SPOILERS – no seriously, SPOILERS. I'm not kidding here, SPOILERS
After a long hiatus filled-in admirably by Marvel's Agent Carter, Phil Coulson and his roving band of renegade law enforcement SHIELD returns to ABC last night with a little episode called Aftershocks. When we left off last season, Skye and Raina has just been exposed to the Terrigen Mist and Tripp was now dead (Why! He was too young and funny to die!!!). Now everyone is back at base except Simmons who is leading the team to search through then destroy the alien city. Mac now has the aliens out of his head and Skye is being kept in a little glass room… but hey, she gets a Cactus Cooler so it's all good. (I love that stuff.)
So what were the important moments of the episode? I'm glad you asked.
1) As the episode starts we see that things are pretty splintered among the agents. Mac is openly questioning Coulson's decisions and blames the obsession with the alien writing for the death of Tripp. Now this gets calmed down but what we see here and through out the episode is that people have very strong opinions and few of them match. Simmons has decided that people like Raina who are infected with alien DNA (and unknown to her, Skye) should be treated like a virus and contained or eradicated. This is far from the happy little team that followed Coulson around at the beginning of the series.
2) Tripp's death is a catalyst for a lot of changes but it's also what brings Coulson back around to being the brilliant agent we got to know in the Marvel Movies and One-Shots. His obsession with the alien writing took him away from what his true focus should be… going after Hydra. And as Agent May said, Tripps was the embodiment of all that Coulson loved about SHIELD. He was the Legacy to the SSR, Captain America and the ideals that SHIELD was founded on. So in this case the important moment happened months ago, but we're seeing the affect now.
3) Coulson's plan was brilliant and the reason why we watch the show. It was basically a double bluff on both Bakshi and the audience. The truck hitting the SUV was so violent that you don't think about it being an act. So until Coulson says "They won't take us alive", it's believable. Then we accept that the plan is to plant Hunter inside of Hydra, cause that would be the standard plan for a show like this. But it's not. Its all a ploy for Hydra to cut off their own heads and still giving Bakshi to General Talbot. When Hunter shot Fred Dryer in the head, I knew that was what made SHIELD different than any show on television. I'm surprised Dryer didn't say "It works for me" at some point in the episode.
4) Fitz has been in the background most of this season. And that's a shame. He was one of the reasons the first season really started working. But he hasn't had a moment to shine in quite some time. Here he gets one in a bait and switch. He reveals to Skye that she was the cause of the quake and in doing so upset her so much she started loosing control of her powers. Fitz runs off. When Simmons and May find the now injured Skye having cut herself cleaning up the glass, it's Fitz who not only comes back and covers for her but has switched the blood results to keep the changes Skye has gone through a secret from everyone else. He's also the first to comfort Skye after all of this, telling her that she is different now but that's not a bad thing. This was the best moment for the character all season.
5) The RC version of Lola was more than just a ploy Mac used to try and get Coulson to let him work on the real thing… it's a Trojan horse to get a scanner into Coulson's office to locate the toolbox Nick Fury gave Coulson at the end of season one. This is the secret thing that Bobbi and Mac have been working on. But why? What are they after? Are they members of Hydra? That would be the first conclusion but that also seems too pedestrian of an answer. We've done the Hydra infiltrating SHIELD thing. My guess it has something very different involved. So, to borrow from Brad Pitt… What's in the box?
6) After a very odd meeting with Mr. Hyde, Raina decides her best course of action would be to kill herself since she doesn't want to live as a human porcupine. So she tries to step in front of on-coming traffic (especially odd if you also watch Forever right after where two people get hit walking into on-coming traffic). When agents show up to arrest her instead, she's ready to go with death-by-cop, but she is then teleported away by Reader. So she is now in the hands of the group of Inhumans on Earth.
Now there were some other interesting moments like using the word Inhuman to describe Skye's heart rate during the quake or the mention of Baron Von Strucker not once, but twice. So will we get to see Strucker on SHIELD? My guess is no. I think this episode was a shift and the important of Hydra will start to take a backseat while the Inhumans and whatever Bobbi and Mac are up too will move forward. Plus next week, we get the return of Lady Sif.