Starting off with a character who would seem to have Nightcrawler’s teleportation abilities bamfing around a room sets out Agents of SHIELD’s stall straightaway for this second half of this season – no more hiding the superpowers. This is a show that’s at the heart of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s going to be used to set up events and characters who are going to come into play across the board.
We know that the Inhumans are going to feature in their own movie a few years down the line, and the series is introducing us to the MCU version of their mythology, with the gas bringing out the latent abilities within the people (although Raina certainly seems to think that specific talents are being doled out, and that Skye has somehow got what was due to her…) The episode focuses in part on how the two women deal with their very different experiences: Raina looks very different (to the extent that she believes she can’t continue), while Skye is, luckily, the same on the surface, but you don’t want to get her too upset…
Trip’s death in episode 10 is not swept under the carpet: it’s affected all of Coulson’s team, him in particular, and there’s a strong scene of the team swapping stories. But it’s clear that not all is sweetness and light – Mockingbird is up to something, and it’s not what she tells her ex clearly!
As for HYDRA, things seem to go from bad to worse for them, with Coulson pulling some nasty little tricks to get his own way. As long as he remembers that he’s the one who’s adopted the moral high ground up to now, even with Nick Fury… And as for Fitz and Simmons – well, both of them take an interesting stand in this episode which is likely to increase the gap between them.
Verdict: After eight weeks of Agent Carter, the series perhaps needed to come back with a full-powered episode, and while this moves a lot of plotlines along, it’s not the spectacle that perhaps it could have been. 6/10