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'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' recap: 'Afterlife'

Two faces from the past make surprising returns while Coulson comes one step closer to reclaiming his team.

Posted on

Kelsey McNeal/ABC

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
tvpgr:
TV-PG
seasons:
4
run date:
07/19/13
performer:
Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet
broadcaster:
ABC
genre:
ActionAdventure

“Afterlife” offered two VERY surprising reunions tonight, even if one of them included characters unaware it was actually a reunion. Both offered little in the way of celebration but should shake things up quite a bit as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. heads into the home stretch of its second season.

And yes, while it was cool to see Mike Peterson, a.k.a. Deathlok, return to the show, I was far more interested in the return of Skye’s mother, Jiaying, both on a character and plot level. Especially considering Skye is unaware of her blood tie to Jiaying, her appearance sets up some emotional—and seriously strange—familial revelations to come in the next few episodes.

So why exactly were Skye and Jiaying speaking, and where the hell did Deathlok appear from? Let’s dive in, with the man of the hour (and every hour, since this show technically exists because of him)…

Coulson and Hunter on the run

Coulson and Hunter have made their way to the Hulk Cabin (Is that the official name? No? I like it, anyway.) to regroup and plan their next move. Skye is missing—they find out about Gordon and her teleportation via a video feed—and S.H.I.E.L.D. has been wrested from Coulson’s control. They need a plan, and there are few options left.

Hunter suggests it’s time for the bad options then, and Coulson, giving it some thought, happens to agree. So he calls in his location to Gonzales and his men in the hopes of luring a quinjet to the cabin that he can commandeer. Coulson has called in backup, which, at this point, amounts to one extra agent arriving late to the party. Thanks to a 21st-century Howling Commandos kit (Are those standard issue?), however, the present duo steals some S.H.I.E.L.D. uniforms, attempting to board and take over the lone quinjet.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as alone as it appears, as other agents and jets appear from beneath their cloaking and surround Coulson and Hunter. When it seems like it’s time to surrender, that extra bit of backup arrives, and Deathlok packs quite a punch. It helps that Deathlok’s a cyborg, of course, and the long lost cast member returns by making quick work of the entire S.H.I.E.L.D. platoon.

The trio now has its next move in sight, but it won’t be an easy one to pull off. Coulson assumes Hydra knows about Skye, Gordon, and the other Inhumans, and Deathlok has been gathering intel on a Hydra group called List. (Is that List, LIST, or L.I.S.T.?) To find what they need to know, Coulson knows there’s only one man, one bad option, who can help—Grant Ward.

But while Coulson is doing whatever he can to find out where Skye is, what is the newly powered S.H.I.E.L.D. member herself doing? She’s hanging out at Afterlife.

Gordon’s School for Gifted Inhumans

The title of the episode is the name given to Gordon’s Inhuman hideout, where he brings Skye to keep her safe and help her understand her newfound abilities. She’s introduced to Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), a guy with some (literally) shocking powers. He shows her around the place, which is filled with quite a few other Inhuman humans.

The spotlight is not on them but on Skye and Gordon, and that’s somewhat of a blessing and a curse. Skye and Lincoln’s scenes feel like a needless romantic subplot (whether the show has any intention of going in that direction I couldn’t say, but it sure felt like it was a possibility to me), but things improve when Cal and Jiaying are introduced into the mix.

Cal is still holed up in an Afterlife holding room, where he and Gordon fight after Cal discovers Skye/Daisy is on the premises. The show employs Gordon’s teleportation ability here with some impressive choreography, not making the fight feel absolutely one-sided but proving just how handy that power can be.

NEXT: A family reunited, a S.H.I.E.L.D. divided.

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