Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Aftershocks

"Leper? I think you're a rock star."

Bobbi, you don't know the half of it. Or maybe you do. You can never tell with spies. They're so secretive.
Like 'Turn, Turn, Turn' before it, 'What They Become' was an earth shattering (sorry) episode that shook the entire series to its core. Now it is time to pick up the pieces. This episode doesn't deal with the immediate aftermath of what happened at the temple. The team, including a quarantined Skye, are each dealing with Tripp's death in their own way.

May, Bobbi and Hunter are the ones handling it the best, which is understandable, they're all field operatives who would be used to death. But that doesn't mean they like it. They've lost a friend, they're sad, they're angry, but they've accepted it and aren't going to let it get in the way of doing their jobs. Mack is the exact opposite. He is still struggling to deal with his experience in the temple and his emotions are a lot closer to the surface. He's quicker to anger and less willing to blindly follow Coulson's orders.

Coulson was trying to convince himself that Tripp didn't die for nothing. When he went off about how he died a hero it sounded like he was trying to convince himself more than Skye. Coulson is more determined than ever to bring down HYDRA. We've never seen him this determined or ruthless before. He used HYDRA's own nature against it and struck a decisive blow against them. As happy as I am that the good guys finally managed to kick some HYDRA ass, it all felt too neat and tidy.

I feel this picture sums up both their characters perfectly. 
I knew from the off that the Bakshi handover was a ploy, Coulson's OTT acting during the shoot-out only confirmed it (how did he ever graduate from spy school?). Look, I get that HYDRA is meant to be merciless, but are they really this gullible? They whipped out most of their leadership on nothing more than minion hearsay. And fake minion hearsay at that. This entire plot thread was simply to put HYDRA on the back burner as quickly as possible. The Inhumans are the focus now. HYDRA, and its many heads, can wait.

Which brings us to Skye. Our resident Earthbender spent the majority of this episode inside a glass cage being poked and prodded, cut off from everyone else, unable to get that hug she so desperately needed and blaming herself for Tripp's death. Thank Stan for Fitz, who was there to support her as well as Mack (this was a busy week for supportive Fitz). He knows what it is like to have something done to you that changes you and how others see you. But how long can they keep this secret? Skye has no understanding or control over these abilities. Keeping them secret is probably the worst thing they can do. Which is why it is the first thing they are going to do, because it is also the most dramatic.

Apart from Fitz, everyone is clueless about Skye's abilities. Or maybe that's what they want her to think. I bet Coulson and May both know - they are the only ones who know she's an 0-8-4 - and possibly Simmons too. She seemed to be putting on a smile for Skye. It is somewhat unbelievable that Jemma now has gone full blown mutant Inhuman hater, saying that aliens and superpowered individuals are an epidemic that needs to be eradicated. How will she react when she finds out that Skye is one of them? I hope it's with understanding because a Skimmons rift is the last thing I want to see.


Intel and Assets

--Cal mentioned looking up some old friends on the Index, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s database of superpowered individuals. Is he getting his own supervillain team together?

--Congratulations to Adrianne Palicki, who is now a series regular. This won't stop me worrying that something bad might happen to Bobbi.

--The team remembering Tripp was sweet, but it also only drew attention to how underdeveloped and underused his character was.

--Skye's mother was named Jiaying.

--Raina was not dealing with her transformation well. She thought she would be a goddess, instead she's a human pincushion. Be careful what you wish for eh, Raina? I wonder what she's going to get up to with Gordon the eyeless teleporter.

--I don't think Hunter believes Bobbi's support group story for a second.

--We got a clearer picture of what Bobbi and Mack are up to. They want the secrets in Fury's toolbox. It's implied that they're working with someone else, but who? I don't think it is HYDRA. The US government maybe. Who ever it is, I just hope this doesn't lead to their expulsion from the team.

--No sign of Ward or Agent 33 this week.

--Henry Goodman (List) previously appeared in the mid-credit scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, alongside Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who was mentioned again in this episode. Will he ever turn up on the series or is he being saved for movies?

Coulson: "THEY'LL NEVER TAKE US ALIVE!"


Bobbi: "Drop the accent. It makes you sound like a douchebag."
Hunter: "Now you know what it feels like for me to live in this country."

Fitz: "No, that's Inhuman."
--He said the thing.

Fitz: "You're just different now and there's nothing wrong with that."

Skye: "We're gonna laugh a lot less. That's for sure."

Three out of four hedgehogs.
---
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

6 comments:

Jess Lynde said...

I really liked the "hugging and acceptance" throughline in this one. From Skye's mother embracing and comforting young Gordon, to Fitz doing the same for Skye, to Gordon then doing it for Raina. A nice demonstration of people "paying it forward" and helping someone else through the same trials they've experienced. I particularly liked Fitz performing that function for Skye, and telling her she was just different now and that was okay. Lovely resonance.

I hope we get more flashbacks with Jiaying. Dichen Lachman always gives such an interesting performance.

Did they have to kill Fred Dryer off so quickly? Bummer. Even if it was kind of funny that Hunter killed Hunter.

Diogo said...

On a completely unrelated note, will anyone at Doux ever review Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra? (the tv shows, duh, not the Shyamalan abomination)

Billie Doux said...

Diogo -- probably not. We don't tend to review animated television shows. I guess from your question that they're pretty good?

Mark Greig said...

They are, Billie. I got into both shows recently and can tell you that they are up there with Batman: The Animated Series and The Simpsons in the 90s. I strongly recommended everyone watch them, if only for the many crazy animal creatures.

Diogo, I would love to review both shows, and it is something I've seriously thought about, but I just have too much on my plate at the moment.

Lamounier said...

This episode was a bit of a mixed bag, so let’s see...

The Good

Hail Fitz! How awesome is he? I’m loving his arc this season, and he just became my favorite character. The way he keeps fighting back his limitations is inspiring. Iain De Caestecker is killing it in every single one of his difficult scenes.

"You're just different now and there's nothing wrong with that."

Fitz. <3

“I really liked the ‘hugging and acceptance’ throughline in this one.”

Me too! That was my favorite part of the episode, actually. In fact, this episode made me think a lot (Raina’s bits mostly) about people who go through horrible accidents that damage their body and face permanently. How can they ever recover from the event and adjust to their new look if not with the love and acceptance of others? When Cal suggested Raina to kill herself, I was heartbroken for her. Ruth Negga did a great job portraying Raina’s pain over her transformation and I look forward to the rest of her arc. Hopefully she can rock a flower dress with those horns. And can we have more Dichen Lachman, please?

The special effects of the Inhuman teleporting were pretty cool.

Loved May telling Mac to remember his rank. Keep the order on the ship, May!

The Bad

Ok, maybe I should name this category “The Could’ve Been Better” instead of “The Bad”, because it was not really bad, just somewhat silly. I’m talking about the spy segments of the episode. Coulson’s plan (have Hydra’s big bads kill each other) was awesome, but the execution? Rushed and sloppy. All it took for the baroness, the sheik and the banker to get killed was an unfunded suspicion that they were behind the kill order on Bakshi. Not buying it. Hydra is not dumb, they would double check before killing HIGH RANKING operatives. Also, the Baroness, the Sheik and the Banker? Caricature characters much? Man, they really rushed through this one.

Anyway, the Hydra guy who survived said he was going to check Whitehall’s work, so he’ll probably show up later on the season. It would also be interesting to see Ward and Evil May join Hydra to get back at Coulson and co.

The Ugly

I just could not believe Simmons went from clever scientist to stupid eugenicist in one episode. Yes, it was a way of having Skye ostracized by one of her own, but it was a stupid way! To make it even worse, Simmons is a doctor. She should not be telling a possibly contaminated patient that they might be a part of a group of people who should be freaking eradicated! God, bad writing, no biscuit. Jemma was my favorite, how could they?

Overall, I liked this mid-season premiere more than I disliked it, and I hope Simmons gets back on track quickly.

Diogo said...

Billie - Yeah, they are magnificent. I dare say Korra is even more of an accomplishment than Last Airbender, and the latter was pretty awesome to start with. Although I should warn you that, should you ever give it a shot, Last Airbender's first season has a lot of subpar episodes, but you shouldn't let that discourage you.

http://io9.com/11-reasons-you-should-be-watching-the-legend-of-korra-1640362735

Mark Greig - One day, maybe. One day you'll do the thing.