You know you can never really stay in the afterlife on ‘Agents of SHIELD.’ Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) certainly knows that. While I suppose that bringing back a younger version of a character doesn’t count as a resurrection, there was no other way to pull this one off. “Stolen” sees the return of John Garrett, here played by James Paxton, son of the late Bill Paxton, who originated the role. A touching way to both pay tribute to the elder Paxton, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 2017.
Blast From The Past
The addition of the younger Garrett brings a problem this season into the light. Nathaniel Malick (Thomas E. Sullivan) lacks a threatening vibe and comes off more as an annoyance than the big bad of the season. His chance to shine now is stolen by Garrett. Garrett is young, dumb, and full of…new superpowers given to him in the same manner that Malick took his powers from Daisy (Chloe Bennet). Still, we can see hints of what Garrett would become in the future. With Malick, there isn’t a link to his fate to ground this alternate timeline version of himself. He wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the Chronicoms interference. We do not see a good character go bad; we do not see an evil character become so earlier in their timeline. The Malick family name should have some impact, but instead, Nathaniel is more just annoyingly cumbersome to the SHIELD team than anything else.
Regaining The Stolen Spotlight
He does manage to pull off one surprise this week, though, with the apparent murder of Jiaying (Dichen Lachman). She should be able to make a recovery from his attack, but we get a possibility that Daisy might never be born. So I need to give it to Nathaniel there. Daisy’s ability to bring her newly found sister Kora (Dianne Doan) redemption is also an exciting possibility for the season. At least unlike some season with weak villains, there is still plenty to watch here.
Is Fitz Back Yet?
As it turns out, Jiaying wasn’t even what Malick and friends were after. They were looking to grab Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), presumably to try to find Fitz (Iain De Caestecker). Ah, Fitz, who’s has an entire season stolen from him. Granted it’s behind the scenes reasons (De Caestecker has another acting job) why we have yet to see Fitz, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. ‘SHIELD’ is practically the story of how Fitz and Simmons reunite, though, just as it’s become a story of how Coulson will die. We know it will happen, and we hope it’s been worth the wait.