Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Bids Farewell To [SPOILER] In “As I Have Always Been”

Credit: ABC/Mitch Haaseth

This week’s episode is directed by Elizabeth Henstridge and it’s full of time hops, so try to keep up. Daisy wakes up in the healing chamber. Sousa has been sleeping in a chair nearby. They got out to the bridge and find out the ship is stuck in a time storm and headed towards a vortex that will completely obliterate them from time. YoYo is trapped on the quinjet and a radiation flare blinds Mack. While Daisy puts out a fire, the time drive warps up again and suddenly she’s back in the healing chamber. The sequence of events all play out the same way.

Thankfully, Daisy immediately catches on that she’s time looping. She’s able to save Mack from going blind each time and quickly realizes she should wake Coulson from his recharge sleep. But Coulson already knows the situation because he’s been through it at least 87 times and remembers everything. Any loop where Daisy dies, she forgets everything. Such as noticing how they are getting closer and closer to the vortex. 

Coulson quickly fills her in on all of the methods they’ve already tried to fix things. Needing additional help, Daisy fills in the rest of the team, leading Deke to reason that if Simmons removed her memory implant, she would know how to fix the time drive. With each loop a short period of time and the ship getting closer to destruction, Daisy and Coulson, who had followed Deke, convince Simmons to agree. But as soon as she’s in the exam room and about to remove the implant, she chokes to death and dies. The next time, Daisy goes in with her and they both die. Coulson discovers a gas line was purposefully cut.

I Live, I Die, I Live Again

Her death means Daisy has to start all over again but Coulson gets her up to speed. Mack suggests they use YoYo’s superspeed to remove the implant before anyone can hurt Simmons but just as Coulson has opened the sealed quinjet, time resets. In another attempt, Sousa offers to put himself at risk instead of Daisy and dies in her place. On the next reset, she leaves him asleep by the healing chamber.

In contrast to Daisy who forgets everything if she dies, Coulson remembers every single time one of his friends has died, and he’s pissed about it. While processing his grief, he realizes Enoch is the killer though without his own knowledge. Enoch has been programmed to protect Simmons’ implant at all costs. This is an especially difficult challenge to overcome because Enoch is strong and vicious when in protection mode. Attempts to distract or subdue him fail. Frustrated, Daisy takes a loop for herself and talks things out with Sousa by asking him why he’s so helpful. The short answer? Well, Sousa doesn’t say it but basically he’s into her and he wants to be her support because she’s awesome. 

Obviously there are some extremely time-sensitive and life-threatening issues to address, but I really think Sousa and Daisy should take a moment to make out. Thankfully, Daisy agrees! When she wakes in the next reset, she kisses Sousa (yay!) and then asks him to lure Enoch into another room so she has time to remove the implant. It’s a success! They’re only 11km away from the vortex and their salvation is… Enoch. With her memories unencumbered, Simmons tells Daisy and Coulson that a vital part of Enoch’s hardware can stabilize the time drive but removing it will kill him. She breaks down in tears.

I Have Been, and Always Shall Be, Your Friend

On the next reset, they’re 1km from the vortex. Daisy assembles Deke, Simmons, Enoch, and Coulson together. Enoch doesn’t hesitate. He removes the part they need, believing Fitz or any of them would do the same to save him. While Simmons and Deke repair the drive, Daisy and Coulson stay with Enoch. He’s anxious about facing the end of his very long life alone and expresses how much the team has meant to him. Coulson, who would definitely know, comforts him that the fear of dying is temporary. Daisy promises to finish the mission, and Enoch cautions her to cherish it. He’s seen the future and this is the last mission the team will be on together.

As he nears the end, Enoch reiterates that Fitz was his best friend. Daisy says Enoch has been a good friend to them all. “As I have always been,” he replies. The time drive is repaired. The Zephyr jumps to safety. Enoch is dead.


Field Notes

  • This may have been one of the best episodes in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s history. Huge kudos to Elizabeth Henstridge on directing but also to Chloe Bennet for shouldering a lot of this episode herself. 
  • I love how the Daisy and Sousa romance has grown in just a few episodes. It feels very natural and he’s adorable and wonderful in every way. He follows after her without a moment’s hesitation and is willing to help the instant she asks for it. He better not die! Can we please let Daisy end this show happy?
  • Also, when Sousa talks about the type of person Daisy is, he is absolutely comparing her to Peggy Carter, and he’s right! Now that’s a compliment!
  • The symbolism of Enoch with a hole in his chest where his heart would be and slumped against a wall, isn’t lost. In another life, Coulson was in the very same position, gasping his last breath to Nick Fury, after sacrificing himself for the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • May, during one of the failed resets: “Deke’s dead?”
    Daisy: “Very.”
    Sousa: “Do we need to be sad about that?”
    Daisy: “We do not.”
  • Daisy, after kissing Sousa: “That was nice. Now I need to trap a space robot.”
Stephanie Coats