'Agents of SHIELD' Season 5: Alien Invasion, HYDRA Flashbacks, Destroyer of Worlds Explained

Agents of SHIELD Season 5 episode 15, "Rise and Shine," was packed full of easter eggs from The Avengers, The Chitauri Invasion, HYDRA and even Avengers: Infinity War. The episode takes us back 28 years into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and spends only a few mintues in present day to show us Agent May suited up with bionic arms, Fitz and Simmons' relationship is back on track and Daisy trying to find a cure for Coulson's illness. Other than that, we're just left with a bunch of questions about how Agents of SHIELD is going to get out of this big space jam. This recap contains spoilers for the latest episode.

Agents-of-SHIELD-General-Hale-Rise-and-Shine
HYDRA General Hale in 'Agents Of SHIELD' Season 5. ABC

When Were The HYDRA Flashbacks?

The flashbacks take us 28 years in the past to HYDRA academy at the Blue Raven base and explain how the evil organization became the powerhouse we saw in The Winter Soldier. General Hale's daughter, Ruby, sits with a young Jasper Sitwell and they head to a lecture lead by Daniel Whitehall. He talks about his mission to create a super soldier using a particle infusion chamber. A young Baron von Strucker raises his hand and suggests using the Tesseract to aid the experiments, but that can't work because it's in SHIELD custody (at that time). Hale raises her hand and suggests traveling to outer space, to the source of the tesseract, as a solution. Whitehall is intrigued. Things go south after Strucker and Hale get into a fight. Instead of getting assigned a regular job at HYDRA, Hale gets assigned to be in the special super soldier experiment.

Gideon_Malick agents of shield season 5 episode 15
Gideon Malick first appeared as a HYDRA leader in 'The Avengers,' then in 'Agents of SHIELD.' ABC

In another flashback to three years ago sometime after The Avengers, General Hale learns that Gideon Malick has been captured and the Chitauri tech leftover from the Battle of New York has been allowing HYDRA to communicate with extraterrestrials. HYDRA struck a deal with an alliance of aliens who call themselves The Confederacy. This includes a man who appears to be Kasius father, Qovas. HYDRA struck a deal for protection from a war that's coming to Earth.

sanctuary II thanos infinity war thor hulk
The Mad Titan's Sanctuary II vessel intercepted Thor, Hulk, Loki and the surviving Asgardians on The Statesman ship. Marvel Studios

Was That Thanos Ship In 'Agents Of SHIELD?

The leader of The Confederacy showed Coulson a possible future where an alien ship threatens Earth. With Avengers: Infinity War only weeks away, it's easy to think that is Thanos' vessel. It could even the one we saw in the Thor: Ragnarok post credits scene coming to pick up Loki and the Tesseract (which was also mentioned in tonight's episode), but there's no way to know for sure. With Coulson also just announced to appear in Captain Marvel, we can't rule out a nod to the Kree-Skrull War (though it doesn't link up timing-wise). At this point, it seems mostly likely to be an unrelated Kree incident. Going out on a limb, maybe Thanos or the Kree are just mad about Ronan The Accuser's death in Guardians of the Galaxy? Agents of SHIELD might not explain the connection to the alien invasion any further, and it may just be a general nod at the Marvel Cinematic Universe's new space setting.

the confederacy qovas kree chitauri battle of new york agents of shield season 5 episode 15
Tech leftover from the Chitauri during The Battle of New York allowed HYDRA to communicate with the leader of a alien alliance known as The Confederacy. ABC

Who Is The Destroyer Of Worlds?

In present day, General Hale takes Coulson into the the Chitauri device that allows HYDRA to communicate with The Confederacy. Qovas says SHIELD would have to give up gravitonium and Inhumans for protection. Though Coulson is hesitant to work with HYDRA, General Hale suggests Daisy Johnson could take her daughter's place in the super soldier experiments. An Inhuman with powers like Daisy's combined with gravitonium, SHIELD would have a better chance. The result would truly fit the Whitehall's secret name for the experiment, Destroyer of Worlds. Coulson, who is now headed to a cell in General Hale's base, remembers the legend from the Kree Lighthouse ship--a future where Quake is known as the Destroyer of Worlds.

phil coulson daisy quake dying death agents of shield
Phil Coulson embraces Daisy after telling her he's dying. ABC / Marvel

The scary part of this episode is there's way too many ways this new story arc can go wrong for our Agents. Say they are able to prevent the Destroyer of Worlds--either Ruby or Daisy--from cracking open Earth the way we saw it from the Kree Lighthouse ship... there is still an impending alien invasion. Even if SHIELD is able to work with HYDRA and prevent the alien invasion, Coulson is still dying from his wounds way back in The Avengers. The TAHITI project surgery that cured him with Kree DNA is wearing off because of his deal with Ghost Rider.

agents of shield 100th episode
Coulson, Daisy and May in the 100th episode of 'Agents of SHIELD.' ABC / Marvel

"Rise and Shine" was a great episode, but there doesn't seem to be any way out for Agents of SHIELD in Season 5. Do you have any theories? Let us know in the comments.

'Agents of SHIELD' Season 5: Alien Invasion, HYDRA Flashbacks, Destroyer of Worlds Explained | Gaming