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Spoilers ahead for the third episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 7 and the teasers for the fourth episode.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s adventures through time continued with the fantastically-titled "Alien Commies from the Future," which brought back none other than Agent Carter's Agent Daniel Sousa, who seems to be doing well enough despite losing Peggy... and the whole Chronicom invasion of Area 51 in 1955. Based on details for the next episode, however, it's looking like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might just have to kill off Sousa.
Sousa was alive and well, if somewhat shaken, by the end of "Alien Commies from the Future," and it was LMD Coulson who was down for the count thanks to Simmons' EMP. Despite all the craziness of the Chronicoms and the time travel, Sousa took a moment to share some suspicions with Daisy, who he thought was a CIA agent. According to Sousa, S.H.I.E.L.D. might have been infiltrated!
As fans know, Sousa is on the money, and Hydra has already worked its way into the agency, but S.H.I.E.L.D. can't have that confirmed until the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As if this wasn't enough to at least raise the alarm that Sousa might be in danger, we have the trailer for the next episode and the official description to reveal just how much danger Peggy Carter's former flame is in. Let's start with the trailer:
So much to process in so little time! On the one hand, the black-and-white trailer combined with Coulson's voiceover point toward a film noir format that should be a lot of fun. On the other hand, Sousa might have to die! According to history buff Coulson, Sousa was the first fallen agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and died a hero, and this apparently is going to happen before the 1955 time window closes and the heroes are whisked after the Chronicoms to their next time period.
The Chronicoms are where it gets sticky. The trailer gives the impression that in the natural course of events, Sousa is taken out by Hydra agents when he gets too close, and every S.H.I.E.L.D. recruit would learn about it down the line. The good guys, being good guys, want to save Sousa, which raises the same problem as when Daisy wanted to kill Freddy Malick: they don't know how it would change history. And yet, the Chronicoms are present and causing trouble in the trailer.
Do they want to save Sousa to change history for the worse? Or kill Sousa differently than he was supposed to die? Can Mack and Co. save Sousa without giving the Chronicoms what they want and changing the future? Is there any way out of this without tragedy? And is all of it real anyway, with the film noir look?
We'll have to wait for the episode to air to get the answers to all these questions, but the description for the episode, called "Out of the Past," courtesy of ABC does at least provide an answer for why everything is black and white:
It was just another average morning on July 22, 1955, when Agent Phil Coulson realized the importance of that day in the S.H.I.E.L.D. history books. With a chip on his shoulder and a genre-bending glitch in his system, he’d set into motion a chain of events that would hopefully preserve the timeline as we know it and ensure those pesky chronicoms get the ending they deserve. What could go wrong?
What could go wrong indeed! The episode description's mention of a "genre-bending glitch" in Coulson's system presumably explains why "Out of the Past" will go full noir, and Coulson being taken out by the EMP in the previous episode explains why he might need a factory reset. He was seemingly sparking back to "life" right before the credits rolled, which I originally thought was to reassure viewers that another version of Coulson wasn't dead but now seems to be the means to a truly unique episode of S.H.I.E.L.D.
As somebody who is notoriously nitpicky about TV time travel, spent most of the latest season of Outlander yelling at the characters to stop changing history, and took about four seasons to warm up to the delightfully ridiculous Legends of Tomorrow, I'm going to be a hypocrite and hope that the heroes find a way to save Sousa no matter what.
Sousa was a lovable ally of Peggy Carter during the two seasons of Agent Carter, and I would have been perfectly fine imagining Peggy got her happily-ever-after with Sousa back before Avengers: Endgame reunited her with Steve Rogers. Save Sousa! The trailer does show Sousa coming out of the Zephyr, so I'm not going to start mourning him just yet, but I also hope Sousa doesn't get wind of the idea that his death could save history. He's just the kind of character who would sacrifice himself for the greater good.
With Fitz's whereabouts currently very unknown, Enoch left behind in 1931 and absent so far in 1955, May still in her "murderous killbot" (to quote Deke) mode, Yo-Yo's powers on the fritz, Coulson able to be taken down by an EMP, Simmons keeping secrets, S.H.I.E.L.D. having to save Hydra, and the little issue of the Chronicoms trying to destroy humanity, I think we deserve an unambiguous win in the form of Sousa surviving!
That said, Sousa isn't an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. regular, and he doesn't have a role in any other Marvel Cinematic Universe project that means he can't die in the next episode. Endgame even guaranteed that Sousa and Peggy wouldn't end up together, and he didn't give the impression that they were in regular contact when he arrived at Area 51 in "Alien Commies from the Future."
Unfortunately, we won't find out if he lives or dies until "Out of the Past" hits the airwaves. Tune in to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC Wednesday, June 17 at 10 p.m. ET for the next new episode. If you want to relive Enver Gjokaj's previous run as Agent Sousa, you can find both seasons of Agent Carter streaming on Disney+ now. For more viewing options, be sure to swing by our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule.