As far as layers go, “Know Your Onions” doesn’t add a lot to the plot for the season. Instead, we spend a bit more time getting to know the headspace of the characters. It doesn’t make for the most exciting watch, especially after last week, but it’s essential all the same. Especially considering how their actions can have significant effects on their futures. And if you need a good fight scene, you get it from Agent May (Ming-Na Wen) and Enoch (Joel Stoffer.)
We’ll Meet Again
Speaking of Agent May, well, she woke up in a better mood than anyone expected in “Know Your Onions.” Not that it’s entirely out of character. She’s been the stoic rock of S.H.I.E.L.D. since the beginning. Something feels off, though. No reaction to life after death I’ll buy. The quick understanding of the reappearance of Coulson (Clark Gregg) is something else. With both characters now having experienced more life than they were entitled too, it feels like this could become a hefty plot point for the season. I mean, since we are time-traveling anyway, why not fix their lives together. Why not end up with two people who never died in the first place? It wouldn’t exactly be beyond “Agents of SHIELD” to try it.
Yo-Yo’s (Natalia Cordova Buckley) inaction in preventing the team from being discovered by the Chronicoms is curious. Her claim that she ‘froze’ leaves it unclear if she is unable or uncomfortable in using her powers. There are specific instructions not to use Inhuman powers as much as possible, which could explain why she didn’t react. Still, in a room with only Agents and a member of proto-HYDRA, she probably could have gotten away with it. The team still manages to avoid detection, but I’m guessing we’ll be revisiting this later.
Know Your Onions
The most significant debate of the episode is a question that always comes up when it comes to time-travel. You travel back in time and can prevent the existence of evil. Do you do it and possibly risk a different catastrophe taking its place? Or do you protect it, knowing that eventually, the future will take care of this past? It seems that will be the debate the team will have over and over again. The decision this time is made for them, as Freddy Malick (Darren Barnet) completes his mission and plants the seeds of Hydra and the Red Skull by delivering Doctor Erskine’s serum. “Know Your Onions” indeed.
And then that was it for the 1930s. The Chronicoms move on with SHIELD hot on their trail. It will undoubtedly come into play that Enoch was left behind. He ends up working with Koenig (Patton Oswald), possibly beginning an explanation as to why there are so many Koenigs in the future. Could Koenig be a new Chronicom himself? Could it be him that is ultimately responsible for the continued existence of SHIELD? “Know Your Onions” doesn’t tell us, but we’ll find out if he pops up in the next time destination.