‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Star Joel Stoffer Breaks Down Enoch’s Big Moment
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Season 7 Episode 9, “As I Have Always Been.”]
The team lost a valuable member in tonight’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In a shocking twist, friendly 32,000-year-old Chronicom Enoch (Joel Stoffer) essentially tore out his (mechanical) heart to prevent impending doom, providing the gang with the technology needed to save themselves from the time storm. Enoch’s final moments—filled with existential musings about the nature of humanity and loneliness—were in a single word, heartbreaking.
Luckily, his sacrifice means the team lives to fight another day, as we tick closer and closer towards the series finale of the action-adventure drama.
Below, Stoffer—who had been with the sci-fi series since 2017—chats about his character’s final scene, his favorite Enoch episode, and whether he would reprise the role in the future.
I’m so sad to see Enoch go, but did you ever think you’d get that fantastic monologue before you went?! That was a great goodbye to the character!
Joel Stoffer: No, I was so surprised, and honored. Truly, I felt so beloved. I sat at the table read, and I was like, ‘Uh, I’ve never felt so loved by people who keep killing me,’ since this would not be the first time they’re killing me off, but no, it was great. It was an honor to do it.
And this time the death sticks, right? That’s safe to say?
Yes, I think it’s safe to say. It’s Marvel, so anything can happen, but yeah.
We’ve seen Enoch soften at the edges a bit as time goes on, which is something he speaks about a lot in that final scene, becoming more human, more or less. If you had to say, what percentage human do you think Enoch was in those final moments?
Well, I think it was a lot. I’m going like 50/50 there. This is an emotional season, for both Enoch and me, as an actor. Shooting this final scene, I’m saying goodbye, not just as the character, but as myself. I said to Elizabeth [Henstridge, who directed the episode], ‘You know, I’m probably going to cry while I’m doing this, and Chronicoms don’t cry. What am I going to do?’ And she was like, ‘don’t worry about it.’
I think that [my tears] really allow the emotion to happen underneath, and that was surprising for Enoch, and so my response was to have that bit of surprise [in the scene]. And the surprise wasn’t like, ‘Oh my god, this is happening to me?!’ [For Enoch] the surprise was really that there was a sense of joy, a sense of pure, ‘Oh, so this is what it’s like.’ So, I really tried to bring that into the scene as I was playing it.
Do you think Enoch’s tearful goodbye will influence Phil Coulson [Clark Gregg] at all and how he perceives his new self?
Maybe. I think Coulson’s LMD is even more advanced. He has human qualities that were programmed into him. He’s always been light-years ahead.
Can you tease at all how Enoch’s sacrifice affects the rest of the team?
I know that a lot of questions get answered, that’s for sure. I know Fitz [Iain De Caestecker] will be coming to be a part of, I guess the final mission, and he’ll figure it out.
Now, you mentioned the tears earlier, but was there anything specific that Elizabeth helped you with as an actor to get this, or any of the other scenes in this episode right?
Only in the sense that she just trusted what the actors were doing. For me, she said, ‘You know this character. Just do what you do.’ Which I think is a credit to her ability as an artist. You have to be able to trust. It was just about, let’s let it happen as it happens, and let it unfold in an organic way. That’s a hard thing for a lot of directors to do. A lot of directing is allowing the scene to take it’s own shape and trust that. Elizabeth is such an amazing person and incredibly talented actress, for her to have done as well with this challenging episode is a credit to her ability.
Do you have a favorite Enoch scene or moment from the series as a whole?
Well, certainly getting to play with that scene in tonight’s episode is a big one, but I have a very fond place in my heart for Episode 603 [“Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson”]. Getting to explore all the existential angst and the friendship that grew between Enoch and Fitz, discovering what friendship is for the first time as a Chronicom, without really knowing what the hell it is—he just decides to go full-on into it. And Enoch finds his way.
Again, just [it was the EPs] letting me make some choices that were sort of unorthodox, but somehow found their way into the final cut, which was great.
Do S.H.I.E.L.D. fans freak out when they run into you and see that you’re actually a human being and not at all like Enoch?
I have had that a few times! People are a bit taken aback because yeah, I don’t come off that way in person. Which I’m glad to say is the case. [Laughs]
Would you ever reprise Enoch if Marvel came knocking for other opportunities?
Absolutely. You don’t know what could happen with Marvel. If they came knocking, I would absolutely want to be a part of something. I think there’s a lot more to explore with Enoch. There’s a potential 30,000-plus years of story to tell.
And, of course, you’ve also booked another great gig recently—Stranger Things Season 4. Can you say anything about that role at all?
I can’t. I wish I could! But I don’t even know much about it. Once they get back up and running, there will be more to talk about, hopefully.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Wednesdays, 10/9c, ABC