“Afterlife” picks up from the events of “One Door Closes”. It ended with the Inhuman Gordon taking Skye away and in this week’s episode, we find out where she is and what has happened to her. Back on the home front, we see Fitz and Simmons perform a mission with their own agenda while dealing with the “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.” Meanwhile, Coulson and Hunter attempt to find the whereabouts of Skye with some surprising twists.
This episode first introduces us to another Inhuman by the name of Lincoln(portrayed by Australian Luke Mitchell). His role so far is that of a “transitioner” and perhaps a future love interest for Skye as she navigates the use of her powers. Previously, Mitchell was in The Tomorrow People in a similar sort of role. Compared to back then, he’s improving himself in his acting, especially when it comes to maintaining an American accent. However the way he plays off Skye was not too different to how he played off Robbie Amell’s character who like Skye was the main protagonist. Just like how they explored the new race of people in The Tomorrow People, they further expanded the Inhuman race in the same sort of way. It’ll be interesting to see what his powers are like.
We also had the surprise revelation of Skye’s mother Jiying(portrayed by Dichen Lachman). It’s clear that they want to save the big reveal of her identity in a big way and will create a rather Earth-shattering(excuse the pun) moment for Skye. The tension between Raina and Skye in this new setting might also make for an interesting change and perhaps create an all new story for them possibly resulting in a friendship maybe? That’s the way I usually see these things play out.
In regards to Fitz’s arc in the show, we see him quitting S.H.I.E.L.D. after all the backstabbing that has transpired in the past few episodes. You really ought to feel for the guy after everything he’s been through. It was rather nice in the end to know that Simmons is still on his side after all this time with the little in-joke long-time fans would recognize with the sandwiches. It’ll be something to watch with the way Fitz will carry out his mission.
Speaking of the “Real S.H.I.E.L.D.”, it’s really doing a job of showing itself as a not so black and white organisation. What really conveyed this was Gonzalez’s statements about superpowers and wanting to have Melinda May on his board for Coulson when he’s caught as well as his statements about loyalty to S.H.I.E.L.D.. It’s an understandable belief and would create a nuanced character. I also liked how both Bobbi and Mack really tried to portray themselves as good guys here believing that they’re doing something good.
Coulson’s arc brought along surprises and contained the episode’s action for the large part. It was rather minimal, and would make the episode come across more of a transitional one than anything. The most surprising aspect was the return of Mike Peterson aka Deathlok(portrayed by J. August Richards). He seems like he’s in a better state than he was when we last saw him, seeing as his face doesn’t look as mutilated as before and his costume has considerably improved a lot. It’s great to see him on the side of good given all the stuff he went through. Hopefully he’ll get to unleash and we’ll get some cool action out of him.