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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: After, Before

May: "I'd rather have a thin plan than live through the 80's again."

After being unable to deploy her powers as a speedster through the whole season, Elena sees herself in a position where her team needs her to use her powers. Thus, she goes on a mission to retrieve her abilities.

I have to be honest, though, I wasn't a huge fan of Yo-Yo's attitude in this episode. Her powers could save the mission from total failure, the team was literally running out of time, and yet she kept rolling her eyes at every single one of Jiaying's attempts to help her. Sure, I too didn't think acupuncture was the key to bringing her powers back, but she kept complaining the whole way through, even after Jiaying had already clocked what was wrong with her.

The fact that her problem was psychological, and not physical, was a given. Character-wise, there wouldn't be much of a story to tell if a couple of drugs fixed her. Instead, Yo-Yo needed to overcome a buried-up guilt over a traumatic event from her childhood. The writers cooked up a tragic little story that tied up nicely with the way Yo-Yo always used her powers, but I'm not sure I liked the implication that Yo-Yo was cutting herself short the whole time. When Inhumans first get their abilities, they can barely control or limit them. I did like, however, that in search for a cure, Elena also got an upgrade. Way to go, girl.

I also liked that empathic meditation wasn't the way to get to the core of Yo-Yo's issues, but empathic fight was. That is totally something that May would come up with. I continue to love how the writers are merging May's new ability with her tough persona. It's both hilarious and pragmatic. If it weren't for May, there would've been no connection made with Jiaying and the mission would have failed.

I was absolutely stoked that Jiaying was back. No big names from Agents' history had popped up yet (I'm not counting younger versions of characters played by different actors), and now, not only did we get to see Jiaying in this episode, but it looks like she will play a larger role in this season's main arc. It's also a chance to see another side of a complicated character that, when we met her in the future, was damaged from traumas past.

However, the plot centered on her first daughter, Kora, didn't fly as much as the writers were hoping to simply because they didn't lay the foundation for it. We barely saw the girl in the first half of the episode and suddenly she turns into this rebellious daughter in a mission to unleash her true self into the world. Meh, why should I care? I don't care. Nathaniel, who had the potential to be a cool villain, started to annoy me. What the hell does he know about anarchism? He is just a spoiled brat with a mission of... I have no idea. And very little interest in. I'm enjoying this season's arc, just get me better villains.

Intel and Assets

- Clever episode title, playing with the name of Jiaying's sanctuary, Afterlife.

- Pretty cool teaser, showing the events of "Mack and the D" from the perspective of those who weren't left behind.

- Mack and Deke last episode, May and Yo-Yo this episode. Most of it was about Yo-Yo, though.

- Yo-Yo flashed back to the killing of Ruby, something that contributed to her guilt, but the episode didn't spend much time dealing with it.

- Simmons' message to Fitz was so lovely and sad. With Fitz's continued absence, I find myself caring less about him and more about Simmons' mysterious journey.

- Nathaniel implies that, in the original timeline, Kora killed herself, which adds another layer to Jiaying's carefulness towards Daisy in season two. Daisy was her second chance at being a good mother. Boy, did she blow it, then.

- ChroniCoulson got a new body.

Quotes

Sousa: "You worried about losing them to?"
Simmons: "Not really. I have faith... in mathematics."

Simmons: "Honestly, I have no idea."
Sousa: "Finally, the scientist from the future and I are in the same page."

May: "I picked up on... you and Mack's, uh... reunion from outside the room."
Yo-Yo: "May, that's horrible."
May: "Well, it wasn't all bad."
Yo-Yo: "And invasive."

Sousa: "Do I look like a Neanderthal to you?"
Enoch: "I spent time with a tribe of Neanderthals. Agent Sousa does not resemble one. He lacks the characteristic brow ridges."

Yo-Yo (re: May): "Feelings aren't exactly her thing."
May: "They're really not."

May: "Is that whisky? And if so, I want a lot of it."

Sousa: "Have you ever jumped out of a plane before?"
Simmons: "Twice. Though I only had a parachute the second time."


This season gets more interesting with each episode, though it still lacks an engaging villain. Three out of four unused parachutes.
--
Lamounier

[Programming note: I will review the remaining episodes in the next two weeks.]

2 comments:

JBA said...

I'm happy to see you finishing off these last few episodes. I just recently finished rewatching the show from the beginning and it was right about this episode or the one before that I started crying each time the episodes ended. I miss this show terribly. I don't care what the big wigs and the muckety-mucks say; as far as I'm concerned, this show is as much canon as the Disney+ series. (It might be in a parallel universe within the multiverse, and maybe not part of the sacred timeline, but damnit, it's real.)

Lamounier said...

Hey, JBA, I agree with you that this show is real. Personally, though, I don't care about the canonicity discussion. I mean, I don't need validation from Kevin Feige or any other person in charge of Marvel Studios to care about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I certainly don't need validation from MCU fanboys who for some reason hate the show. The stories that AoS told matter as long as fans cherish them. Why is it so valuable to be attached to a larger fictional universe? It's all fiction, for crying out loud.

Maybe it's because I only watch every other MCU movie, because I'm not a fan of the franchise as a whole, but if someone with "official" power comes out to say that AoS isn't canon, it won't change how I feel about the show and what it means to me. It's still my favorite product from Marvel Entertainment, and season four the best thing that company produced. It's their loss not to have AoS as part of their official lineup. Not ours. ;)