The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continue their mission to save S.H.I.E.L.D. history from destruction by the Chronicoms. In “Out of the Past” Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) narrates this film noir version of Daniel Sousa’s (Enver Gjokaj) legacy.

Last week’s episode ended with an EMP blast that left LMD Coulson offline. The color of his eyes turned from blue to gold. And Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) experienced a panic attack during a recon mission. That’s something that has never happened. 

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This episode is all about Daniel Sousa. Sousa began working for S.H.I.E.L.D. when it was the SSR. He is loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D. and would do anything to see it succeed. Sousa went into the Roosevelt Hotel on the night of July 22, 1955. He was walking around the hotel’s empty hallways when he ran into a gunman. Sousa was shot but made his way to the hotel pool. He fell in and died. Sometimes the hero has to die and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Coulson wakes up in Sousa’s office and hears him talking on the phone. He learns that the Chronicom took the form of Dr. Linmore, Sousa’s contact in an important mission. Coulson looks at the newspaper on the desk and sees the date is July 22, 1955, the day Sousa becomes a legend. All S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits learn about Sousa’s final mission to deliver a groundbreaking device to Howard Stark and was killed for it. This is the day that Daniel Sousa became the first fallen agent of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Sousa starts asking Coulson questions about who he really is and why Linmore melted like the wicked witch of the East. (He meant West.) Coulson says he is a scientist working with Linmore until Linmore turned traitor and tried to sell the device to the Russians. That’s why they were fighting. Coulson really convinces Sousa when he says there’s not time for questions. They have to get the device to Howard Stark.

They are almost out of time. Sousa scheduled the drop off for later that night in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, neither of them has the device. Coulson says his contacts have the device and will meet them at the train station. First, he needs to make a phone call. Sousa allows it and leaves his office to give Coulson some privacy.

Coulson calls the only person he knows in 1955, Enoch (Joel Stoffer). Enoch is still at the safe house, disguised as a bar, the Crazy Canoe. Enoch is happy to hear from Coulson, thinking maybe the team finally came to rescue him. Coulson is eager to get a message to the Zephyr though. Luckily, Enoch had twenty-four years to build a communication device for situations such as this. He puts the phone on his communication device and it directly links Coulson to Mack (Henry Simmons).

Coulson tells the team about the device, Dr. Linmore, and Sousa’s impending death. The team is sad about Sousa, but they must focus on the mission. Mack instructs the team to find Linmore’s address. They will go in and find the device and meet Coulson at the train station.

Mack sends Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) and Deke (Jeff Ward). Deke is a little shocked by all of the sexism and racism in the world in the 30s and 50s. Yo-Yo isn’t surprised and says things get better, just not fast enough. Unfortunately, they can’t change any of that, making them the agents of “status quo.”

They arrive at Linmore’s house and split up to search for the briefcase. They both find one, but Yo-Yo ends up with the correct one. She also finds a faceless Linmore in his bathroom. Deke finds two goons who grab him and take off. Yo-Yo hears them, finds Deke’s hat and runs after the goons. Her powers still don’t work so she can’t catch them.

Coulson and Sousa make their train, but no one from Team S.H.I.E.L.D. are there. That makes Coulson a little nervous, but no one could ever tell. Yo-Yo is driving around looking for the car that took Deke. She calls Enoch for help. Enoch is happy to hear from her and thinks she’s calling to ask him to rejoin the team. She asks to be connected to the Zephyr instead. 

Enver Gjokaj returns as Agent Daniel Sousa on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Enver Gjokaj returns as Agent Daniel Sousa on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC/Jessica Brooks)

After informing Mack about Deke, they send a quinjet to retrieve her. Coulson’s train leaves for LA. To cover, he pretends to see his contact. A man with a hat over his face who happens to be carrying a briefcase. Coulson grabs the briefcase and walks away. What Coulson doesn’t know is that two random men are watching his every move.

Yo-Yo delivers the device to Simmons who is super excited to see it. She calls it the Rosetta Stone of S.H.I.E.L.D. technology. Mack and Daisy (Chloe Bennet) aren’t impressed, but Agent May is just as excited as Simmons is. Strange. Their next step is to find Coulson and Sousa.

Coulson tries to keep Sousa engaged and Sousa is still very suspicious of Coulson. Sousa decides to get a drink and runs into a very lovely lady at the bar. While Sousa is gone, a familiar looking Chronicom (Tobias Jelinek)visits with Coulson. He’s the one who posed as the police captain. 

The Chronicom has a offer for the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and he chose to present it to Coulson because he knows Coulson is more machine than man. The Chronicoms don’t value human life. They see humans as pointless, but Coulson says humans make life worth living. He asks Coulson to give the Chronicoms what they want and they will give the humans their charity.  

Coulson doesn’t trust the Chronicom and refuses his offer. That’s when the Chronicoms starts threatening Coulson’s mission. They know who Sousa is and his significance to S.H.I.E.L.D. history. If Coulson doesn’t comply, they will kill Sousa before he’s supposed to die, changing the course of history.  

Sousa has his hands full with the cute girl at the bar. The two random men walk into the bar cart and clear it out. He charms her by saying he knows she’s head to LA to get into show business. Sousa says the woman has the looks for Hollywood, but she needs to work on her acting. Sousa isn’t stupid. He knows he’s being set up.  

The woman tells Sousa to come with the quietly, so Sousa grabs a bottle of liquor and starts a fight. He can handle the two men easily. It’s the woman who poses the biggest threat. She throws a rope around Sousa’s neck, pushes him up against a wall and starts choking him. Luckily Daisy arrives to cut in.

Mack and Daisy help Sousa get out of his stick situation and Coulson joins in time to deliver the final blow. Sousa only has more questions, but they only tell him their names. Sousa wants to see the package so they have to go back to the Zephyr. This time, they don’t blindfold their guest. 

Sousa meets the real Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Agent May. May starts acting weird again when she shakes Sousa’s hand. At first she’s confused, but then she gets disoriented. Simmons takes her to the med bay for more tests. Meanwhile the rest of the team goes searching for Deke. Sousa may have an idea of who took him.

Deke is taken to a big house and meets the rich guy in charge. At the same time Sousa tells the team that HYDRA infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., but everyone already knew that. That’s when Coulson realizes that Sousa isn’t killed by Russians. He was going to expose HYDRA’s presence in S.H.I.E.L.D. So someone from HYDRA killed him. There’s only one other person who knows about Sousa’s meeting. His superior, Wilfred Malick (Neal Bledsoe). That’s when we realize the man that Deke is meeting is Freddy. 

Mack has to choose between saving Deke from Malick or sending Sousa to his death. Coulson says Sousa inspired many future agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Mack compares that inspiration to Coulson with the Avengers. But Coulson got a chance to fight another day. They don’t know what kind of impact Sousa will have on the future if he lives. 

Freddy doesn’t recognize Deke at first. Malick’s guys mistook Deke for Dr. Linmore. Deke has no choice but to remind him that he helped him deliver a serum to HYDRA. Freddy remembers and says he owes Deke. He lets Deke walk free, considering his debt paid. But the next time he sees Deke, he won’t be so lucky. 

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC/Jessica Brooks)

Sousa is confused as ever, but no one will tell him how they new about Malick’s association with HYDRA. And he’s even more frustrated because he can’t do anything about it. Daisy warns him that if he exposes HYDRA, they will go deeper underground. Sousa will do anything to expose them, including dying. 

May’s vitals are fine, so they still don’t know what caused her disorientation. Yo-Yo tells Simmons about May’s panic attack at the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. That is severely abnormal for May. May says she hasn’t felt anything this whole time and then she was overwhelmed with her emotions. The panic attack was the first thing she felt since the temple.

May says she went to a world where they don’t have emotions. She thinks she lost control of her emotions when she came back to life. They go over the most recent occurrences. May matching Simmons’ excitement was weird because only Simmons gets that giddy about tech. And then right after she shook Sousa’s hand, she felt confused and afraid. She says the team became like strangers. Now she feels worried and concerned. Yo-Yo notices that Simmons is holding May’s arm. She pulls her hand off her arm and they step back. Yo-Yo asks how May feels now. She feels less worried. Yo-Yo surmises that May is feeling everyone else’s emotions through touch. That concerns May even more.

Meanwhile, Deke calls the Zephyr through Enoch. By this time, Enoch knows the team did not return to retrieve him. He feels alone in this world. The team already knows about Freddy and are on their way to retrieve Deke. Mack pulls Daisy and Coulson aside and says he wants to save Sousa from his death. They will make the drop for him and figure everything else out later. Coulson and Daisy are on board. At the same time May tells Simmons that when she shook Sousa’s hand, she felt an overwhelming urge to run. And then Sousa takes his briefcase, jumps on a motorcycle and leaves the Zephyr. 

Sousa goes to the Roosevelt Hotel. He watches the concierge and a hitman watches him. The hitman gets up to call Malick. That’s when the concierge nods at Sousa and they both walk away from the lobby. Sousa makes his way down a long hallway, quickly handing the briefcase to the concierge. He sends his regards to Howard and keeps walking. When he turns the corner, a gunman is waiting for him and shoots. 

But this time, the gunman is Coulson and he’s holding an icer. He says it will all make sense later. Sousa is knocked out. Coulson takes his coat and cane while Mack takes Sousa back to the ship. Malick’s hitman sees a man in a trenchcoat with a cane walking down the hall. He shoots him twice in the back and waits. 

Coulson is wearing the trenchcoat. He limps his way to the hotel pool and falls in to die. Luckily he’s an LMD so he’ll be okay. Malick’s hitman checks the pool and leaves the hotel. He calls Malick to let him know the job is done, but there was no package. 

As far as history is concerned, Daniel Sousa is dead. The coroners, Daisy and Simmons arrive to retrieve the body and the team leaves LA. After Coulson dries out, Simmons corrects his eyes. When they turned gold, the color left his sight. The first person he sees in color is May. She takes his hand and waits. Then says she reads nothing from him. Simmons also turned off Coulson’s inner monologue. Which is a shame. I liked the narration. 

Deke tells Yo-Yo that he got to see the result of their status quo first hand and he didn’t like it. She suggests that if they get another chance to do anything about it, they take that chance. Deke is all in for that. 

The ship jumps, leaving Enoch behind again. Sousa wakes up and Coulson explains they are Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and their mission to save the world. Sousa takes it well, it’s the part about him being dead that bothers him. The agents didn’t change history, they just removed Sousa from it. Coulson continues with his explanation.

Now that they have jumped, Deke is trying to find out when they are. He picks up music. Alice Cooper, “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” is playing. Welcome to the 1970s!

Back in the 50s, a Chronicom was left behind to meet with Freddy Malick. They have a common enemy. He says S.H.I.E.L.D. will destroy all that Malick built. The Chronicoms want to help Freddy prevent that. All Freddy has to do is whatever the Chronicoms tell him to do. 

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THOUGHTS

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just get better and better. This episode had to be a dream for Clark Gregg. His narration was perfection!  And the film noir just makes me wish it were a full-length film.

I’m super excited the Enver Gjokaj will be on the team, even if it’s just for a little while.  

These Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D minisodes in different times are a nice break from the same settings, the same issues, and the same costumes week in and week out on other shows.  I’m thoroughly enjoying this season. It’s so bittersweet that its the last season. The dialogue stays relevant to the overall story arc of the season. There’s just enough action to keep the story moving and not overwhelm the episode.  And the characters are growing.  Now, about Fitz (Iain De Caestecker)… I’m more than ready to see what he’s been up to. 

Noetta Harjo
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