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REVIEW: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2×11 “Aftershocks”

Way to make a huge comeback, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! It’s been a long couple of weeks, but it’s good to finally be back with our favorite lesser-appreciated Marvel heroes. Tonight’s episode, “Aftershocks”, delivers a satisfying hour of programming while still raising questions regarding the show’s future. (spoilers ahead!)

When we last left off, the Diviner was activated, which triggered the Terrigenesis and mutated Skye and Raina. At the same time, Agent Trip was fossilized and killed, Ward and Agent 33 escaped, and some guy without eyes spoke on the phone. It was a lot to take in. For the people who aren’t intense Marvel fans, it may have been super confusing, and it’s only going to get worse as the Inhumans storyline develops. Fortunately, Marvel Studios is usually good with telling stories and providing background on characters and events, so I’m not too worried. But at the same time, I’m thankful I have some know-how about the matter, which lets me worry less about understanding the Inhumans and allows me to focus more on other aspects of the show.

The beginning of the episode throws us right into the Inhuman action. A flashback to 1983 shows Skye’s mother, Jiaying, speaking with a confused teenager who is missing his eyes and teleporting across an enclosed room. This eyeless boy, going by the name “Gordon”, is panicking and trying to come to terms with his powers and his new lack of visuals. I hope they shed more light on him soon. At least we know now that Jiaying seemed to have been a counselor on the Inhumans and the Terrigenesis, and was trying to learn more about their role on Earth.

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Back in the present, everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters is handling their grief over Trip’s death. It was interesting that they focused so much attention on who I thought was a minor character. If it was Agent May or Coulson, I’d understand, but Trip? I’m not complaining; it just caught me off-guard. I actually enjoyed watching everyone connect on a personal level and help each other through difficult times. One of my favorite interactions was between Mack and Fitz. During the mid-season finale, Mack’s mind was taken over by a dark force that caused him to go crazy and attack his fellow agents. Now, Mack is coping with the feeling of being possessed and betraying his teammates. The only person who seems to understand how he’s feeling is Fitz, and the two share a close bonding moment, which felt much more natural than the other times they attempted to connect earlier in the season.

Simmons and another team of agents are working in the temple where the Diviner was activated. Raina, who was thought dead from the Terrigenesis, takes out the other agents and escapes. Like Skye, she was also affected by the Diviner, only in a more intense way that left her with thorns jutting from all over her body. The last we see of Raina this episode, she’s about to commit suicide, unable to cope with life in her transformed state. Gordon appears and teleports both of them to an unknown destination.

Skye is now in quarantine until S.H.I.E.L.D. can determine that her DNA was not harmed in the Terrigenesis. An argument erupts amongst the agents, mainly between Mack and Coulson, about the agents’ obession with the alien city, which led to Trip’s death. Coulson goes full bad-ass and shuts Mack down right away, telling him that if Trip were there right now, he wouldn’t be bitching, and would instead be gearing up for a new mission. Coulson also states that S.H.I.E.L.D. is going to have its revenge by taking out the rest of HYDRA.

The way that Coulson and co. take out HYDRA is one of my favorite moments of the season. Using some sneaky strategy that includes positioning Agent Hunter as a double-agent for HYDRA, S.H.I.E.L.D. tricks the main players of the organization into assassinating each other.

On another note, I liked seeing Skye demonstrate her powers. We found out in the winter finale that her real name is Daisy, which is the alternate name for Quake. Skye’s powers manifest themselves multiple times in the episode, triggering minor tremors whenever she feels a high level of stress or other intense emotions. I’m assuming that the rest of this season will be about her learning to adapt to her powers, and next season will revolve around turning her into a weapon that S.H.I.E.L.D. can use in the war against HYDRA. What bothers me is the fact that the Inhumans film isn’t due until 2019, so what does this show intend to do to bridge such a long gap? Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hasn’t even been renewed for a third season yet! I hope Marvel has a plan in case things don’t pan out, or else they may have shot themselves in the foot and messed up the continuity.

The episode was a great way to come back into the swing of things. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better than the finale of Agent Carter, so I won’t complain too much. Here’s to hoping we keep this flow going!

Final Grade: B

+ Loved seeing the Inhumans’ abilities and powers on screen.

+ Mack and Fitz’s conversation was well-done, with excellent performances from both actors.

+ The double-agent/HYDRA scene was bad-ass.

 

– The show may be starting to get confusing for people who aren’t already familiar with Inhumans.

– It’s a long time to the Inhumans movie and I’m slightly worried that the show might not be able to last long enough to bridge the gap.

Extra thought:

– Mack and Bobbi mention that they have a secret. While Bobbi tells Hunter that the secret is a support group for S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, there’s obviously more to it. Is it possible that they’re up to no good?

What were your thoughts on tonight’s episode? Any speculation on how the Inhumans storyline will play out? Send us your thoughts in the comments or shoot us a message on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!