May, YoYo, And Jiaying Have Their Spa Day Ruined In Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s “After, Before”

Credit: ABC

We start with Mack taking off on his motorcycle and Deke following. As we know, the Zephyr unexpectedly jumps ahead over a year. Then it jumps several more months. Simmons is able to determine the jump pattern and plan to pick up May and YoYo with Mack, Deke, and Coulson in the near future. That part of the plan is successful, and everyone returns to the ship. But we’re just getting started. 

Spa Day

The Zephyr’s time drive is constantly cycling, causing the ship to jump frequently. If it keeps going, the ship will implode. If YoYo’s powers were working, she could slip in among the time drive’s cycles and disable it. So Daisy proposes they fix YoYo’s broken powers by visiting Jiaying, Daisy’s mom, who is an expert on Inhumans… and was also a main villain back in season 2. Worried how interacting with Jiaying might affect the timeline (namely, whether it’ll result in Daisy never being born), Mack has Coulson rebooted before his entire body is even finished being constructed. Coulson agrees the risks are worth it because they really don’t have another plan to save the Zephyr and the team. 

YoYo and May head off to find Jiaying in 1983 while everyone else stays behind on the Zephyr. As they approach Afterlife, a young woman named Kora is running away. She’s pursued by a man named Li and a young Gordon, the teleporter, who takes May and YoYo to see Jiaying. After YoYo proves she’s actually an Inhuman by handling a Diviner, Jiaying agrees to help. Secretly, she’s mainly hoping to learn about what might have taken away Inhuman powers. But a day of spa treatment and tests only reveals that YoYo’s problem is psychological, not physical. Jiaying suggests that May, who can now sense emotions by proximity as well as by touch, lead YoYo on an emotional exploration. “This is literally my worst nightmare,” May deadpans.

But they find a way to make it for them: sparing. While May calls out her (YoYo) emotions, YoYo is forced to confront the Shrike attack, killing Ruby, and seeing her uncle shot when she was a child. May intuits that YoYo needs to learn to forgive herself if she wants to regain control of her powers. Further exploration is halted when May overhears Li and Jiaying discussing Kora, who is unable to control her volatile powers and has nearly destroyed the compound multiple times. Jiaying had hoped to learn the source of YoYo’s lost powers and implement it on Kora to save her and everyone else.

Now Jiaying has a bigger problem. Kora has met Nathaniel Malick, who has shown up per Sibyl’s instruction to sway Kora to join him instead. Enticed by his offer to never feel trapped again, she attacks Afterlife with him. Gordon is able to teleport May, YoYo, and Jiaying to safety on the quinjet. Jiaying is heartbroken for many reasons, including because Kora is her daughter. Before she has Gordon take her somewhere safe, Jiaying accepts a watch from May so they can coordinate a time to meet again later… assuming they fix the Zephyr.

To Jump or Not

Repairs and Plan B on the Zephyr go nowhere. Sousa begins prepping parachutes and evacuation procedures. Simmons makes him a fancy prosthetic leg. She also sends a message to Fitz filling him on the situation and promising to never stop trying to get to him. “Time. Space. It’s never stopped us before,” she says. With minutes before the Zephyr implodes, Mack orders everyone off the ship. 

Thankfully, May is able to dock the quinjet on the first attempt because she’s a badass so everyone goes to get on board. Then, YoYo has a realization about her powers. They aren’t gone, they’ve evolved. She can just run fast in one direction rather than snapping back. So she runs towards the time drive, disables it, and saves the day.

Or at least, it seems that way. Assuming things are safe, Daisy gets into the healing chamber while Sousa keeps watch. Coulson powers down for a recharge. Enoch inspects the time drive, only to discover it hasn’t been disabled completely. The Zephyr jumps ahead. Back at Afterlife, Nathaniel’s plan seems to consist of taking the powers of the remaining Inhumans and giving them to people in his own crew.

Stephanie Coats