Many spoilers ahead for Episode 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5, "A Life Spent." If you haven't watched the episode yet, you may want to check out some of our non-spoilery articles until you get the chance to tune in.
Season 5 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. flung the agents farther than they've ever been flung before: into outer space and the future. The entire crew aside from the mysteriously absent Fitz is trapped on the space station known as the Lighthouse with what seem to be the last remnants of humanity. Unfortunately, the humans are all living under the control of the Kree, and the agents have had to get creative about planning an escape to their own time, especially once Simmons was taken by Kasius. The prospect of escape was already complicated by the metrics in their wrists and the limited access to technology, but "A Life Spent" made the entire idea of escape feel practically impossible. The episode revealed that there's simply no safe place to go, because Earth is very, very dangerous.
Despite the shock of seeing that Earth had been destroyed by Quake in last week's Season 5 premiere, the agents believed that at least part of what remained of the planet could be a refuge. Despite her protests that nobody could possibly be alive on Earth, Tess agreed to fly Coulson, May, and Mack close to a certain area of the destroyed planet. Against all odds, they discovered a message being broadcast through space. Although it was too garbled for them to make out the words, May was convinced that somebody was broadcasting live and they weren't simply listening to a recording, and Coulson recorded the message.
They managed to fine-tune the message thanks to some engineering wizardry from Mack, and they were all shocked to discover that the message was indeed being broadcast from Earth from somebody trying to contact them. In fact, it was a message coming from somebody who was apparently one of Virgil's secret contacts. Coulson decided that this was proof that the Earth was habitable and there was hope of restoring life to what was left of the planet.
Tess then dropped the bombshell that Earth wasn't inhabitable just because of the destruction. Earth is so dangerous that people are sent down to be killed, and the episode ended by showing just what was so dangerous that being sent to the planet is basically an execution. A man sent down as punishment was swarmed by creatures who look like nothing more than Jurassic Park raptors and killed.
Basically, there's nowhere safe for anybody to escape from the Kree. Sure, it may be possible to live on Earth, but those creatures almost make Maveth look like a picnic. There's simply nowhere for Coulson and Co. to go for certain refuge, even if they could somehow escape the Kree. That said, the fact that the dearly departed Virgil had living contacts on Earth did reveal reason to hope.The man on the surface trying to contact Virgil asked whether or not he had secured "the delegation," a.k.a. the agents transported via monolith to the Lighthouse. There are people on Earth who seem to have more knowledge about what's happened than is available in the Lighthouse. Even if making it down to Earth wouldn't be much of an escape, it could potentially yield some much-needed answers.
Of course, there are still big variables in play that may prevent any of the agents making a play for Earth. Jemma is still a servant of the Kree with a device in her head to render her deaf whenever Kasius desires, and Daisy was captured in "A Life Spent" after Deke seemingly betrayed her. Coulson, May, Mack, Elena, and their new pal Tess all have metrics in their wrists that can be used to track, electrocute, and incapacitate them. Kree are everywhere with the technology and power to kill just about whoever they want, and there are even humans who would get in the way as well.
We'll have to wait and see what the good guys try next. Personally, my fingers are crossed that we'll at least get a clue about what happened/is happening with Fitz sooner rather than later. Simmons would probably like to know as well. New episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. air on Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. The ratings for the premiere weren't too shabby; we can only hope that the show doesn't experience any big drops moving forward. Be sure to take a look at our rundown of 2017 TV cancellations and midseason TV premiere guide for 2018 while you're here.