“Life’s lost it’s thrill”
Although the second half of Season 2 got off to a shaky start, ‘Agents of SHIELD’ has recently hit its stride. ‘Afterlife’ focused more on exploring the consequences of ‘One Door Closes,’ rather than pushing the story in new directions. But this didn’t matter; the episode entertained and delighted in equal measures. Although Coulson’s SHIELD has been disbanded (for now), they (or at least most of them) are still working towards a reunion. Coulson and Hunter faced off with the ‘real’ SHIELD, Skye kept asking to see her friends, Fitz leaves the ‘real’ SHIELD…but Simmons seems to consider joining them…The events of ‘One Door Closes’ shook the foundations of SHIELD, and ‘Afterlife’ explored the cracks with few wasted scenes.
My main disagreement with ‘Afterlife’ was the character of Lincoln. He was overseeing the transition of Skye into the Afterlife, a place full of enhanced being in the middle of nowhere. In dialogue with Skye, he started every other sentence with ‘Oh, you didn’t know?’ or ‘I’m sorry, I thought you knew.’ It grated quickly. He was the conduit for the audience to understand what was going on in Afterlife, but he could have done it in a less obvious way. Why would Skye know anything about Afterlife? She has neither heard anything about it or been there. It was my biggest bug bear about the whole episode.
However, the actual story for Skye made up for Lincoln’s annoyance. Revelations abounded. Raina was also in Afterlife, and when Skye found her (very conveniently, I must add: Skye literally walked to the hut next door and found her!) it led to a great scene. Raina pleaded for Skye to kill her, to tear her apart. Skye and Raina are two different people, but now they are in the same predicament. They both have powers that they can’t control and don’t understand. Skye’s transformation is on the inside; Raina’s on the outside. She is disgusted with herself. We also found out that Skye’s mother is still alive, and announced herself as Skye’s teacher/elder (without Skye knowing their relation). Gordon popped in and out of Afterlife, seeing Skye’s dad Cal to tell him about his daughter.
“These actions are leading to a deadly showdown”
That showdown will happen soon, but not in ‘Afterlife.’ Coulson and Hunter (well, just Coulson) tricked the ‘real’ SHIELD into finding the house that Banner built. They were outmatched, but a returning Deathlok saved Coulson and Hunter. He’s been working for Coulson for a while, helping SHIELD along the way. Deathlok was wasted in Season 1, but here he looked useful. Let’s hope they utilise him effectively. Especially now that Coulson is going after Ward. Not just for a catch up, though. Coulson wants to find Dr. List…who was with von Strucker in the post-credit scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Having Deathlok on Coulson’s side only contributed to Gonzales fear that Coulson was grouping together with enhanced beings.
Gonzales tried to persuade the remaining members of Coulson’s SHIELD to join him. He offered May a seat on the board (please no more boardroom scenes! We’ve seen enough). Will May accept in the hope she can help Coulson? Gonzales also teased Fitz and Simmons with the prospect of opening Fury’s cube. Fitz left, and Simmons took the bait…or so it seemed. Yes, it was a swerve turn! Fitz left with the cube. Have the writers missed a beat not siding Simmons with Gonzales? Simmons character turned to the dark side after the mid-season break. She looked for ways to eliminate super-powered beings. So what has brought on this change of mind? However, it was a pleasant reminder of the relationship that Fitz and Simmons used to have together. Has it been rekindled?
What will happen when the ‘real’ SHIELD and Coulson collide? Where will Skye be when the collision occurs? Will she be able to control her powers? What is in Fury’s cube? A lot of questions were raised in ‘Afterlife,’ and there are a lot of exciting possibilities about how they will be answered. But ‘Afterlife’ didn’t rely simply on the questions for entertainment. It came in droves, like the heated interaction between former best buddies Fitz and Mack. Or Gonzales’ interrogation of May. All in all, another well done episode!
VERDICT: 7/10. Well above average episode, brought down chiefly by the character of Lincoln. And how many set-up episodes do we need in a row?
(Click here for my review of Episode 15: One Door Closes)