Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Last Day” Confounds with Wonky Time Travel

The Last Day Agents of SHIELD
Photo Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

“The Last Day” Plot Summary:

While Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the team on the surface try to find a way back home, Mack (Henry Simmons) and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) must survive the Kree’s retribution.

Time travel is one of my favorite plot devices. I enjoy movies like Back to the Future and The Terminator. However, I won’t deny that most writers get time travel wrong. Time travel is only theoretical, but you still need to present consistent rules for how time works. If you say time can or cannot be changed, or that time travel creates parallel universes, you need to keep your story straight.

This is where Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. seemingly falters. While the show bounced around the idea that this dystopian future was taking place in an alternate timeline, it appeared to decide that our heroes didn’t go universe-hopping. “The Last Day” makes that unclear now. Robin’s (Willow Hale) flashbacks depict characters doing things they clearly didn’t do or haven’t done yet.

Until we get confirmation on what is what, the jury’s out on the overall trajectory of this season. If not for all the nonsense, I’d say “The Last Day” is one of the season’s best episodes. We see most of the characters in a vastly different setting and May’s (Ming-Na Wen) connection with Robin is oddly touching. May’s maternal feelings are similar to the motherly role she took on for Daisy (Chloe Bennet), when you think about.

I’m still not crazy about Mack and Yo-Yo staying on the Lighthouse, but at least the episode offers some nifty roach killing action. Flint (Coy Stewart) also seems to have a purpose now. Maybe he can piece the broken monolith or the shattered Earth back together. He could also be responsible for the fracturing of the world, but that’s less likely. His powers are almost the complete opposite of Quake’s.

“The Last Day” is quite an entertaining episode. Based solely on that, I’d give it an 8. But I can’t shake my criticisms regarding time travel. When you do science fiction, you’ve got be smart with how everything works.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Good)

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.