The eighth episode of the seventh and final season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired tonight on ABC and it marked the directorial debut of Elizabeth Henstridge, who plays Simmons in the series. The episode, titled “As I Have Always Been,” is an incredible combination of wacky fun and heart-wrenching emotion.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. Sousa, who was sleeping in a chair next to her, questions her and Daisy wonders what’s been going on. She comes out to the deck to see the team scrambling for information. She heads to the cockpit and sees that the Zephyr is flying in some sort of wormhole.
The team continues to try and figure out what’s going on when Deke explains that they’re trapped in a timestorm. They’re getting pulled into a vortex that is 94 kilometers away. A flare of some sort blinds Mack and traps Yo-Yo in the quinjet. As Simmons and Daisy try to help Mack, a fire breaks out on the ship. Daisy goes to take care of it and after she does, the ship jumps again.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. Sousa, who was sleeping in a chair next to her, questions her and she storms out confused. She comes out to the deck to see the team scrambling for information. She heads to the cockpit and sees that the Zephyr is flying in some sort of wormhole.That’s right! We’re dealing with a time loop!
A freaked out Daisy tries to figure out what’s going on and begin explaining to the team that she’s seen this all happen before. She talks with Simmons and tries to explain whats going on, but eventually leaves to put other the same fire. After she does, she stops to look at Coulson, who is still recharging in his station. She goes to power him up but the ship jumps again before she can.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. She leaves the room without waking Sousa and immediately begins to help the team on her way to waking up Coulson. When she does, she is caught off guard by the fact that Coulson is already very aware of what is going on.
Frustrated, Coulson explains to Daisy that they’ve been through all of this before and if she doesn’t remember any of it, it must mean she died again. A shocked Daisy begins to question him and he explains that they’ve been stuck in this loop for a while and she has died 14 times, with her memory resetting each time. Coulson hears the ship beginning to jump and tells her to come start him up again next time.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. She immediately gets up and tells the team to shut the door to the cockpit, saving Mack from being blinded, before starting Coulson up again. He explains that the time drive is stuck and keeps looping back.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. She pitches her idea of flying out of the time storm, but Coulson informs her that fixing the drive is their only chance.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. Coulson informs her that they’re running out of time, which she assumes is a joke. He points out that she hasn’t noticed the numbers.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. She rushes out to the deck and immediately questions Deke about how far they are from the vortex. He informs her that they are 79 kilometers away. Daisy starts up Coulson and the two discuss their ticking clock within a ticking clock problem. They come to the conclusion that they simply need to solve their problem faster.
Daisy heads to the deck and tries to inform the team of their situation by saying exactly what is going to happen right before it happens, which gets their attention. Mack asks Deke if there’s any information Fitz left behind and he goes to check.
Deke tries to explain the situation to Simmons and convince her that they need to remove the implant from her brain and unlock her memories. Coulson and Daisy overhear their conversation and begin to question Simmons. She explains that she can’t afford to know Fitz’s location, for his safety. They try to explain how high the stakes are and that once they get the information the loop will reset and the implant will be back in place. Simmons asks for proof of this loop and Daisy provides it by having them both say the first made up word that pops into their heads, and she goes with “phlebotinum.” That convinces Simmons.
Locked inside some sort of medical chamber alone, Simmons begins to try to extract the implant from herself. As she begins, she starts to cough. It gets worse and worse until she eventually falls to the ground. The team, locked outside the chamber, can’t do anything to help her, and they watch Simmons die. The first of many deaths in this episode.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. “Phlebotinum!” Everyone is on board again, only this time Daisy is in the chamber with Simmons. Both of them begin coughing and Simmons dies again. Daisy manages to unlock the door, allowing the other inside, but she also dies. Enoch discovers a gas leak in the chamber and realizes it is not accidental. The tube leaking gas was cut deliberately. A frustrated Coulson acknowledges that it was murder.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. Sousa, who was sleeping in a chair next to her, questions her and Daisy wonders what’s been going on. We don’t have to do this all again do we? Daisy quickly learns everything we’ve already seen before the Zephyr jumps again.
After another reset, She wakes Coulson and he explains everything thats happening… again. Daisy explains they are now 41 kilometers away from the vortex. They decide they need to find out who was trying to keep them from removing Simmons’ implant and will need to question Deke, Enoch and Simmons.
All three of them seem puzzled and won’t admit to being the murderer. Coulson explains the story to the rest of the team. Mack suggests using Yo-Yo to get the implant out of Simmons before anyone can stop them. On the next loop, Coulson gets her out of the quinjet only for them to jump again before they can get anything done.
“Phlebotinum!” Daisy explains whats happening to Simmons, before noticing something different. She sees the tool they’ve been trying to use to extract the implant from Simmons in a drawer and she discusses the situation with Sousa. Daisy tries to take the tool to use herself but Sousa picks it up first and explains that it might be a trap and if he dies everything just resets, but if she dies she has to start all over. Well, he was right, it was a trap and it kills Sousa before the next jump.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. she ‘s relieved to find the sleeping Sousa next to her. She starts Coulson up again and they go back to work on the problem. Before trying another plan, they have a heartfelt discussion about their experiences watching their friends die and Coulson’s doubts about who he really is anymore. That conversation leads Coulson to realize that the murderer is Enoch.
They confront Enoch and Simmons and Coulson explains that Enoch is not willingly killing Simmons, but he was programmed to make sure her implant cannot be removed no matter what. They test the theory by trying to remove the implant right in front of him and he immediately attacks them while explaining that Simmons did in fact program him to protect the implant.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. She now realizes that the problem is Enoch and her and Coulson try to work on getting the implant without him knowing. As they try to remove the implant they are attacked by Enoch. This kicks off a fun sequence of various attempts to remove the implant without Enoch stopping them. It features some great laughs, including probably the funniest “death” in the history of the show.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. Sousa questions her and she tries to explain what happening but becomes frustrated and just mumbles before deciding to just take a loop off to tell Sousa the whole story. They share their own heartfelt discussion that begins to hint as Sousa having feelings for Daisy, before just about outright saying it.
Sousa helps with their next attempt which has him lead Enoch into a room where the rest of the team ambushes him while Daisy extracts the implant. Or at least, that’s the plan, but they run out of time and the ship jumps again. Coulson tells her to do the same thing but faster.
Daisy wakes up in her healing chamber as the Zephyr comes out of another jump. She tells Sousa she needs him to do something and then kisses him. The plan gets started just as it did in the last loop, but now they have more time. They finally remove the implant and Simmons begins to remember, which brings her to tears. She explains that Enoch is the key. A device in him will fix the time drive but taking it out will kill him. Simmons begins to melt down, clearly overcome with a wave of memories rushing back. Before they can get any further information from her, the ship jumps again.
The team scrambles for information before Daisy tells them everything is going to be ok. She calls for Simmons and Enoch to meet her before Deke explains that they’re less than one kilometer from the vortex. I should note that the tone of the episode has entirely changed at this point. It’s no longer a fun time loop romp. Things are getting much more serious.
Daisy explains what’s happening to Simmons and Enoch. As Simmons tries to argue that there has to be another way, Enoch simply removes the component of himself the team needs, before explaining that he needs to die for the rest of them to live. Deke and Simmons go to work on the time drive while Daisy and Coulson stay with Enoch.
As they wait for the next jump, Daisy and Coulson share a heartbreaking conversation with Enoch before he dies. I won’t go into the details of this conversation because I’m afraid of the damage my tears will do to my keyboard. Before he goes, Enoch explains to Daisy that he has seen the future and tries to tell her that her friends will survive but the team will not. They are on their last mission together. Confused, Daisy explains that the team is his family. Enoch responds that this is the nature of a family. People come and go and all they can do is try to make the most of the time they have in between. Ah man. I’m going to need a new keyboard. Enoch dies before the ship jumps again and Mack’s voice comes over the radio explaining that their jump was successful.
In the tag, we see Nathaniel Malick and his new friend working to hone her powers. He explains that her little sister is going to be so impressed.
This is somehow simultaneously one of the most fun and one of the most heartbreaking episodes of this series. The time loop premise is one that has been used dozens of times, but it almost always delivers a fun story with plenty of room for hilarious gags. However, it also included the loss of beloved character in what was maybe the most powerful scene this series has ever seen. This final season continues to impress, but have a hard time believing it will top this episode.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Wednesday nights on ABC.
Mike is a writer that has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed “nerd.”