After a long mid season break, Marvel’s ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ returns to continue the amazing plot set up in its earlier episodes of Season 2. Last time we saw Agent Coulson and the team, Skye had just been exposed to what is known as Terrigan Mist in the alien city, along with Raina, which also caused the death of Trip. This episode is a somber one that deals with the aftermath of the change in status quo for the show, while dealing with how the death of a team member affects everyone differently.
The episode begins with a flashback to 1983 of a young boy named Gordon who has incredible teleportation powers that he seems unable to deal with. Apparently he’s gone through the Terrigenesis process, similar to Skye, and only young woman named Jiaying can guide him through this. It’s a visually stunning scene that’s also a sweet moment because Dichen Lachman returns as Skye’s mom to guide to this boy through his new found powers. Gordon also seems to have no eyes in the process of these new powers, like the man we saw in the last episode.
The whole Inhumans introduction and Terrigan Mist is essentially Marvel’s loophole to not being able to feature ‘mutants’ in their Cinematic Universe due to the rights belonging to Fox Studios. So I’m amused that the first Inhuman to feature in ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ has a power that looks exactly like Nightcrawler’s who is a character belonging to Fox. Real subtle Marvel.
Titled ‘Aftershocks’, this episode plants the seeds for the rest of the season and seems to internalize the conflict rather than focus on an outside threat. Skye is in quarantine awaiting test results to see how the mist affected her. I’m very impressed at Chloe Bennett’s growth as an actor. She started the season as a more subdued version of her Season 1 self, learning to be an Agent, whereas now she’s caged and dealing with new sensations that she can’t explain. It’s not until the appearance of Ruth Negga’s Raina and her new thorny appearance, which Simmons suspects that Skye may be ‘infected’ too. We catch a glimpse of Skye’s powers when she gets slightly emotional but her powers manifest properly when confronted by Fitz about her new abilities. Despite this, Fitz lies to others and keeps Skye’s change and transformation a secret from everyone else, until they get a better understanding of things anyways. Glad to see Iain Caestecker’s Fitz move from the background to take a more active role in the story.
Fitz’s decision is mostly due to Simmons‘ new found perspective on the Alien process being a plague and there being a risk of an epidemic that she must stop. After the death of Trip, Simmons seems to be dealing with it by being closed off and is almost treading down a dark path. She didn’t flinch at shooting Raina and even suggested the team hunting her shoot to kill. She’s almost a little obsessed, so one can only imagine her reaction to Skye’s new biological condition. I feel that her arc is going to take her to a different place than the rest of the team.
Through the use of their H.Y.D.RA. prisoner Sunil Bakshi, Whitehall’s right hand man, Coulson is able to use some careful deception to wipe out the other senior members of H.Y.D.R.A. in one fell swoop. This makes me feel even more that the rest of the season is going to rely on an internal conflict between the team, either about Skye’s new powers or whatever Bobbi and Mack are up to. Mack’s toy car to Coulson ended up scanning his office and found Fury’s box, which he offered to Coulson after S.H.I.E.L.D. fell and made him Director. Are they double agents or working for some other purpose that for whatever reason has to be hidden from Coulson and crew?
The episode ends with a grown up Gordon, or Reader, from the beginning of the episode, teleporting into a group of S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents attempting to capture Raina, in an awesome sequence, and escaping with her. It’s the perfect end to an otherwise decent episode. While H.Y.D.R.A. was dispatched a little too quickly, it further confirms my suspicions of the who moving away from them as a recurring villain, but opening up to other conflicts that will take center stage like Gordon, Ward (who is noticeably absent this episode) or Skye’s dad who wants to mount an attack against Coulson for robbing him of his revenge. Things should get interesting from here on out on Marvel’s ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’