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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S2 E11 "Aftershocks"

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Team Coulson deal with the aftermath of Skye and Raina undergoing Terrigenesis, while Bobbi and Mack are keeping something from them.


Tropes:

  • Absurdly Sharp Claws: One of Raina's new "gifts" from Terrigenesis are thorns in her hands that are as good as shivs.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Coulson in the fake attack. May lampshades it.
    May: "You'll never take us alive"? Really?
  • Batman Gambit: Coulson's plan to bring HYDRA down: using Bakshi as bait, convince him that Whitehall's death is creating a power struggle within HYDRA, causing the leaders to turn on each other, then allow him to make the first move. This works out brilliantly, as it completely upstages HYDRA's earlier attempt at a power transition.
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  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Raina has been promised that she'd be made into something wonderful — an angel, even — and now she's covered with thorns and in pain with every movement. It's lampshaded by Cal, who points out that she wanted to be transformed, and got exactly that.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Coulson's plan to cripple HYDRA is considerably more ruthless than his other plans.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Gordon swaggering in to rescue Raina from S.H.I.E.L.D. and stopping her from killing herself.
    Gordon: It's okay, beautiful. [Gordon dramatically tugs on his coat and pulls Raina to his side] I'll show you the way.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: This episode treats viewers to plenty of blood splatter from Raina attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists, then later a lovely blood spurt from the back of Octavian Bloom's head. Thankfully, the gore factor is nowhere near how Skye's mother died (if the fact that this episode is rated TV-PG as usual says anything about it).
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  • Blunt "Yes": Fitz's response when Mack snaps at him, asking if he knows what it's like to have his body taken over and not be able to do anything about it.
  • Body Horror:
    • Raina's transformation has covered her body in thorns and given her claws. By her own account, every movement she makes causes her pain.
    • You can notice that Gordon didn't actually lose his eyes so much as get skin and flesh over them.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Hunter takes down Octavian Bloom.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Hunter adopts an American accent while undercover with Bakshi. Bobbi notes that it makes him sound "like a douchebag".
    Hunter: (*back to his normal dialect*) Now you know what it feels like for me to live in this country.
  • The Bus Came Back: Bakshi was last seen in "The Things We Bury" on life support in the infirmary after a failed suicide attempt. In this episode, he's recovered enough to be held in Ward's old cell.
  • Call-Back:
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    • The show begins with a flashback to 1983 and Skye's mother comforting the newly transformed and traumatized Gordon, saying "It'll be okay, beautiful. I'll show you the way." Later in the episode, Gordon saves the newly terrigenized and suicidal Raina from S.H.I.E.L.D., saying "It's okay, beautiful, I'll show you the way."
    • The way Fitz consoles and comforts Skye after her transformation is reminiscent of the way Skye's mother consoled Gordon.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mini Lola that Mack built to impress Coulson turned out to be a scanner to find Fury's Toolbox in Coulson's office.
  • Conflict Ball:
    • Everyone becomes afraid of people with powers ... just in time for Skye to develop them.
    • Mack and to a lesser extent Bobbi both take a level in jerkass and are plotting against Coulson for some reason involving the "toolbox" he received from Fury.
    • Mack also lashes out at both Coulson (for not explaining himself) and Fitz (for trying to sympathize with his experience).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: HYDRA demonstrates this tends to be an organizational problem as literally within minutes of hearing Bakshi's account of what he thinks is happening, Bloom orders obviously pre-planned hits on the other regional HYDRA leaders. It's exploited beautifully by Team Coulson.
  • Code Name: All the HYDRA leaders have simple names like The Baroness, The Banker or The Sheikh.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Dr. List (who first appeared in the mid-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier) appears as the representative of Baron von Strucker.
    • Coulson recalls the time Bakshi impersonated Talbot. Talbot still isn't happy about it.
    • The Banker is assassinated with the disintegration bomb that first appeared in "Fractured House".
    • The Baroness is assassinated by a drink tainted with Taken for Granite poison based on the Obelisk, similar to the tainted food Whitehall tested in a previous episode.
    • When describing how superpowers can be dangerous in wrong hands, Simmons brings up some previous "gifted" that the team has dealt with, including Creel and Chan Ho Yin.
    • Mack sarcastically asks if Fitz knows what it's like to have his body taken over, and to watch helplessly from the inside as he hurts his friends. Fitz does.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Simmons seems to have crossed it after Tripp's death (if the events of Season One hadn't already done it); her bubbly curiosity is now almost totally gone, and she now sees the unknown as something dangerous to be destroyed instead of studied. She even bluntly states that the only reason the Avengers were necessary was because of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s meddling in Things Man Was Not Meant to Know.
  • Driven to Suicide: After Cal abandons Raina, she walks into traffic to die, and then plans to let herself be shot by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents when they try to take her in. Gordon, thankfully, is having none of that.
  • Enemy Civil War: Coulson's Batman Gambit incites this in HYDRA, getting Bakshi and Bloom to wipe out the other HYDRA regional leaders before killing Bloom and turning Bakshi over to Talbot.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: In a demonstration of HYDRA having moved beyond its Nazi roots, its leadership council includes a woman and an Arab man.
  • Exact Words: Bakshi promises Hunter that he'll never need to worry about money again for the rest of his life. What he doesn't say is that he's planning on doing this by ensuring that the rest of Hunter's life will only be a few hours long. Hunter was expecting this, and easily turned the tables on the people Bakshi and Bloom sent to kill him.
  • Fantastic Racism: Recent events have caused Jemma to believe that powers are an epidemic that must be eradicated in order to prevent more deaths. Mack is also decidedly anti-alien after his Grand Theft Me experience.
  • Foreshadowing: During the montage of people's reactions to Trip's death, in the scene with Bobbi and Hunter, you can see a table of black tactical gear and helmets.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Strucker is once again mentioned by the other HYDRA leaders, in such a way that implies he's superior to them. The doctor with whom he shared a conversation at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier even appears as his representative.
  • Happy Dance: Cal does one after learning that Skye's undergone Terrigenesis.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Some of the sub-leaders of HYDRA end up this. See the Continuity Nod above for the details, but basically it's "killed by their own technology".
  • Irony: Cal points out the irony of Raina, the "Girl in the Flower Dress", ending up covered in thorns, and hating it.
  • Jerkass Ball: Mack picks it up in this episode. After being possessed and losing a close friend and teammate, he lashes out in grief at Coulson, who he partially blames, and at Fitz when he tries to empathize with him. He later apologizes to them both.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Cal is coldly dismissive of Raina's disappointment but everything he says is true. Everyone suffers disappointments and they don't always like what they transform into, but you learn to live with it because the only alternative is not living at all. And Raina chose not living until Gordon finds her.
  • Karmic Death: The HYDRA leaders are killed by the same technology brought about by Whitehall's division.
  • Kick the Dog: Cal coldly tells Raina that she got what she wanted, so she has to live with that or die.
    Raina: Please, I can't live like a monster!
    Cal: Then don't.
  • Klingon Promotion: A variant. A council of five senior HYDRA members decide that with Whitehall dead and his chosen successor Bakshi missing, whoever kills the people who killed Whitehall will become/choose Whitehall's successor. Unfortunately for them, Coulson tricks them into killing each other before any of them can start working on a way to find and kill him.
  • Large Ham:
    • Coulson, during the faked prison break for Bakshi. It's lampshaded by May.
    • Also Cal. See Happy Dance.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists are seen carting broken pieces of Trip's body out of the temple.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Due to her slow rate of aging, Jiaying has been able to provide comfort and guidance to many generations of Inhumans. note 
  • Make Room for the New Plot: This episode takes HYDRA out of play for a while so the show can deal with other things.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • At the beginning, two Inhumans embrace, with one telling the other they will "show [them] the way," as we're properly introduced to Gordon, the eyeless character. Towards the end, an older Gordon embraces another Inhuman, Raina, telling her that he'll "show [her] the way."
    • After suffering a small relapse — unable to manipulate his hands properly, and believing he's hallucinating — following his stress over Trip's death and Skye's unusual medical results, Fitz complains, "There's something wrong with the data in my brain today." When he confronts Skye about his discovery of her powers, he ends by saying "There's nothing wrong with the data in my brain."
  • The Mentor: Jiaying's job for the Inhumans who undergo terrigenesis is to be the wise old mentor figure who shepherds them through the process.
  • More Dakka: Hunter's SUV features dozens of gun barrels that pop out from the doors and trunk.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Raina's new form kinda looks like the Ultimate universe Gorgon.
    • Simmons's new belief that superpowers are a disease and the world would be better off without them is reminiscent of Maria Hill's stance during the Civil War comics.
    • Just as the S.H.I.E.L.D. comics reveal that 616 Simmons is a xenobiologist (rather than a more general biochemist, as she is in the show), MCU Simmons declares her intention to stop studying xenobiology because of its harmful effects.
  • Never My Fault: Raina blames Skye for her current form, believing Skye "stole" the gift that was meant for her despite the fact that exposing herself to the terrigen mists was her idea to start with and Skye was there to stop her. Cal dispels this notion, bluntly telling her that she found what she was looking for, and any displeasure with it is her own problem. However, it's heavily implied that Cal deliberately misled her on the nature of terrigenesis, considering the idea of ending up a monster never occurred to her.
  • Name Drop: Skye is called an Inhuman for the first time by Fitz.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: When ranting about his experience being controlled, Mack inadvertently hits upon similarities to Fitz's condition and its fallout.
    Fitz: I know what you're going through.
    Mack: Really? You know what it's like to lose control? To be trapped inside your own body unable to tell it what to do? To watch yourself hurt the people that you care about?
    Fitz: Yeah.
  • Power Incontinence:
    • As to be expected, Skye has no handle on her powers (heck, she didn't even know she had them until halfway through the episode), and they manifest themselves whenever she's majorly upset or stressed.
    • After Gordon went through Terrigenesis, he spent fourteen hours randomly teleporting through a room. And constantly hitting the walls because he couldn't see where he was going.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation:
    • Raina's "gift" is monstrous. She's anguished that she became hideous while Skye remained as beautiful as ever, especially since she was promised she'd become divine and angelic.
    • Gordon lost his eyes to Terrigenesis. He could barely move without teleporting himself in every direction. He's got a good handle on it in adulthood, though, enough that he can just appear right next to Raina from nowhere and leave just as fast.
  • The Reveal:
    • There is an entire subsociety of Inhumans out there, which Skye's mother Jiaying was an important member of before her death.
    • Terrigenesis has caused Raina to grow thorns all over her body, and Skye to gain the ability to create earthquakes.
    • Mack and Bobbi have a hidden agenda that involves Fury's toolbox. What that agenda is and for whom is still unknown.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Bakshi is made to believe that Hunter is a Hydra agent working for a faction trying to stage an internal coup. Believing that Hunter is about to assassinate him, he implicitly offers a large reward (promising that Hunter will never need to worry about money again for the rest of his life) if Hunter spares his life and drives him to a meeting with Octavian Bloom. Bakshi never intends to honor the implied deal and instead orders Hunter killed (arranging for Hunter to die before he ever suffers from money problems). This turns out to be part of Coulson's plan since they needed Bakshi to believe that it was his idea to bring Hunter straight to Bloom. When Bloom's security detail tries to kill Hunter, they walk right into a trap and Bloom is left unprotected.
  • Secret Keeper: Fitz knowingly switches out Skye's blood samples for old ones, and promises her that he won't tell anyone, given the high stress around Trip's death.
  • Shoe Phone: Mack's replica of Lola turns out to have a scanner, which confirms for Bobbi and him that Fury's toolbox is in Coulson's office.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Raina, thanks to Terrigenesis. She's not happy.
  • Suicide by Cop: Raina attempts it with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents sent to capture her, but Gordon warps in and takes her to safety.
  • Taken for Granite: The Baroness and the Banker are killed with the weaponized Diviner tools.
  • Teleport Spam: Gordon's power is short to long-range teleportation.
  • Trailers Always Lie: Every trailer for this episode centered around Skye freaking out over her newly developed superpowers. This is actually the B-plot, the main plot is Coulson tricking a sizable portion of HYDRA's leadership into wiping itself out.
  • The Unfavorite: Cal isn't at all subtle about how little he cares for Raina now that his daughter's successfully undergone Terrigenesis.
  • Weaponized Car: Lance's SUV, much like Nick Fury's SUV and Lola, has several hidden guns in it that he uses to foil a HYDRA ambush.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: The council of HYDRA's senior leaders. We finally get a glimpse into the higher workings of HYDRA in this episode, and they seem set to be the collective Big-Bad Ensemble for the rest of the season — until they all abruptly (yet awesomely) fall prey to S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Batman Gambit, leaving only Bakshi, in captivity, and Baron von Strucker and his assistant Dr. List, over in Europe.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Cal flat out states that Raina is on her own after learning that she successfully brought Skye to Terrigenesis. Then he tells her to commit suicide if she can't live with her current state.

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