SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers: Infinity War ahead.
The latest Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode, 'The Force of Gravity', takes place during Avengers: Infinity War and still doesn't deal with the movie's ending. As Marvel fans who have seen the latest movie release know, the ending of Avengers: Infinity War is a major cliffhanger that’s bound to have far-reaching effects on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. barely referenced Infinity War when the movie released, and hasn’t truly dealt with the film’s world-altering ending. Though Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did tease Thanos’ impending attack, indicating the show’s most recent episodes take place during the events of the movie.
Of course, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 is dealing with its own potentially world-ending conflict. The team has been working to both save Coulson and prevent the Earth from being cracked apart. This week’s episode finally sets the stage for the agents being forced to choose between either saving Coulson or the world. However, ‘The Force of Gravity’ still didn’t make any reference to Thanos’ universe-altering finger snap, meaning Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t deal with the fallout of Infinity War until its season finale. That is, if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. deals with Avengers: Infinity War at all.
‘The Force of Gravity’ does feature two references to the events of Infinity War. Early in the episode, Mack is shown watching news coverage in the wake of Ebony Maw and Cull Obsidian’s attack on New York City. Similar news coverage of the devastation is shown later in the episode when Glenn Talbot/Graviton visits his wife and son in their home. Although it’s unclear whether there would be news coverage of the Battle of Wakanda, since the African nation is hidden from the rest of the world, it appears that fight hasn’t begun. This means Thanos hasn’t arrived on Earth - yet.
Since how exactly the timelines of Avengers: Infinity War and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. match up hasn’t been specified in-universe, viewers have had to work it out on their own. Our best guess is that these last few episodes of take place during Infinity War. This only works because it's unclear how much time passes in the movie, nor is it made clear in the TV series. This lack of specificity allows for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to fit into the MCU’s continuity as it pertains to Avengers: Infinity War, but it’s undoubtedly frustrating for fans who want to see how the film will affect Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
With that said, though, it seems likely Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will finally line up with Infinity War in the season 5 finale. Since Thanos’ finger snap wipes out half of the universe, it will have massive ramifications on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As such, the show might be saving it for their own cliffhanger ending. However, Agents of S.H.I..E.L.D. hasn’t been officially renewed for season 6 just yet. So, if that’s how the season 5 finale ends, it may serve as the show’s series finale as well. If that's the case, it would leave fans hanging.
It’s possible Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. won’t actually deal with Infinity War at all in season 5, instead leaving that for the show’s potential sixth season. That would be a strange route for the show to take, considering it’s a major piece of connective tissue between the TV and film sides of the MCU, but it's still possible. Ultimately, whether Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. deals with the fallout of Avengers: Infinity War this season will be revealed next week in the finale, titled ‘The End.’
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 concludes Friday May 18 with 'The End' at 9pm on ABC.