It would not have been hard for Agents of Shield to take a step back after the magnitude of what occurred in midseason finale (has it really almost been 3 months?). Instead though, “Aftershocks” literally sent ripples throughout the Marvel Universe. Some foreseen, some not foreseen. And despite a weird change of heart, this episode was easily one of the best of the series.
With so many directions this show could’ve gone with to start, it was almost shocking that we started in the past with Skye’s mother. Seeing her in a mentorship like role to young Inhumans, being the guide they need to “show them the way”, it really lent to how important Skye’s mother was to their kind. The addition of the “blind” Inhuman we met at the end of the midseason finale was also a nice touch. Furthermore, the use of the word “Terrigenesis” was a nice inclusion further cementing the Inhumans and their culture.
Truly though, for Coulsons team, this whole episode was about Skye and Trip. Or to put it very blatantly, the one who lived, and the one who died. The team was rocked by Tripp’s death, and were fearful for Skye and what might be wrong with her, especially after the discovery of Raina (who I’ll get to). The last thing they wanted was another friend to die.
Having tempers flaring, and their emotions boil over was another nice touch. It can be forgiven to forget that these people have been through a LOT in the last couple months (in the show’s time). They’ve lost friends, allies, lost ground, been betrayed, and more. Mack and Coulson’s argument, that forced people like Nick and May to choose where they stand, was good stuff. I really liked how Nick was with Mack, his line about “Rank? You think that really matters now?” was spot on.
Coulson though was the best here, his anger and rage towards Hydra and what they did was beautiful to watch. Hearing him say how he was going to “crush them” was something we honestly hadn’t heard from him before. You almost had to wonder if his anger was going to get the best of him…
Thankfully, and epically, it didn’t. The way Coulson and team used Hydra against themselves, killing off four of it’s five key members was brutal. The look when the key realized he helped Hydra kill off four heads of it’s group was priceless. As May noted, Hydra wasn’t a family, and that was their weakness.
I did like they showed that Hydra was not dead with Whitehall gone. Also, how they mention Von Strucker in regards to him being in command still overall. This could lead to some potential battles before Age of Ultron hits. And like I said, they only killed 4 of the 5 heads. One is still out there…
But let’s not forget about our newest Inhumans. Skye learning to deal with the fact that she is now a superhuman was interesting to watch. You had to wonder how full fledged they’d invoke her powers at first. It was curious that they said she destroyed part of the temple, and that she was found unharmed…it was a little hard to believe without a visual, but oh well.
Seeing her try her hardest to not lose control, and not expose her secret was also great. Yes, it’ll come out soon (previews say next episode…) but for now? Great stuff. Especially when it was Fitz of all people who figured it out. Hearing him almost plead with Skye, and hope that it was just his own mind playing tricks on him again was powerful. As was his “saving” her by switching the samples to show the others that she wasn’t a threat. Again, it won’t last, but Fitz’s logic about telling them when they weren’t so heated was very sound.
Sadly, what wasn’t sound was Simmons reaction to all this. Her proclamation that “powers were evil” was both confusing, and naive at the same time. Her rationale that powers were the reason they were all suffering was false on numerous levels. Especially when she said the Avengers wouldn’t be needed if they hadn’t brought alien remnants into their world. Does she hear herself? The Inhumans were created by aliens, not humans. Thor is a god from Asgard, not created by us. Steve Rogers was given powers, and he used them to save the world, and on and on. To hear her talk about wiping out everyone with powers was…well it was just plain stupid to be honest. If this persists, Simmons could become my least favorite character…again.
The other big focus on Raina was fantastic. I loved how she hated her transformation, how she felt she had been lied to, and that Skye “had stolen what was promised her”. I remember in the comics, one character said about Inhumans that the Terrigen Mists “show you who we really are”. Raina may have never seen herself as a monster, but that was what she was, and maybe the Mists wanted to show her that. Her chat with Cal was very revealing, for both him and her. Leading to Raina willingly wanting to commit suicide rather than look at herself. Then to top it all off, the blind Inhuman came and saved her.
On it’s own, that would’ve been cool in and of itself, but to have him say, “Don’t worry beautiful, I’ll show you the way” was perfect. Why? Because Inhumans (more than X-Men or anyone other breed with powers) protect their own, and this showed that beautifully.
A curious thread that I can’t wait to see pulled is Mac and Bobbi’s “plan”. Both had strong scenes in “Aftershocks”. Bobbi with Skye, Mac with Fitz, but then they pull a 180 and go “dark”, it really makes you wonder who they answer to…
In the end, “Aftershocks” made you interested in Shield after it’s hiatus. The Inhumans are here. Hydra just got dealt a BIG blow. The team is about to be shaken to it’s core. And this was only the first episode back.