Forgive the corny recap title. This episode gave me so many unexpected feels, and I had to counteract them somehow. Dorky humor seemed best.
The Inhuman-of-the-Week at the heart of “Spacetime” is Charles Hinton, a homeless man who hangs out behind Edwin Abbot’s Dyker Heights grocery store making decorative wooden robins. As a quick aside, I grew up very near Dyker Heights and I’m super confused as to why they called out such a random specific location and then did virtually nothing to make the set look remotely like said location. Oy.
Charles’ power is a version of one we’ve actually seen before, in Raina. Ol’ Spiky Face had random visions of the future. For Charles, it’s a bit different: whenever he touches someone, both of them see a vision of a future death. Charles knows enough to shy away from touching people, but when Edwin, trying to be a bro, inadvertently touches Charles while offering him money for breakfast, they both see a flash. It’s Edwin’s impending death.
At this point, as we find out from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s perspective, Edwin calls the police, referencing HYDRA coming to kill him and asking for Daisy, thus (apparently) setting into motion the chain of events leading to his death. The S.H.I.E.L.D. team (minus Mack, who’s sitting this one out given his recent gunshot wound) overhears this call, thanks to being tapped into all emergency dispatches, and they move in immediately, despite being confused about this strange Brooklyn grocer requesting Daisy by name.
HYDRA swoops in and guns down Edwin in short order (this episode is nothing if not fast-paced), right before Daisy’s eyes. They scoop up Charles in that weird claw crane thing moments after Daisy puts Edwin’s ramblings into context and realizes that Charles is an Inhuman. She grabs at Charles’ hand as he’s taken and boom: vision.
A fun feature of Charles’ visions is that they’re completely disjointed and extremely easy to take out of context. Spoiler alert! Daisy misreads nearly everything.
Daisy’s series of abstract visuals include: a woman crying, FitzSimmons holding hands in the snow, Lincoln with a bloody face, herself kicking the crap out of some armed guys, Coulson shooting at her, Charles being led away to a helicopter on a roof, and a dying Charles telling her “I was hoping you could help.”
Back at base, Daisy puts all this together and realizes that Charles is going to be killed and it’s up to her to save him. Fitz, ever the scientist, insists that the future can’t be changed. He gives the requisite science-y speech needed whenever TV shows or movies dabble in future timelines, which is very Fitz but basically useless. And Fitz must know it’s useless. He knows his team, and despite his sound rationale, there’s no way that Daisy or Coulson would just let this Charles guy die without putting up a fight.
Coulson’s method is to make it so that none of Daisy’s vision flashes can come to pass, ergo (theoretically) disrupting the timeline and preventing the future death of Charles. To do this, he decides to bench Daisy, sending May in her place, and keep the rest of the team out of it so that Lincoln’s bloody face and FitzSimmons’ innocuous-seeming snow moment won’t happen.
The intel-gathering scene to ID Charles and get his story lasts just long enough for Coulson and Lincoln to be very confused about how time travel works in fiction and for Coulson to joke-fire him after Lincoln admits he’s never seen The Terminator (because, really, Lincoln wasn’t already terrible enough, they’ve gotta just drill down on that). Lincoln also mentions the idea that Inhumans’ powers were engineered to serve a larger purpose, each power filling a perceived gap. This is almost word for word what he said to Gemma a few episodes back, so I’m starting to think this little tidbit will be very relevant later this season.
Daisy can’t sit there and be useless because she’s Daisy, so she diligently recreates all details of the vision for FitzSimmons. She also interviews Hinton’s wife, realizing that she’s the woman Daisy saw crying in her vision. The wife explains the events after Hinton’s terrigenesis and how his power works—he left her and their baby Robin (hence the wooden robins) after he realized that he could never touch either of them. He also maybe went a little kooky seeing all these deaths and being powerless to stop them. Fair enough. Mrs. Hinton cries during the meeting, as Daisy foresaw.
Meanwhile, Malick, Giyera, and Hive have brought Hinton to Transia, the building where Daisy’s vision takes place. Hinton’s reason for being there is weak—they use his power as a scare tactic to force the Transia CEO to sign over the company to Malick, despite the fact that Hive plans to (and does) incinerate the board members anyway, making the vision sort of unnecessary.
Hive is decked out in a full-length trench coat because now that he doesn’t actively look like a corpse, they needed some other way to signify that this dude is evil-with-a-capital-E. PS, Malick has no clue what Hive did to those innocent humans in order to de-corpsefy himself (totally a real word, don’t worry about it). The HYDRA dream trio wants to acquire Transia to get their hands on a piece of technology similar to the robotic hand that Coulson used to crush Ward’s chest.
A fun part of this episode is that we get to see that Hive is apparently just as confused as we are about why Malick is helping him out. In response to Hive’s questions, Malick trots out the old familiar lines about the ancestral promise of taking over the world with Hive after rescuing him from Maveth, yada yada. But that’s very unspecific, so Hive offers him something tangible instead—power. Super-strong robotic arms, to be precise.
Hive does his weird flesh-melty thing to the Transia board, which is an extremely R-rated visual for a primetime TV series on ABC. Notably, this is the first time that we see Hive taking control and bossing Malick around. He appears to be doing this to help Malick out, and Malick does seem to get a kick out of Hulk-smashing the Transia conference room and flipping a table and crushing the CEO’s head—it’s intoxicating because he’s a terrible person and whatnot. But in the end, all this little foray into superpowerdom does is underscore the difference between Malick and Hive. That is, Hive is an empowered Inhuman, and Malick is just a guy with a lot of money. Therein lies the rub.
Daisy drills May in a run-through of the fight that Daisy saw herself having, to prep her. The idea here is that Daisy must have been too slow taking out the group of armed men, therefore allowing Charles to die. There’s actually no indication that vision-Daisy is too slow in beating up those guys, so I’m not sure what the point of that drill sequence was, other than it being kind of funny to watch Daisy be so micro-managing and peevish with May and the others.
Having ID’d the building from Daisy’s vision as the Transia building, May gets ready to head out—only to encounter Andrew, turning himself over to S.H.I.E.L.D. Somehow, he’s aware that he’s about to turn into Lash permanently, completing his transition, and he wants to say a last goodbye to her.
May, being May, at first refuses to stay behind and say farewell to Andrew, calling him a murderer. Coulson and Daisy convince her to stay, and Daisy insists that she can move forward and complete the mission on her own, vision-style. Aaaaaand there goes Coulson’s plan to remove Daisy from the course of events completely.
Daisy moves in on the Transia building as Fitz, Simmons, Lincoln, and Coulson remain behind nearby, acting as surveillance. As they’re checking in on the security feed, they spot Ward, with Fitz quickly realizing it’s the Maveth Inhuman. I’m a bit surprised that no one had much of a reaction (“Oh shit, it’s that guy who repeatedly betrayed us all for years who you killed and left behind on an alien planet!!”), but I guess they were all on a mission adrenaline high and sort of forgot to be shocked?
Back at headquarters, May has a distressing heart-to-heart with Andrew as he’s hooked up to an IV full of Jemma’s Inhuman vaccine. He comes to terms with the fact that he needs to be locked up, because part of him still feels like Lash is serving a higher purpose with his massacring. Once Lash takes over, there’ll be no talking him down, because he suspects that the little bit of Andrew that remained in him during each prior Lash transformation will be obliterated in this final one. May asks Andrew whether he’d go back if he could and make it so that he’d never met her, thinking all this would never have happened if they weren’t together. He wouldn’t. “You’re still the center of the best moments of my life.” Sob.
Daisy blows through the low-level HYDRA cronies at Transia like it’s a cakewalk. Coulson bursts in and saves her from a HYDRA agent who’s about to shoot her through a one-way mirror, accounting for the vision moment where it seemed like he was going to shoot at Daisy. He explains that he’s going to find Ward, and Daisy heads up to the roof to fight the big boss. ‘’
Lincoln, for his part, gets hit in the face with a fire extinguisher by Giyera. Yep. That’s right. That is how Lincoln gets his bloody vision face. He spots Ward but Coulson calls Lincoln off after spotting what was done to the Transia board members.
At S.H.I.E.L.D., the vaccine is a bust and Andrew transforms into Lash, in scenes beautifully intercut with Daisy getting her ass handed to her by Malick and his super arms back on the Transia roof. I’m not sure if I really thought the Inhuman vaccine would work on Andrew (this isn’t a fairy-tale ending kind of show), but it’s a well-acted and wrenching scene regardless.
At Transia, Charles jumps in, touching Malick and distracting him with a death vision. As Malick begins to kill Charles, Daisy fires off one last tremor that manages to knock Malick down and disable his arms. Malick takes off in the helicopter like the pansy-ass he is, as Daisy and Charles have a quick dying breath tête-à-tête.
Down on the ground, the “snow” Daisy saw falling on FitzSimmons turns out to be burning ashes from the billboard on the building’s roof, but they hold hands in it anyway, Jemma remarking that maybe some things are inevitable. It’s adorable, probably the one bright spot in this unrelentingly somber episode.
Daisy realizes that Charles was meant to save her, not the other way around. Charles expresses regret for leaving his daughter behind and asks if Daisy could help out. She vows to protect Robin if she turns out to be an Inhuman, like Charles. It’s a sweet moment. Daisy touches Charles one last time before he dies and sees the spaceship explosion that we’ve already seen in the midseason premiere’s opening flash-forward. Uh-oh.
In the closing coda, Giyera remains behind with Hive, angering Malick, who tries to remind Giyera that he’s Malick’s head of security. But Giyera has chosen his fearless leader, and he’s standing with his fellow Inhuman now. Sorry, Malick. He also notes to Hive that Malick seems fearful—a.k.a., whatever Malick saw in that vision wasn’t death to all his enemies. So begins the rift between Malick and Hive. Unsurprising, given that uber powerful Inhumans wouldn’t seem to have much need for crotchety old rich guys in the long run.