It’s almost tradition to have a transition episode following a huge shakeup. After “One Door Closes” literally fractured the Shield team, and then some, it would’ve been easy to expect a low impact episode in “Afterlife”. But you would be wrong.
Not only did this episode show what was going on in the Agents of Shield world, but it gave us a bigger understanding of what was happening in the land of Inhumans with Skye. One that led to quite a few revelations.
I loved how this episode was able to balance out the three major storylines all without feeling cluttered or overreaching, which could’ve easily happened. Seeing Gonzalez and Bobbi argue over what Skye was showed that just because they’re a more “transparent Shield”, it doesn’t mean they all see eye-to-eye. This then led to the interesting twist of Fitz actually being allowed to leave Shield unharmed. Although a lovely slight-of-hand between him and Simmons led to a big smile on many fans faces I’m sure.
And that showdown between Gonzalez and May? Classic. Especially when we got to see that the gun was actually loaded. Ha!
Meanwhile, Coulson and Hunter had to try and make due with what they had, and figure out how to get everything back. I’m sure many were expecting Coulson to figure out a way to take back Shield almost instantly, but that would’ve made everything feel like a waste. Instead, he had to take a step back, and call in some old friends, and realize he had to contact an old enemy.
I was floored by the return of Mike Peterson, aka Deathlok. For an appearance like that to be kept secret? Dang. Also, his return is very welcomed, as he was a big part of Agents of Shield in the first season, heck, he was the start of it all!
Then there’s Skye, who willingly let Gordon save her last episode, only to find out she was taken to the land of Inhumans (no, not Atilan, but close) where she was to be “healed” and “transitioned” into her new life of Inhuman-ity. This I found to be the most interesting part of the episode (in the good way) as we got to see what truly was happening in regards to this sect of the Inhumans. First off, there aren’t as many there as you might think. Fellow Inhuman Lincoln noted how one was chosen to go through the mists every few years. And that the process was very different than what Skye and Raina went through.
Oh, and Raina? Yeah, she’s there, and alive, and still angry at what she is. Seeing her and Skye showdown their new abilities was very satisfying, especially when Raina all but begged to be killed. You can tell she still truly hates what she’s becomes, noting how it was worse being the monster than being called one.
This in and of itself led to the revelation that Skye’s mother is alive!!!! Didn’t see that coming. Like seriously. Now true, this could be seen as a cop-out. However, her appearance shows that this is more than meets the eye, she has visible scars that show she was indeed cut-up by Whitehall, how she got from gutted mess to here is anyone’s guess right now, but it’ll be fun to see her interact with Skye…who she didn’t tell about their “relationship”.
In the end, “Afterlife” was an oddly satisfying episode that showed you can have little action, lots of story and character moments, and still have a memorable episode.