Desperation begins to close in on all sides as Agents of SHIELD reaches episode 8, The Last Day. We’re closing in on the midpoint of the season and the end of the first story arc. That will bring some kind of change, and it also brings the series’ 100th episode closer. The 100th episode, #12 of this season, is rumored to be an important one for the series and characters, not just the celebration of a milestone.
This episode spends time filling in more details on the True Believers. It shows us more of how Robin’s powers work and how she’s been using them over the course of her entire life to guide the effort to save the world. Mack, Elena and Flint draw closer together as a new family and as leaders of the Lighthouse humans. Everything in the episode involves intense struggle, but by the end Robin is finally confident that she’s in the right place, at the right time, giving the right message to the right person. That alone should be cause for hope.
The episode opens on one of Robin’s visions/memories. It’s 2018 and May, Simmons, Robin, plus a large number of other people, are aboard the Zephyr One. A young adolescent Robin sneaks up to the command center of the plane. Major cities are going dark. A tech tries to send Robin to back to her mother. Jemma says that her mother didn’t make it this far. Robin continues up to May where she’s piloting the plane. May tells her to go back with the others. Robin says that it’s okay, they survive the crash. May asks what crash. Jemma announces that there’s a gravity storm heading right for them, as the plane begins to shudder. Robin says that there’s something that she needs to…
“Remember,” she finishes in 2091, sitting with May. Robin comes back to herself and asks May what she just asked. May asks how Robin ended up on the surface, living in the Zephyr. Robin says, “I told you that we’d survive the crash.” May is confused. Before Robin can answer, Voss, one of the Believers, interrupts her and says that she’s always all mixed up about what time period she’s in and impossible to understand.
Voss is about to go out and get everyone from the trawler. It’s about to crash, but Robin told him 10 years ago that everyone would survive.
When they all get back, May and Coulson begin to fill each other in on what they’ve learned. Jemma is impressed that Fitz’ design for the Zephyr has stood up to the elements and disasters so well. Deke is momentarily impressed that Fitz is the engineer who designed the plane, but loses interest because Fitz isn’t the pilot.
Voss is excited to see Deke, whose last name is Shaw. Voss is good friends with Deke’s dad, Owen, who he says is a few days walk away at a radio transmitter, but will be back soon. Deke tells Voss that Virgil died, and that he wishes Virgil had told him that his dad was alive.
Sinara has located the trawler crash and reports to Kasius. He sends her to the surface to look for survivors. In the mean time, Kasius makes plans to bring the humans under heel again. A renewal won’t be enough. This time, he plans a retribution.
The retribution starts with the power and water being cut on Level 10, the humans’ floor. A few people see Flint and yell at him that the whole thing is his fault, he should turn himself in, and at the very least he can’t be there. Mack intervenes and they get away.
Coulson figures out that Robin is the connection between the two points in time- 2018 and 2091. May says that the problem is, she can’t tell the time periods apart. They all run together in her mind. (It actually looks like she’s having flashbacks to previous time loops and visions of possible futures running continuously in her mind, all as real as if they’re the present time, and it’s hard for her to keep it all straight.)
Fitz and Simmons finish talking to Robin, and tell Coulson that she’s not any easier to understand than she was 70 years ago. Coulson gives it a try. He tells her that they’ve had a long journey to get to her. Could she tell them why she brought them there and what she wants them to do?
Robin says that she already told her mother everything. May tells Coulson that Robin has been in and out since she got there. Robin told May that they were taken from the diner because it was the last time they were all seen together. Coulson’s not encouraged to hear that.
Robin: Phillip J Coulson. He can bring all the pieces together.
Coulson: Pieces of what?
Robin (takes Coulson’s hand): This is the day it all ends.
Coulson decides that their first priority is to be prepared for a confrontation with Kasius. He sends Daisy to FitzSimmons so they can examine her inhibiter and try to remove it. He and May will keep working with Robin.
Daisy asks Deke if this is blowing his mind. He says yeah. The first thing you learn as a little kid in the Lighthouse is to be careful, because if you piss off the Kreepers they’ll send you to the surface to die. Only that’s a lie, you can survive on the surface, even the batty old lady. He used to be nice to her before she got sent to the surface with his dad and he thought they’d both died. He was so angry that his dad had gotten his mom killed that he wasn’t even sad when his dad was sent to die.
He just hopes his dad will forgive him. Daisy says she thinks he will, based on her own experience, and tells him a little about her own dad. It’s a very sanitized version, or things went differently in this timeline. 😉
Elena checks Level 3 for roaches. The way is clear. They discover a Kree spraying a gas that repels the Vrellnexians.
Fitz and Jemma go to their old lab and discover that much of it has survived intact. They also discover that an isochronous cyclotron with resonate superconducting coils has been built into the wall. Voss comes in and tells them that the cyclotron is what brought them to the future. They both start asking questions. Voss stops them, saying Deke warned him that they’d ask a lot of questions. Really? Deke has barely met either of them, and they all agreed that they weren’t going to chatter while they were on the run. That’s a pretty blatant lie from Voss.
Voss doesn’t have the answers, or says he doesn’t. Deke’s dad Owen built it from old designs, but Voss doesn’t think Owen understood it either. Voss grabs a box and leaves, closing FitzSimmons in the lab as he goes.
Jemma and Fitz figure they’ll have to wait for Deke’s dad to get more information. Until then, they’re on their own. Wait, they’re on their own. Making out, possibly more, ensues, with no interruptions. 💃
Coulson and May throw rapid fire questions at Robin, who draws instead of answering. They ask Enoch for help, but his answer has always been to spend time with her until she opened up. Her mother was the only other person she would talk to. Coulson is seriously frustrated, because they don’t have time to wait for Robin to be comfortable, but her gift can’t be forced.
Coulson decides they should change their strategy and provide back up to Mack and Elena. May disagrees, because Daisy can’t quake, and she has a hole in her leg. Coulson says May looks pretty spry for someone who’s over 100 years old, but May isn’t in the mood to flirt.
Coulson: Hey, we always make it through somehow. If not…
May: I’m not willing to lose anyone.
Coulson: That’s not all on you.
May: Then what is? If I can’t protect the team, what? I’m not a scientist, and I can’t fly a dead aircraft.
Coulson: You’re the one I trust to always have my back.
Robin brings them a drawing of a plane, meant to jog May’s memory.
Vision of the Lighthouse, 2022. Robin is drawing the same picture that she just gave to May. May, Fitz and Simmons argue about strategy. The Lighthouse is running out of supplies and it’s systems are breaking down. Robin wants FitzSimmons to design a time machine. Fitz thinks it’s impossible, since time is fixed, and he doesn’t want to waste the time and effort. May thinks that it’ll work in the long term, since Robin’s been right about everything else. Jemma agrees that they should try. They might have to let someone else finish the work after they’re gone. Robin brings the same picture to May, and says to Fitz, “This is to remind you. You gave them everything that you could.”
She’s talking about the weapons and supplies he left in the Lighthouse wall. Mack is weaponing up. He just about kisses his shotgun axe. Elena finishes scouting Level 3, and tells them that the roaches are gone from the floor. The Kree have driven the Vrellnexians down to the humans’ floor.
Coulson and May are looking over weapons with Voss, when May notices that he has a piece of the monolith. Coulson and May are excited, hoping to find more. Voss discourages them, coming up with one excuse after another. Coulson takes the monolith fragment to show FitzSimmons.
Jemma examines Daisy’s inhibiter. It’s deeply imbedded into an important nerve. Removing it will require risky surgery that can only be done by a neurosurgeon. Daisy won’t be quaking anything anytime soon. You’d think it would occur to them to pick up a remote and leave the inhibiter in the on position.
Coulson and May show them the monolith fragment. Fitz notices that there’s a place for it to fit into the cyclotron. May hopes that they can reset the timeline so that none of this ever happens.
The Vrellnexians are slaughtering humans. Mack and his shotgun axe take out a few, saving some of the people who were ready to turn Flint over to the Kree. Mack comes up with a plan to kill the rest of the roaches.
Another Vision in the Lighthouse. Robin walks down the corridor purposefully, repeating Flint, Flint, Flint over and over. She’s realized that he’ll play an important role in saving the earth. May tells Robin not to fall behind. Elena rushes through, carrying Mack’s shotgun axe. They are being taken over by the Kree, and Elena won’t submit. She plans to keep fighting. May says it isn’t what Mack would have wanted. Robin says that Mack will help Flint. Elena says that Mack’s been gone a long time, and isn’t coming back. Elena lost faith a long time ago.
Deke finds Voss and confronts him about the monolith shard. It belonged to Owen, who kept it with him at all times, no matter what. Voss tries to convince Deke that Owen left it behind because of the storms, but Owen wouldn’t leave it with Deke when Owen was sentenced to death. A storm wouldn’t stop him. Deke knows Voss is lying and that his father must be dead. Voss killed him, probably because Owen didn’t agree with what Voss has planned. Voss shuts Deke up by hitting him in the head with a wrench, then locking him up.
Mack uses one of Fitz’ batteries to restore power to Level 10. He throws a couple of canisters of roach gas into the ventilation system, so they’re driven to a particular room. Elena follows them there, and uses her speed to plant small charges on each one. They show her doing this in slow motion, like she’s dancing. Nice. When she’s done, the Vrellnexians explode. Game over.
Flint is hella impressed with his new mom. Mack tells him to, “Dial it back, Pebbles.” Don’t worry, Mack, he’s impressed with his new dad, too.
Daisy tries to talk to Robin. Robin remembers that it was Daisy who brought the carved robin to her, and thanks Daisy for it again. Daisy is sorry that she hasn’t been able to do more to protect Robin. Robin’s life in the Lighthouse and on the surface can’t have been easy. Robin says her mother kept her safe. She was supposed to tell her mother something. Daisy asks if Robin could tell her instead. Was it about the monolith? Robin says that time is running out, then covers her face with her blanket.
Voss says that he’s had his fair share of those indecipherable conversations with Robin. He snuck up behind Daisy when she wasn’t paying attention. Daisy expresses her frustration, and Voss offers to show her something that might give her answers. Interesting how Voss manages to show up and interrupt every time someone’s about to figure something out, either with Robin or with tech. He’s the new Grill.
FitzSimmons continue examining the cycloton. Jemma discovers a laser vibrometer that measures the resonant features of the monolith piece and locks onto the frequencies in the monolith through space-time. That’s the key to working the monolith and getting home.
Fitz goes to tell the others, but the lab door is locked from the outside. Coulson and May come around the corner just as Fitz starts calling for help. Voss has stationed two guards outside of the lab door. Not so friendly and welcoming after all, then.
Voss pulls up a video while Daisy tries to convince him that she’s not powerful enough the destroy a planet. He doesn’t believe her, because he’s sure that he has incontrovertible evidence.
He plays a video they found on the hard drive of the Zephyr. Daisy is outside of an aircraft. She says something to someone in the plane, then runs away from it.
Voss: That was the last time anyone saw Daisy Johnson alive.
Daisy: And then?
Voss: By all accounts, the city had been evacuated, no one there. After Quake walked in, 12.8 on the Richter scale, and the world cracked like an egg.
Daisy: How could I?
Voss: That’s the question. But when you look at this moment, and all of the suffering that took place after, you can’t help but wonder if it could have been prevented.
Robin: It’s too late to stop it.
Robin’s Next Vision: Fitz drags young Robin out to the room where May is working, saying that he’s had enough. Robin is talking about there being so much blood. Fitz tells May that Robin just described Jemma’s death. How is he supposed to live with that?
May: You know she can’t help it. She sees death like her father, but she also sees a way out. That’s why you designed the machine.
Fitz: Oh, you don’t get it. Nothing we do matters. (tearing the time machine designs off the wall.) Because we can’t change time.
May: You don’t know that.
Fitz: Of course I do, because we’ve tried! For all I know, we’ve tried a thousand times. Always ends the same. It’s like a record that keeps on skipping and we keep repeating this loop again and again and again!!!
May: Fitz, take a breath.
Fitz: And every time, Jemma dies. They all die. Robin can’t change it. Voss couldn’t change it. Even Daisy couldn’t change it. She saw the aftermath, and she still destroyed the world.
Robin: Daisy, Daisy, he has a knife.
2091, on the Zephyr. Daisy promises to make sure that the destruction of the earth doesn’t happen. Voss says that it’s Daisy’s life for the lives of billions, and attacks. The other Believers are there to help, but Daisy’s a well-trained fighter even without powers and they don’t have much experience. Robin comes out of her room and says again that this is the last day.
When Voss realizes that Daisy isn’t going down easily, he changes tactics. He can at least make sure that Robin doesn’t give Daisy the answers. He stabs her in the stomach. It’s repulsive that he’s trying to kill Daisy and Robin to begin with, then he doesn’t even give Robin a quick death, which would stop her from talking and be more humane. Plus he killed his old friend Owen. He’s a psychopath. All of the survivors who are left alive on the Zephyr appear to have drunk his kool aid, except Robin.
Coulson joins the fight just as Daisy gets Voss under control.
May goes to Robin, and holds her as she’s dying. Robin goes in and out between 2091 and a vision from another time loop.
2091 Robin: Mom?
2091 May: I’m sorry, she’s not here. I’ll stay with you.
2091 Robin: You always promised you’d be here at the end.
Vision Robin: Mom? Mom?
Vision May: Everything alright, honey?
Vision Robin: Can’t sleep.
Vision May: (She gets in bed with Robin and pulls Robin into her lap.) Come here. You wanna talk about it?
Vision Robin: I wish I never got this power.
Vision May: It’s a lot to have going on in your head.
Vision Robin: Every night, I close my eyes and see people hurting, people dying. Even you.
Vision May: I know. It’s okay.
Vision Robin: You’re not afraid?
Vision May: Maybe a little. But you’ll be there, by my side. Just like I’ll be there for you, in the end.
Vision Robin: I don’t want to lose you too.
Vision May: We’re special. Remember, we never have to say goodbye.
2091 May: I raised you?
2091 Robin: After my mother was gone, we lived together.
2091 May: Why me?
2091 Robin: You weren’t afraid of what I could do. You always said I had a gift, and that one day I could help save the world.
Vision Robin: I’m supposed to tell you something. How you can get back home.
Vision May: That’s right, but not today. It’s too early. You tell me when we’re back on the Zephyr, years from now.
Vision Robin: But you won’t remember me then.
Vision May: Then you remind me. Remind me that I still have an important job to do. Remind me that…
2091 Robin: You’re needed for more than you realize.
2091 May: Robin? Robin? What am I supposed to do?
Vision May: And when that day comes, you have to tell me how to get back. You tell me your vision of us, saving the world.
Vision Robin: But I’ve never seen that vision.
Vision May: You will. I’ll stay here until you fall asleep.
Vision Robin: Thanks mom.
2091 Robin: I know you can save the world. You were right. I’ve seen it, I just haven’t lived it yet. (Robin falters, close to death.)
2091 May: Robin, how do we get back?
Robin gathers her strength and whispers the plan in May’s ear, then dies a peaceful death.
May to Coulson: This is what she meant, the day it all ends.
Voss tells Daisy to remember this moment, and that he tried to stop her, when she ends the world. He really is abhorrent.
Saving the world comes down to the love and belief in each other of a mother and daughter. I love it. These stories, no matter where you look in our culture, almost always focus on father-son relationships. I thought sure they’d make a big deal about Deke and his dad. To have everything hinge on May’s ability to understand Robin and to teach Robin to understand and believe in herself is fantastic.
Of course, there’s a good chance Owen will show up alive eventually, whether it’s in 2091 or 2018, and have that father-son storyline with Deke.
Flint, Mack and Elena let the humans on level 10 know that the roaches are dead. Mack tells them that they have to work together to beat Kasius. Elena begins removing metrics as part of the rebellion.
Daisy lets Deke out of his temporary prison. She thought he’d be dead. Deke says he thinks Voss didn’t want more of his family’s blood on his hands.
May prepares Robin for burial, or whatever the Believers tradition is. Enoch sits with a pile of Robin’s drawings and takes notes. The agents and Deke slowly gather, wondering what to do next. Deke assumes they’ll live on the Zephyr until Kasius catches them. Daisy figures that at least she won’t destroy the world that way. Coulson thinks they can do better than that.
May: We do go back. Robin told me how. Just one question though. Who’s Flint?
Senara has donned her gravity storm gear and gone out to the crashed trawler, which is empty. Kasius orders Sinara to track the Destroyer of Worlds and bring her back. She should mercilessly dispose of any human survivors, if the Vrellnexians haven’t gotten to them first.
I suspect that the flashbacks have an element of Robin trying to sort out everything in her mind, as she floats through time and space, in order to try to explain it to the others. She actually does think clearly, she’s just not anchored to one, linear timeline the way most people are. She starts a thought in one timeline, and finishes it in another, then reacts to the new timeline.
Robin wasn’t as confused as Voss was leading the others to believe. He interrupted her at key times over and over. She even acted afraid of him and hid under her blanket. He was acting so jovial and friendly with the rest, and was vouched for by Deke, so they didn’t suspect him until it was too late. I wonder if she was intimidated solely because she knew what was coming, which she seemed to accept, or because he’d been treating her badly for a long time.
It’s odd that nobody wrote down Robin’s verbal prophecies so that they could try to make sense of them once there were enough. They could have been able to order them, or ask her for dates, when she was in her more lucid periods. They could’ve even had her match her drawings with the descriptions. The Book of Robin could have been very helpful as the prophecies started coming true.
It makes me wonder if the True Believers didn’t actually believe either, even before Voss and his friends lost faith.
We had a lovely mother-daughter story, and then they fridged the daughter, while the male murderer got to live. The daughter’s bio mom, Polly, had already been fridged, along with Flint’s mother figure, Tess, and Deke’s mother, who’s nameless. While Kasius lives to prove himself to his father, we don’t even know if he has a mother. WhedonSpace is a bad place for moms.
Screen Rant has a good post exploring all of the evidence we have so far pertaining to the destruction of the world. The evidence against Daisy is circumstantial at best, especially with the Gravitonium in play. When HYDRA emptied out the fridge at the end of season 1, they could have taken a bomb or tool that could cause a 12.8 earthquake, or be set up to amplify Daisy’s powers.
There are still other inhumans on the loose, including the group that just arrived from the moon. Black Bolt is the obvious choice for planet killer amongst them. Inhumans also strongly hinted that a serious space threat was approaching earth, probably either Thanos or the Kree.
And then there are the evil geniuses of the Marvel Universe: Victor Von Doom, Justin Hammer, Ian Quinn, Anton Ivanov/The Superior. We also haven’t seen anyone affected by Extremis in a while. Who knows what kind of bombs could have been created from that formula during the last few years.
Any of the above combined with Daisy and the Gravitonium is a recipe for disaster. The show has half a season to investigate suspects, create a plan and maneuver players to the spot in LA where Daisy supposedly set off the earthquake. Then the big confrontation can take up the last two episodes. Or maybe they’ll have the confrontation in episode 12, and the second half of the season will have little to do with the first.
I’m very interested to find out how Flint’s powers interact with Gravitonium. Can he force it to bind together and stop the gravity storms? Can he sense where there’s Gravitonium? Can Flint rescue Dr Hall if he’s still alive? How about the monolith? Does Flint have any control over that?
May’s best way out of active duty would be to raise young Robin in the new timeline. I really didn’t like all that talk about them being lucky because they’d never have to say goodbye or be without each other, just before Robin died. I don’t think May’s going to be with us much longer, whether she dies or retires. Hopefully the two goodbyes are this death of Robin’s, and May’s death from old age in the new timeline, with Robin sitting by her side.
The True Believers built the time machine from Fitz’ designs from a different timeline, which somehow carried over into this one. I suspect Enoch is a commonality between timelines, along with Robin, and helps with things like that. It looked like he was working on Fitz’ designs in the background during the episode.
Robin seems to carry her accrued visions and memories from each timeline into the next, allowing her to prune and adjust her instructions to the others, aiming for the correct outcome. We don’t know how many tries it took to get to the timeline where she lived long enough to have visions of Flint. It looked like they weren’t going to live long enough for him to help in that timeline.
She instructed May to have the time machine built, then, during the next loop, instructed her followers to send for the Agents of SHIELD before the destruction of the world. That way the agents still had hope and hadn’t lost the will to fight before they had a chance to get Flint. Unfortunately, the Believers had it even harder in this loop, but they should get another chance when the team goes back to 2018 for a reset.
The point of all of the time loops was for Robin to live long enough to see a solution. She had to see Flint and his powers, and figure out how to keep all of the agents alive while she got Flint.
We also didn’t see Enoch in any of the visions. His involvement in this loop is making a huge difference, since he sent the entire team to the future, introduced Fitz to Robin’s visions in a more hopeful way than he probably had been in other loops, rescued May from the Vrellnexians, and aided Fitz with freeing Daisy and Jemma.
If Voss believes that keeping Daisy in the future now would stop her from destroying the world, then that should have worked the moment Enoch took her out of 2017. The Believers aren’t very bright. And they are all men, except Robin. That’s more than a little creepy. No wonder she always felt uncomfortable.
I understand Voss and the others’ desperation, but, wow, they were ineffective. They didn’t even stop Robin from revealing the most important information.
We get more insight into Deke’s background and psychology. When he lost his dad, he also lost Robin, who was like a grandmother to him. His father took the one momento that he had to remember his mother by. It seemed pointless for Owen to keep it when he was going to die.
All of the elders who’d raised Deke were gone. He was an orphan, on his own, like Flint. Deke had to become hard and scrappy to survive. He didn’t have a Tess who took care of him, so he had to make some compromises. And he’s smart, so he saw just how dishonest everyone is, from the Kree who accept bribes to the humans who take advantage of other humans. The only side he was on was his own, but he did try to keep an eye on Virgil, another True Believer orphan who wasn’t as much of a surviver as Deke.
But he’s continued to discover that everyone who’s ever been important to him has told him major lies. Virgil, his dad, and all of the Believers he was close to kept their survival on the surface from him. At this point, he’s probably not capable of letting down his guard or trusting anyone. He doesn’t believe that there’s a right or wrong side, just the side that allows survival. It’s what he’s been taught, by everyone he’s cared about and everyone who’s surrounded him, for his entire life.
🥂 This is Metawitches 400th post. 🎉