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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S5E5 "Rewind"

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With the surprising help of Lance Hunter, nothing will stop Fitz from finding the lost team as his incredible journey is revealed.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Alien Abduction: Having eliminated the impossible over the course of six months, Fitz settles on this as the only remaining solution, however improbable. Both he and his interrogators think the idea is ludicrous.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Enoch's people cannot interfere in the cultures they observe unless it is to prevent an extinction level event.
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  • Alliterative List: After Fitz wakes up from cryo-sleep, Enoch tells him he's devised a plan to help him deal with the worst "monsters, mobsters and mercenaries in the whole galaxy".
  • And Now For Something Completely Different: The first four episodes of the season took place in a base in outer space, while the settings in this episode are out in the open air.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: After six months of carefully eliminating every other possibility, Fitz theorizes that the team was abducted by aliens. The Army dismisses this out of hand, despite the fact that New York was invaded by aliens, an alien helped save the city, and one of the current hot-button political issues is centered around the descendants of alien experiments. It also turns out that this theory is correct, albeit incomplete.
  • The Atoner: Fitz openly admits being responsible for Jeffrey Mace's death and is ready to go to prison for it. His entire behaviour during the episode is wracked with guilt for his deeds in the Framework.
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  • Bad Boss: General Hale. Not only does she break multiple laws regarding civil rights and due process, but she executes her two subordinates for failing her. As such, the episode leaves it ambiguous whether she's actually working for the United States Government and not an enemy power.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: A newspaper that Fitz reads after being rescued has a headline stating "S.H.I.E.L.D. Defunded and Dissolved". This, together with the absence of its core members, means that there is no known version of the organization still around. Also, since this is the second time in a brief period of time that S.H.I.E.L.D. was dissolved, it might not come back again. In short, it is just as Anton Ivanov wanted.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When trying to infiltrate the Army Base to recover Enoch's cryosleep pod, they bring with them two boxes that Fitz says when opened, will unleash an object implied to be ominous and threatening that could either help them, or cause them to fail their mission if they are not careful after they are deployed. What are these objects? Rusty's pet ferrets.
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  • Balance Between Good and Evil: Hunter talks about a more metaphorical one to console Fitz about his Framework persona; "every light has a shadow". Thus, a guy as friendly and kind as Fitz also has it in him to be ruthless.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Hunter poses as Fitz's attorney by waltzing straight into the interrogation room the latter is held in and demanding the officers present uncuff his "client".
  • Because Destiny Says So: Enoch sent the team into the future sans Fitz because Robin's drawings of the future said he would. He then helps Fitz because Robin says Fitz will be the one to save them.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Fitz gets downright scary in his quest to be reunited with his friends. Not so surprising anymore, considering what we went through in the Framework.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: Hunter's pilot failed to air. So did Most Wanted's Pilot.
  • Boom, Headshot!: General Hale kills Evans and Lucas after they fail her by putting one bullet in each head.
  • Bro Hug: Fitz and Hunter when the latter came to rescue the former, and again before Fitz goes into cryo-sleep.
  • The Bus Came Back:
  • Call-Back:
    • The Seer is Robin, daughter of Charles Hinton from "Spacetime". She also has the power to see the future, but stronger and expressed through drawings.
    • The device Enoch used to paralyze Team Coulson is used again so Fitz and company can get away from the pursuing agents.
  • Call-Forward: The base that Enoch takes Fitz and Hunter is underneath a lighthouse. It's the same base that the Main S.H.I.E.L.D. team was taken to, now called "The Lighthouse" for a reason. The Lighthouse is also featured in a postcard that Fitz uses to tell his team in the future that he's "working on it".
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The wooden robin is fired here for the second time, but it will not be the last time it is seen.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Many of these set up in Episode 1 are fired here, including the child pictures, and Coulson's use of his non functional hand. The only one that is still not completely fired is the bottles of liquid in Enoch's home; they are seen again, but their purpose is not yet identified.
    • Rusty's ferrets.
    • One gun that is fired here actually originated in season 3: Charles Hinton's power is also exhibited by his daughter Robin.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Robin and her mother. It is likely that this is not the last time we see them in this timeline. Also counts as Chekhov's Boomerang as well.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Hunter describes Rusty as an especially paranoid one who decided that if Big Brother Is Watching, he would watch him back. Fortunately, Rusty's delusions are Fitz's salvation, and he uses captured security footage to find out where his team was taken.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Mack's shotgun axe is among the items that Fitz brings with him to the future, as are two replacement hands for Coulson.
    • Hunter mentions that he and Bobbi were attacked by ninjas, which may be the Hand.
    • Fitz's obsession with chimpanzees is shown again, as he draws monkey faces on his wall to count the days in lieu of tallies.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The cryo-pod Fitz needs to reach the rest of the team in the Bad Future just so happens to be in the same military compound that Hunter just broke him out of. This ends up working working in their favor, as the base also holds all of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s tech they confiscated - including Zephyr One, which they use as their getaway vehicle.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: According to Hunter, Conspiracy Theorist Rusty often claimed that the Blue Raven Ridge base was holding alien tech. As it turns out, it's holding Enoch's cryofreeze pod, which Hunter lampshades to mean Rusty was right.
  • A Day in the Limelight: While Fitz was shoved out of the picture during the first four episodes of the season, this one is dedicated to him.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Polly Hinton describes the situation Robin is living after terrigenesis in ways similar to how one would describe an autistic child.
  • Expy: Enoch is one for Uatu the Watcher. He's also not too far removed from the Observers on Fringe.
    • On the Marvel mythology side, Enoch also shares a lot of characteristics with the Rigellian Recorders. It's weird that the creators chose not to make an explicit link, as this arc is thematically close to Thor: Ragnarok and the Recorders featured heavily in Thor's space adventures in the 70s.
  • Friend in the Black Market: Lance makes several references to his friend Rusty, who's the best at whatever they need done... in Lance's price range.
  • General Ripper: General Hale is worse than Talbot could ever have been. For one thing, he never shot subordinates for failures. Also, Coulson once snarked that Talbot might put them through six months of court hearings if he was feeling merciful. Hale appears to completely lack respect for due process.
  • Guns Akimbo: Interestingly, Fitz of all people does this to a bunch of soldiers after finding some ICERs on Zephyr One. Hunter is amazed. It's implied his skills are the result of his time in the Framework.
  • How We Got Here: Variant- this episode shows the Another Side, Another Story of how Fitz got to the future as seen in The Stinger of the previous episode.
  • Inspector Javert: Evans and Lucas, the Air Force officers who spend the episode interrogating Fitz, clearly have the best of intentions at heart, but the situation is so outside their understanding that all they can do is yell at Fitz, even after they realize he doesn't know anything. Their boss, on the other hand, is just evil—but also out of her depth.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: Lance and Fitz get back into the base by posing as carpenters sent to repair the wall Lance blew a hole in to escape in the first place.
  • Kick the Dog: General Hale killing Evans and Lucas was completely disproportionate and unnecessary.
  • Kubrick Stare: Fitz's face is framed as one of these when he learns he'll have to fit in with "monsters, mobsters and mercenaries," saying he'll be able to do that.
  • Mutant Draft Board: General Hale orders Robin "controlled" because she might uncover secrets. While she wants her working for her, it's pretty clear she would accept killing her as an alternative.
  • Mythology Gag: Lance and Bobbi have been up to exactly what they would have been in the Most Wanted series, even if we never got to see it because the series never went into production.
  • Noodle Incident: Hunter says that he and Bobbi almost got remarried, but the wedding was interrupted. By ninjas.
  • One-Word Title
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • This episode shows why S.H.I.E.L.D. is needed, as the regular military has absolutely no idea what to do when something weird happens. They lock Fitz in a cell for six months demanding he give them answers; when he escapes, he manages to find the trail in less than a day.
    • Enoch is weird even for S.H.I.E.L.D., being an immortal alien anthropologist who has been on Earth for thirty thousand years to study humanity's evolution. Thankfully, he's willing to help, at least when there's prophecy involved.
  • Prisons Are Gymnasiums: Fitz makes sure to stay in shape during his six months in a single cell.
  • Public Secret Message: Fitz hides a message to Lance in angry letters about soccer he gets his captors to mail to a sports magazine for him, knowing they wouldn't see anything other than a soccer fan ranting at a terrible player. It takes six tries because Lance was in Bangladesh, where they don't sell that magazine, and he only thought to start looking after hearing about what happened to S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: The Lighthouse is a massive underground facility that is able to withstand an Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Even 30,000 years old Enoch doesn't know who built it or how deep it goes.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Enoch has spent thirty thousand years on Earth observing human evolution.
  • Recycled Title: The first season of Runaways, which premiered on Hulu about a month before this episode's airing, also has an episode called "Rewind".
  • The Reveal:
    • What happened to Fitz after Team Coulson was kidnapped? The army came to the diner, arrested Fitz, and he was held prisoner for six months in a black site until Hunter rescued him.
    • Why was Fitz left behind? Because for some reason or other, he wasn't part of the prophecy. Subverted, when it turns out that he was deliberately left behind so he could go into the future separately to save his friends.
    • We finally learn how far into the future the S.H.I.E..L.D. team has been transported: 74 years from present day.
    • The identity of the bald man who kidnaps the S.H.I.E.L.D. team is revealed, and his apparent motive for doing so is also explained. His name is Enoch, a self proclaimed anthropologist and observer of the human race, hailing from a species known as the Chronicom.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Justified. Fitz is kept in a single cell and has to put his research out somewhere.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • Enoch's plan involves Fitz hiding his identity under a mask similar to those of the HYDRA goons in Captain America: The First Avenger. Seemingly realizing the connection, Fitz grimly answers "I have it in me" after Enoch asks him if he has it in him to deal with the most dangerous and cruel players in the galaxy.
    • The cryostasis chamber he uses also closely resembles the one Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier was kept in.
  • Rule #1: According to Hunter, the first rule of espionage is "don't go to the same place as two different people".
  • Serious Business: Soccer, for both Fitz and Hunter, to the point of it being Skewed Priorities.
  • Shout-Out: Just before Fitz's pod puts him in cryostasis, Hunter walks over and jokingly tells him "I love you." Fitz chuckles and makes the necessary "I know" reply.
  • The Slow Path: Fitz uses Enoch's cryo-pod to send himself to the future where his friends are, while Enoch is able to just live his way there because he doesn't age as humans do.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Fitz once again mentions how the universe seemingly goes out of its way to keep him and Jemma separated.
  • Swapped Roles: Normally, Hunter is supposed to be the badass, but in this case it is Fitz when he takes out a bunch of soldiers using a pair of ICERs. Fitz even has the audacity to tell Hunter to start the plane when normally it would be Fitz, the engineer.
  • Take That!: When Fitz and Hunter finally reunite, the first thing they do is rib each other over their respective British football teams, Manchester United and Liverpool respectively. Given this is said to occur during the 2016-17 season, Fitz's anger is not unfounded.
  • Time Skip: At least six months passes between the team's abduction and the main action of the episode. Then another 74 years when Fitz wakes up in the stinger.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Fitz takes out a bunch of military goons with a pair of ICERs, to Hunter's amazement. He also threatens to kill Enoch. It appears to be the result of the Framework, where Fitz was a cold-blooded HYDRA leader, which he takes advantage of now to be an actual badass.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The official TV listing blurb for the episode (which is transcribed at the top of this trope listing page) says outright that Fitz is aided by Hunter, blowing the surprise of his return midway through the episode. Said listing also telegraphed that this episode focuses on Fitz.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Since Talbot is in a coma, General Hale is now in charge. While Talbot was always hard on Coulson's team, he was at least trying to do good, while Hale seems to be corrupt and up to something sinister.
  • Uncanny Valley: Invoked Trope. While he looks human thanks to his disguise, Enoch's mannerisms are a bit off, making him seem somewhat alien.
  • We Need a Distraction
    • Lance hires his acquaintance Rusty, a helicopter pilot, to lead the military on a wild goose chase while he and Fitz escape in his RV. He instead crashes the helicopter, which is equally distracting.
    • Rusty's pet ferrets are pretty great for setting off perimeter alarms.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Fitz's reaction at Hunter's RV is one of concern. They will be running from the military in a "whale" that barely functions.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Hunter cheers up Fitz, who is still beating himself up over his actions in the Framework, by telling him that even the best persons have a darkness inside of them.
  • You Have Failed Me: General Hale kills Evans and Lucas for failing her. It doesn't seem to be standard protocol, as Evans assumes they're just being demoted. On the other hand, a cleanup crew is on call to get rid of the bodies.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Fitz becomes agitated pretty quickly when Evans and Lucas don't believe him about being just as clueless as they are about the disappearance of the Team.


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