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Agents of SHIELD Episode 211 Review: Aftershocks

After the mid-season break, I am super excited to see Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD come back.  Along with Agent Carter, Marvel has carved out some tremendous television that I hope gets renewed.

To get back up to speed on the show, you can check out this handy list of characters and this recap of the major storylines of the show thus far.

Caution, spoilers ahead.

[divider]Recap of Agents of SHIELD Episode 211: Aftershocks[/divider]

The show opens on a younger version of the man with no eyes that we saw at the end of the last episode. Skye’s mom shows up to help him understand his powers, which seem like teleportation. The boy – Gordon – can’t cry because of his eyes being closed up, presumably from the exposure to the mist, and he seems panicked with the loss of vision.

As Skye’s mom talks, we learn that she has guided many young people through the change.  But she warns how hard it is going to be for others who go through it when she is gone and not available to be their guide.

Skye is then shown, quarantined in a lab, and talking with Coulson, deeply hurting from knowing that she was part of Tripp’s death. Coulson explains that the rest of the team are all dealing with their pain by staying busy. It isn’t clear whether she knows that she has her new powers and is keeping them from Coulson or if she is just confused about what happened.

Simmons is shown in the city, collecting data and preparing to flood the hidden city, as Coulson explains that their war isn’t over and people will pay for the death of Tripp, even as he celebrates that in killing Whitehall, they have removed the head of Hydra for now.

The next scene is a roundtable of rich, wealthy, powerful looking people.  There is a discussion of finding Whitehall’s replacement and the name von Strucker is dropped, which means a lot to Marvel fans. (More on this later.)
NE3yhPYUdhyg6c_1_aRaina, disgusted by the Inhuman she has become, comes back on the scene and kills two scientists before being chased away by Simmons.

Agent Bobbi Morse then drops by to support Skye, still in quarantine.  Meanwhile, Fitz and Mac have a conversation, as Fitz is working to repair Skye’s bio-meter watch, which should have recorded lots of data during the incident with the mist. Mac is having a hard time dealing with the fact that he was under alien influence and he wants to make sure that Simmons floods the city.

Simmons calls in to report that Raina was covered in thorns, but that she had recovered a tissue sample from Raina that could be studied. Coulson is clearly worried because he knows the same stuff that Raina was exposed to, Skye was exposed to as well.

Morse, Hunter and Mac all seem to have issues, with Mac being the most vocal, frustrated because they risked everyone to save Skye; the main issue being how obsessed Coulson and Skye were with the alien technology and drawings drawings, which he felt caused drove them to be reckless. As the argument escalates, Skye’s powers kick in. But no one notices and she seems to get it under control, yet she is clearly freaked out by it.

CLARK GREGG, MING-NA WENAgent Coulson trades captured Hydra agent Bakshi to General Talbot in exchange for Talbot’s help in hunting down Hydra.  May is expressing her doubts when the car they are transporting him in is intercepted by a large truck. A shootout ensues with May then dual wielding to take out the last 4. (I had doubts about this actress at the beginning of the series. But I now COMPLETELY buy her as being the heavy.)

Surprised, May is then hit and Coulson is shot in the back yelling “They’ll never take us alive!” Bakshi goes on the run with a disguised Hunter, who is playing as if he betrayed the team. Turns out this was all an elaborate set up by Coulson to get Bakshi to lead them to the heads of Hydra. And it worked.

Simmons is back and is talking to Skye, still in quarantine. Simmons is deeply worried because her research on Raina’s DNA shows anomalies. Skye freaks out a bit because Simmons goes into full on meltdown mode, saying that the only solution she sees is eliminating the alien DNA entirely. The breakdown concludes with tears over Tripp’s death and Simmons promising to protect those she loves.

For the first time this episode, we see Skye’s dad, trying to hide and run away. When Raina shows up, growing thorns and we see her mutated face for the first time, changed in a way she clearly did not hope it would be! Raina seems to think that Skye got the gift meant for her but Calvin is very excited to know that his daughter has gone through the metamorphosis. He is concerned that they will put Skye on The Index, which seems to be a list of people being studied. Raina wants to be transformed back, saying that the thorns are hurting her, that she can’t take it. He suggests to Raina that her way out is to end her own life.

ADRIANNE PALICKI, NICK BLOODHunter and Bakshi arrive at the Hydra hideout, and as Hunter stays in the SUV, Morse pops up and gives him her assessment of the situation.  Hunter and Morse then debrief the argument from earlier, with Hunter pointing out that he knows she and Mac are in cahoots together. Morse lies and says that she and Mac are in a support group together, dealing with what happened when SHIELD went south with the Hydra revelation.

When May and Coulson get back, Mac apologizes for his outburst and everything is made normal. And at the same time, Simmons suggests that the best course and approach on Raina may be not to capture her but to kill her, eradicating what she sees as a plague.

Fitz approaches Skye wanting answers because the data shows her having “inhuman” heart rates at the time of the temple collapse. Fitz realizes that Skye is the one that caused the tremor, even saying “something is wrong with you.” Skye’s powers freak out and Fitz runs away. And this is interspersed with scenes of Raina looking like she is contemplating suicide on a bridge.

May shares that part of Coulson’s intensity is because he truly saw Tripp as the embodiment of all that is good about SHIELD. And as she gives her speech, we see Coulson delivering Tripp’s suitcase to his grandmother and consoling her, even as he looks at a picture of Tripp’s grandfather in the Howling Commandos

We then see Bakshi and his allies working together to eliminate the competition within Hydra. But when the hit is attempted on Morse and Hunter, they are ready and take out the assasins. As we see a montage of the Hydra power circle all being killed, Bakshi realizes that Coulson played him, tricking Hydra into turning on themselves.

Fitz lies to Simmons and May, saying that Skye’s DNA is the same as before. Fitz reveals to Skye that he wants to keep her safe until everyone settles down, consoling her as she breaks down with gratitude. Fitz assures her that she is just different now and there is nothing wrong with being different.

Raina is then in the midst of being captured when Gordon teleports in, grabs her and says the line that Skye’s mother said to him long ago: “It is okay, beautiful, I will show you the way.” With that, they are gone.

For the final scenes, we see Mac’s remote control car version of Coulson’s ride Lola. It comes to life and starts scanning things in Coulson’s office, while in other parts of the building the team are telling stories they remember from Tripp. Morse and Mac whisper in the kitchen that Fury’s Tool Box is in Coulson’s office, and Morse makes sure that he got the blueprints of the base.

The team has a moment, remembering the fallen Agent Tripp, and Skye says “We are going to laugh a lot less. That is for sure.”

This episode is a solid 9.5 out of 10 and let me tell you why.

  • Skye/Daisy.  I completely didn’t anticipate this storyline. I basically thought we would go from the Temple to a training montage to Skye/Daisy/Quake kicking seismic butt and taking names. This dynamic of her and Fitz being undercover together is going to be a great story. The writers did a great job to create the sense that on some level, Skye has legitimate worries about how the rest of the team will treat her.
  • The Inhumans. Marvel is clearly daring Fox, who own the rights to all mutants and those stories, to sue them. Marvel is basically re-inventing the Inhumans story to be the story of mutants. How so?
    1. The idea of transformation.
    2. The idea that the change happens often in adolescence. The quote about how they are old enough to understand but not too set in their adult ways just lends itself to the mutant story.
    3. The idea that they need to be coached and trained. The show might as well had a bald guy in a wheelchair.  The only tangible difference that is out there is the exposure to the mist as a catalyst for the change.  This new backstory for the Inhumans/mutants is going to go WAY past this show. I mean, they have an Inhumans movie on the horizon.
  • Von Strucker name drop. In the list of bads with history in the Marvel Universe, the name Von Strucker is a big one. Wolfgang Von Strucker is one of the main leaders of Hydra in the comics and they could also be setting up the story of his evil children, the male and female twins who show up as Fenris. (He had them genetically engineered to have powers, with the caveat that they had to be touching. The son eventually became the Swordsman in later editions of the Thunderbolts.)

On the whole, I am very excited about the second half of this season of SHIELD! What did you like? Dislike? Have a nerd question I can answer? Fire away!

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