Agents of SHIELD manages to raise its impossible stakes once more in “Stolen.” In the wake of Enoch’s sacrifice, the team returns to 1983 with the intention of stopping Nathaniel Malick and his new convert Kora from refurbishing Afterlife into an Inhuman army.
While Coulson (Clark Gregg), Mack (Henry Simmons) and Yo-yo (Natalia Cordova) break into the compound, Daisy (Chloe Bennet) must face her mother Jiaying and put aside their past (or is it future?) differences.
The Timeline is Screwed, Pardon My French
Nathaniel Malick throws things even more off-kilter by recruiting John Garrett – remember him from the first season? – before he ever turned his back on SHIELD. By showing him the future and promising him unlimited power, he’s able to strengthen his evil cause before the team can even show up to rescue the trapped Inhumans.
Of course, they show up regardless – it’s just that Sibyl and the Time Stream give Malick the unfair advantage of foresight. By bringing Gordon with him, Coulson unwittingly hands Nathaniel the very power he’s after for his new buddy. Now John has the power to teleport too, sending Malick straight to the Zephyr and the rest of the team.
Kora locks Coulson and Gordon up, but the latter uses the last of his strength to get them out and allow Coulson the opportunity to save the rest of the Inhumans along with Mack and Yo-yo. Kind of hard to imagine what the Agents of SHIELD timeline will look like if all these characters stay dead, but I guess it depends on what version of time travel we’re looking at.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel and John fight their way through the ship, first tackling May (Ming-Na Wen) and then side-stepping the theft of Jiaying’s presumably excellent powers – more on that later. It turns out what they were after all along was Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge), and they manage to make off with both her and the Zephyr itself.
Their goal is to goad her into taking them to Fitz, because all Chronicom plans fail when he’s involved. Little do they know that Jemma herself is afraid that Fitz’s fate may have already been too terrible to contemplate… And that Deke (Jeff Ward) is on board with them and ready to save his grandmother.
Sometimes Trying To Do The Right Thing Comes Out All Wrong
If Jemma and Deke discussing Fitz’s potential demise wasn’t emotional enough, “Stolen” pulls off the bittersweet mother-daughter reunion of two lifetimes. Not only does Daisy have mere seconds to process that her mother who nearly killed her will now be in her custody, she also learns that she has a sister who has gone rogue in this time.
With some kind coaxing from Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) – and, boy, am I in love with this romantic pairing – Daisy actually makes the choice to reveal herself to Jiaying and reconnect. She doesn’t manage to say she’s her daughter before the enemies attack, but she does explain that the SHIELD agents are from the future and she has powers which Nathaniel stole.
Jiaying tells her what she needs to hear about her mother, that she is someone who loves her kids and just went down the wrong path, without even realizing she’s talking about herself. But the truth comes out when they face-off against Malick, as much as Daisy tries to prevent her mom from learning about the tragedies.
She does what any mother would do in that situation, however, and protects Daisy from the villain. She does so at the cost of her own life, it seems – much to her daughter’s horror. Not only does she have to watch Jiaying die moments after making up with her, but she also doesn’t even know if she can exist anymore. The stress levels Agents of SHIELD is inducing in my life are high.
With 3 episodes left of the series to go, Agents of SHIELD knows how to hit the audience where it hurts. Can the team recover from these losses, defeat Malick, and right the timeline? What will the world look like when they return to 2020, if they ever do? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out.