Understanding the plot machinations of a large integrated story has always been the pantheon of comic books. Doing it in more long form structures is trickier because every scene, every shot can be looked at and dissected in current culture. That is why with “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” in many ways and literally, it is acting as a bridge between two phase. It is an interesting quandary thrown into even more specific focus because of the corona virus where both the feature films and new series to Disney+ had to be paused. It is a dilemma which will be interesting to see shift. With Episode 5, “A Trout In The Milk” the plot becomes more dynamic because the story starts to see certain facts start to change. Doing a time travel storyline was always going to cause this and provides of course the plot mechanism necessary for a multi-universe where the aspects of all the events of previous phases still work because they were in a different timeline. The question becomes audience perception and acceptance and not treading over the same ground. This was the issue with the most recent “Star Trek” feature film franchise with its Prime and Kelvin timelines. People were willing to accept the new timeline but that meant the stories had to be better and more intricate without losing the nostalgia of the original. it is a high order. But what they did was redress a story…and it got called out. Here the Marvel people, especially Kevin Feige are much more intimately and innately in control of the storyline. Without giving any specific episode spoilers, this episode jumps to the 70s and like in the 30s, it comes down to choice. They already have one element out of the timeline but the idea it continues to refer back to is how much change can the timeline take before (like Dr. Strange sees it in a way) it starts to correct itself.
By Tim Wassberg