TV REVIEW: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.11 “Aftershocks” | FanboysInc

TV REVIEW: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.11 “Aftershocks”

By Jason Pickup

TV REVIEW: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.11 "Aftershocks"

Man, it feels like forever since we went to mid-season break on MAoS, but we’re back. Oh boy, are we back.

“Aftershocks”, beyond the clever pun about Skye now having earthquake style, is pretty much what we’re dealing with this week.  The team is coming off their Empire Strikes Back win. “Win” maybe overselling it, the bad guy didn’t gain any ground and the team suffered some losses and came out with their tails mostly intact. “Aftershocks” dials us back a little and focuses mostly on the interpersonal team dynamic.

Skye is in quarantine, Gemma is picking up the pieces (literally) of Tripp’s death, Mac is resentful of Coulson for getting him brainwashed and a team member killed, and Hunter is drinking because that seems to be his default setting. No one seems happy with anyone, as Coulson determines now is as good a time as any to hit Hydra before they can regroup. But there’s nothing like a good short-term con to raise morale and by the end of the episode everyone is laughing and social while remembering Tripp.

Skye’s father, Calvin, is still in play but we only see him briefly lamenting Coulson stealing his revenge. You can’t imagine he’s going to allow this slight to go unpunished, hopefully he’s set up as the big bad this season and we can finally get the payoff of seeing his monsterous side. Our other wild card is Raina, who alternates between being a murderous porcupine monster and lamenting the loss of her physical beauty. By episode’s end her suicide attempt at the hands of unknown armed forces is interrupted by the blind Inhuman we saw at mid-season’s end, who we’ve now learned can also teleport.

We don’t really set up a clear big picture to round out season two, but I’m OK with this week’s offering. There needed to be a decompression episode, given how the story played out before jumping right into the next earth-shattering crisis. We have some rough framework built and I’m looking forward to seeing the house they construct (and subsequently destroy) to close out the season.

The Great:

Terragenisis: We saw it happen on the mid-season break, but they put a name to the process at the beginning of this week’s episode. Its not much in the grand scheme of things, a fair share of the audience already knows what happened to Skye without having to label it. But this isn’t for the nerds, well, indirectly it is. No, this is slightly bigger picture than that. What we’re seeing here is making sure the first 30-60 minutes of the Inhumans’ movie isn’t spent bogged down in the not so simple concept of explaining what The Inhumans are. We’re world building here, folks and I can’t speak for you but I think it’s a pretty friggin cool thing to watch.

TV REVIEW: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.11 "Aftershocks"

The Con: OK, so it’s not Oceans Eleven, but the job they pull on Bakshi in this episode was spectacular. They even had me on the hook for the better part of the half a minute between May getting shot and Coulson’s “they’ll never take us alive.” I’m glad “guns blazing” isn’t the only solution they take every week and now we can add the con game to the list of random ways Coulson and crew will approach a problem. ( I still want to see more of Coulson and May infiltrating high society functions). Now if they could just do an episode based off Cloak and Dagger (the awesome 80’s movie not the comic book duo) where Coulson has to play video games to get the code to disarm the bomb I’d be in heaven.

Jemma-Cide: Well that escalated quickly. To be fair someone has to play the “I’m not cool with the concept of mutants superhumans” foil it might as well be Jemma. She saw the aftermath of a colleague and possible love interest turned to stone and broken into a bunch of pieces so you can imagine she’s a little sour on the metahumans. She ramps it up a bit (a lot) beyond that with viewing them as a ‘plague’ and suggesting the best course of action is to wipe them off of the map. This would be a perfectly serviceable super villain origin in someone else’s story, or maybe it is in this case? Maybe she’s the next Ward? Maybe they’re already looking past Avengers 2 and setting up Jemma on the pro-Iron Man side of Civil War?

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Broken: Just a quick aside, Fitz covering for Skye because he knows what its like to come out a situation different. Yeah, right in the feels. In an episode that saw the team divided ideologically it was nice to see a bit of solidarity.

The Good:
TV REVIEW: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2.11 "Aftershocks"

Secrets, Secrets: Bobbi and Mac are back up to their shady doings this week. Hunter calls Bobbi on it and she says the two of them are in a support group which we give a supplemental bad to because where exactly does one go to find a support group for members clandestine organizations that were torn apart from the inside and are now on the run from most major governments? Anyhoo. Bobbi and Mac are looking for Fury’s “toolbox”, which is currently in Coulson’s desk. What’s in the toolbox and who are Bobbi and Mac working for to try to get said toolbox? Right now your guess is as good as mine; I don’t lean towards anything Hydra related, it’s too obvious and I’d think to avoid Hydra Burnout (aka the Ward syndrome) it will end up being something else. Fury had his fingers in a lot of pies after all.

Raina: I don’t want to say Raina’s new look is a rip off of Clive Barker’s Shuna Sassi, but it’s umm yeah pretty close. I’m at this point at a loss to determine if she’s going to be a canon character or if she’s someone new they’ve written up for the show. The 616 (the standard Marvel comics universe) Raina is a lizard person and the only people really close to what we’re seeing of Raina now are Tygra from the Avengers and Thornn and Feral from X-Force and all three of those are more cat and less porcupiney. With that being said, I like the curve ball as half the fun of the first half of this season was putting together the puzzle of who was who. Basically I want both my nerdy cake and my ability to eat it as well.

The Hydra Games: If there is one universal constant about coalitions of bad guys its that they have no moral qualms with killing each other at the drop of a hat. It’s up there with the notion that if they bad guys have the good guy outnumbered 20:1 each one of those twenty will attack one at a time allowing the good guy to win. Beyond that this should tie nicely into the next Avengers movie as the removal of several prominent Hydra field bosses should allow Von Strucker to shore up a larger power base for whatever schemes he’s got lined up in Age of Ultron. Also, I couldn’t help to be reminded of Order-66 from Episode 3 of Star Wars when the bloodbath went down.

The Bad:

Empty Threats: This was the only part of the long Hydra con that didn’t sit well with me. When Hunter is telling Bakshi that he’s going to kill him and watching Bakski do the usual “I’ll give you whatever you want” grovel he prefaces the whole conversation with, “don’t try to reach for your gun”. When the conversation is over and Hunter agrees to take him to the Hydra heads, he doesn’t take Bakshi’s gun. Now maybe it’s just me, but you don’t threaten someone’s life, then leave them armed where they can shoot you later. Sure, there’s the chance that Bakshi’s gun was never loaded in the first place, but that complicates the matter when he does try to shoot you and finds no bullets or worse blanks. This should be Secret Agent 101.

The Wink and Nod: Moving forward I’m going to keep track of how many times they work the ‘inhuman’ wink into each episode.
Fitz: Wow Skye is eating a lot.
Coulson: Yeah her appetite is almost inhuman…
-Coulson puts on his sunglasses CSI style-
-YEEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHH-

The Verdict:

Welcome back.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Aftershocks” earns 9/10

Jason Pickup

Jason just pawn in game of life.

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