Did Agents of SHIELD Just Change the Timeline?

SPOILERS for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode 'All the Comforts of Home' ahead


This week's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. featured a major event we knew was coming when Ruby (Dove Cameron) cut off the arms of Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), but did it happen too early? We break down if the agents changed the timeline.

When Yo-Yo met the future version of herself in "Past Life", both she and viewers learned that Yo-Yo was kept alive by Kasius (Dominic Rains) in order to offer insight into the S.H.I.E.L.D. team's plans. However, we also learned that at some point, Yo-Yo lost both of her arms. Based on the flashbacks in "The Last Day" - which showed May (Ming-Na Wen), Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) and Yo-Yo after the Earth was shattered - it seemed Yo-Yo wouldn't lose her arms until after the Earth's destruction. However, in a climactic moment of this week's episode, "All the Comforts of Home", Yo-Yo loses her arms to a new villain's chakrams, and that villain is revealed to be Ruby. Does this introduce a plot hole in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5, or does it indicate the agents have already changed the timeline - or is there another explanation?

Related: Agents of SHIELD Season 5 Unanswered Questions

Well, for those wondering if Yo-Yo's arms being cut off in the present introduce a plot hole since we saw her with arms in the time between 2018 and 2091, those flashbacks/forwards in "The Last Day" only show Yo-Yo once and she's wearing gloves. Though it's a small detail that many viewers may not have picked up on at the time, it's key now since it hides whether Yo-Yo's arms are still attached or if she was given prosthetics. We know S.H.I.E.L.D. is capable of building lifelike prosthetics, such as Coulson's hand. So, if Yo-Yo always loses her arms right after returning to the present in the time loop Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is stuck in, then it's likely she has prosthetic arms in the flashbacks/forwards from "The Last Day".

But that posits the question: Did Yo-Yo really always lose her arms right after returning from the future or did the agents change the timeline? Unfortunately, since we have very little insight into the timeline between the present and the future - just what's been foretold by Robin, explained vaguely by the True Believers or future Yo-Yo, and the scraps of flashbacks/forwards - it's difficult to tell. Our best guess is that she always lost her arms this way. While viewers may have assumed Yo-Yo lost her arms later (perhaps while she was imprisoned by Kasius), nothing in season 5 offered any confirmation that was the case. With her hands and arms covered in "The Last Day" flashbacks and no kind of warning from future Yo-Yo, there was no real indication of when she lost her arms.

Of course, that means the agents haven't yet changed the timeline, which is what they're looking to do. As future Yo-Yo said to present Yo-Yo, the agents seem doomed to relive the same time loop over and over again without any hope of changing it. The only advice future Yo-Yo could give her younger self was to let Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) die, presumably because the team's efforts to save him are what set in motion the events that lead to the Earth's destruction. Now that Yo-Yo has lost her arms in the present, without any warning from her future self, will that make her more likely to let Coulson die or make her try even harder to save him? Can the agents actually change the timeline? We'll have to continue watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 to find out.

Next: Why Coulson Must Die For Agents of SHIELD to Save the Earth

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 continues next Friday March 9 with its 100th episode, "The Real Deal" at 9pm on ABC.

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