You would think by now that the Agents of SHIELD would have learned. If you believe your enemy is dead, even if the body is laying right there in front of you, you should still take that body and put it on lockdown. “After, Before” is an excellent example of this. Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Sousa (Enver Gjokaj) didn’t exactly have time to check on the status of Nathaniel Malick (Thomas E. Sullivan) in “Adapt or Die,” but if they had a lot of trouble could have been avoided.
The good news is “After, Before” gets to the heart of Yo-Yo’s (Natalia Cordova Buckley) missing powers. She’d feared that it was an after-effect from her Shrike poisoning. Taking advantage of the Zephyr’s time-skipping (more on that in a bit), Yo-Yo and May (Ming-Na Wen) set off to find Daisy’s mother Jiaying (Dichen Lachman) at Afterlife. If anyone can help with Inhuman powers, after all, it would be her. Of course, Jiaying’s hatred of regular humans and that whole war against SHIELD business will come up later in the future, but for now, there is only mild mistrust when Yo-Yo and May show up.
We also meet Cora (Dianne Doan) at Afterlife. She’s a troubled young girl who is having problems containing her power. That could present a challenge for the people around her since her ability is that she’s a bomb. Jiaying wants to keep her at Afterlife to teach her how to deal with her powers. And, oh yeah, Cora is Jiaying’s other daughter. AKA Daisy’s older sister. I wonder how the show will deal with the fact that we’ve never heard of her before. I’m guessing it’ll have something to do with the arrival of May and Yo-Yo.
Without much examination or conversation even, Jiaying tells Yo-Yo that the problem with her power isn’t physical, it’s mental. She suggests that May might be able to figure out what the problem is using her new empathic abilities. You can imagine how both May and Yo-Yo would feel about a therapy session. They choose to fight it out. They uncover that Yo-Yo has felt responsible for the death of her Uncle in a botched crime, but that doesn’t unleash her powers. It isn’t until she realizes that she doesn’t have to bounce back to save the Zephyr. Previously, when using the power, she would return to her previous location, and now she can stop where she is. This episode is lucky because the pairing of May and Yo-Yo always works well. The logic track on this regaining of Yo-Yo’s powers is unstable.
After, Before The Problem
Speaking of unstable reasoning, what begins the time-skipping crisis is a bit questionable as well. Ok, so a time-hopping invisible jet should be my first clue to let some logic go. Still, the absolute lack of failsafe in the SHIELD organization is sometimes kind of stunning. Who makes it so that the only way to shut down the ship is to a power source behind a force field that can disintegrate things? It’s like the writers went out of their way to have precisely this drama. The tension of the episode is fun, but it just feels a little cheap.
Raise The Stakes
Now we have Nathaniel floating through time at Sybil’s direction (Tamara Taylor) gathering Inhumans. I wonder if Cora was his first recruit or if there are others. We also have a Zephyr that wasn’t fixed and now has made an erratic jump that seems like it might have been pretty dangerous. As always, with Agents of SHIELD, “After, Before” likes to take the stakes and not only raise them but also throw them up in the air and see who they might impale on the way down.