Time travel sure is a confusing business! It can be hard to keep track, but so far, it appears Agents of SHIELD's final season is playing by different time travel rules than Avengers: Endgame. While there's obviously nothing wrong with that (even though we're rooting for it to remain MCU canon), it can be confusing. So far, the team has traveled to 1931 and they've been trying to follow the "ripples not waves" rule, which we originally thought was a way to connect to Avengers: Endgame. In the movie, they make it clear that altering the past cannot change your future, but rather create alternate timelines. This left fans with some questions, like what that meant for Captain America. During Agents of SHIELD, the team altered the future in season five (which is obviously different from altering the past), and the fact that Deke didn't blip out of existence proved his multiverse theory. However, some comments were made in tonight's episode, "Know Your Onions," that left us with some questions.
The team finds themselves struggling with what to do with Wilfred Malick, knowing that he will grow into a prominent head of Hydra. On one hand, it's important that Hydra forms so that SHIELD can form in response. One the other, killing Malick could save thousands of lives. The team argues that killing him could just make room for something worse to take Hydra's place, and Jemma comments that it could result in them returning to a future they don't recognize. While that's not how the rules were played in Avengers: Endgame, we also need to consider that they're using different time travel methods. The Avengers had the Pym particles, which sent them back to the exact time they left on their mission to acquire the Infinity Stones. In the case of the agents, they're working with the Zephyr, which was altered to be a time machine but based on the way Jemma has talked about its mechanics, it's possible it can only travel to the future version of whatever new timeline they may have created by altering history.
Honestly, this could all be way off! We're only two episodes into the final season and anything could happen, especially considering this series that has been throwing us curveballs for seven seasons. There's always a chance that the team will start visiting different timelines. WHO KNOWS?! No matter what, we're definitely curious to see how the time-travel arc will come to an end, and whether or not it will fall in line with Avengers: Endgame.
What are your thoughts on Agents of SHIELD's use of time travel? Do you disagree with any of these observations? Tell us in the comments!
Agents of SHIELD airs Wednesday nights on ABC at 10 PM EST.