Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013) season 2, episode 16
WRITER: CRAIG TITLEY
DIRECTOR: KEVIN HOOKS
AIR DATE: April 7 2015
‘Afterlife’ picks up the threads for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much where we left off: two factions of S.H.I.E.L.D. with different agendas. One in control of the headquarters of the other. Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) having had linked up with Lance Hunter (Nick Blood) and making plans to get back at the competition. And Agent Skye (Chloe Bennet) having had vanished into the ether with the mysterious Inhuman Gordon (Jamie Harris).
Coulson and Hunter reach the Retreat, the cabin where Skye had been sequestered, learning through surveillance footage of the confrontation that took place there in the previous episode between Gonzales’ insertion team and Skye herself, particularly her seismic powers manifesting themselves, and the appearance of the aforementioned Gordon. Things aren’t quiet for long, as Gonzales (Edward James Olmos), who’s busy trying to figure out how to access Coulson’s so-called Toolbox, a device of secrets, dispatches a team to detain the two. He’s already detained Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), and May (Ming-Na Wen), and he and his people are trying to persuade them to see things their way.
The new Raina
The other big plotline figures into where Skye has gone. Gordon, whose Inhuman ability involves teleportation, has brought her somewhere to China, we presume, to a haven called Afterlife. She meets Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell), an American who introduces himself as her transitioner, explaining that his purpose is to help her adjust to her new abilities as an Inhuman. There’s a good deal of expository dialogue to all this, of course - but it flows nicely, reinforcing what comics readers already know about the society while giving new audiences a crash course in what makes the Inhumans as they are. There’s a bit of unpleasantness for Skye too - a face to face with Raina (Ruth Negga), whose physical transformation has been quite different, and who is undergoing some of the same processes of transition. The two are very much at odds, what with their history, while Campbell and Gordon are trying to play peacemakers.
While all this is going on, a couple of surprises turn up along the way. One of them is the one-man backup who comes to help out Coulson and Hunter from the rival S.H.I.E.L.D. agents when they turn up. It’s a surprise but of course it makes perfect sense, and it’s good to see the return. The other involves a character who by all rights should be dead. It was after all, a brutal, graphic, and pretty final death. And yet it is not. This being the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it means there are no such things as X-Men running about causing mayhem and acting all holier than thou, and therefore no mutants with hyper advanced healing factors. It’s a moment that seems curiouser and curiouser, as the saying goes. We will have to find out what that means as time goes along.