What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Out of the Past”! This week we are in for a treat. On one hand have more of Agent Sousa, and on the other hand this is one of those rare themed episodes for the show. Of all the shows I have seen which dared to do the black and white bit, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. happens to be the one where it couldn’t have been more fitting. Though of course, it does makes you wonder what can go wrong when we are seeing this through the eyes of LMD Coulson. Last I checked, that’s a glitch to worry about.
From the start of this episode we jumped right into the noir lens that LMD Coulson was seeing the world through. I found it humorous that they actually went for the full experience too. You don’t always expect the narration of events, but they went there. I couldn’t find a problem with that wither, because a show like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. deserves to be able to go to that place and indulge in it fully. I mean it’s not as if anyone else was seeing the world in black and white like him. This was all in LMD Coulson’s head, and they didn’t make a thing about it till everything was said and done. With that said, Clark Gregg slipped into that role perfectly. For some people it would feel like they were trying too hard, but for him this came naturally. Coulson was already the kind of guy who gave you that look, who made you feel like he had those kinds of conversations going on in his head to make something more exciting than it actually is. The dialogue also worked as a great way of both setting the mood for the unfolding plot, and for cutting the middleman for things which were easily explained, instead of cutting to extra scenes.
So as they said, it was just another average morning on July 22, 1955, when Coulson realized the importance of that day in the S.H.I.E.L.D. history books. The day where we finally figured out what happened to Agent Sousa. We’ve all been asking the hard-hitting questions since that last season of Agent Carter. What happened to him? Why was he not seen in major roles like Peggy Carter in the Marvel movies? How did they really not end up together? Everything became clear as this episode progressed, because they made sure we had our answer from the very start. It was a tough pill to swallow, and even then we knew that there had to be much more to what we were seeing than what was on the surface.
Following the chain of events that would preserve the future was the most crucial part of what came next in their mission. I enjoyed that they never let go of the suspense we were supposed to get from what could go wrong if Sousa or anyone else did anything differently from what had to happen next. This was where the Chronicoms really step into their role as the antagonists of the story. Up to this point it seemed like they were just gunning for big waves to wipe S.H.I.E.L.D. from history. Through their actions in this episode, they proved that there was truly a method to their madness. I actually found myself impressed since they were taking a lot of factors into account that the agents surely didn’t. Saving Area 51 was only half of a two-part job. The other half was just as smart for where they planned to interfere with the course of events. At the end of the day, what made this a thrill was the effort which the agents put into keeping the waves as ripples. It paid for them to understand the importance of this day to their timeline too.
One thing which stood out to me most was how they tackled the “status quo” with Deke and Yo-Yo. At some point, someone with an outside perspective needed to take a hard look at these events and question what they were allowing. There were no better two than Deke and Yo-Yo. From Yo-Yo’s viewpoint, this was the same as doing nothing. If you know her, then you know that it is against her nature to see all these things wrong, and do nothing for the sake of keeping things the same. Then you have Deke who’s knowledge of the past is severely limited. The sexism and racism was one thing, and credit where it is due that they have walked that line smoothly. Understanding what the face of evil looked like in H.Y.D.R.A. was another thing since he once had the chance to put an end to that threat. There’s only so much you can expect from either to only preserve.
Now what came of May’s situation with her emotional and mental heath was an intriguing development. I expected this to be a slow-crawl. As in something we wouldn’t really dive into till later episodes. It caught me off guard that they were so willing to jump into the thick of it now. What made the realization cool was that they thought outside of the box for the reason why she was out of character. The answer could have been grounded easily, but where is the fun if it isn’t something out of the ordinary happening to May?
The twists at the end involving the Chronicoms and Sousa were big takeaways from this episode. Now I’ll start with the Sousa twist, because this one didn’t hit as hard as the other. Before this episode aired, most already had it figured out that this wasn’t going to be the end for him. How they handled his further place in this story was brilliant since this was a wave they created, and one that none of us would have argued with. As for the Chronicoms, it didn’t hurt to see what desperation looks like for them. At some point they were going to make bigger plays, and there was no better time than now. Like I said above, the strongest weapon they have is knowing exactly where in time they needed to make changes in their favor.
Beyond that, I appreciated that they didn’t make us wait too long to see what was up with Enoch having to take the long trip through the years. It never had to be anything bigger than it needed to be. Yet, that didn’t stop our moments with him from being a tad heartbreaking.
Didn’t think they would take “Out of the Past” so literally, did you? If you told me all the things which happened in this episode alone were possible at the start of this season, I would have called you crazy. Though that is the charm of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. They know how to keep you on your toes when it comes to preparing for what comes next. They got me very anxious to see what surprises this next time period brings the team.