"Past Life," the 10th episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5 which doubles as an unofficial mid-season finale before their hiatus in February, returned Agent Coulson and his team back to 2018. Having been stranded in the post-apocalyptic future of 2091, our heroes successfully liberated the remains of the human race from their Kree oppressors led by Kasius and found a way to time travel back to the present thanks to a new Inhuman named Flint.
Of course, things were never easy or straightforward. This was no Back to the Future-style time travel adventure; rather, S.H.I.E.L.D. learned they were trapped in a Terminator-style causality loop. Daisy Johnson supposedly quakes the Earth apart at some point in 2018, earning the nickname 'the Destroyer of Worlds'. The Agents were brought to the future as a way to prevent the doom of the Earth in the present. Later, we learned that while S.H.I.E.L.D. does return to their proper time, they seemingly can't save the world. They are doomed to continually fail to save the Earth, perhaps in multiple timelines, mired in an endless loop. In fact, there's a new twist revealed by a future version of Yo-Yo Rodriguez, who unwillingly served as Kasius' seer: S.H.I.E.L.D. choosing to save the life of the dying Phil Coulson is what causes Earth's destruction.
This is heady stuff. In the short term, S.H.I.E.L.D. got the win they needed: they brought down Kasius' Kree regime and, with the help of Flint's geokinetic powers, the Kree Monolith was rebuilt, sending all of the Agents back to the proper time. So now they have a chance to make things right - even if the history of the future continually leads to the same tragic outcome. However, the preview for "World's Most Wanted," the next episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., seemingly sheds the science fiction trappings that epitomized the first story pod of season 5 and returns the series closer to its roots: the Agents are fugitives being hunted by the government and aided by special guest star Dove Cameron.
S.H.I.E.L.D.'s return to 2018 wasn't entirely a clean break from the Lighthouse or the ramifications of their actions in the future. Our heroes not only left behind some new friends but also some major unanswered questions:
This Page: Does It Really Matter If Flint Can Rebuild The Earth?
DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF FLINT CAN REBUILD THE EARTH?
"Past Life" concluded with a hopeful scene between Tess and Flint on board a trawler. Tess was murdered by the Kree and resurrected by the Kree technology that can bring humans back to life (as they once did to Phil Coulson himself) - although their tech doesn't actually work on fellow Kree. Flint, meanwhile, was an orphaned boy who came into his Inhuman powers after Terrigenesis and, in short order, became a heroic freedom fighter under the tutelage of Mack Mackenzie and Yo-Yo Rodriguez. Flint's powers were the key to the Agents being able to return to 2018, thanks to in part to Jemma Simmons being able to teach him how to harness his geokinesis. Flint quickly grew competent and confident enough to assemble the Monolith after using the pieces as weapons to dispatch the remaining Kree on the Lighthouse.
At the end of "Past Life," Tess and Flint observe the remnants of Earth and muse over the "clean slate" and "second chance" humanity now has with the Kree gone. Flint agrees that "There's a lot that needs fixing," before Tess hands Flint a tiny globe of what the Earth used to look like and teases, "There's your blueprint." The obvious implication is that Flint must now use his powers to reassemble the planet and give the human race back their homeworld, good as new.
Related: Could Flint Rebuild The Earth?
While it's a touching and hopeful sentiment to close this chapter, that's certainly easier said than done, and Earth cannot be 'good as new' no matter how powerful Flint is. Reassembling an entire planet is an entirely different matter than pushing enough rocks together to rebuild the Monolith, especially for a young Inhuman who just discovered his power days ago within the story's timeline. Flint's geokinesis powers also wouldn't account for how the oceans can be restored, how flora can be grown, and how animals would be given life. If you think about it, the best Flint might be able to do is push the asteroid belt that Earth has become back together to form a bigger version of the moon; still a barren and lifeless rock. It would logically take millions of years of evolution to get the Earth anywhere near as lush as it was when it was destroyed.
Humanity also doesn't have millions of years - they may only have days before the next alien invasion occurs. While Kasius and his forces are dead, his even more evil brother Faulnak is still out there, as is the fearsome unnamed father of the Kasius family. What's more, there are numerous other alien marauders, like Senator Gaius Ponarian, who attended Kasius' Inhumans auction and may have an interest in enslaving humanity themselves for the potential Inhumans still alive. In short, the human race continues to have many enemies. Deapite the small cache of weapons S.H.I.E.L.D. left behind, the Terrans' lone defender is one Inhuman boy. So despite the happy ending Flint and Tess got, the odds of Mankind continuing to survive in the future are not optimal.