[SPOILERS ahead for those not caught up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..]
It was just under fourteen months ago that Marvel Studios and ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one suddenly found a whole new purpose for existing, when the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier resulted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of S.H.I.E.L.D. collapsing from the inside. Similarly, early next month, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two will be headed somewhere very exciting: a world where Inhumans - a race of superhumans - are now firmly established and running about, intentionally wreaking havoc with their new powers in the case of Raina (Ruth Negga), or unintentionally causing problems in the case of agent Skye (Chloe Bennet).
That much has been made clear by the previews for the the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. midseason premiere, 'Aftershocks' (watch one such trailer above). However, the episode will also be picking up several additional story threads that've been woven over the course of the second season already - most of which are mentioned in the episode's official synopsis.
'Aftershocks' is written by S.H.I.E.L.D. co-creators and show-runners Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon; and as you can see from the following summary (posted on Marvel's official site), when you look at the overall picture, there's a whole lot happening on this show right now.
After discovering an alien city with ties to his resurrection, Coulson and his team destroyed it before the forces of Hydra could claim its secrets, eliminating the villainous Whitehall (Reed Diamond) in the process. But new threats to the world have arisen, including Skye's father, Cal (Kyle McLachlan), who now seeks retribution against Coulson for stealing his revenge against Whitehall; a disturbing alliance between former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Ward (Brett Dalton) and Agent 33; the enigmatic Raina (Ruth Negga), who struggles with her transformation into something inhuman by the alien Obelisk and seeks vengeance; and Skye (Chloe Bennet), who developed mysterious new powers from the Obelisk but whose lack of experience with her new abilities may threaten the safety of those she loves.
Meanwhile, Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki) and Mack (Henry Simmons) begin the next phase of a plan which seems to have grave repercussions for Coulson and his team, who are unaware that there's another mysterious force moving against them. And as Hunter (Nick Blood) is forced to make the biggest choice of his life, Coulson will find his mission threatened by this shocking endgame.
In the midseason premiere, "Aftershocks," Coulson's team must deal with the consequences of their war with Hydra as shocking revelations threaten to tear them apart, and Hydra makes a dangerous move that may involve a traitor in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s midst.
Here's a round-up of new casting additions for the second half of S.H.I.E.L.D. season two, which may offer some additional clues about what lies ahead for the show's heroes:
- Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica) as Gonzalez, a character who may be the "mysterious force" (or part of it) that's moving against Coulson and his loyal agents.
- Drea de Matteo (Sons of Anarchy) as Karla Faye Gideon, a "Gifted" woman who joins forces with Skye's father on his quest for payback from Coulson.
- Luke Mitchell (Home and Away) as Lincoln, an Inhuman who has the knowledge to not just help Sky control her new abilities, but also help her learn more about the history of the Inhumans and how they came to be.
- Blair Underwood (L.A. Law) as Andrew Garner, Agent May's (Min-Na Wen) ex-husband who... well, it's not really clear yet how he'll fit into the show, after it picks back up with 'Aftershocks'.
The story threads concerning the Inhuman population are shaping up to be the primary focus on S.H.I.E.L.D. leading up to Avengers: Age of Ultron debuting in theaters in a few months, but there's a lot of additional interesting material alluded to in the synopsis for 'Aftershocks'. That includes, the secret plan being put in motion by Mack and Bobbi (the latter having now been upgraded to series regular status), which has been referenced in rather vague terms by the two characters during the course of the show before now.
And of course, now that no but Ward knows where his loyalties truly lie anymore - as he's presumably given up attempting to prove himself to Skye after she shot him with the intent of killing him in the 2014 winter finale - that means it'll be more captivating than ever, to see just what trouble he gets into while working alongside the equally erratic Agent 33. Suffice it to say, life for Coulson and his agents ain't getting any easier anytime soon.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. resumes with 'Aftershocks' next month on Tuesday, March 3rd at 9/8c on ABC.