A time storm ravages the Zephyr, propelling it toward destruction while simultaneously forcing Daisy and Coulson to relive their failed attempts to save the team over and over until they find a solution or are swallowed by the storm. Making it to their next destination will take trust, courage, and sacrifice from everyone on board, but it will all come down to having enough time.
Daisy Johnson wakes up in the Healing Pod and gets out of it. Daniel Sousa is asleep beside the pod. He wakes up and asks what she's doing up. Johnson responds with the question that if they jumped again. Sousa doesn't know. Johnson runs out of the room and into the Zephyr One's control center. Director Alphonso Mackenzie says that he has damage to nearly all systems, Melinda May's trying to get a read on their location, and the Time Drive overloaded. Johnson looks out the window and asks to be filled in on the problem as she sees a bunch of vibrant colors.
Johnson asks where Coulson is, May replies that he's charging. Yo-Yo Rodriguez says that the Quinjet's flight systems were fried, May asks if she can check it out. Yo-Yo says she will. May asks Jemma Simmons if she's seeing the radiation levels. Simmons replies that they're off the charts. Suddenly, Deke Shaw runs in and says that they're trapped in a time storm. He says that they're in a vortex. Shaw reports that if they get fully sucked in, they'll have ceased to have ever existed. Shaw also comments that the Zephyr One is 94 kilometers away from the vortex.
Suddenly, Mack cries out in pain as the Zephyr's cockpit controls spark from radiation, and Mack's blinded. Yo-Yo asks what just hit them, and asks in as calm of a voice as she can manage, what happened to Mack. Johnson and Sousa take Mack to Jemma Simmons, while she looks at the damage sustained to the Time Drive. They sit Mackenzie down as Enoch walks in and asks if Simmons would like assistance examining the Time Drive. Right after, May reports a starboard side fire, and Johnson runs to put it out. Johnson takes out the fire with the extinguisher, and reports it out. As she's about to say something, she hears the familiar whirring of the Time Drive.
Johnson wakes up in the pod, yet again, reliving the same events. She gets up, as usual, and Sousa wakes up as well. They go through the same phase all over again, except Johnson remembers this from the past. She sees the colors of the time storm, yet again. They go through it, and then Deke Shaw shows up. Johnson takes the words straight from his mouth, word by word. She quickly closes the doors to the cockpit before the flare can blind Mack. Yo-Yo asks what just happened, and Johnson says that the flare shorted out the doors to the Quinjet. Shaw runs to get Yo-Yo out of there. Daisy runs to go get Simmons, to ask what's going on, and Daniel Sousa runs after her.
Johnson and Sousa walk quickly to the lab, where Simmons is working on the Time Drive schematics. Johnson runs in and tells Simmons that she thinks that she's time-looping. Simmons is about to check her when Johnson asks if that's Deke's gross 80's cologne, and Johnson adds, "Cue Enoch". As Enoch comes in and asks about the Time Drive, Mack says over the PA that there are flares everywhere, and before he can say it, Daisy goes, there's a fire on the starboard side. She puts out the fire and is about to head to the control center when she sees Phil Coulson charging. Before she can press the on button though, the Time Drive starts whirring again.
Johnson gets out of her pod, but is careful not to wake Daniel Sousa up. She heads to the control center of the Zephyr One, yet again, but this time, she tells Melinda May and Alphonso Mackenzie to shut the cockpit doors and watch the control panel. She runs to the LMD lab and switches on Phil Coulson. As he activates, Johnson says that she needs his help because she keeps on looping. But before she can say that last part, Coulson finishes the sentence and asks, "How long did it take for you to figure it out this time? Coulson doesn't like having this conversation again, but he has to, because Daisy died again. He's annoyed because every time Johnson dies, who has to teach her all over again? "This guy." But he's actually taught her 14 times, and they've been in the loop 87 times so far that he knows about. She asks why they're the only two that remember, Coulson doesn't know, but they've had theories, the latest one being that they are the only two that start each loop in a futuristic sleeping pod. As the Time Drive starts whirring, Daisy isn't finished yet, but Coulson asks Daisy to wake him up next time.
Johnson climbs out of the pod and runs through the Zephyr One, yelling to shut the cockpit door. She pushes the button to wake Coulson up, and he starts from where he left off. The Time Drive is stuck, so it's looping. He compares it to a record skipping, to which Johnson gives him a look. She races out to Coulson and asks about flying out. They tried it. They now have to try to fix the Time Drive, but can't get far enough before they loop. Again. Coulson suggests that maybe 90th time's the charm, to a look that is taken as, "Not good optimism." They're running out of time. Coulson's concerned that she hasn't looked at the numbers. She runs to the operations center, and says what Deke's about to say. She asks how many kilometers they're out from the vortex. He says 79 kilometers. She runs back to Coulson, and reports what she heard. They say that they have two options. They can increase the time they have, which was a dead end on loops 23-42ish, or they can solve faster. They choose the latter.
Johnson runs up to everyone and yells "Stop!" She goes over the list and says. "Sparks, Yo-Yo, Simmons, Deke." Each of these things happen in order. Deke then mentions that they're 65 kilometers from the vortex. Mack asks if there is any way the drive can help them. Deke goes to check, but instead goes to Simmons and begs her to remove D.I.A.N.A., stating that it's likely that without the implant, she can solve this. Johnson and Coulson follow Deke, and Daisy asks Simmons to say a word out loud, they both say "Phlebotinum" at the same time. After that, Simmons agrees to remove the implant.
Simmons goes to the containment pod to remove the implant, but she begins to cough. She falls over, unable to breath. Deke tries to get into the pod to save her, but the doors have locked. Simmons asphyxiates, and the loop resets. This time, Daisy decides to go into the pod with Simmons to help her. However, before they can remove the implant, both of them start coughing. Daisy realizes that a gas is leaking into the containment pod. Daisy manages to get the doors unlocked, but she and Simmons die anyway, causing Coulson to remark "What a pain in the ass." Enoch assess the cut which allowed the gas to leak into the pod, and declares it was too precise to have happened accidentally; it was made by a knife.
Daisy wakes up again, her memory reset. This time, they are about 48 kilometres from the vortex. Mack gets hit with the radiation again, Daisy puts out the fire again, time resets, Coulson explains that she's died again (15 times now!), etc. She tells Coulson that they are 41 kilometres from the vortex. The two begin to speculate on who would be willing to kill to keep Simmons from removing her implant, and come up with three obvious suspects: Deke, Enoch, and Simmons. After talking to the three suspects, they decide that, because Simmons was the one killed, she is less of a suspect than the boys. Enoch and Deke deny that it was either of them. Coulson agrees to look for alternate explinations, while Simmons once again agrees to remove the implant.
Coulson conferences with Mack and May, speculating that someone could be brainwashed, or replaced with a Chronicom, prompting May to say "It wouldn't be the first time." Mack says Yo-Yo could be the solution; "Maybe she's fast enough to get the implant out of Simmons before someone can stop her." May asks if Coulson can get her out of the Quinjet, and he says he'll try it next loop.
Next loop, Coulson cuts a hole in the Quinjet, and fills Yo-Yo in on what she's missed. Before anyone can do anything, though, the timeline resets. Daisy and Simmons play the "Phlebotinum" game again, and Simmons leaves while Daisy goes to grab the implant scanner. Daisy notices that Deke's stuff is out of place right as Sousa walks in, saying he was worried about her. Daisy fills Sousa in on the time loop. Sousa stops her from grabbing the scanner, telling her it's a trap: every attempt has been on Simmons, and Simmons is always the one who grabs the scanner. Sousa offers to grab it, saying that if he dies, no big deal, he'll wake up good as new, while Daisy will lose her memories. Sousa grabs the scanner, but it's trapped, and he dies. Like he said, though, he respawns good as new. Daisy decides to let him sleep and wakes up Coulson, who is loosing his mind over not being able to save their people. He snaps at Daisy for not being angry, and admits that watching his friends die over and over again is a metaphor for his life now. Daisy argues that she's watched him die over and over, but he argues that it's different. He watches all of them die, one by one, and he can't forget it like the rest of them because his Chronicom coding won't let him. Something dawns on him mid-rant: The culprit may be coded to forget why he's trying to kill them. And only one of the suspects can be programmed.
Daisy and Coulson accuse Enoch of trying to kill them. Enoch denies this, but Coulson says that Fitz and Simmons may have programmed a secret code which would force him to protect the implant at all costs, and then the implant made Simmons forget it. Daisy and Coulson test their theory by trying to remove the implant right there. Enoch immediately responds with a display of impressive violence that he cannot control. He explains that Simmons programmed him with the order to protect the implant, killing anyone, even Simmons, if needed. Before he can kill Daisy, she Quakes him, throwing him across the room. Enoch comes to his senses and realizes they are in a predicament.
The loop resets. Daisy and Coulson decide to remove the implant without Enoch's knowledge. After Daisy discoveries some truly horrifying things about brain surgery, she prepares to remove D.I.A.N.A. Enoch finds her anyway. Coulson says that if they can fix the loop so Enoch doesn't start in the lab, they might have a chance. They send Sousa to distract him. Enoch sees right through him, ties him up, and thwarts them once again. Next loop, Daisy and Coulson try the direct approach. Enoch beats the crap out of them. The next time, they bring Simmons with them. However, Simmons forgot she made overriding the program password-dependent. Coulson decides it's time to bring everyone in on this little operation. This also fails spectacularly and hilariously. Deke is very dead now; it is decides that they don't need to feel to sad about this.
Daisy wakes up again. She explains the time loop to Sousa, and tells him there's no way to fix this. She decides to take a loop to process what's happening. She is amazed that throughout all of this, Sousa never freaks out. She asks why he helps her, and he says he knows her type: helps everyone, even at her own expense, wants people to think she likes being alone but always ends up back with her friends, unwilling to quit until she succeeds or fails too hard to keep going. He says he's there to help her when she can't keep going. He also says that she's just a cool person. He asks how he can help.
Sousa causes a distraction for Enoch and lures him into Coulson's room. The plan is to keep him busy while Daisy and Coulson remove the implant, but they're too slow and the timeline resets.
Daisy wakes up and asks Sousa to do something for her. He says he'll do whatever she needs. She then kisses him passionately. Then she says they need to trap a space robot. She leaves, and for the first time in over a hundred loops, Sousa is surprised.
Sousa initiates Couslon's plan, which is just the distraction thing, but faster. With only 11 kilometres left to go, Daisy, Deke, and Coulson remove the implant. Jemma tells them that Enoch is the key: His Electrochron Displacement Mechanism regulates energy stability. It could do the same for the time drive, but removing it would kill Enoch. Simmons begins to have a panic attack, remembering something she regrets.
The loop resets, and Daisy calmly tells Simmons to bring Enoch to the LMD lab. With less than one kilometre to go, Coulson and Daisy explain the situation to Enoch, Deke, and Simmons. Simmons protests, but Enoch rips the EDM out of his chest without hesitation. He says that he would like to think the rest of them would have been willing to sacrifice themselves to save him, as well. Jemma and Deke go to stabilize the drive, but Coulson and Daisy stay with Enoch as he dies. He laments that he understand what it feels like to be lonely, and he doesn't care for it. Coulson assures him he won't be alone. Enoch says that's very kind of them, but they can't go with him. Coulson tells him he will feel lonely, but only temporarily. Daisy thanks him for saving them. He tells Daisy that he has saved her friends, but the team will not survive. This will be their last mission together. It is the nature of families, he says, to keep changing and moving. In his last moments, he thinks about Fitz. He dies right as the Zephyr jumps.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Chloe Bennet as Daisy Johnson/Quake
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso Mackenzie
- Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Yo-Yo Rodriguez
- Jeff Ward as Deke Shaw
- Joel Stoffer as Enoch
- Enver Gjokaj as Agent Daniel Sousa
- Thomas E. Sullivan as Nathaniel Malick (uncredited)
- Dianne Doan as Kora (uncredited)
- Yo-Yo Rodriguez's Prosthetic Arms
- Daniel Sousa's Prosthetic Leg
- Healing Pod
- Phase Harmonic Teleportation Device
- Electrochron Displacement Mechanism
To be added
- Nathaniel Malick's Crew
- Strategic Scientific Reserve (mentioned)
- United States Army (mentioned)
- Leo Fitz
- Phil Coulson (indirectly mentioned)
- Peggy Carter (indirectly mentioned)
- Max Headroom
- Swayze's Bar (logo)
- Series star Elizabeth Henstridge marks her directorial debut with this episode.
- The series logo appears twice as part of the time loop.
- The episode title comes from Enoch, who has used "As I have always been" in his linguistics before.
- When Daisy Johnson asks Jemma Simmons to make up a word, she exclaims phlebotinum. Phlebotinum is a word coined David Greenwalt in Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has come to refer to a fictional material used to develop a plot requiring a material with properties not possessed by any real material. A prime example of this in the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be vibranium.