Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 was packed to the gills with aliens, family reunions, and so much drama. Here’s an emoji-fied recap to refresh your memory before season 3 begins!
Coulson started the season settling into the role of Director, attempting to salvage the wreckage of S.H.I.E.L.D. from its near destruction. But a more pressing concern was the fact that he couldn’t stop carving the strange alien symbols — and the compulsion kept getting worse.
After several episodes of piecing together clues (and several gruesome deaths) Coulson discovered that his ceaseless carvings portrayed a map to an alien city, to which he promptly launched an expedition.
But Coulson and his team weren’t the only ones trying to reach the city. Hydra head Daniel Whitehall had similar ideas, as did Raina, Skye’s father Cal, and Grant Ward. After Coulson killed Whitehall (who had killed Skye’s mother, which gave him renewed youth, and totally pissed off Cal) Raina carried the mysterious Diviner down into the depths of the city. Skye followed — and sadly, so did Trip.
Trip bravely destroyed the activated Diviner, but it was too late; the stalwart agent lost his life as Skye and Raina passed through the Terrigen Mists and became Inhumans.
Unnable to hide her new vibrational powers for long, and facing mixed responses from her friends at S.H.I.E.L.D., Skye joined her fellow Inhumans at a compound called Afterlife. There, Skye met Lincoln, another Inhuman, and her mother Jaiying. Jaiying seemed like the perfect parent and mentor to Skye, but unfortunately, the truth was another story.
After being cut to pieces by Whitehall, Jaiying was revived by Cal — at a terrible cost. Jaiying healed by sucking the life out of others, and the process — as well as the terrible trauma she’d experienced — completely destroyed her humanity.
Meanwhile, further drama was unfolding back at the Playground. Bobbi and Mack were revealed to have infiltrated Coulson’s S.H.I.E.L.D. on behalf of “the real S.H.I.E.L.D.,” led by an agent named Robert Gonzales. Aside from running a great big boat carrying a strange alien rock, Gonzales and his Council had one primary identifying quality: They really didn’t like Nick Fury — so they really didn’t like Coulson.
So Coulson did what all well-supported leaders do — ran away for a while!
But luckily, a crisis came along just in time for Coulson to show his quality. When Ultron threatened to crush the Earth with Sokovia, it was Coulson’s helicarrier that allowed S.H.I.E.L.D. to save the day.
Even Edward James Olmos couldn’t stay angry after that.
Several plot lines coalesced as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 entered its final act. After Grant Ward escaped from S.H.I.E.L.D. captivity, he murdered his parents and brother and joined Whitehall. But when Skye shot him (three times!), he was saved by the bereft Agent 33, left adrift with May’s face and without the man who had brainwashed her.
Ward and 33 began a bizarre love affair characterized by torture and murder — and also managed to infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D. for nefarious purposes.
In addition, the latter half of the season revealed the truth of May’s trauma in Bahrain. At the time, May had been happily married to Dr. Garner, and the two were planning on starting a family. (It was adorable.)
But when her S.H.I.E.L.D. team was captured by a mind-controlling Inhuman in Bahrain, May attempted a rescue — only to find that the source of the evil was a little girl. May was forced to kill the child to save herself and her team, and the grief and guilt drove her away from her husband and out of the field.
With S.H.I.E.L.D. reunited under Coulson and Gonzales’ leadership, the season’s final challenge became clear: What should be done about the Inhumans?
Though Skye insisted the powered people just wanted to live in peace, Gonzales and Coulson felt it was their responsibility to Index the people of Afterlife. A meeting was arranged with Jaiying, but though Gonzales appeared to put aside his prejudices, Jaiying killed the S.H.I.E.L.D. leader and set the stage for war.