Agents Of SHIELD: 2.11 Aftershocks
Aftershocks was very much a transitional episode that began to take Agents Of SHIELD in an interesting new direction; Daniel Whitehall was dead and this week we saw the team use their prisoner Sunil Bakshi to eliminate several of the 'head' figures in HYDRA, while Raina and Skye both struggled to come to terms with what happened in the temple.
Considering taking down several of their enemy's leaders, the episode was surprisingly low key, taking the time to tease the introduction of the Inhumans and Skye and Raina's part in this. Tripp's death was dealt with nicely, particularly that final reminiscing scene in SHIELD HQ and the heated argument between Mac, Coulson and the rest of the team. But it was all business as usual too, leaving Skye on the sidelines as Fitz and Simmons tried to discover what had really happened to her.
The loss of Whitehall and the Hydra leaders put the enemy organisation on the back foot for the first time, as the focus shifted to the next big story line. The episode opened with eyeless Inhuman Gordon trying to adjust to his new-found teleportation powers, watched over by Skye's mother. In the present, Skye, aka Daisy Johnson, grew terrified of her new abilities, seeking comfort in father figure Coulson and finding an ally in Fitz, who hid the DNA results from the rest of the team after he found that she had been changed significantly. Intriguingly, Simmons became the enemy in this situation, deciding that people with these powers should be destroyed rather then let their abilities harm others like they did Tripp.
Still, Skye faired far better than Raina who had actually been prepared for her transformation. Sadly, her changes were far more physical, turning her into a porcupine / feline type creature. I genuinely felt for her when Skye's father rejected her and she walked into oncoming traffic to kill herself. The timely arrival of Gordon to rescue her from the sudden arrival of armed gunmen looks set to take her in an interesting new direction, possibly serving as the audiences' proper introduction to the Inhumans.
The HYDRA trap laid out by Coulson served as the driver of this episode, all designed to lead SHIELD to Bakshi's allies. I loved the action-packed 'assault' on Coulson and May's car as they transported him to Talbot and Coulson's "You'll never take us alive!" line was hilarious, something May called him up on after the fact. I am far from convinced that the HYDRA story line is ending any time soon, but the events of this episode have allowed other plots to come to the fore. There is also a certain The Avengers: Age Of Ultron cross-over event to weave into the coming weeks and given all the rumours and trailers for that movie I would be very surprised if it didn't have at least some impact on the show moving forward.
Lastly there was Mac and Bobbi. Despite my assertions in previous reviews that it was Mac talking to Whitehall in the season opener, I went back and watched Shadows and was proven wrong. That being said it is easy to see why Mac - and Bobbi - have been teased as enemy agents from the all the secret discussions they have been having. They are obviously not in a support group; did Lance really believe that or is he playing his wife / ex-wife? The end of the episode saw them looking for something of Nick Fury's in Coulson's office. I am intrigued to see where this story is going and I am no longer convinced they are evil. Maybe a grey in-between perhaps, working for an agenda separately to Coulson and SHIELD.
We are now exactly half way through season two of Agents Of SHIELD and I am excited to see what happens next. With a mix of spies and superheroes, this has become one of the most engaging episodes on TV and even a low-key episode like Aftershock can still deliver plenty of promise.