This review contains spoilers.
5.8 The Last Day
Hey, ya’ll remember the little Inhuman girl that May had to kill back in Bahrain? Yeah, the same incident that earned May the nickname The Cavalry? Well, keep that in mind as we delve into this week’s episode of Marvel’s Agents Of SHIELD.
There’s a whole heck of a lot going on this week, multiple timelines in fact, but really, the episode and possibly the whole fifth season thus far hinges on the heart of one Melina May. This week’s impactful episode goes a long way to prove that May is so much more than a weapon – so much more. She is the heart and soul of the team and this week, the entire survival of the human (and Inhuman) race depends on that heart.
Let’s back up. Last week, May was rescued by a group of survivors on the surface of what is left of Earth. She is shocked to find an aged version of the Inhuman precog Robin, a woman that May and the agents knew when she was a mere tyke.
With Robin, things get complex because this week’s episode takes us through Robin’s upbringing. She is raised by SHIELD – May, Yo Yo, Fitz, Simmons, and Mack. She is raised through some kind of apocalyptic event and seems to know bits and pieces on how to undo all the hell that breaks loose in the near future.
No, the episode does not clue us in on the nature of the end of the world (maybe it starts with a government shutdown, ah-hemmmm), but through all the running, through all the loss, through all the horror, May stays by Robin’s side. Even when the others turn against Robin for her constant death premonitions, May stays there.
It seems like Robin is redemption for the insane little Inhuman girl that May had to kill so long ago in Bahrain. But whatever the reason, May stays loyal to Robin in the end of the world timeline. Of course our May gets shunted through time and never has a chance to raise Robin, but even in the future, even when Robin is an old woman, May stays by her. Even during Robin’s death.
Whoa, wait, what? Yeah, I know. Rewind. When May arrives on the Earth’s surface she soon is joined by Coulson, Daisy, Fitz, and Simmons. There, the agents rediscover the Zephyr, Robin, and a proverbial ragtag group of survivors. They also discover a machine that could perhaps be used to send them back to their proper time.
Through the other timeline, we discover that the machine is built by Fitz who loses faith years after he begins the construction. In fact, all the agents we see in that hellish timeline lose faith.
We see that Mack has somehow fallen causing Yo Yo to give up the cause and we see that Fitz has no inclination to continue to listen to Robin’s constant death proclamations, especially when the Inhuman precog predicts the death of Simmons. But Robin’s most dire prediction is about Fitz. She says something along the lines of “You gave everything.” Now, that does not sound promising, like at all. Don’t do it, Agents Of SHIELD. Don’t you dare kill Fitz or Simmons!
But back to May, when the ragtag bunch turn on Daisy in order to prevent Quake from becoming the Destroyer of Worlds, Robin ends up stabbed. As old Robin lies dying, we are treated to a parallel look at May’s raising of Robin and a promise that she will always be there for the little girl. And she is, even when the girl dies decades later. Robin whispers the secret of fixing time to May, a secret involving the newly introduced Inhuman Flint.
So where is savior Flint, you ask? Flint is trying to free Kasius’s human slaves. Things get all H.R. Giger this week as Mack, Yo Yo, and Flint must rescue the remaining human chattel from being eaten by the slavering bug aliens introduced in the season premiere.
We get some pretty fun action as Mack is reunited with his shotgun axe (it was almost as moving as Fitz reuniting with Simmons – almost) and Yo Yo using her powers to go all sorts of Ripley on the aliens. Flint doesn’t do much, but he does unite the disparate humans against Kasius.
But all that’s secondary to May. May seems to have begun the path to SHIELD’s victory not through her usual kickassitude, but through her heart and empathy. This May might not remember being the only person that would care for Robin, but Robin remembers, and in her gratitude, she gives May the secret to setting right what has gone so wrong. If SHIELD is able to get home and, with Flint’s help, prevent the end of everything, it will be May and her dedication to a scared little girl that gets them there. Now that’s storytelling!
But there are still some pending mysteries. Like, we know that the person sending the messages from Earth is Deke’s father, but how can that be? Could it be that Deke is the child of Hunter and Bobbi Morse? Or maybe Fitz and Simmons? What causes Quake to destroy the Earth in the past, and what is Kasius planning to do now that his human chattel has rebelled and joined Flint?
We’ll find out soon, I guess, but whatever happens, it will be a difficult for Agents Of SHIELD to introduce something as moving and note perfect as the tale of May and Robin.