"Afterlife" is the sixteenth episode of the second season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..
As Robert Gonzalez makes his move, Coulson must do whatever it takes to protect the future of S.H.I.E.L.D. Meanwhile Skye’s journey to control her powers takes a surprising turn when she meets the enigmatic Inhuman named Lincoln.
Coulson and Hunter steal a car and head up to find Skye. Elsewhere Skye wakes up in a bed covered in what appear to be acupuncture needles. Gordon is next to her and calms her down, and another person enters the room. He introduces himself as Lincoln, and that as Skye's "transitioner," he was selected to help Skye smoothly adjust to life since undergoing Terrigenesis. At the Playground, Robert Gonzales and the "real" S.H.I.E.L.D. take command of the Playground. Following his own agents' failures to capture Skye, Gonzales has Agent Morse try and convince Fitz and Simmons to open Fury's toolbox for him. Fitz vehemently refuses and prepares his things to leave the Playground.
Coulson and Hunter arrive at the Retreat in a stolen car. They take notice of the debris in the area left from Skye's encounter with Gonzales' agents, and discover it was all Skye's doing when they watch security footage of the previous night. Elsewhere Lincoln shows Skye around the place Gordon brought her, which they call "Afterlife." People with the genetic marker recognized by Diviners are brought there to await Terrigenesis, but only a few are ever selected every year, making both Skye and Raina something of an oddity to the others. At S.H.I.E.L.D., the focus is still on trying to open Fury's Toolbox Simmons agree to help and tells Bobbi that the toolbox doesn't open mechanically, but only to Coulson's genetic signature. That night, Coulson and Hunter talk over their options, none of which seem to be any good. Hunter suggests that maybe they should go with one of the bad options.
Back at Afterlife, Lincoln shows Skye his gift from Terrigenesis, the ability to generate static electricity, in an attempt to get her to reveal her power to him. However, Skye runs off when he accidentally reveals Raina is also somewhere in Afterlife. Skye finds her in another hut, and is horrified by Raina's physical transformation. Before the two of them can do anything to each other, Jiaying, Skye's mother (who is somehow alive again and with scars on her face) breaks them up. At the Retreat, Hunter is awoken by the sound of engines outside. Coulson purposefully activated the cabin's security to alert Gonzales to their presence so they could steal one of his quinjets. Hunter has no idea how his new boss plans on actually taking one of them, but Coulson assures him he has backup coming. However, Gonzales' agents brought a battering ram with them, getting them inside the cabin (which was built to withstand the Hulk) sooner than expected. Back to Skye, Jiaying tells her that she will teach her to control her powers.
Back at the Retreat Coulson uses a device inside the Howling Commandos' kit Trip and Fitz made for him to surprise Gonzales agents and allow Coulson and Hunter to steal their uniforms. They walk over to a quinjet disguised as Gonzales' agents, but agents in another, cloaked quinjet surround them. The agents take Coulson and Hunter into their custody, but before they take off, the quinjet comes under attack Mike Peterson, Coulson's backup. Since Coulson took over as director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he has had the now-Agent Peterson follow Dr. List, uncovering Hydra's recent desire for enhanced individuals. Agent Peterson hijacks the quinjet for Coulson, and they set off to find the one person connected to both sides of the conflict between S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA and would devote himself to find Skye, Grant Ward. Back to Jiaying, Gordon takes her to see Cal, who is still locked up somewhere since Gordon took him away. They share an emotional embrace over their daughter's change, but Jiaying denies Cal's request to see her. Meanwhile at the Playground, Gonzales hands May a gun, telling her to shoot him if she still thinks he's a traitor. May turns down the offer and tosses the gun back to him, disappointed Gonzales would think she would actually believe the gun was loaded. However, Gonzales shows her the gun was actually loaded, causing May to rethink joining him. At this time, Fitz leaves the Playground despite Mack's attempts to get him to stay. Fitz enters a taxi and looks through his bag for something to eat, and finds Simmons swapped out the toolbox for a fake and gave him the real one.
- Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson
- Ming-Na Wen as Melinda May
- Brett Dalton as Grant Ward
- Chloe Bennet as Skye
- Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz
- Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons
- Nick Blood as Lance Hunter
- Adrianne Palicki as Bobbi Morse
- Henry Simmons as Alphonso “Mack” Mackenzie
- Ruth Negga as Raina
- Kyle MacLachlan as Calvin Zabo
- Edward James Olmos as Robert Gonzales
- Jamie Harris as Gordon
- Dichen Lachman as Jiaying
- Luke Mitchell as Lincoln Campbell
- Craig Johnson as S.H.I.E.L.D. Leader
- Stoney Westmoreland as Honest Eddie
- J. August Richards as Mike Peterson/Deathlok
Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe
- Lincoln Campbell is introduced.
- Calvin Zabo appears.
- Raina appears.
- Robert Gonzales appears.
- Gordon appears.
- Jiaying appears.
- Mike Peterson/Deathlok appears.
- Vibranium appears and is mentioned.
- Nick Fury is mentioned.
- Grant Ward is mentioned.
- Diviner is mentioned.
- Tomas Calderon is mentioned.
- Anne Weaver is mentioned.
- Hulk is mentioned.
- Antoine Triplett is mentioned.
- GH.325 is mentioned.
- Dr. List is mentioned.
- HYDRA is mentioned.
- I.C.E.R.'s appear.
- Two Quinjets appear.
- Howling Commandos are mentioned.
- Terrigenesis is mentioned.
- Triskelion is mentioned.
- Index is mentioned.
- Kree are mentioned.
- Fury's Toolbox appears.
- Vin-Tak is mentioned.
- S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy is mentioned.
- Kree City is mentioned.
- Battering RAM appears. The same device that was used for the attack on Fury's car in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Strategic Scientific Reserve logo appears.
- Afterlife appears.
- J. August Richards was uncredited in the episode.
- In a previous episode, Cal says to Whitehall that he wanted to reunite with his family in the "Afterlife". We now realize he was talking about this Inhuman place in China and not the life after death, literally.
- The battering ram sequence showing the door integrity at the cabin plays out much like a sequence in Captain America: The Winter Soldier when Nick Fury is cornered by Hydra Agents. The battering ram was used on his vehicle.
- The license plate on the jeep that Hunter and Coulson stole was from South Carolina. This was a nod from writer/producer Craig Titley to the state, where his best friend works as a professor at Lander University. Titley travels to South Carolina every year for the Lander University Film Festival where he acts as a judge and guest speaker.
- Hunter mentions "going down like Butch and Sundance", Sundance was played by Robert Redford who played Alexander Pierce in Captain America the Winter Soldier.