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. “After, Before”! No matter what you think about Mack and Deke, last week’s episode was fun for the kind of shenanigans they indulged us in. It was a lot of things, but I would not call it a waste of an episode either. Though that was then, and this is now. Which means it’s back to business for these agents, and right now their situation steering through these time jumps has been a tricky thing.
Where last week the spotlight was on Mack and Deke, this week that shifted to Elena and May. This was another dynamic you didn’t know you needed. Ever since this final season kicked off, these two have been working closer together, and it works for me. Neither of them are too great when it comes to expressing themselves emotionally. Though they do both have a knack for doing their best work when there’s a call to action. But more than that, they both understand what it means to need a little help to get over a hump. You could ask why May of all people to help Elena regain her powers, but there’s something valuable about having someone by your side who knows what you’re feeling without having to actually say it. Personally, I found it entertaining that they were consistently on the same page about things which were always best said among themselves, rather than in front of someone. That said, I liked that there was much more to this than what we were seeing on the surface too. To say that she had to revisit part of her past long hidden away was quite an understatement. They opened up a whole can of worms which made you feel for Elena in a way you did not think possible. She has been through a lot over the course of the seasons, and they did not shy away from the painful bits of her experience.
The results of this journey through her past was the absolute best takeaway you could have asked for. Obviously she was going to find some way to fix things and save the team from doom. Though you couldn’t have guessed how she would break that obstacle holding her back. You definitely couldn’t have guessed what this would also awaken in her. I honestly felt anxious in that moment for the next episode, because this new development was something you have to take full advantage of.
Which brings me to the atmosphere that they set for us. This episode really gave me some chills, because this whole season we have been worrying about making ripples instead of waves. Though getting Elena’s powers back also involved going somewhere they had no business going to around this time. This place alone put so much in jeopardy between running the risk of revealing something which no one was supposed to know for years, and risking losing something worse than someone’s parents. From the minute we knew that Nathaniel survived the power transplant, this instantly became an Inhuman situation. I couldn’t believe they went this route, yet at the same time I had to give credit where it is due for the boldness.
The sense of urgency at the same time kept you on your toes for the worst case scenario. Not that we didn’t know the worst case scenario, but we also don’t know how these showrunners plan on ending this show. Right now it is anything goes. Especially when we don’t know what kind of present this team will return to. Let alone if they will even be able to return to their own time. One could only hope that they at the very least got close. Though let me not get ahead of myself. The urgency which really hits you is with the team that was still on the Zephyr and holding out for any bit of hope they could. These are the moments we appreciate most because we are seeing these agents at their most vulnerable. They each had their own way of trying to deal with either their possible end, or just the deterioration of the mission as a whole.
Now let’s talk about Nathaniel. With last week’s episode behind us, we can really talk about what kind of detour this guy’s timeline has taken. Originally sacrificed to Hive, but now living a life with more opportunity having powers stolen from Daisy. Of all the problems these agents would have to deal with, this right here takes the cake. No Malick should ever have this kind of power, and what he aims to do with it is a bit more terrifying than what HYDRA would have done. Why do I say this? Because there are some things which just need to happen at certain points. If you know your Marvel history, then you know that there is a time and place for the world to discover the existence of the extraordinary. This isn’t one of those times, and they chose one hell of a way to shake things up. The Chronicoms couldn’t have found a better person to make waves the agents cannot hope to contain.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “After, Before” was the episode which Elena always needed. If you are a fan of this character, then you should be very satisfied with the attention they have given her to bring this story full circle. Her past, her fears, her experiences as a whole. They left nothing off the table for her. At the end of the day, I’m impressed that there are people out there willing to give you a problem someone has with their powers, and the solution not be something you science away.