Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Scars
May 6, 2015 5:54 AM - Season 2, Episode 20 - Subscribe

Newly Reunified S.H.I.E.L.D. goes to Afterlife. Mack evaluates career options. Raina tries to help. Bobbi gets a surprise.

Gonzales goes to Afterlife.
posted by leotrotsky (23 comments total)
Jiaying is craycray.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:55 AM on May 6, 2015

Also, best use of a Sky Mall catalog as proof of flashback.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:07 AM on May 6, 2015 [12 favorites]

The idea that Skye's other parent is turning out to be more dangerous than Cal is great and I'm glad the show went there (and you know, makes sense when you consider she was literally pulled apart)

I felt like the Age of Ultron stuff was not as seamlessly integrated as the Winter Soldier stuff last year, but it was okay. I'd like it to be perfect, but I'm never going to complain about a shared universe at least making an effort, and I didn't expect it to have that much of an impact. I never really understood why anybody felt this season was going to be 'on hold' the same way that it was last year, waiting for the big Marvel movie event.

I'm still pretty on-board with the way the groundwork is being set for Civil War the way that it is. Honestly, it's the type of thing that people should be talking about for years until it happens. And I like that there are varying degrees of disagreement. Some people are only Inhuman/alien tech cautious, Mack feels much more strongly about it (for good reasons); it feels like authentic conflict in a way that a TV show can do better than a movie.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:19 AM on May 6, 2015

Amazing episode, despite feeling like some things don't make total sense. Like everything involving Gonzalez. Not too torn up to see him dead, although I was sort of hoping he transformed in the mist.

We're all set to see full blown Mr. Hyde in the finale!

I'm hoping there was more to Theta Protocol than just the helicarrier. Otherwise there is no compelling reason he needed to keep it a secret from May.

This show is incredible at creating believable characters - good guys, bad guys, wild cards, and everything in between. There are about 7 different spin off shows they could make and I would watch every one of them.

Coulson, Hunter, and Fitz open a shop of tricks and magic on the beaches of Mexico.

Ward and Agent 33 are serial bank robbers, always one step ahead of the authorities.

P900X with Agent May. Alternatively, Agent May's School of Kung Fu for Orphaned Children.

A combination talk show / cooking show / DIY show with Fitz, Simmons, and Skye.

The Brady Bunch, starring Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, and Patton Oswalt. Also starring Patton Oswalt.

Cal just being Cal, doing anything.
posted by 2ht at 6:21 AM on May 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

I still don't trust Raina.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 6:52 AM on May 6, 2015

Cal just being Cal, doing anything.

That one was called Twin Peaks.
posted by localroger at 7:14 AM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

"Jiaying is craycray."
"I still don't trust Raina."

Looks like Afterlife has two villains. Add to that, a still-highly-factionalized SHIELD with a wildcard Ward+33 and you'll get a fairly complex civil war.
posted by klarck at 7:44 AM on May 6, 2015

I still don't trust Raina.

Worse, she's learned an important lesson; "this is what I get when I try to be good."
posted by leotrotsky at 8:00 AM on May 6, 2015 [7 favorites]

The Brady Bunch Too Many Koenigs, starring Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, Patton Oswalt, and Patton Oswalt. Also starring Patton Oswalt.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:01 AM on May 6, 2015 [8 favorites]

Cal just being Cal, doing anything.

I really like how we haven't seen him actually do anything super-powered, but every scene with him has a palpable sense of dread.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

What's Agent 33's anger with Bobbi about? Could it be that Bobbie turned her over to Hydra to prove her own undercover role? 'Cause that would be a really good reason for a grudge.

I like the episode, but the characters feel off and/or winny. Mack has a point about not trusting Coulson, but hey Mack? Coulson never attacked the team while he was controlled by alien forces, so about you give it a rest buddy?

May's anger at Coulson seems odd also. He's the head of a spy agency, he gets to keep some secrets, you know? She just seems overly emotional in a an unprofessional way, which is what I wouldn't expect from the character.

Coulson agreeing to join forces with nuShield is also strange. Just last episode he was laughing at their voting strategy, now he wants to give him oversight of him? Bizzare.

However, I loved that Jaiying caused the "war". It makes sense that she's not willing to let anyone have any sort of oversight over her people, after she was horribly tortured.

Can we please keep Cal? Kyle Maclachlan just lights up every scene the character is in.

Also, so glad Ward is STILL turning out to be untrustworthy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2015

"What's Agent 33's anger with Bobbi about? Could it be that Bobbie turned her over to Hydra to prove her own undercover role?"

I didn't check, but my recollection is that Bobbi was undercover with Hydra and working with Bakshi and was right there when she was brainwashed. That was also when Jemma was undercover with Hyrda and Bobbi rescued her.

" he wants to give him oversight of him?"

He didn't give them oversight, just an advisory role.

"However, I loved that Jaiying caused the 'war'. It makes sense that she's not willing to let anyone have any sort of oversight over her people, after she was horribly tortured."

I totally was suckered on that development. I still am not totally sure that everything is as it appears to be, because Gordon sure seemed to be onboard with Raina. On the other hand, they shot several scenes in such a way that we had indications that Jiaying was suspicious of Raina (several reaction shots as she discussed Raina with Gordon and then Cal) and so it's completely plausible that Gordon, who worked very closely with Jiaying and trusted him from when he was young, had been feeling out Raina all along, giving her enough rope to hang herself is she proved to be treacherous. So I think I'm okay with that, even if the reversal was a little abrupt.

We've never seen that side of Jiaying, as far as I can recall, and so that change seems a bit abrupt but, again, I think they still did pretty well with this. Everything we've seen of Jiaying has been when she was "handling" other people and had every incentive to present herself in the most trustworthy way. Even within the Inhumans, it seems that she needs to present a motherly image, and that's been especially and literally true once Skye arrived. So it makes sense that we'd not see her ruthless side. And it makes sense that she'd have one, when it came to being vulnerable to outsiders, and to S.H.I.E.L.D., in particular.

What doesn't quite work for me was that Gonzales was a trusting as he was, such that he was willing to go in with her alone. I think his backup plan was Bobbi (and who he thought was Mae? I guess?), but it still doesn't seem like him to not anticipated something happening to him in that meeting.

I didn't actually enjoy the episode very much because I don't quite like having everything immediately go all to hell when everyone had just been brought back together. I know there has to be conflict, and I like how this was set up, but it seems to me to be too soon. Things needed to be set up for the season's end, and the timing of Ultron's release meant that this show was forced to this exact timetable -- you couldn't have the reconciliation with the splinter S.H.I.E.L.D. any sooner, and all this stuff had to happen post-Ultron.

I haven't seen Ultron yet and I have to say that I admire what they're attempting to do, and I think I prefer that they do it this way, but it's certainly difficult to actually accomplish. If everyone had seen the movie last weekend, then they could have integrated the movie's events into the show more gracefully. But everyone hasn't see it, so they are trying to have their cake and eat it, too; integrating the movie while not revealing almost anything about the movie. For me, that just meant that it felt like I'd missed an episode of the show.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:49 AM on May 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

I quite like how this episode turned out. While it was thrilling to see last season tie in with Cap 2 so tightly, ultimately I think it was a mistake. AOU's impact on Agents of SHIELD has been comparatively much lighter, and while I agree with Ivan that the timing has been poor, it hasn't worked out too bad.

Thumbs up for Jiaying being evil, Raina not-so-evil. I did not expect that; they successfully got me thinking that Gonzales was doing to do something horrible. Ditto with Ward still being evil (at least superficially).

Cal is just so much fun to watch.
posted by adrianhon at 2:05 PM on May 6, 2015

I'm most excited to find out when Jiaying decided on this plan. I feel like she had decided early on and that one conversation she had with Cal where he offered to give himself up was designed to slow play the audience. They were talking about Cal sacrificing himself in a violent attack while we were suppose to see it as a noble surrender for peace. Raina's visions were suppose to make us worry bout what might happen, but really they Raina seeing what Jaiying had already decided to do.

It was a bit of a throw away, but she did say at one point that she didn't like the person she was becoming, so she left Cal and came to Afterlife to rebuild herself. I had assumed that had been about desperation and sadness over the loss of her daughter and slowly losing her husband, but maybe it was about the acts she was committing for seemingly no purpose (her daughter being "gone forever").

I also really like Cal and Jiaying's relationship. They feel like two people who are a grounded, in-love couple thrown into the heightened circumstance of the comic book world.
posted by humans are superior! at 8:16 PM on May 6, 2015

I also liked the Jiaying twist (and the more I see of her and Cal's relationship the more I'm sold on it); and I liked that Raina, while she was being truthful about her vision, sabotaged herself by trying to be self-serving. If she hadn't tried to turn into a power play, by suggesting she should be the one to negotiate with SHIELD, things might've actually worked out. But it's Raina and she just can't pass up the chance to advance her own agenda, no matter the stakes.

Mack OTOH I was less thrilled with. I mean, really, you stuck around long enough to be a spy for nuSHIELD and now you're leaving? Why not just quit months ago and avoid all the awkwardness and mixed feelings of being forced to choke out and kidnap your friend? I think they could've made that work better for me by tying his decision to leave now to some kind of fallout or crisis of faith brought on by the events of Age of Ultron, but of course they were trying so hard to tiptoe around the actual contents of the movie. Which, in fairness, since I haven't seen it yet, I did appreciate, though if they were gonna be spoilerific in this ep I would've just waited another week or so to watch it.

It's sorta the easy way out, but I feel like scheduling-wise the thing to do with the movies/tv show interplay would be to have the movies come out when the show is on season or mid-season hiatus. (I realize movie release scheduling is gonna be what it's gonna be and it's the show's schedule that would get adjusted, but still.) That way they can assume that audiences that are going to see the movie have had plenty of time to do so, the movies don't as severely warp the shape of the tv show's plot arcs, and the writers have a little more time to properly integrate the two. I still remain in awe of the logistical feat that Winter Soldier was, but this time around was...less impressive.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:40 PM on May 6, 2015

Yah, I really think Bobbi was involved in Agent 33's brainwashing - maybe she just marched her to the brainwashing room in her role as Hydra security chief, but she was involved. Which, hey, makes Agent 33's gripe pretty valid. Bobbi Morse is a likable character - but even given the constraints of an undercover role, complicity with brainrape seems way behind the pale.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 8:42 PM on May 6, 2015

Ok, did nobody notice May and Bobbi leading an advance team, and May taking Gonzales to Afterlife, and put 3 and 3 together?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:57 AM on May 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think Bobbi was assigned to something, and then fakeMay just tagged along, so it's plausible.

The real question is did no one notice that the face changing "enemy" under observation was missing? Or does Shield not know about that?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:33 AM on May 8, 2015

Is it possible 33 is actually now working for Coulson again?
posted by 2ht at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2015

Hee hee, it's possible, but unlikely imo. But definitely possible on a spy show! Wouldn't explain why she was attacking Bobbi, at least at this point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:41 AM on May 8, 2015

My takeaway is that Jiaying has basically doomed Afterlife. I mean seriously, she's basically taking on the entire world at this point.

What's her plan? "I'll kill everybody in Shield, and then we'll be left alone?" Even if she manages to take out Shield (unlikely), the information is going to end up with various governments, who are going to also react unlikely to the instance of a group of dangerous and hostile superbeings. She's basically made her group a huge, visible target.

Unless of course her plan is to get rid if the rest of humanity, say by using an ancient Kree weapon...
posted by happyroach at 3:16 PM on May 8, 2015

Gonzales goes to Afterlife.


I was annoyed and worried that Gonzales, in talking about controlling all possible threats, was sounding kinda like Hydra; I was blindsided by what happened.
posted by Pronoiac at 10:04 PM on May 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

What's her plan?

There isn't much a rational plan. She just wants to kill anyone who threatens her and her people. No doubt she has severe emotional scars after literally being cut to pieces by Whitehall and then literally put back together by Cal.

In that light, her overreaction to SHIELD wanting to "catalog" and "index" everyone with special powers makes sense. There's no way in hell she's going to let that happen, because she's seen and felt what humans want from enhanced people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 AM on May 10, 2015

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