As with all my other TV Show reviews, my first AoS review will begin with a quick series recap.
A TV based spin-off from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focuses on back from the dead agent Phil Coulson, and his top secret team of hand-picked agents as they track down x-filesy stuff to keep it out of the wrong hands. The original team consisted of;
- Melinda May, a reluctant BAMF with a nickname that she hates, “The Cavalry”, who at first tries to just be the pilot for their mobile base plane,
- Ward, a top scoring solo field agent who struggles to figure out how to work with a team,
- Fits-Simmons, a pair of Brits who are both geniuses, Fitz being the tech wizard and Simmons being the biochemistry expert, and,
- Skye, a hacker Coulson arrested then offered a job, with ulterior motives.
By the end of season 1 however, tying in to the events of the film Captain America; The Winter Soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been decimated by the resurgence of Nazi Terrorist organization HYDRA, and Ward turned out to be part of said organization. Ward was replaced on the team by Trip, the grandson of an as yet unnamed member of the Howling Commandos, (Captain America’s personal unit in WW II. Everyone just assumes it’s the black guy but I kinda lean towards it being the French guy), and as Season 2 began, the team had grown. Xena was a member for all of one (Insert Expletive Here) episode, and Not Wonder Woman Adrienne Palecki is the MCU version of Mockingbird, who is in turn the Marvel version of Black Canary. S.H.I.E.L.D. now focuses on both stopping the remnants of Hydra, and on dealing with the rise of super-powered people, which includes Skye now, as when the show went on Haitus, Skye had undergone exposure to the Terragin Mist that creates Inhumans.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 01×18 – Aftershocks Review
Here There Be Spoilers
We open with a flashback to an unknown facility in the mid-eighties where some schlub and Skye’s dead mom who never aged are sadly watching a teenaged version of the man with no eyes from last episode’s stinger traumatized by suffering uncontrollable Nightcrawler-esque teleports around a large room, screaming as he keeps inadvertently throwing himself into walls. Skye’s mom soothes him enough to get the tp’ing under control, calling him beautiful and promising him she’d help him get control and understand.
Back to the present. So Skye is in Quarantine now, after being pulled mysteriously unharmed from the wreckage, still having nightmares about watching poor Trip turned to stone then crumbling. WHY DA BRUTHAH GOTTA DIE FIRST WHITEY??? Oh the feels. Seriously Marvel, bad move. Shoulda killed off the obnoxious ex merc with the love-hate thing for Mockingbird. Trip was one of the best parts of your struggling show.
Anyway, Coulson is now in Cold-Hearted Ruthless Bastard Mode (™ & ©), and insists Hydra ends NOW. He will let no one else be harmed by them.
Fitz and Mac share some awkward bonding as Mac is struggling with his anger over having had his body commandeered by an alien security system and forced to attack his friends. Fitz tells him he understands, given he STILL hasn’t recovered from the brain damage Ward caused him last season and still sometimes feels like a prisoner in his own mind. Fitz is also trying to repair Skye biometric scanner watch so they can check what her bio readings were when she inhaled the mist. He can’t understand what he’s seeing though, and thinks the “data in his head” must be wrong.
Everyone on the team is grieving for Trip in their own way. It’s especially unsettling back at the site of the ancient alien city where Simmons is overseeing the clean-up and planned demolition and we see a stone chunk of Trip’s face in the debris being carted away for analysis. Some of the clean up crew get slaughtered though, as Raina has woken up and found herself changed WAY the hell more than Skye. She looks like Spike from X-Men and could they hammer the point home ANY harder that the MCU plans to have the Inhumans basically become X-Men stand-ins while Fox has the rights to mutants?
Raina is covered in thorns and flees when Simmons tries to shoot her. Simmons reports in to Coulson and asks to come home once they blow up the city. Coulson agrees, but Mac blows up on him about his barking orders and everyone has a tense angry blowing-off-steam fight which triggers Skye’s new power, which seems to be some sort of Phoenix level wide field telekinesis. Uncontrolled it causes “earthquakes”, but her vibrating a soda can suggests it could be focused. No one but Skye notices though, as the power outburst is averted when Coulson puts his foot down and ends the argument, allowing poor stressed out Skye to calm down.
Coulson sends a team to track down and capture Raina, then puts a plan into motion to wipe out the remnants of HYDRA. He and May take their high value HYDRA prisoner and make arrangements to hand him off to General Talbot. (As a Hulk reader since age 4, it feels so weird to me to call him General instead of Major. It’s ALSO really weird to hear Cartoon Iron Man’s voice coming out of his mouth, since Adrian Pasdar voices Tony Stark on Avengers Assemble), and drive him off, only to be ambushed by a semi and shot to death while trying to defend the prisoner. False alarm though! The guy who shot May and Coulson is Obnoxious Ex-Merc! Using a really smarmy American accent, Lance “rescues” the prisoner Quinn. Once Quinn makes contact with one of the true heads of HYDRA, Lance acts like he’s going to execute Quinn on orders from his employers. Quinn takes the bait and offers him insane wealth and a lifetime job if he gets him to the HYDRA head.
Skye’s loopy dad meanwhile secures passage out of San Juan on a cargo ship, where Raina finds him and is understandably pissed that she didn’t become the glowing angel he promised she’d be. She tells him Skye came out unscathed, and he goes nuts with joy, still deluding himself into believing Skye will need him and love him, and basically tells Raina to go kill herself.
Lance drops Quinn outside the property of the HYDRA head and is told to wait. Quinn reports Lance’s “orders” to murder him, and they both take the bait and issue a housecleaning protocol. All the other Hydra heads are killed for susted treason, and a team of soldiers start shooting Lance’s SUV, where he and Bobbi (Mockingbird), who were having a heartfelt conversation, just laugh and trigger the SUV’s defenses, kill the whole kill squad, storm the gates, kill the last surviving HYDRA head, and rearrest Quinn to hand him over to Talbot as promised. The look of “Oh buggar me I’m an idiot” on Quinn’s face is priceless.
Meanwhile, Fitz confronts Skye with the data from her broken watch, having realized it wasn’t his brain screwing up, but that Skye caused the earthquake in San Juan, upsetting Skye to the point of shattering the overhead lamps in her quarantine cell. Fitz hacks the test results so everyone will think Skye is perfectly normal however, because as tightly wound and upset as everyone is, (especially Simmons who feels so guilty for allowing this to happen somehow even though she had no real influence on the events leading up to Raina and Skye being in that chamber that she’s in “kill ’em all” mode regarding anyone with powers, thinking of it as a plague), Fitz doesn’t think anyone else needs to know that Skye’s tests results are… Inhuman.
Dun dun DUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!
The episode ends with two stingers. The first is Raina, depressed and feeling like a freakish monster, walking out into traffic to try to commit suicide just as the tracking team finds her to capture her. She tells them no, you’ll kill me or I’ll MAKE you kill me. But just as she’s about to lunge at them to force a suicide-by-cop situation,
Nightcrawler No Eyes Guy tp’s in, calls Raina Beautiful as Skye’s mom did him, and TP’s her away to places unknown.
The second Stinger has everyone but Coulson having beers and sharing happy stories about Trip. Coulson we see is informing Trip’s mom or gramma, I’m not sure which she is, about his death, and I cry out loud at the sight. But while everyone is talking about Trip, (and May explains that Coulson knew HYDRA’s weakness was them NOT having these kinds of strong family like bonds that our heroes have), Mac and Bobbi continue their strange secret side project of spying on Coulson to find out about some secret toolbox of stuff Nick Fury left behind. Still not sure what their deal is.
Wondering what next week holds, as neither stinger really gave a clear enough hint, but I will say things have certainly gotten more interesting.
Tags: Clark Gregg, Marvel, Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ming-Na Wen