Thursday, April 9, 2015

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Afterlife

The latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is broken into three storylines each born out of the current S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. arc. A familiar face returns to join Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Hunter's (Nick Blood) attempt to find Skye (Chloe Bennet) and put things right. Divided loyalties within S.H.I.E.L.D. force Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) to leave, Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) to make a hard choice, Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) to question the organization's assessment of Skye, and Gonzales (Edward James Olmos) to find a way to kinda-sorta entice May (Ming-Na Wen) into betraying Coulson without actually betraying Coulson. And Skye struggles to get used to her new life among the Inhumans with the help of a man named Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) who keeps at least as much hidden about the group as he explains.

The return of Deathlok (J. August Richards) is noteworthy except when you remember he wasn't much of a character to begin with. His inclusion at least gives Coulson and Hunter a fighting chance heading into winning over the next potential ally - Grant Ward. As for May's storyline I'll get the writers credit for thinking outside the box in finding a path for her to join the other S.H.I.E.L.D. without technically betraying Coulson, but I still don't buy they would give her real power or authority (nor do I think Gonzales could ever convince her that his S.H.I.E.L.D. would).

The end of Fitz's storyline isn't surprising (I'm suspecting S.H.I.E.L.D. will eventually track him to Coulson), but Jemma's decision to help him is a nice touch (even if the plotline of stealing the box seems like it would have worked with or without her assistance). The show gives the audience multiple clues to a hidden agenda among the Inhumans where Skye is concerned while keeping her mostly in the dark (a questionable writing choice both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter ultimately suffer from). Next week suggests Skye will begin training with the woman we know is her mother while May's past will be unnecessarily explored. (The various conflicting vague stories of how she earned the nickname "the Cavalry" work far better than anything the show could produce. If you don't believe me go back and watch the ill-conceived X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

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