Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep11 – Aftershocks

Marvel’s Inhumans isn’t due out in theaters until July 12, 2019, but that isn’t stopping Marvel from already introducing the concept on their increasingly improving TV series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Aftershocks”, which shows the aftermath of what transpired in the underground temple in “What They Become”, naturally progresses the Marvel Cinematic Universe into something more as Inhumans Skye, Raina, and a mysterious newcomer remain in the spotlight. Of course Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. wouldn’t be what it is without its spy-centric themes, so “Aftershocks” contains plenty of that as well, as HYDRA still remains a threat and upcoming double-crosses are teased.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep11 - Aftershocks (6)

Still after HYDRA

The mysterious blind character last introduced in the mid-season finale is seen again during a flashback sequence opening up this week’s episode. Only a child, he is seen in an enclosed room displaying teleportation abilities (very much like X-Men’s Nightcrawler) seemingly without control. He is eventually able to calm down after Skye’s mother Jiaying comes in and consoles him. Other than this brief glimpse into the character’s background, not much detail is given on him, but judging from one of the episode’s final moments he will be a key player in the gathering of other Inhumans as time goes by.

The death of Agent Tripp has hit the team hard, but especially Skye, as she saw him die before he eyes and even feels some form of guilt. The team has no idea what Skye has become and neither does she. It isn’t until Fitz confirms that her blood sample has changed and through some science, figures out she caused the quakes that led to the temple’s destruction. Before this is figured out, Simmons displays fear of people with powers and even thinks killing Raina wouldn’t be all that bad. This newfound fear instilled in her as well as the confusion occurring within the team leads to Fitz keeping of Skye’s Inhuman abilities a secret. This takes the characters into some interesting territory, but I hope this secret isn’t drawn out for too long. In fact, considering the way Skye has trouble controlling her ability, I’m sure the rest of the team will find out in the next episode.

While Skye has gained the ability to cause earthquakes, her physical appearance remains the same. Unfortunately for Raina, her transformation was much more drastic. Raina now has thorns protruding out of her skin, and according to her, her insides feel like gravel and she can barely walk without feeling pain. I couldn’t help but feel sad for Raina in her current state. Yes, she has been a constant villain siding herself with HYDRA or anyone who can assist in completing her goal since she was first introduced, but she was nowhere near the level of some other villains like Daniel Whitehall or even John Garret. Fortunately, the now suicidal Raina, is saved by the mysterious Inhuman we have yet to learn more about. I’m looking forward to seeing where we’ll see Raina next and how many more Inhumans will come out of the woodwork.

Some of this episode’s best moments consisted of characters arguing with each other or just displaying intense moments of anger. Clark Gregg gives us a side of Coulson we rarely see as he swears revenge against HYDRA, assuring Skye they will not fail. Another character to display some anger is Mack, who in the last episode had become out of control while in the temple. His pain fuels a pretty intense argument between him and Coulson, which leads us to begin to realize that Skye’s abilities can be triggered under stressful situations.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., S2 Ep11 - Aftershocks (3)

Mack is not happy

The subplot involving HYDRA wasn’t the most interesting element of the episode as I cared more about the Inhuman subplot, but it did lead to some fun action sequences. Coulson and May pull a pretty elaborate ruse and trick Bakshi into thinking they were successfully killed by someone working for HYDRA (Hunter), thus saving Bakshi from their capture. The ruse is an obvious one, as we know May and Coulson wouldn’t be killed off so easily and Coulson’s “they’ll never take us alive!” sounded appropriately staged, leading to a good laugh afterwards. The ruse turns out to be way of having Bakshi lead them to other HYDRA operatives.

There is a big twist in “Aftershocks” that I don’t know what to think of yet. It is revealed that Bobbi and Mack are working together in some way against Coulson and the team. With the toy Lola Mack made in earlier episodes, Mack and Bobbi now have surveillance on Coulson’s office leading them to finding the device Nick Fury gave him in last season’s finale. Why? We don’t know. It’s highly doubtful that Mack and Bobbi are double agents secretly working for HYDRA. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has already played that card with Ward and it would seem redundant if they tried it again. Mack and Bobbi may either be working for another faction altogether, or they have a personal vendetta against Coulson and want to perform some act of mutiny against him. Whatever it is I am compelled to keeping watching till we find out.

“Aftershocks” was an amazing return for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It was filled with action, drama, and plenty of comic book elements that should please any hardcore Marvel fan. Marvel is doing a successful job at naturally progressing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. into some new territory and wisely planting seeds for the future of the series as well as their own cinematic universe. This is what the series should have always striven to be, and I’m glad to see it’s still on the right track in its second season. Keep watching.