“Agents of SHIELD” often thrives when things aren’t going so well for the team. “Adapt or Die” puts them right into the middle of that situation. Each of the group members can complete their goals, but the victories come with some considerable personal costs. It wouldn’t be a season of “SHIELD” without keeping FitzSimmons (Iain De Caestecker and Elizabeth Henstridge) separated. Still, six episodes is a very long time to go without seeing Fitz at all. At least we get a little glimpse of the mechanics that keep Simmons sane during all of this. Her tiny, sometimes malfunctioning, buddy Diana. Diana keeps her from remembering Fitz’s location, which offers them protection from the Chronicoms. Enoch (Joel Stoffer) gets Diana working again, but how long can that hold up?
A Couple Of Glands
Surprisingly, the biggest reveal of the show feels somewhat muted compared to what the Agents go through. Nathaniel Malick (Thomas E. Sullivan) manages to steal Daisy (Chloe Bennet)’s powers from her by removing some blood, spinal fluid, and a ‘couple of glands.’ You’ll remember, though, that Daisy’s skills initially injured her bone structure Fitz was able to come up with a way to stabilize that artificially. Daisy further learned from her mother how to control the power more. These things take time, though, and Nathaniel isn’t the kind of person who likes to wait. His newly gained skills seemingly kill him, allowing Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) to rescue Daisy and escape back to the Zephyr.
Agents of SHIELDed
Mack (Henry Simmons)’s rescue of his parents doesn’t go much better. He and Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova Buckley) can easily infiltrate the lighthouse and bring his parents back to the ship. Maybe a little too easily? May (Ming Na Wen) senses nothing from his parents in the same way that she senses nothing from Coulson (Clark Gregg.) She suspects his parents have been killed and replaced by Chronicoms who have learned the ability to show emotion. Mack eventually realizes she’s right and has to go through the pain of killing his ‘parents’ and throwing them off the Zephyr midflight. That has to do something to a guy, and Mack eventually decides he needs some time alone. Unfortunately, he picks the wrong moment for this. Zeke (Jeff Ward) goes out looking for him, but then the Zephyr chooses to jump again, leaving Zeke and Mack trapped in an unknown year.
Adapt Or Die
Finally, we get to the moment you’ve been waiting for, the life and death of Phil Coulson. Stoner (Patrick Warburton) thinks Coulson and May are responsible for sabotaging the launch of the Project Insight missile. What we learn is that Chronicoms have infiltrated the base, and Stoner is next for replacement. Coulson and May have a reckoning of sorts. May says that she has mourned him too many times and that he keeps coming back so she can’t give him her heart again. The conversation is a way to get Coulson and May to realize the Chronicoms have learned to mimic emotion, but it reveals so much about the two of them. Can we please have more discussions in locked rooms between these two? They rescue Stoner, and Coulson goes off to find where the Chronicoms have been hiding in the base. After a discussion with Sybil the Predictor (Tamara Taylor) that is more about Coulson’s speech than learning much, Coulson blows up the Chronicom hunter forms that were about to be awakened. Good news for the team, but we also apparently lose Coulson in the explosion. We did have a whole long conversation about him being able to come back from the dead, so I don’t think he’s gone, but it still makes for a good midseason rattle ’em up. Adapt or die indeed.