TV Review: “Agents of SHIELD” – “Afterlife”

Written by Danielle Sing April 10, 2015

agents of shield

“Agents of SHIELD” returns this week with “Afterlife”. With many key events occurring in last week’s episode, notably Gordon (Jamie Harris) taking Skye (Chloe Bennet), but this episode didn’t solely focus on the aftermath of one event. “Afterlife” has an overall good pace, effective character development, sets up the next episode well, and the writers have improved with how they deliver information. There were some boring scenes, and it was hard to pay intention with half of the “Agents of SHIELD” cast returning in this episode.

There were three main plot lines in “Afterlife” that together created a well-paced episode. The ‘Real SHIELD’ plot line had a good pace and the tension between Leo Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) and Jemma Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) made this plot exciting. The two characters have been fighting since the mid-season premiere, and this made their tension believable, despite it only being a ruse. A place called Afterlife was full of new information and new characters, including the return of Raina (Ruth Negga), Jiaying (Dichen Lachman), and Cal (Kyle MacLachlan). The writers improved how they deliver information in “Afterlife”. In “Love in the Time of Hydra”, the information about the ‘Real SHIELD’ was boring and unbearably slow. In “Who You Really Are”, they created a new character to give information but he did nothing else. While Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell) is a new character who delivers most of the information, his character didn’t leave at the end of the episode; it seems like his character could grow with the rest of the season. While this plot line was mainly information, it was enjoyable to watch because of the writer’s improvements, and it contained elements of tension and emotion.

“I don’t want to control it, I want to get rid of it.”

The plot line of Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Hunter (Nick Blood) was boring at times, and was quite slow even though it provided some of the only action scenes in the entire episode. This “Agents of SHIELD” plot line only became exciting when Mike Peterson (J August Richards) returned because it was used as a foundation for upcoming episodes. The slow pace was beneficial because the other two plot lines had a lot of tension or a lot of new information, so it was nice to have something to balance this “Agents of SHIELD” episode. The combination of the three plot lines made “Afterlife” have an overall good pace.

agents of shield

There’s some effective character and relationship developments in “Afterlife”, some of them quite subtle. The major development was Fitz and Simmons forgiving each other. Fitz realized that Simmons was creating a copy of Fury’s Toolbox and he knew she wanted him to smuggle it out of SHIELD when he left. It was nice to see Fitz and Simmons’ old dynamic come back, even if it was only for a moment. There’s subtle character development with Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki). Throughout the episode, Bobbi gets increasingly defensive of Skye, but it seems like she;s questioning Robert Gonzales’ (Edward James Olmos) plan for Fury’s Toolbox and about powered people. While it’s all nonverbal, this hints that Bobbi is a likely candidate to return to Coulson’s SHIELD.

“She is capable of beauty and greatness, just as we all are.”

If “Agents of SHIELD” knows how to do one thing well, it’s how to end an episode. Cliff-hangers are an effective tool to keep audiences watching, but with so many different plot lines that are moving quickly over the course of the season, some direction is needed to set up the next episode. Thankfully, “Afterlife” neatly sets up the continuation of the three plots so the audience knows their direction, instead of just leaving the audience in suspense. Fitz has Fury’s Toolbox, Coulson, Hunter and Mike Peterson need Grant Ward’s (Brett Dalton) help with Dr. List’s (Henry Goodman) experiments, and Jiaying offers to teach Skye to control her powers.

agents of shield

The latest episode of “Agents of SHIELDS”, called “Afterlife”, has a good pace, character and relationship developments, appropriately sets up the next episode, and delivers new information well. The only downsides were some boring scenes and the mass reunion of characters. Some of the returning characters are have a confusing purpose – such as Mike Peterson – and some don’t seem plausible; for example, Jiaying died after being experimented on. While this “Agents of SHIELD” episode wasn’t disappointing, it wasn’t overly spectacular either.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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