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Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Ep. 211, “Aftershocks”

Season 2B starts off with a young man in a red box. He’s clearly special: he’s teleporting around the room but without any control. His eyes are missing – as in completely not there – and he looks like a certain someone who made an ominous phone call previously. Skye’s mother Jiaying arrives to comfort him. Patiently, she guides Gordon to her, helping him to understand and manage the changes that have happened to him after stepping through the mist. After calming him, Jiaying discusses her role with Yat-sen.

Jiaying: Without me guiding these poor kids through their changes they would be lost.

Like Skye, who is quarantined with S.H.I.E.L.D. and having nightmares about poor Trip’s rough break. She wakes to Coulson standing vigil and Skye expresses her guilt; she feels like Trip wouldn’t have ever gone into the city if it weren’t for her, but Coulson insists he gave his life to save millions. Skye wants to know how everyone else is adjusting and they’re largely distracting themselves: May is beating the tar out of a punching bag, Mac is still being a mechanic with his faithful assistant, Fitz, Morse reminisces, and Hunter is drinking his woes away.

Get me some Cactus Cooler, stat.

Coulson tells Skye that Mac cleared to be released from quarantine quickly. Apparently the force that was controlling him doesn’t like to stay long. And Simmons is still in the city collecting specimens with the plan to blow the whole city so no one can enter again. No sign of Raina yet in the rubble, and Coulson was surprised that Skye is unharmed in all the destruction. But she’s freaking out.

Skye: We lost! Game over, man, game over! If I didn’t go down there, you could have just blown the place like you wanted to originally!
Coulson: Hey! Get it together! We lost a battle but the war continues until we cut off every head Hydra has! While they scramble for a new head, I WILL DESTROY THEM.

The current incarnation of Hydra have a meeting to discuss Whitehall’s death and the management vacancy it left. They know that S.H.I.E.L.D. will retaliate and set a contest between them: whoever takes out S.H.I.E.L.D. gets to replace Whitehall. Back down in the city, some poor scientist is attacked by someone. Something? We can’t see the attack, but we do see the pool of blood travelling around the corner and a hand covered in spiky quills that might just belong to the missing Raina.

Continuing with the systematic excavation of the city, Simmons gives orders to two more besuited scientists to collect samples from a particular area quickly so they can hurry up and flood the place. Not two seconds after she leaves them, our spiky attacker slashes the two scientists’ throats and gets a glimpse of itself. Yup, it’s Raina and depending on who you talk to, she’s not as gorgeous as before. Simmons unloads a clip at her but Raina is able to escape to the surface.

Morse brings Skye an awesome quarantine care package: cards, homemade trail mix (healthy), candy bars (not healthy), trashy magazines, and the sweet, orange glory that is the exclusively Californian Cactus Cooler. Skye feels like a leper but Adrian assures her that she’s dope: “You were taken hostage by three known murderers, gunned Ward down, and were blasted by an alien chemical weapon and walked away unscathed. You’re a rock star, not a leper, silly.”

Fitz is struggling to make sense of the fragments of Skye’s biometer watch. If he can fix it, he can get an idea of what happened to her, but his wires are crossing. Mac offers his small electronics kit for tinkering, but Fitz is more curious about how he’s doing.

Fitz: How’s your head?
Mac: I told you it won’t do me any good to give you a play by play.
Fitz: You know you can talk to me.
Fitz: …Yeah.
Mac: Oh. Yeah. Sorry.

Simmons reports on the deaths in the city and her Raina sighting. She informs Coulson and May that she wounded Raina who seemed to have been covered in spikes. Simmons says she collected a specimen but really doesn’t want to go on a manhunt for Raina. She’d rather come back to headquarters to see everyone and run tests on Raina’s DNA and Coulson agrees. Then he tells May to gather everyone to plot how to take down Hydra.

Coulson begins to outline a preliminary plan for destroying Hydra and a great ping ponging scene of dissent begins to play out. Mac is grumpy because Coulson’s choices seem to be getting people hurt, Hunter likes to make ill-timed jokes to “lighten the mood,” and May is still a company woman. Mac is pissed off at how Coulson’s orders – even when they’re to save one of their own – usually end with people getting hurt and everyone explodes into an argument. Inside her quarantine room, the stress and anger is getting to Skye and she’s about to spill the rest of that orange gold in a can, but no one notices. Coulson checks Mac.

Coulson: Enough! If Trip were here he wouldn’t be arguing or bitching. He’d gear up to do what needs to be done. Yes, we’re dealing with forces we don’t understand, but I do understand Hydra. Get your crap together and be ready by sun up. Coulson out!

Meet your new bestie, Bakshi.

Down in their lovely prison cells, Coulson begins to reveal part of the plan: he is trading Bakshi to Talbot in the military in exchange for their help in eliminating the remaining Hydra leaders. Coulson and May transport Bakshi and discuss their plan. May is relatively sure they can trust Talbot, but what about the people around him? We know how insidious Hydra is; any of them could be working for the enemy. Just as they reassure themselves of their need of Talbot’s help – and let slip that Bakshi might be more important to Hydra now that Whitehall is dead – their SUV is T-boned by a speeding Mack truck.

The truck pushes the vehicle through a wall and into a warehouse of sorts and a shootout ensues. Coulson and May are taking heavy fire and toss some grenades. May is all, “I count four left. You know what that means.” Then she does an awesome action star flip over the hood and takes the rest out single-handedly. I love this woman. They remove Bakshi to escape and May is shot, followed quickly by Coulson. One of the opposition is saving Bakshi: “Come on, the SUV is still running!”

In their escape vehicle, Bakshi is asking his savior about the current state of Hydra and that voice sounds familiar. The shooter takes off his mask and it’s Hunter but with an American accent! He tells Bakshi that he supposes he’s working for him now that Whitehall is dead. Back in the warehouse, all the dead bodies come back to life: everyone involved in their dramatic display was an agent and Morse speeds off on her motorcycle after Hunter and Bakshi.

Mac tells Fitz that the plan has worked so far but Fitz is still having trouble with Skye’s watch. His hands are getting better but his head must be getting worse because he can’t explain his findings. Skye’s DNA will help, but he doesn’t think he’ll be able to truly understand until Simmons returns. Bakshi calls Bloom to report he’s alive and Hunter pulls a gun on him.

Hunter: Don’t try anything sneaky, this will be painless.
Hunter: I’m under orders to kill you once you make contact. My employers don’t want any of you nutters to get in the way.
Bakshi: Don’t kill me! If you take me to Bloom you’ll be financially set for life, I’ll braid your daughter’s hair, and if you ever need a kidney you have a donor in me!
Hunter: Ah, alright. Get in.

While another blood sample is taken from Skye, Simmons reflects on how changed Raina was when she saw her. Raina’s DNA contains extra macromolecules and Simmons is freaked out that Skye’s exposure to Raina might have far reaching, epidemic-like consequences.

Skye: That’s a hasty conclusion, don’t you think?
Simmons: I was so curious about powers and unearthly powers, hoping to understand and control it. I should have been trying to destroy it. It’s a plague and it only brings us death! Donnie Gill, Chan Ho Yin, Creel…
Skye: But you’ve helped people with powers before! The Avengers —
Simmons: The Avengers wouldn’t be necessary if we hadn’t gone poking that alien bear! Trip was in fragments.

Simmons is determined that Trip be the last casualty caused by her thirst for knowledge and says flooding the city is the first responsible thing she’s done to protect the people she cares about.

Raina Inhuman

Back in Puerto Rico on a pier, Skye’s dad Calvin is making a deal for travel. “Quiet as a mouse, just like last time.” Raina finds him and shows her how she’s evolved. “What the hell have I become?! What happened to me?”

Calvin: Metamorphosis, by the look of it.
Raina: It wasn’t supposed to be like this! I was supposed to become something divine, transcendent. My grandmother said I’d be an angel, not some gnarled creature covered in thorns.
Calvin: You always did like flowers.
Raina: They hurt and this is your fault! Your daughter got a gift too and she’s still beautiful! She took what was mine!
Calvin: We all have our disappointments. I dreamt of a perfect reunion with my daughter and revenge for my wife and Coulson rained on ALL OF MY PARADES! But you said she’s changed! She’s gonna be afraid, but I bet she went back to Coulson. She’ll come to me when she sees how they treat her. I’ll wreak some havoc with the help of their index, remind Daisy that she needs me.
Raina: What about me? Aren’t you going to help me?
Calvin: I did. We helped each other achieve our goals and now you’re on your own.
Raina: I can’t live like this! My insides feel like gravel and I cut myself when I move. I can’t live as this repulsive creature.
Calvin: Then don’t.

Cold blooded. (Is it wrong that I was distracted from this scene by noticing that Raina’s makeup could have been done better by a Face Off All Star? Seriously, she couldn’t emote through that face application at all! I could only read emotion in her voice. Anyway, back to the recap.)

Hunter and Bakshi arrive at Bloom’s. Bakshi says once he’s inside he’ll send for Hunter, who is joined in the car by Morse as Bakshi passes through the gates.

Morse: Can you drop that accent? It makes you sound like a douchebag.
Hunter: Now you know how I feel living in this country.

They begin to discuss the argument back at headquarters and Hunter knows that Morse and Mac have some sort of secret they’re hiding. She tells him that she and Mac are in a support group and he laughs because her news could have been so much worse! They could be double agents or something.

I’m sorry, dude.

Back at headquarters, Mac and Simmons report to Coulson that their ventilation system is sound so they aren’t being exposed to the quarantined Skye’s contaminants. Mac also apologizes to Coulson for his outbursts and blames it on the alco- I mean, the alien influence. He says he’s having a hard time controlling his temper, but he’s working on it and hopes he can still work on Lola one day.

Coulson: After that little RC version you built for me, I’m genuinely considering it. Although, I couldn’t figure out how to make it fly.
Mack: Er, it doesn’t.

Simmons warns Coulson and May about Raina. She thinks that because Raina might be carrying catastrophic contaminants of the plague variety, agents should definitely go ahead and kill her if there is no other absolutely safe option of bringing her in. Look who’s learning to be ruthless!

Back at Bloom’s, Bakshi and Bloom are talking to another Hydra head. They think there is infighting among the heads and that the Sheik, the Banker, and the Baroness have issued orders to have them wiped out. Their only recourse is to take them out first, naturally.

And Raina has become so suicidal that walking headlong into traffic seems like a great idea. Fitz visits Skye in quarantine and tells her that her heartbeat was 300 BPM at the time of the explosion.

Skye: That’s…very fast.
Fitz: No, that’s inhuman.

Fitz thought he’d made a mistake because of the corrupted data in his head, but nope. It all points back to Skye. How could they have found her unharmed in the collapse with destruction all around her? Skye’s stress levels are skyrocketing from this line of questioning and as Fitz realizes that not only was Skye the one who caused the explosion, but that she was changed just like Raina, she freaks out and lots of expensive looking equipment is destroyed.

May comes to see Skye who’s hiding her wounded hand. Skye is worried about Coulson and May clues us in on the rest of their plan while Coulson pays a final visit to Trip’s mother.

May: For Coulson, Trip was the embodiment of the principles he wants S.H.I.E.L.D. to be built on: compassion, loyalty, heart. And that is S.H.I.E.L.D.’s strength. And Trip’s death reminded Coulson that Hydra doesn’t have that. That is their weakness.

Bloom activates a red alert that triggers the coordinated assassinations of the Sheik, the Banker, and the Baroness, effectively wiping out the heads of Hydra. Outside Bloom’s manse, Hydra soldiers unload automatic weapons at Hunter and Morse’s car – which is thankfully bulletproof and equipped with it’s own impressive range of weaponry. The soldiers are put down in two seconds flat. Hunter and Morse infiltrate Bloom’s home and take out everyone inside except Bakshi.

Hunter: Fortunately for you, you’ve been promised to Talbot. Let’s go.

May notices that Skye’s hand is bleeding and just as she’s about to confess Fitz arrives with a likely cover story and Skye’s exoneration: he says Skye’s DNA is an exact match to what it was before. Fitz cleverly sends Simmons away to straighten up Skye’s bunk for her (“The last time I was in there, there were lots of…lady things. And she’s a slob.”) while he patches her hand up. Skye wants to know what he just did, and so do I.

Fitz: I switched your new sample with one from before. Your new sample is drastically different and I don’t think we should tell anybody. Not with the way Simmons is freaking out about epidemics and such.

Skye is distraught that he’s having to keep this secret for her and says there’s something very wrong with her. “No, there isn’t,” he tells her. “You’re just different now.”

Raina begins to cross the street but is swarmed by a bunch of armed men in black. They want her to surrender but she’s all, “If you don’t kill me, I’m going to kill you. There’s no capture option.” Just then our friend Gordon arrives in a ball of blue electricity, much older and clearly in control of his powers. He’s like, “Come with me if you want to live,” and he and Raina disappear.

Back at headquarters, the model Lola that Mac made activates in Coulson’s office. It scans the whole office and finds a few hidden spots, and we learn that Mac and Morse have been working together to find Nick Fury’s toolbox. Everyone is bonding over dinner and drinks, but everyone also has a whammy of a secret and it clearly weighs on them all.

The Questions: Hydra never dies, so how are they going to come back from this? Will Skye learn to control herself without her father’s help? What are Mac and Morse up to? Are we seeing the beginnings of a Skye and Fitz pairing (Skitz? Fye?)? And how will everyone react when they find out Fitz’s lie? (Poorly, I expect.)

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