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Spoilers ahead for Episode 8 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 7, called "After, Before."
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. stuck around in the 1980s following Mack and Deke's totally excellent adventure, but the latest adventures definitely were not excellent for the agents involved. With the time drive critically malfunctioning and their only hope for keeping the Zephyr falling on Yo-Yo's shoulders, there was a lot going on. May and Yo-Yo journeyed to Afterlife circa 1983, to try and recruit the help of Jiaying in restoring Yo-Yo's powers, while the rest of the team desperately tried to find a way to save the ship.
Unfortunately for fans, the episode ended on a killer cliffhanger, so there's a lot we don't know heading toward the next episode. Read on for some questions that definitely need answering after the events of "After, Before" in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s final season!
Will May Keep Her Abilities?
May has struggled with her new empathic abilities throughout Season 7, but "After, Before" proved that they can be even more useful than just distinguishing Chronicoms from non-Chronicoms. With Jiaying's help, May used her abilities to guide Yo-Yo to understand the mental and emotional block that was keeping her from her super-speed. May wasn't thrilled about how she had to contribute, but she pulled it off. Will S.H.I.E.L.D. reveal that the empathic abilities are permanent, and May will have to continue learning how to use them? Or will May go back to her old self, like Yo-Yo getting her powers back? Ming-Na Wen shared her thoughts, but only time will tell.
What Does Malick Have Planned?
Nathaniel Malick may really be the Season 7 big bad after all, if this episode is anything to go by! Malick showed up at Afterlife thanks to information from Sibyl, and he recruited Jiaying's daughter Cora by promising her an "escape hatch" if she came along with him. He also led several military helicopters to Afterlife and staged an assault on the community, and it was only thanks to Gordon's powers that that he, Jiaying, May, and Yo-Yo escaped. What does Malick have planned for Afterlife? Does he want to destroy it and kill Inhumans, or control and recruit? Or was the goal to change the timeline?
What Part Does Cora Have To Play?
S.H.I.E.L.D. introduced another member of Daisy's family in "After, Before" with the debut of Cora, Jiaying's daughter and Daisy's much older half-sister. Cora's "gift" as an Inhuman was explosive and out of her control, to the point that she was ready to kill herself to put an end to all the pain and struggle. Instead, Malick recruited her, which makes her a dangerous Inhuman aligned with the bad guys. That said, Cora is clearly more hurt and upset rather than downright evil. She might not go full villain, but be key to the good guys beating Malick. But what part does she have to play, and will Daisy get to meet her?
Are Daisy's Powers Gone For Good?
Daisy seemingly lost her Quake powers back in 1976, when Malick kidnapped her and experimented on her. In the process, he took blood, spinal fluid, and some glands. She hasn't used her powers since, and it's entirely possible that whatever Malick did to her means she can never use them again. Simmons' healing pod doesn't necessarily have the technology to grow new glands, and if her power loss was due to a piece of her body being literally taken from her, I'm not sure Jiaying could be of much help. Are Daisy's powers gone for good, or will some time in the healing pod restore them?
How Will Coulson Cope With His Status As LMD?
Coulson seemed to be enjoying the perks of life as a Life Model Decoy in the first half of Season 7, but after blowing himself up to take out the Chronicom ship, Coulson has come to the conclusion that he's nothing but ones and zeroes, and he spent more than a year dying for a glass of water when he was only "alive" via Deke's contraption. Will Coulson get over his reservations, or will Coulson die for good before it becomes an issue? Personally, my theory all season has been that he'll deactivate himself once the team is 100% sure they've saved the world and they're safe.
Will The Team Have To Abandon Ship?
The stakes of the time drive malfunction in "After, Before" basically always meant that the heroes would have to abandon the Zephyr and stay behind in 1983 if Yo-Yo couldn't get her powers back. The episode ended with the reveal that Yo-Yo's fix didn't work, and the next episode will see them stuck in a time storm. Will they have to abandon the Zephyr to get out of it, or after they get out of it? Or will there be a fix to save the day and the Zephyr? Is this what somehow brings Fitz back? How will May react if she does indeed have to live through the '80s again?
Can Time Be Fixed?
The agents have been causing a lot of waves in time since the 1930s, and the Chronicoms (and now Malick) haven't exactly been stopping at gentle ripples either. This episode alone might have changed the sequence of events that would have led to Daisy's birth a few years down the line, which Mack noted as a concern before sending May and Yo-Yo to Afterlife. So much has changed that I imagine S.H.I.E.L.D. has given away that the good guys will triumph, but the more the show changes, the more I wonder: can time be fixed, and what might have to be given up in the effort?
Where Is Fitz?
If I've asked it once this season, I've asked it a dozen times: where is Fitz? "After, Before" at least mentioned him, and Simmons recorded a heartbreaking video for him in which she revealed that she doesn't know why they lost contact after rescuing the team from Izel. Deke overheard Simmons' message, and he proved that he's 100% part of the FitzSimmons family by immediately tearing up. It was rough enough when Simmons was the only one hiding her sadness, but now poor Deke is sad too, and I for one am ready for answers sooner rather than later, even if Iain De Caestecker isn't back in the flesh yet.