From the beginning Agents of SHIELD has not glossed over what happens after a mission. None of the core team walked away from the alien city encounter totally unscathed. Whether it is physically, mentally, emotionally or a combination they are not the same people they were before. Dealing with post mission consequences is commonly explored both for individual characters and on a larger scale like Winter Solider. The mid-season premier of AoS did not disappoint.
‘Aftershocks’ did not shy away from the aftermath of what happened in the alien city. Its enjoyable to see how characters react in all kinds of situations. Not everything has a happy ending. Delving into emotional outcomes is great character development. It makes things more realistic.
Coulson: Everyone deals with it in their own way. When you sign up for this kind of life you accept that loss will be part of it. But you never get used to losing one of your own.
Change is Inevitable
One way or another the AoS team has to deal with change, some more than others but none of them can ignore it. Individually everyone deals with things differently. Tensions and emotions are running high. Personal and professional boundaries are tested. Mack is has to come to terms with being possessed. Naturally he feels guilty on top of dealing with the larger outcome.
While Fitz is still dealing with his new circumstances personally he now finds himself in a position to help various team members. This episode marks a change for him as he now understands what others are going through. His efforts are seen most notably with Mack and Skye.
Jemma views things from a scientists perspective, black or white. As the member of the team who has to mop up the mess in the alien city she gets a first hand look at the new Raina. That experience leaves Jemma more than a bit rattled.
Coulson, May, and Bobbi view things from the perspective of experienced agents. While they are still affected by everything that transpired they know how to set aside personal emotion to deal with duty.
Then we have Skye who’s currently in a very vulnerable state due to her own experience in the alien city. She’s learning to deal with what she has become and is having a rough time.
Actions have Consequences
They are constantly reminded every action has its consequences. Good or bad those consequences accompany the journey of change. Skye blames herself for what happened. At the same time Fitz isn’t going to abandon her. He’s willing to go to great lengths to help a fellow team member.
Skye: We lost, we failed. It wasn’t because of Hydra is was because of me. Coulson: That was one battle, this is a war.
On the other side of things Jemma feels responsible for letting things go to far with her scientific curiosity. Viewing recent events like she would a plague makes sense in her eyes because it gives her something familiar to relate to at a time when things are so unsettled. In fact she strongly believes she should have done something to stop things sooner. But its not as straightforward as Simmons wants to believe.
Naturally all of the AoS team have to learn to live with what happened. Its forcing them deal with change and the accompanying consequences. They passed a point of no return when they entered the alien city. Being able to fully accept things will never be the same for them will take time.
Introducing the a new alien species to the series gives it great potential. All of this leads to thought provoking subplots, great character development and an unforgettable emotional journey. While there are more episodes to come for the rest of Season 2, there are many interesting facets to explore.
Agents of SHIELD is on ABC Tuesdays at 9/8c.