Well now that's more like it, Mr. Wayne. "Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D." may have left its winter finale with a quite literal bang, but it picked up with an even bigger one -- and it seems like everything the show has been figuring out for the first half of the second season has crystallized into the Marvel Universe/actiony/twisty/quippy/angsty/Whedony show that fans have been hankering for all along.
Major spoilers for "Aftershocks" past this point.
And there was no bigger shot across the bow than all but owning the fact that Marvel's Inhumans -- super-powered sometimes freaks, sometimes not who will be getting their own feature film in 2019 -- are in fact a part of "S.H.I.E.L.D.," and here to stay.
Back when we talked to Executive Producers (and writers of tonight's very episode) Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tanchereon after the winter finale, they danced around the issue, telling us, "We can’t say anything about what you’re talking about! We are opening up a new world and introducing it on our show — and we couldn’t be more excited about that. We are still going to be cagey about it."
Well those secrets certainly got uncaged this episode! Here's every big moment we saw during the return of "Agents":
You're Only Inhuman
This is the biggie, as mentioned above. All season long fans have been teased that Marvel's weirdest heroes would be showing up on "S.H.I.E.L.D." First we encountered a bizarre city some rumors pegged as Attilan, home of the Inhumans in the comics. Then a crystal structure -- similar to the Terrigen crystals that transform "normal" humans into Inhumans -- appeared on the winter finale, changing Skye (Chloe Bennett) and Raina (Ruth Negga) into... Something else.
But when we return, there's no dancing around it. The transformation is referred to as Terrigenesis, and Skye's new earthquake power is called "Inhuman" by Fitz (Iain De Caestecker).
Sure, nobody says, "We are Inhumans and we come from Attilan and this is setting up the movie in 2019," but this couldn't be clearer; and it'll be fascinating to see how this sets up (or not) a movie that won't be on screens until four years from now.
Bring The Raina
While we're changing things, who is Raina? It's possible she's a variation on the Marvel Mutant (shh, we don't say that word) Quill; but more likely she's just a classic Marvel villain with powers. She's gotten what she wanted, to be transformed, but at the worst price possible. It'll be fascinating to see how she continues to use those powers now that she's hooked up with Gorgon... And whether they're for good, or evil.
A Bunch Of Struckers
Another big Marvel U connection? Whether you realized it or not, "S.H.I.E.L.D." was setting up "Avengers: Age Of Ultron" with a few not-so-sneaky references to Baron Von Strucker. Though it's still the rumor stage, the villain, played by Thomas Kretschmann at the end of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is rumored to show up in the opening sequence of the "Avengers" sequel.
Here, as the other heads of HYDRA are eliminated by S.H.I.E.L.D., it'll be interesting to see if Strucker is the last head remaining when "Ultron" opens -- or if even more will rise to take their place.
To Kill A Mockingbird
Okay, so what exactly is up with Mockingbird (Adrianne Palicki) and Mac (Henry Simmons)? Clearly we're supposed to think they're up to no good, given the post-credits teaser has them deciding to "make contact," and generally sneaking around is no good; but are they in league with someone as bad as HYDRA, or perhaps they're working directly for Talbot (Adrian Pasdar)?
Or, given Edward James Olmos is coming on the show soon in a mysterious role perhaps they're working for him? The possibilities are endless, but we do know that: a) these two probably aren't actually evil; and b) it's gonna tear the team apart anyway.
So, Skye has powers, and Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) is freaking out. Fitz does too, then decides to keep them secret from everybody, which again will not end well in any known sense of the word. In fact, Raina might be better off training with Gorgon than Skye, who will cause an earthquake every time she gets upset.
It's a bit of a bizarre twist for her to have to hide her abilities, since it's not like Coulson (Clark Gregg) hasn't worshipped his fair share of superhumans. But hey, anything for the drama, right?
Just saying, Melinda May kicks some serious ass. That's all.