TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 2 Episode 16 "Afterlife"
EPISODE 15: "Afterlife"
SYNOPSIS: As Robert Gonzales makes his move, Coulson must do whatever it takes to protect the future of S.H.I.E.L.D. Meanwhile Skye’s journey to control her powers takes a surprising turn when she meets the enigmatic Inhuman named Lincoln.
BREAKDOWN: (The following column contains MAJOR SPOILERS, so I don't recommend reading this if you haven't watched this episode).
Things continue to be difficult for Coulson as he struggles to save S.H.I.E.L.D.and Skye, both tasks he is failing to accomplish. The episode picks up where last week left off, with Coulson and Hunter stealing a car to head up to The Retreat to find Skye. Instead, they find the remnants of her defensive attack on the Other S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson feels guilt over losing her.
But, Skye is not truly in danger. Instead, the mysterious Gordon took Skye to a remote city known as Afterlife. The architecture and original name of Afterlife is Chinese in origin which could mean Skye is back where she was born. Soon enough, the eyeless Gordon hands Skye's transition over to an Inhuman named Lincoln who walks Skye through what it means to have been exposed to the Terrigen Mists.
We learn a lot about the Inhumans this week, specifically that there are thousands of people who have the Inhuman DNA but are awaiting approval from The Elders to transform. In fact, Skye's transformation was the first in a long time to actually occur using a Diviner in a Kree Temple. Skye is less than enthused about her powers but does learn that the transformation is irreversible. Lincoln does share that he has been transformed as well and his power allows him to control electrical currents. Skye seems to be warming up to Lincoln even though she learns that Raina is at Afterlife as well which results in a battle between the two new Inhumans.
But, the fight is broken up by none other than Skye's mother. We know it is her from previous episodes but she is obviously not dead like Cal explained to his daughter. In fact, she seems to have a nefarious purpose which both of Skye's parents are aware of. What comes next seems to be that Skye will flirt with the dark side before coming back to her senses and rejoining Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D.
At S.H.I.E.L.D., the focus is still on trying to open Fury's Toolbox which Gonzales needs both Fitz and Simmons for. While Simmons is more willing to work with Bobbi and Mack, Fitz feels his friend has fully backstabbed him and refuses to help. Gonzales tries to convince May to turn on Coulson and have him and Skye both added to the Registry. May obviously refuses but Gonzales hints that he knows the story behind how she became The Cavalry, a tease for next week's episode.
Back at The Retreat, Coulson and Hunter hide out and await S.H.I.E.L.D. to come and get them. They use some tricks built into the cabin to protect Bruce Banner when he stayed there but are eventually captured by agents only to be saved by the backup Coulson called for: Deathlok. He helps Coulson and Hunter steal the Quinjet and sets off with them to both save Skye and retake S.H.I.E.L.D. The episode ends with a tease of Fitz having left S.H.I.E.L.D. and it is revealed that he took the real Toolbox with him.
We do learn a lot about the Inhumans and their wide ranging population as well as a group of Elders that control their decisions. This episode did feel like a lot of talking and not a lot of action, but there is a sense that a lot of building is being put together for a showdown between the Inhumans and a soon to be unified S.H.I.E.L.D.. It is hard to tell if Skye's mother is going to end up being the new big bad on the show, but I hope they decide soon as having so many factions dealing with so many minor plot elements is not doing the show any favors. Still, the series is more interesting and worth watching now than it has ever been. Here's hoping the big finish coming in a few episodes is worth all this build-up.
MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Lots of Inhumans references as well as callbacks to Bruce Banner/The Hulk having stayed at The Retreat.
NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.:
Episode 14 "Melinda" (Airs April 14th) - The story of Melinda May’s transformation into “The Cavalry” is revealed as she finds herself at a crossroads in the war between Coulson and Gonzales. As Skye learns more about her true heritage from Lincoln, the truth about the Inhumans will send her in a new direction