Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 has been an absolute triumph, transforming a superhero TV series into an outer-space science-fiction story. The show stranded Agent Coulson and his team in a harsh dystopian future - one in which the world itself had been shattered like an egg. Little by little, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents have realized that they're trapped in a strange loop in time. They are destined to return to the present, but it is their own actions that will literally destroy the Earth.
In 'Past Life,' the moment finally came. Flint used his Inhuman powers to trigger the Monolith, transporting S.H.I.E.L.D. back in time. Crucially, though, the episode ended before revealing whether or not the team actually returned to their own time. Although the time loop itself seems to indicate they do, the disturbing truth is that there are terrifying questions about certain characters. Meanwhile, surprisingly, they may actually have picked up a new recruit. So, which members of S.H.I.E.L.D. have gotten home, and whose future is in doubt? Let's run through the team.
Phil Coulson was mysteriously absent in flashback scenes through 'The Last Day,' prompting some fans to worry that he wouldn't make it back to the present. The older Yo-Yo's words imply that he gets back home, though, but that he's dying after his scrap with Kasius' Inhuman. In fact, it even seems S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempts to save Coulson are an important part of the end of the world. Coulson is clearly a crucial player in this time loop, so it's safe to say he got back to Earth.
Along with Coulson, Daisy is one of the characters we can be certain made it back to the present day - even if she didn't exactly want to do so. Daisy knows what the future holds, and now she has to work out how to avert it. At the same time, she'll have to deal with the fact Coulson forced her to go home unwillingly, literally shooting her. It's worth remembering that, in real terms, Daisy has actually only recently rejoined S.H.I.E.L.D.. Season 4's events seemed to only take place over a few weeks, and for the S.H.I.E.L.D. team (bar Fitz) there was no break between Seasons 4 and 5. It's possible Daisy will run once again, attempting to flee from her destiny.
It's certain that Fitz makes it back. He's an important part of the time loop; if Fitz doesn't return to the present day, the machine to send them home will never be built. That also means most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents stood before the Monolith will survive the journey, hopefully relatively unscathed.
Mack's fate was the most questionable of them all. At some point, the loop seems to involve his death; worse still, it may be that he died in 'Past Life.' The elder Elena spoke of Mack dying running from flames - and he ran from an explosion towards the Monolith. He was also the furthest from the Monolith when it triggered. Finally, none of the flashbacks in 'The Last Day' featured Mack.
Thankfully, Mack seems to have made it home OK. He's visible in the trailer for the next episode, and there's no evidence of an injury. For now, Mack has dodged the bullet. But time is still in a loop, and S.H.I.E.L.D. may yet lose the man who's become their heart and soul.
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