Aftershocks: Marvel's Agents of SHIELD S2E11 – Review

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Welcome back, Agents!

Sadly, Agent Carter is over and done with until we hear any future news about a possible second season.  On the plus side, though, we are back to my first love, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.  We’ve been waiting many months to find out “what they became” so let’s jump in!

And, obviously, if you aren’t quite up-to-date with your SHIELD watching, well, catch up and join us back here.

Aftershocks – Recap

We pick up with a much-needed reminder of some of the events which have transpired in the past episodes.  We then see a scene from an “unkown location” way in the past.  A young boy with no eyes is screaming and teleporting around a locked room, obviously freaked out.  Skye’s mom is brought in to help comfort him and guide him.

Return to today with Skye in quarantine until all her blood tests come back as normal.  Since she was exposed to the same myst that killed Trip, from the same alien source that took over Mack, there’s a little bit of well-deserved over-protection going on.

Simmons is still in the underground city, sifting through the rubble and making sure that it is safe enough to blow a hole in the ocean floor above and flood the dang thing.  They hadn’t found Raina’s body, yet, but that’s probably because she’s transformed into some creature that’s lurking around in the shadows, killing scientists left and right with her bare hands.  Simmons catches a glimpse of her and shoots her twice, before watching her escape.  Coulson tells her to come back to the base while the rest of the “boots on the ground” continue the man-hunt (thing-hunt) for Raina.

Raina, however, has found her way onto a freighter – the same one as Cal, Skye’s dad.  She tells him that Skye was exposed to the mist and came out as beautiful as ever, whereas she came out looking like a porcupine.  She reveals her face for the first time – beast-looking features, thorns everywhere – and reveals that her insides feel like gravel and she cuts herself whenever she moves.  She says she can’t live like this, and Cal calmly suggests that she don’t, then.

Coulson is obviously VERY shaken by the loss of Trip, and wants revenge on those responsible.  With Whitehall out of the picture, he knows the head is cut off and they need to kill Hydra before it can come up with two new ones.  The rest of the team expresses varying levels of disagreement, eventually ending with a power play by Coulson to the effect of “gear up and follow your orders.”

They arrange a deal with General Talbott to exchange their prisoner Bakshi for the US Government’s help in going after remaining Hydra forces.  En route to drop him off, their car gets side-swiped into a warehouse where a fight ensues.  (There can never just be normal crashes, huh?  Always have to be spy crashes.)  Coulson and May both get shot and Bakshi is helped into a van by a driver who turns out to be Lance Hunter.  Coulson and May and everyone else involved in the fight get up and reveal the whole thing was a ploy that Bakshi totally fell for.  (Like we’re supposed to believe a fight scene that realistic can all be fake…oh wait)

Lance gets Bakshi to tell him where to take him, then pulls a gun saying that the people who pay him want Bakshi dead.  Bakshi begs for his life and tries to work a deal, which Lance pretends to accept.  They drive to a meetup with another big head of Hydra where Bakshi reveals some other member of Hydra must want him dead.  A kill order is given and all the other heads meet with very obelisk-like demises.

Meanwhile, Hunter is waiting in the car and is joined by Bobbi, who has been following at a distance.  Bakshi sends his agents to kill them, but they have a car that shoots back.  They break into the compund and take out everyone but Bakshi, who they have already promised to Talbott, so he’s safe.

Meanwhile, Skye remains very shaken.  And the more she gets shaken, the more things around her start to shake.  Fitz reveals that after reconstructing her biometric wristband (holy cow, was not expecting that thing to have a super importance later) he was able to see her data during the quake – her heart rate hit 300 bpm, which is “inhuman”.  He leaves and Skye freaks out to the point of bursting the light behind her.  Not physically, though.  Super-poweredly.  (Sure, that can be a word, why not?)

May and Simmons come back to check on her, and just before the wrong questions get asked, Fitz comes back with Skye’s blood results, showing 100% no change from an earlier sample.  He makes up a story about knocking into the light while wearing one of those ridiculously clunky hazmat suits.  Skye being cleared, he asks Simmons to get Skye some new sheets (instead of looking so closely at those results…) and helps Skye bandage her now-injured hand.  He tells Skye that with everyone’s paranoia about superpowers (Simmons is starting to be on the side of killing anyone with powers to prevent the destruction that usually accompanies that) it may be best to keep the secret just between them.

Mac’s toy Lola suddenly springs to life in Coulson’s office, scanning the entire room, highlighting something in Coulson’s desk.  He tells Bobbi that he has visual confirmation that Fury’s toolbox is in Coulson’s desk.  She says she’ll make contact and get further instructions.  And that’s all we get to know about that for now.

Raina appears on the side of a highway and very calmly starts walking through the traffic, assumedly hoping to not make it all the way across.  She gets surrounded by the police who have been looking for her – stating they just want to take her in.  She tells them that they will either kill her or she’ll make them kill her.  Before that can happen, though, the no-eyes kid is all grown up now and literally materializes out of nowhere, with some kind of psychic shield around him and Raina.  He grabs her and they both disapparate to…somewhere.  And that’s all we get to know about that for now.

Review

I love that, for all intents and purposes, Hydra is dead.  There were six leaders.  Whitehall brought that down to five.  Then in-fighting and revenge made them each take each other out.  Too many villains can be overwhelming – not for SHIELD to fight, but for us to watch, and for me to review.  We may run into individual pockets of Hydra clinging on, but there’s not some global network of villainy.  With the Inhumans popping up here and there, it seems like it will go back to more of the structure it had before – respond to this and that weird thing, building up to a bigger “it’s all connected” kind of storyline.  Plus, we’ve had all of this build up of Leviathan in Agent Carter, and the organization as a whole was never really dealt with.  Maybe they have a void to fill, now.  Who knows?  (I don’t)

Bobbi and Mac make me nervous.  Especially with no bigger picture of Hydra, I’m almost certain that’s not the answer. Plus, it’s too easy.  Remember when we were all wondering about Skye’s loyalty, and the pay off was way different than what we thought it was going to be?  Or some people thought May was a traitor when she was actually working for Fury?  I’m willing to bet it’s one of those situations.  Or, it’ll be like Ward where he legitimately is the jerk he seems to be.

Oh, man, I hope they’re not working with Ward.  We didn’t see much of him this episode, and when someone is too quiet with too long to plan, bad things tend to happen.

I thought the make-up work on the new Raina was pretty dang cool.  I’ve seen enough behind-the-scenes features (not of this, but in general) to know that getting things to stick out of skin convincingly, and be able to hold under a hoodie, take a ton of work and talent.  My compliments to the effects department.  I legitimately feel bad for the character – she’s in constant pain, and that’s awful to live with.  She did kind of ask for it, though.  And now she has to decide how she’s going to live with it.  Villain?  Reformed hero?  Complete hiding?  Whatever happened to Deathlok, anyway, huh?

I loved how much Fitz helped move this plot along (not biased at all, mind you).  He sometimes gets pushed to the background because of his brain not working like it should.  But in this episode alone, he found conclusive evidence of Skye’s superpowers before she herself even fully realized it.  He covered for her to allow her to figure things out more before the team does.  He comforted Mac on the experience of losing control of his own body and watching himself hurt his loved ones.  And he comforted Skye that she’s not better or worse than before, just different – something he knows about all too well.

All in all, it was a great welcome-back show for SHIELD.  It answered some of the lingering questions, posed a few more, and set up a lot of the struggles for the rest of this season.  The nerds figured out who Daisy Johnson was, and Chloe Bennet revealed that information specifically in her “describe your character in 10 seconds” video.  But for the people who just casually watch the show without knowing the comics, it was nice to get it all spelled out directly in the context of the show.

As usual, the tech and the fight scenes are cool, but the whole point of this show is to watch our team dealing with constant changes between themselves, and in how their world works.  Many of them have had to completely adjust how they view the world, some of them multiple times.  It’s going to be interesting watching these people continue to grow and adjust through this season.

Gear up, agents.  It’s going to be a heck of a ride.

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