Afterlife – AOS (S2E16)
It’s strange but Afterlife felt so much like a return to old friends that it was uncanny! I’ve mentioned in previous posts that it seemed silly how they keep on removing foes and friends at such a reckless pace but in Afterlife they actually seemed to bring some of them back! We had Raina (or Porcupine head as I like to call her – I do have to say that the makeup job with her is pretty amazing … this isn’t the good old days of Star Trek for sure as it’s very difficult to “see” Raina under all the quills), Cal (Skye’s dad), Deathlok (looking way, way better costume wise in comparison to season one … I’d be quite interested in seeing a Deathlok inspired show/movie as he was always a character that I really liked in comic book form) and in a really surprising twist – Skye’s mother (Jiaying)!
I have to be honest, that one did take me by surprise as I really didn’t see her coming back to life! Perhaps (dare I hope) that my previous complaints about Whitehalls death were also premature? I mean he’s not the best villain (that sounds a bit idiosyncratic I think?) but considering the fear that he was held in by all and sundry, his death was a little bit anticlimactic I thought?
Unconscious for two days after Gordon rescued her, Skye wakes up nearly naked with acupuncture needles all over her body, the first step in the treatment that will help her adjust to the rapid evolution her body is undergoing. We also had a major new face – Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) who functions as Skye’s “transitioner” and helps her adjust to her new home and it is assumed in some way to her new powers. He also has been transformed by terrigenisis and as it comes out during the course of the episode, we learn that Skye did it “old school” using a Kree temple and a diviner which people haven’t done for thousands of years … details aren’t really provided on how it is done now, simply that people are selected from the “descendants” that have the special gene and are then transformed. So as you can see, while some questions are answered, we’re still left with a bunch more. Lincoln’s power is actually quite cool (although he’s definitely NOT in the same game as Skye from the point of view of power levels) as he seems to be able to control static electricity and is able to help use it to heal & in limited ways overcome gravity.
Introducing Inhuman elements now is absolutely essential given the limitations on mutants in the MCU, however while we’re exposed to a fancy chinese botanical garden … there really isn’t anything unbelievable or “inhuman” about Skye’s new home. While its obvious that the appearance is intended to create an atmosphere of tranquility that will ease the transition for those that are transformed by the Terrigen mist, it lacks a strong visual character. There’s a distinct Chinese influence, but it would be nice to see the design team push a little further and find ways to incorporate elements that are more unconventional and alien.
Continuing from our SHIELD vs “REAL” SHIELD storyline, Coulson and Hunter remain on the run and come up with a daring plan to steal a Quinjet which will give them a lot more flexibility. Coulson – the master of the obvious – basically tells the REAL SHIELD where they are (the cabin the woods where they hid Skye) and offers himself up as bait. May meanwhile is a prisoner of Gonzales who while still playing an irascible uncle comes across as also a bit more sympathetic as he gradually shows that perhaps there is a case to be made against Coulson and his use of powered people. The surprise return of Deathlok as Coulson’s backup unfortunately only served to make Gonzales’ case stronger, but his inclusion of May into the board was actually a really nice touch as it showed he was trying to be as unbiased as possible. What I really liked about Gonzalez though was his statements about loyalty and his utter belief that it’s SHIELD, not Coulson (or anyone else) that the team should be committed to above all else. Whether you think he’s right or wrong, that belief is one that is understandable as far his motivations go and it’s clear that he is willing to stick with his convictions when he actually lets Fitz go.
Talking about Fitz though … one team that has returned with a welcome bang is good old FitzSimmons – it was so good to see them back working together when they managed to “trick” Bobbi and Mac with Fury’s toolbox.
- First Jemma sets the plan in motion. She lies to Bobbi, telling her It’s not a tech solution. It’s a lab solution.
- Next, Fitz figures out what Jemma is doing. She’s scanning the surface dimensions… why would she do that? You can see his realisation that she is scanning it so she can print an identical looking 3D model.
- Then comes the most Fitzsimmonsy conversation ever. So much subtext. I saw everything Jemma. Did you really want me to find out like this?
- Well I was hoping you would so that we can work together on this. Do you have any idea how valuable the information inside this could be? You need to help me get it out. Get things back to normal.
- Things can never go back to normal. Can’t you see that can’t any of you see what you’ve done you’ve destroyed a mans life for what. Because of fear? Well I don’t believe in fear. I believe in trust. And I’m shocked that you would do this you knew it would drive me away you may as well have packed my bags yourself. You want me to leave, don’t you Jemma.
- If we work for SHIELD we have a DUTY to carry out our responsibilities. So perhaps it’s best if you do.
This was just completely awesome – they completely pulled the wool over Mac and Bobbi and Fitz is now on his way to join up with Coulson and Hunter. Considering how easily Simmons disabled Bobbi in last weeks episode you’d think that she’d have learned her lesson and would stop underestimating her, but it obvious that Bobbi believes herself to be a “superior” spy to my favorite couple on the show.
Overall a really solid episode and while we didn’t have too much progression with any of the deeper mysteries it was not a filler episode and stuff actually happened! While there’s considerable forward movement with Skye, the Gonzales/Coulson conflict lags this week. There’s the aforementioned sequence with Deathlok that spotlights the sweet new upgrades Mike Peterson has gotten since we last saw him, but not much else is especially memorable.