Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD “Afterlife” Review (Season 2 Episode 16)

CHLOE BENNET, LUKE MITCHELL

After a somewhat mystifying episode last week with this nonsensical “Real SHIELD” twist, Agents of SHIELD returned tonight with the much more focused installment “Afterlife.”

The Real SHIELD plot was really frustrating to me last week for multiple reasons. Not the least of which is that their de facto leader, Edward James Olmos’ Robert Gonzalez, is such an ignorant crotchety old man that it’s hard to believe that anybody would follow him. This whole storyline was a bit more focused this week, and it finally looks like Bobbi is starting to notice just how ridiculous Gonzalez is being about this whole thing, and she may be slowly recognizing that Coulson wasn’t so bad after all. Coulson might have been a little too open minded as a leader, dealing with alien technology and Asgardians and all, but Gonzalez is almost unbelievably closed minded. The way he talks so derogatorily and dismissively about alien blood and people with abilities and stuff sounds so ridiculous in a post Avengers world. I mean…has he not heard of The Avengers? Was he not aware that thousands of aliens invaded earth, and were then repelled by aliens and people with abilities? Is he not aware that the entire purpose of SHIELD, including his “Real SHIELD”, is to deal with these threats in a diplomatic and secretive matter to protect the civilian people?

It still makes no sense why Gonzalez felt the need for a hostile takeover of Coulson’s SHIELD, especially considering the speech he gave to May about a unified SHIELD where everybody gets an opinion and blah blah blah. Hey maybe you could have, like, called Coulson just to let him know you exist, and maybe he would have been cool with unifying. Instead you blow up his base and try to open his magic box. Now it’s tearing the team apart, Fitz is leaving and Bobbi is losing faith in Gonzalez, so it’s still the most frustrating storyline on an otherwise great show.

The much more satisfying storyline follows Skye after she’s whisked away by Gordon to her fancy Inhumans school in the mountains. Here she meets Lincoln, played by Luke Mitchell, who’s acting as Skye’s hunky Transitioner. He’s likable enough, but the big news here was that Skye’s mom is there! The last we saw was in a flashback where we thought Jiayang had died, so it’s exciting (although not very surprising) that she’s here for her daughter. I’d like to see more of Lincoln, but I’m not quite sure what his role will be on the show anymore now that Skye’s mom is here to train her.

Coulson and Hunter’s little bro trip at the cabin was a fun little distraction, and it was cool to have J. August Richards back on the show as Deathlok, There wasn’t really a whole lot happening here, but they’re just setting everything up for the future as Coulson now has a reason to work with Ward again. As much as I’ve enjoyed this season, I’m excited to have a Ward/Deathlok reunion. It’ll be like it’s season one all over again!

What did you think of the episode? How do you feel about this whole “Real SHIELD” thing? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– All of the talk that the Twin Peaks reboot on Showtime might not happen made me kinda sad to see Kyle MacLachlan again tonight. This might be the only place I see him on TV for a while now!

– I wonder why they were being so secretive about Raina’s appearance? We know what she looks like! I guess Skye didn’t, though, but she barely reacted to her looks!

– Do you think Olmos actually slid that gun by himself and made it stop right in front of May? Or was that just TV trickery?