The creation of path is necessitated by need and not the futility of want. In Episode 8 of “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” entitled “After, Before” the more structured levity of the previous 80-themed episode is tacked on a greater urgency and personifies plot through a time structure that interweaves quite nicely. Again like one episode earlier this season, certain changes in the universe start to take shape that cannot be undone ensuring a new normal. One specific duo who are the most unlikely to unlock trouble within themselves are propelled on a mission in this episode to try and adjust something that cannot stop. Trying to speak of motivations without giving away plot points is tricky. But what comes through at specific points (a small scene between Daisy and Coulson is an example) show the existential crisis that is moving through the team, as they watch a fate they don’t quite understand or maybe expect moving towards them. As with the progression of “S.H.I.E.L.D” each title sequence takes on a theme. The one at the beginning here still pushes towards the 80s but it is almost that of a grid which is an interesting metaphor for what motives are seen at the end of the episode. Coulson even makes a references to it discussing placement of binary numbers. “S.H.I.E.L.D.” has something up its sleeve but what becomes more and more apparent is that the one thing that will keep this pseudo family together is the family itself…if it survives.
By Tim Wassberg