Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 5 is moving towards its season finale, and the "Destroyer of Worlds" arc is building to a head. So far, the series has toyed with viewers; it set up a rivalry between Ruby and Daisy, raising the possibility that Ruby will be the Destroyer of Worlds. Certainly that's what Yo-Yo came to believe, and in "All Roads Lead..." the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent takes drastic action.
Ruby is dead now, and Yo-Yo believes that single act of murder has saved the world. The future, she believes, has finally been rewritten. The Destroyer of Worlds has been killed, and the Earth will never be shattered like an egg. But is Yo-Yo right? Or was Ruby's death actually part of the timeline all along?
What We Know Of Earth's Destruction
The same episode saw the brainwashed General Talbot look at one of Robyn's drawings, an ominous sketch of a stick-figure standing atop a shattering world. Asked when this would happen, Robyn gave a simple, cryptic answer: "Soon." As the episode progressed, it looked as though she was right. Ruby's powers were flaring dangerously out of control, and she even killed her own boyfriend as she reached out her hand. The Gravitonium contained the warring minds of Hall and Quinn, and their conflict was driving Ruby mad.
But that's not how the world ends. The first half of Season 5 established that certain events had to happen. First, there would be a mysterious light in the sky - S.H.I.E.L.D. encountered that in "All the Comforts of Home." This would lead to the arrival of an alien spaceship, hinted at being the one bearing Kasius's father. A city would be abandoned, and Daisy would go in alone to confront the alien invaders. Shortly after, the planet Earth would be shattered.
Ruby Was Only Ever A Red Herring
Ruby was never a crucial part of this timeline. Although she was set up as a rival for Daisy, notice that she doesn't figure prominently in what little S.H.I.E.L.D. know. She was never going to become the Destroyer of Worlds - and, with only eight percent of the Gravitonium infused into her body, it's likely she lacked enough power to actually tear the planet apart. In narrative terms, Ruby was a red herring, a narrative complication designed to leave viewers speculating.
That's not to suggest she served no purpose in the timeline, though. She forced Fitz and Simmons to repair Strucker's Particle Infusion Generator. Without her intervention, it would have remained impossible for anyone to be infused with the rest of the Gravitonium. And, crucially, only eight percent of the Gravitonium has been used. Still 92 percent remains, ready to be infused into anyone else. Pandora's Box has now been opened, and it seems likely something - some twist of fate - will force S.H.I.E.L.D. to take the risk. Perhaps Fitz and Simmons will believe they have solved the problem; perhaps General Hale will force Daisy to undergo the infusion process. Whatever the case may be, Ruby has essentially acted as a forerunner for the Destroyer of Worlds. She has prepared the way for Daisy.
The next episode is titled "Option Two," a none-too-subtle hint that a second person could yet be subjected to the infusion process. With four episodes remaining, the clock is still ticking down to the end of the world. Ruby has served her purpose, and her story has come to a violent end. As for Yo-Yo, she'll ultimately have to live with the fact that she murdered the wrong woman.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 continues Friday April 27 with “Option Two” at 9pm on ABC.