Spoilers ahead for the June 17 episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 7, called "Out of the Past."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. went full noir for "Out of the Past," thanks to LMD Coulson malfunctioning after being zapped by an EMP in the previous episode. His settings left him seeing in black and white while hearing an internal monologue, which made for a fun episode and slightly distracted from the implications of just how much the agents and the Chronicoms might be wreaking havoc on history. The episode ended with the good guys making a very risky move by saving the doomed Agent Sousa, and they really need to stop changing the timeline.
Now, I'll admit that I very recently said that I hoped the S.H.I.E.L.D. heroes would save Sousa no matter what it would mean to the timeline, and the agents did find a way to do it with minimal chances of changing history too much. LMD Coulson simply took the shots intended intended for Sousa. Now Sousa has seemingly joined the team, and he was on the Zephyr for their next jump forward in time, which -- judging by Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" blasting -- is likely the early-to-mid 1970s.
Still, saving Sousa was incredibly risky for a group of agents who knew that their aim had to be to make ripples rather than waves in the time stream, especially considering Coulson himself had caught a clue that something they'd done had already changed history. In a scene between Sousa and Coulson early in the episode, Sousa mentioned that the self-destructed Chronicom had "melted like the Wicked Witch of the East." Coulson immediately corrected Sousa by saying that the Wicked Witch of the West was the one who did the melting.
While this could be a simple case of Sousa not being a Wizard of Oz expert and simply flubbing the line, it seems far more likely that Sousa referring to the Wicked Witch of the East was a small but notable sign that the agents changed the timeline by their very presence in the past. Despite catching the Wicked Witch discrepancy, Coulson went along with saving Sousa's life and bringing him along for the ride through time.
If S.H.I.E.L.D.'s history buff is willing to go along with changing time, can we really expect the likes of Daisy, Yo-Yo, and Deke to be detail-oriented about the changes they make? Even Mack was willing to make waves in "Out of the Past" to save a hero, whereas he wasn't willing to change history to kill Freddy Malick earlier in Season 7.
It was great to see the good guys get to actually do good rather than just chase the Chronicoms, but their willingness to change history now might come back to bite them later, especially since the Chronicoms are seemingly teaming with Malick to make some changes of their own. I'm just afraid that the agents will be thrown off track trying to improve history to the point that their mission might fall by the wayside. If only S.H.I.E.L.D.'s stickler for the rules of time travel was in the mix rather than MIA!
Now, I know I'm crying wolf when nothing catastrophic has evidently happened other than a tweak to The Wizard of Oz, and I'm actually really looking forward to seeing how 1955 Sousa operates with the 21st century S.H.I.E.L.D. team in the 1970s. In fact, at this point, I've already come up with a scenario where Sousa survives to present day and makes a connection with Sharon Carter. Hey, if Steve Rogers could go back in time to reconnect with Peggy, why can't Sousa cross paths with Sharon?
In all seriousness, I can easily imagine the agents' enthusiasm for changing history for the better getting away with them, especially after one big success. Deke has already come around to agreeing with Yo-Yo to make changes where they see fit, and Daisy has been on board with making changes ever since she realized they had a shot at stopping Hydra before it could rise. Mack proved that he'll bend the rules for the right cause, Coulson will follow Mack's lead, May has larger problems on her plate, and Simmons is still keeping secrets.
I was all about how S.H.I.E.L.D. was handling time travel in the beginning of the season; now I have my doubts. Still, even if the agents don't stop changing the timeline, I have absolutely zero doubts that it'll be a fun ride. See what happens next with new episodes of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., airing on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. For some additional viewing options, be sure to check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule.