The necessity of time and the intention of connection is an important progression. But it is also a tried and true method of progression. This is what is known as a time loop. Many films have done this to varying effect. What it comes down to is what the viewer feels about the characters. After not watching “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” the previous 2 or so seasons but jumping back into this point where it is transitioning in a very unique way because has to do with its spot in the pantheon of mythology. And in this way, it takes on a very crucial element. But what works well in “Episode 9: “As I Always Have Been” is that despite this, there are quiet moments that truly elevate. Without giving away too much, that is what makes this episode so humanistic and exceptional despite the plot machinations moving around it. Two highlight points come with different kinds of emotional resonance, both innately powerful. But to give away any aspect of its place in the plot would spoil it, even the location it takes place in. This is “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” at its best but also, to a point, its most insular since you have to be invested in these characters to understand its impact and the foreshadowing involved.
By Tim Wassberg