In the last episode, Skye had been teleported away by the eyeless Inhuman Gordon, our Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had been captured by the ‘real’ S.H.I.E.L.D., and Coulson and Hunter were in the tropics planning their new strategy. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on the rest of this wild ride in “Afterlife.”
After some fun car shopping with Coulson and Hunter to break the tense drama ice the show has been sliding on of late, we move right to Skye. Apparently she’s been out of it for two days in wherever Gordon brought her to, and creepily someone has undressed her and dressed her, and has been playing energy acupuncture with her, keeping her from getting up. Somehow this doesn’t seem like a good thing.
Gordon has left Skye in the care of Lincoln who explains the needles are healing her, and that he is her ‘transitioner.’ He is transitioning her to ‘normalcy’ after her exposure to terrigenesis. After watching Going Clear about Scientology on HBO just last week, it’s kind of difficult to dismiss such words used for mysterious circumstances. I hope Skye’s transitioning isn’t as bad as it looks. When Skye inquires, she’s told the place she’s being held is called Lai Shi, also known as Afterlife. Notably, it’s not Attilan.
Just Don’t Say Mutant
Agent Robert Gonzales is still on a tirade against Coulson and Fury. But his campaign is one familiar to the Marvel Universe, especially in the X-Men mutant corner of it, he’s against those with powers. They are dangerous, should be put in The Index, tracked, watched imprisoned if necessary. Legally, the showrunners can’t reference the word mutant or mention the X-Men, but we’re definitely going down that road.
At least one of Fitz and Simmons won’t cooperate with Gonzales, Morse is starting to doubt him, and he has to interrogate May, even bringing up the Bahrain mission where she earned her nickname The Cavalry to make his point. Her loyalty to Coulson remains solid. And that’s something that drives Gonzales nuts. All of our agents are loyal to Coulson over S.H.I.E.L.D. Gonzales finds that concept poisonous to his dream for S.H.I.E.L.D.
Inhumans and Trust
Speaking of the mutant parallels, the more we find out about TV’s Inhumans, the more it seems like they might not be such nice folks. It might be worth mentioning here that in the comics, the first Inhuman we meet, Medusa, acted as a villain at first, a member of the Frightful Four, and that the Kree, the alien race who seeded the Inhumans have never been the most trustworthy opponents. Why then should it be a surprise that the TV version isn’t on the up and up? Let’s face it, the noble royal family of Inhumans that we know and trust don’t have a movie scheduled until quite a few years (2018) down the road.
Skye’s transitioner Lincoln does a good job of explaining Lai Shi as a descendent safehouse, and how these descendants, obviously with Kree DNA, are waiting to qualify for terrigenesis. Played by Luke Mitchell, with his charming good looks and boy band charisma, Lincoln still isn’t enough to sway Skye when she smells a lie. Even his handy static electricity powers aren’t enough to convince her that Raina and her father haven’t been imprisoned somewhere in Lai Shi.
As Agent Morse continues to doubt Gonzales’ methods, and Fitz and Simmons parry over their broken friendship in the midst of this S.H.I.E.L.D. war with itself, Coulson begins to fight back. Finally he starts to use his resources. He has a Howling Commandos kit that was so useful right around this time last season, and speaking of that first season, Coulson finally calls on Deathlok.
Hardcore fans of the show will be very pleased with the return of J. August Richards as Deathlok, especially considering folks have been asking where he’s been for much of this season. It’s about time Coulson pulled this trump card, and I must say its a nice change of pace to see Deathlok fighting on the side of the angels. But I think Gonzales may have other thoughts on the subject…
Everything in the episode is left up in the air, and based on what is advertised as being next, I doubt we’ll get answers any time soon. Skye finds Raina, who poses an interesting hypothesis, that she is a monster inside while Skye’s monster is inside her. Moving to rage, Skye is stopped by the woman who will be her guide in learning to use her powers – Jiaying – who unknown to her, is also her mother. That should be a fun little chat. Dad is still imprisoned at the moment, despite a nice visit from the assumed-dead Jiaying, Mister Hyde is not being treated all that well.
On the Coulson front, his team with their stolen quinjet is not on its way to intercept Gonzales as one might believe. Based on Deathlok’s missions in Europe against a Hydra operative named List, Coulson believes they should seek out ex-Agent Grant Ward. And as if that’s just not enough Bad Idea Theater for one episode, Gonzales has asked May to join the board of his S.H.I.E.L.D. Not a bad episode, but I still think they’re stalling until the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron. We’ll see.
Next: We find out why Agent May is called The Cavalry, and what exactly happened in Bahrain… in “Melinda.”