LMayD has May’s memories, personality and, therefore, ethics. Her first instinct is to protect the team from what Radcliffe is up to, but she can’t do it because Radcliffe’s programming is in control of her wonderful May brain. It’s upsetting when she tries to punch him and can’t, and she can’t tell anyone her true identity as well. But there has got to be something Radcliffe missed, something that LMayD can use to turn the tables against her overlord.
Radcliffe (well, his LMD version, more on that later) had an excited-scientist type of reaction to LMayD’s awakening and it was very patronizing. I hated it, and John Hannah played it to perfection. Radcliffe keeps saying he means well, that his endgame is not an evil one. Is it? Or is he saying because of the Darkhold’s influence on his mind? This season has been great so far, but the Darkhold is close to becoming a repetitive McGuffin, and I hope we learn sooner rather than later what the fuss is all about. I’m actually getting Alias’ vibes from it. I mean, isn’t it totally like a Rambaldi McGuffin?
Last week I wrote that a trip inside May’s mind would’ve been more interesting, and it turns out the writers were saving that trip for this episode. Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen and co. got a chance to tell a Dollhouse-like story and it was very well done. After realizing that May thrives in battle, Radcliffe created a simulation aligned with her persona. It only got to me that May’s attempt to escape wasn’t real when she started to fight against simulated Aida. But May is so amazing that, when she notices it’s all a simulation, she doesn’t surrender, she determinedly tells Aida she will find her way out. Her memory is erased back to the beginning of the program, though, and that’s some very terrifying Dollhouse technology right there. But that’s not the cruelest Radcliffe’s trick. He goes deeper into May’s brain to trap her inside the fight of her life, Bahrein’s, with a twist in the outcome: May saves the girl. What a beautiful and extremely upsetting shot of the girl being grateful to a relieved May. Part of me wants to think that that’s a nice simulation because it gives May the happy ending she never had. But it’s a lie, one that May didn’t ask for and that will torture her memories once she wakes up. Radcliffe is evil, no matter how good he thinks his intentions are.
Thankfully, Fitz is no fool, and he had been suspicious of Radcliffe since the Aida incident. During their conversation, I was sure that Radcliffe’s capture was part of the master plan and that Fitz was the other LMD announced in the beginning of the episode, especially after Radcliffe told Fitz that he thought of him as his son. But the unknown LMD was Radcliffe himself. So when LMayD confronted Radcliffe, it was LMD versus LMD, which expands the discussion of what makes these androids any different than their human counterparts, on a mind level, that is. Sure, they are obeying Radcliffe’s programming, but take that away, what makes them less worthy of their lives and identities than their human counterparts? I say it’s nothing, but on the other hand does May want a copy of herself walking around with her memories, dreams and fears? LMayD has the right to exist, but May has the right to be her only self. It will be in character for LMayD to realize this conundrum and sacrifice herself for May and the team, although I will be happy if she gets a happy ending.
Coulson is back in charge and he failed in his first mission. Not good for the résumé, Coulson. I agreed with him that something needed to be done to get ahead of Nadeer, and I know that they failed because Radcliffe gave them up, but to break into her office during the day with a lot people around was a bad idea from the get go. And they didn’t even prepare Daisy for the shit Nadeer was going to inevitably throw at her during the hearing. At least now they know Radcliffe is working with Nadeer, and I wonder what will come from that alliance. They don’t have the same agenda, they only want to exploit what the other has to offer. That could turn into a good dynamic, especially if Nadeer ever gets her hands on the Darkhold. She’d be like Trump in the presidency.
We also learned more about Mack. It was rude of him to leave Yo-Yo alone like that right after they had sex, but he gets a pass on account of trauma. He had a daughter named Hope that died four days after she was born, and eventually his marriage fell apart. That explains why he is so reticent to move forward with Yo-Yo, and his disclosure to her was lovely and sad. It’s a story development removed from the main threads, though, but it’s linked to the Ghost Rider arc, and we might see more of it later.
Intel and Assets
- Fitz and Simmons had a short-lived argument about Fitz not shutting down Aida One’s head. This season needs more Fitzsimmons moments.
- LMD Radcliffe induced LMayD to pursue a romantic relationship with Coulson. God, that’s sad for Coulson, May and LMayD.
- LMayD aside, I’m not sure how I feel about May and Coulson eventually getting together. Like Fitzsimmons, they work better as friends. Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen have had romantic sparks from the very beginning, but I liked how the writers made it into a strong friendship.
- It looks like they are building up to Daisy taking command of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Coulson’s alias was Eric Greene.
- I confess I’m afraid The Superior is another incarnation of Grant Ward.
Talbot: “This is politics, Phil, which means politicians. They are a festering cesspool of toxic-waste fires.”
Coulson: “No one likes a smart-ass.”
Yo-Yo: “That hasn’t been my experience.”
Radcliffe: “Peacefulness wasn’t enough, she’d keep fighting. And fighting wasn’t enough, she’d win.”
A very twisty episode, with a lot of May goodness. Three out of four simulations.
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