Less than 5 – Skip it, 6 – OK, 7 – Good, 8 – Great, 9 – Phenomenal, 10 – You owe it to yourself to watch this episode!
Agents of SHIELD picks up in its mid-season premiere in brilliant fashion. With a deeper look at Inhuman culture, a satisfying continuation of Skye/Daisy & Raina’s transformation stories and a satisfying (maybe?) end to the HYDRA plot. If you weren’t convinced AoS was a must watch for any MCU fan, Aftershocks makes it so.
As a fan of Marvel comics, getting to witness the Inhumans come to life a full 4 years before they feature film hits theaters is pretty incredible. Starting off the episode with a young inhuman (a younger version of the eyeless man we saw at the end of the last episode) still getting acclimated to his powers really help set the tone for what Daisy (it’s really difficult to call her that) and Raina will have to go through during the rest of the season. Getting to see Daisy’s mother (Jiaying, played by Dichen Lachman) in an integral role of Inhuman upbringing was really cool. While a glimpse of the Royal Family is probably out of the question, it will be really cool to see how deep this world goes.
Having the team torn up over the loss of Tripp, especially Skye (I’m just going to go with it, Daisy is weird), was an excellent way to have the characters let out steam and help acclimate audiences to where everyone on the team is mentally. When we first see our SHIELD Agents, they believe that the major earthquake was a result of the crystal and that Tripp saved everyone in its destruction. Even Skye believes this to be true for the first half of the episode.
Each member of the team has a small conversation with Skye in regards to how she feels and what she thinks of the whole Tripp situation. It results in some truly emotional moments and with each passing dialogue the tension between Skye and whomever she is speaking to ramps up as we get closer and closer to the reveal of her transformation.
3 scenes in particular stood out, the major argument between all of SHIELD, Simmons’ reaction to Raina and Fitz’s reaction to Skye. All 3 were incredibly performed and solidified everyone’s status quo going in to the back half of the season. Henry Simmons knocked it out of the park, putting on full display the rage and frustration he has bottled up since he was taken control of by the Kree temple. Iain de Caestecker continues to impress as the bumbling Fitz. Him thinking his condition was worsening due to the “Inhuman” (his words) results of her bio-data was really cool and had an excellent payoff.
Out of the 3 scenes, Simmons stood out for the wrong reasons. Her reaction, while justified and probably necessary for the show, seemed a tad oversold. I can understand her being cautious or nervous about something completely unknown to her but to go as far as to call for the deaths of all “gifted” individuals is a bit harsh. It was necessary for Skye to hear those things in order to get her riled up (shows need drama) but to have Simmons go so far was just a little much.
While Skye is left in quarantine back at base, Raina is on the loose more than a little upset at her new abilities. Her debut sequence was quite gruesome, girl slashed through 3 agents’ throats… with her hands (claws). Having Raina catch up with Cal and express her regret over her decision to change was a very nice touch. Not only did we get to see how upset she was with the way things turned out, we also got a nice outline of what Cal intends to do for the rest of the season (supervillain team-ups! Yay!).
As Raina continues her rampage, Coulson decides to capitalize on HYDRA’s vulnerable position. Using Bakshi as bait, he lures the other “heads” out of hiding and manages to get them to off themselves in a surprisingly brutal yet genius plot. The staged “deaths” were an absolute highlight that brought some much needed levity to a very serious episode. Seeing Hunter and the rest of the agents so willingly killing their enemies was a bit surprising. No icers here, just real bullets. It helps support Coulson’s new role as director and further emphasizes his transformation into a more “Fury” like character.
And finally, the fake-out with Bobbi telling Hunter that her big secret was that she was part of a support group was a huge relief. Had that been true, it would have been incredibly disappointing. Last year saw May spying on Coulson for Fury, hopefully Mac and Bobbi have something a bit more interesting up their sleeves (no evil stuff though, Mockingbird needs to be an Avenger).
A lot happened this week and it was all done extremely well. All of the players are in place for a head first dive into Inhuman territory. Skye is in an intriguing position with Fitz, Bobbi and Mac are up to no good and HYDRA has been dealt with for the time being. Here is to hoping Simmons doesn’t keep overplaying her hate for powers.
Overall I give this episode 9/10.