, but have the letter examined by their codebreakers before posting it.
For several months, Fitz continues to theorize, workout, post soccer letters, and keep track of the time on his walls by drawing a monkey face a day. Season 1 Fitz knew he’d need that pet monkey as an assistant sooner or later. A monkey could definitely break him out or take a message to an ally.
For 6 months, none of his theories work out, and, despite the passion of his soccer fandom, he gets no response to his letters. He has one final theory for the military: The other agents were abducted by aliens. This happens to be the correct theory, but it only angers Hale and co. Why they’d be so dismissive in a world where the Chitauri invasion happened, Thor comes to visit regularly, and inhumans exist, is beyond my understanding, but I’m not a highly paid TV writer.
Luckily, Fitz’ lawyer shows up before they can throw him back in his cell and lose the key. Except it’s not really a lawyer, it’s former Agent of SHIELD Lance Hunter, much missed since he was burned as an agent in universe, and cheated out of a spin off in real life. The two have a brief soccer argument, because they really are fans of opposing teams, and Fitz’ letters were vicious. Fitz registers his complaints that it took Lance 6 months to mount a rescue. Lance counters that he was in Bangladesh and not keeping up with soccer.
The two hug it out, then Lance and Fitz get started on the break out. Fitz has a long term plan, but Lance has it covered. Lance asks Fitz to move to the left, and the room’s outer wall explodes. Lance’s buddy Rusty is flying a decoy helicopter, which crashes as soon as they’re outside. They run to the getaway vehicle, an ancient RV.
The military figures out that they’re in the RV immediately, but decides to follow in hopes of catching others. Fitz catches up on news as they drive. Lance and Bobby are together, but get along best with time spent apart. Good thing Bobbi has that other gig on the Orville with her other ex-husband.
Rusty has tricked the RV out with state of the art surveillance equipment, which they use to track down the beer truck, and figure out that it shifted its graphics as it drove. They follow the trail to the alien that we met in the opening of episode 1 of this season.
Fitz and Lance break into the alien’s house and sneak up behind him, guns out. He knew they were coming and isn’t surprised. Fitz recognizes him from the diner. The alien tells them that he sent the others to the year 2091 and shows them a video of the monolith swallowing them. Fitz looks like he’s going to be ill.
Enoch the alien: I was sent here 30,000 years ago to observe and record the evolution of your species. What you would call an anthropologist. My earth name is Enoch. I am a sentient Cronicon from a planet which evolves around a star in the constellation you know as Cygnus.
Lance: Yeah, we’ll just go with Enoch.
Fitz: Why? Why did you send them through that thing?
Enoch: To fulfill a prophecy. This speaks of the future. (Points to pages covered in strange writing hung all over his walls.) They were needed there.
Lance: Look, there’s only so much crazy talk I can take before I start shooting holes in it.
Fitz: Why didn’t you take me?
Enoch: You weren’t part of the seer’s prophecy, Mr Fitz.
Enoch explains that the monolith can only be opened from the other side. Fitz asks to be taken to the seer. Enoch doesn’t think that’s a good idea. Fitz grabs Lance’s gun and holds it to Enoch’s head. He demands to be taken to the seer, or he’ll kill Enoch. Lance is shocked. Newby Fitz and Brain Trauma Fitz would never have acted that way. Post-Framework Fitz gets the job done.
Enoch complains that violence was unnecessary, but takes them to the seer. Fitz apologizes. It turns out to be Polly Hinton and her daughter Robin, last seen in season 3 episode 22, Ascension. Robin is still holding the wooden robin that her inhuman father, Charles Hinton, carved for her before he died in season 3.
Evans and Lucas follow Fitz and Lance to Enoch’s house. They find the child’s drawings that are all over the house, and realize that they are prophetic. Then they continue the chase to the park where the Hintons are meeting with Fitz, Lance and Enoch. Enoch hands out devices which he uses to facilitate their escape. When Evans and Lucas come to, they’ve lost a half hour of time.
Enoch takes everyone to the present day version of the Lighthouse. He doesn’t know when the Lighthouse’s underground facility was built or who built it. He doesn’t even know how deep it goes, which seems odd. Enoch tells the others that they’re the only four humans who know of its existence. Fitz asks how Enoch knows about it, but Enoch ignores Fitz.
Enoch says that they’ll wait in the Lighthouse until their next step becomes clear. Robin is no longer safe. She only reveals information in her own time and in her own way, through her drawings. Enoch’s policy is not to interfere with human events, with one exception. An extinction level event. And no, he doesn’t know what happened. Enoch is a distinctly non-curious guy for an anthropologist. He also puts a lot of faith in a little girl’s drawings, inhuman or no.
Now that they have some down time, Fitz tells Lance about Robin’s father. His power was to see a vision of an impending death every time he touched someone. The other person saw the death, too. It made it impossible for him to touch anyone in his life, including his wife and daughter. He saved Daisy’s life, and she promised to watch out for his loved ones.
Fitz tells Lance a little about his relationship with Simmons, but wonders if the universe is set against them, since they keep being separated. Maybe it’s trying to protect her from the darkness that the Framework brought out in him. Lance says that he appreciates the darkness he’s seen in Fitz. It makes him more balanced. He just needs to learn how to control it. He’s sure that Fitz wasn’t left behind because of his crimes in the Framework. If he wants to know why, he should ask Robin.
Fitz does just that. Polly explains that Robin doesn’t talk much. The past, present and future are all mixed together in her mind. Polly tries asking Robin why Fitz isn’t with his friends. Robin responds that it’s because Fitz has to save them and hands him her latest drawing.
Now that it’s prophecy, Enoch can help Fitz get to the future. The space capsule he took to get to earth was discovered some time ago and is stored at a secret facility called Blue Raven Ridge. Lance chuckles ironically. That’s the base that he just broke Fitz out of. They’ll have to break back in.
They disguise themselves as contractors and use Enoch’s truck. Lance complains that they’re breaking a basic rule of espionage by going to the same place twice, using two different cover IDs. The IDs get them onto the base, where they release Rusty’s ferrets to confuse the base perimeter sensors into thinking there are intruders. They’re so serious about the release you’d think they were releasing rabid bunnies or something.
With the guards all occupied by the fake perimeter breach, they search the warehouse for Enoch’s pod, and find it quickly, plus a bonus- the Zephyr is being stored there! Their escape just got a lot easier and more fun. The SHIELD base’s entire stash of weapons is stored inside the Zephyr, so they quickly arm themselves when they are discovered.
Fitz sends Lance forward to turn on the autopilot/autotakeoff, while he holds off the military with icers. The Zephyr cloaks itself as it takes off.
General Hale is very interested in Robin and her abilities. She orders Evans and Lucas to capture her because they need her talents on their side of this war. When Fitz and Lance escape, Hale shoots both Evans and Lucas in the head as punishment, then calls for cleaners.
Fitz gathers up a cache of weapons, including Mac’s shotgun axe, and hides it inside the wall of the Lighthouse, ready to be found by the team in the future. Enoch’s capsule is a cryofreeze chamber, meaning Fitz will be taking the long way to the future, like Captain America and Bucky Barnes before him.
Lance is not okay with this plan, since no one will be around to maintain the safety of the pod. Enoch reassures Lance that he’s going to call a Chronicon vessel to pick up Fitz and the pod. It will take them to safely orbit around a distant planet until it’s time to wake up. Lance is not reassured.
Fitz fills out the “Working on it” postcard and gives it to Robin. Lance promises that he and Bobbi will watch out for Polly and Robin. Lance and Fitz hug goodbye. It’s hard to let go. They share a Star Wars moment just before Fitz freezes. I’m trying not to see Bucky’s face in the cryofreeze.
74 years later, and 365 million light years from the Lighthouse, it’s time for Fitz to wake up. The cryopod thaws him as it counts down. Enoch is there to greet him with a blanket and a plan. They have a few days to prepare for their face off with some of the most ruthless and brutal mobsters, monsters, and mercenaries in the galaxy. Does Fitz have that in him?
Why yes, yes he does.
Last season Fitz lived in the Framework, where he was brainwashed, had amnesia, and turned into a remorseless killer. This episode he spent 74 years in cryofreeze. He’s a supersoldier now, right? Or a supersoldier-scientist-spy?
When Fitz overlays the images of the variously labeled trucks, he says, “Got you now,” a minor Star Wars quote. When Fitz is going into cryofreeze, Lance says, “I love you,” and Fitz says, “I know,” a major Empire Strikes Back quote. Nothing will keep these two from their fandom.
Fitz has come so far from the beginning of the series, when he was a baby agent who’d never been out in the field. It’s amazing to look at him in this episode and the next one, then go back and compare it to season 1 episode 7, The Hub, when he was sent out on his first dangerous mission with Ward.
Just who is Hale, and who does she work for? Does she work for Ivanov? Could she be an LMD herself? The show has forgotten about the Watchdogs, but they must still be out there lurking, along with various remnants of HYDRA and angry inhumans. Or they could introduce a brand new player, instead of one of the many they’ve dropped along the way.