Monday, August 10, 2020

Agents of SHIELD S07E11: Brand New Day


The pieces are in place...

by Brandon Coulson

It’s been a long journey with lots of ups and downs but here we are, seven years in and the Agents of SHIELD are almost ready for their swan song. In this week’s penultimate episode “Brand New Day” we got confirmation of one big fact that many had guessed already -- this is a new timeline!

Yes, as was made fairly certain between Mack losing his parents and then Daisy’s mother dying before she could be born it has been confirmed we are in an alternate timeline. What this means for the show moving into its final episode and whether there is a fix is completely unclear.

There was a lot to unpack in this hour though and Daisy wasted no time confronting Kora in a pretty badass Quake and choke move. Kora came a bit further along in my eyes this week though her character still feels thinly drawn and predictable. She posits a way to fix the world by eliminating threats before they happen. Now obviously everyone, except Yoyo, will be against this plan. Here is where Kora suggests killing Ward, and while you can't blame any of the team for hesitating I don’t think anyone ever thought they would take her up on the offer. She does later say that Sybil says there is no future where Daisy lets her fight alone but this stinks of vague speech into a misdirect.

Deke is relegated to basically being a damsel in distress the entire episode, mostly used to motivate Gemma through torture, which fails miserably by the way. His one shining moment however is when he got to make a fantastic Die Hard reference …  just before being completely caught by Garrett. Sad, as I was looking forward to him going full McClane. Malick, still intent on finding Fitz, decides to dive into Gemma’s mind and we get a nice series of flashbacks, some of scenes we know and, later, new glimpses of their time building the time drive. Considering the build up to finally seeing Fitz, these were all too brief and still told us nothing directly.

There is talk of bloodwork results and being worried which makes most brains jump to Fitz being terminal and likely already dead as I have predicted before. But again there's just enough ambivalence here to give me pause that we’re being set up for a switch. So my theory is that the bloodwork is actually Simmons' and it’s a pregnancy confirmation. The tears she shed  during the time loop were not for a dead husband but knowing she had to leave a husband and child to keep them safe. I think this is more likely now for no other reason than to have your big "will they, won’t they" be dead or separated in a finale would be just a big flip off to the fans whereas a reunion and a child feels like perfect finale fodder.

The giant bombshell that does result from Malick’s intrusion is that as Simmons said the implant would cause Fitz to retreat in her mind. What we find has actually happened is Fitz has been purged completely from her memory. Seeing as a one night, two-parter is all that's left this obviously won’t have long lasting consequences, so again I’m declaring it a misdirect. The other option is our SHIELD finale will be the single most depressing night of television ever. We know to expect more than that.


Daisy gets the bright idea that to out-think a computer's predictions being unpredictably reckless is the key, and somehow convincing Mack and Sousa to come along for the ride, into space no less! All of the stuff with those three was adorable. Daisy confirms her crush to an eye rolling Mack, Mack then playing big brother and interrogating Sousa, and especially Sousa making fun of Quake as a code name. Sousa and Daisy are just adorable together and if anything bad happens next week we’re gonna riot!

Getting back to Kora and the rest of the team it turns out (surprise!) she wasn't on their side after all and knocked out the power to allow Sybil to infiltrate their computers. This leads to Coulson learning he can read and hack code, convenient, and while this part wasn't the most thrilling it did give us a brief fight with May that was impressive as always, as well as giving Coulson a great line calling out how characters always read text aloud on television. The boring knife guy and his crony get out of their cells and after Kora blows a hole in one of their chests, May takes her to see her mother's body. This scene of Kora breaking down is actually quite touching and by far the most I’ve felt for the character. Credit where it's due, she nailed that scene.

All of this leads to the epic reveal that the Chronicoms have called in reinforcements and proceed to level, just completely annihilate, every SHIELD base and agent including the Triskelion. Yes, the timeline is utterly broken and to add insult to injury we are forced to see the grossest onscreen kiss between Malick and Kora. Will Kora have a sudden about face after learning Malick killed her mother? Well yeah, duh, probably. Will SHIELD fix the timeline and restore things to their proper place? That one I really don’t know, but the pieces are in place as we race to what promises to be, if nothing else, a surprising and entertaining conclusion to seven years of storytelling.

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