Last week, LMD Coulson collapsed due to an EMP and his eyes flickered a yellow color. While that might have been a sign he could turn evil, instead, it’s made him imagine he’s at the center of a noir story. With a running internal monologue and everything in black and white, this episode picks up right after last week’s.
Sousa’s Date with Death
Daniel Sousa has Coulson in custody to get answers about who he really works for. After spying the date, Coulson realizes it’s the day Sousa is killed by Russians, a fate that inspires S.H.I.E.L.D. agents for decades to come. To keep the timeline on course, Coulson pretends to be Sousa’s contact for delivering important tech to Howard Stark, the mission Sousa is destined to be killed during. With no way to contact his team via a 1950s landline, Coulson calls Enoch who patches him through to the Zephyr to fill them in. The Chronicoms have killed Sousa’s original contact, perhaps unknowingly, and prevented the tech from being delivered so history is still in danger.
Deke and YoYo head out to the doctor’s house where they find his body and briefcase. But someone else is also snooping around and kidnaps Deke. While she tries to find him, YoYo is unable to deliver the tech (the “Rosetta Stone of S.H.I.E.L.D. tech” according to Simmons) to Coulson, who is now on a train to LA with Sousa. Thankfully, Coulson is able to buy some time by pretending a sleeping passenger is his contact. But a Chronicom on board privately threatens Coulson, who promises that S.H.I.E.L.D. will escalate in tandem with the Chronicoms if necessary.
In an attempt to mess up history right here and now, the Chronicoms try to kill Sousa on the train. He’s able to fight them off long enough for Daisy and Mack to arrive and lend a hand. They take Sousa to the Zephyr where he’s shocked to hear his theory about HYDRA infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. is completely correct. In fact, Deke’s captors end up being HYDRA, led by a grown-up Freddy. Deke only escapes with his life by reminding Freddy who he is and how he once chose to save him rather than shoot him.
Should You Let a Good Man Die?
On the Zephyr, Mack and Coulson discuss whether to allow Sousa to be killed or not. Maintaining the timeline is important but it’s hard to let a good man go to his death. At the same time, Sousa tells Daisy he’s willing to lay down his life to fight HYDRA. Even so, Mack decides to change their mission. They’ll complete Sousa’s mission but prevent him from dying and deal with the fallout later. The only problem is, Sousa got worried about missing his drop time and took off without them.
In a hotel, one of Freddy’s goons stalks Sousa after the latter has made the drop. Sousa is shot and falls into the hotel pool, dead. But not so fast. It’s actually Coulson in that pool. The team managed to catch up with Sousa, knock him out, and give Coulson his hat, coat, and cane. Coulson allowed himself to be shot in Sousa’s place so, for all intents and purposes, Daniel Sousa still died that night.
On the plane, Sousa wakes up and finally gets the full time travel story from Coulson. He also learns that he has to publicly remain dead, even though he’s actually alive, which is awkward. The good news is the Zephyr has arrived at their next destination: the 1970s. Meanwhile, in 1955, a Chronicom visits Freddy and suggests they join forces to stop S.H.I.E.L.D.
May is experiencing some changes since waking up in the healing chamber. Along with YoYo and Simmons, she learns she can feel others’ emotions when she touches them. She picks up Coulson’s hand but says she feels nothing. I’m not sure if you can say the same about Coulson in regards to her. After being rebooted, his world floods with color upon seeing May walk into the room, and his face softens when she grabs his hand.
Poor Enoch had to field three calls from his former team all while hoping he could finally rejoin them only to be rebuffed each time.
Coulson, discussing his relationship history: “There was someone. I couldn’t stick around long enough to make it last.”
Mack: “It’s easier to let a bad man live than to let a good man die.”
Coulson: “Agent Sousa’s sacrifice was an inspiration to others in S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Mack: “Like yours was for the Avengers.”
Coulson: “Well, let’s not oversell it.”
Mack: “It’s a fact.”