Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Hot Potato Soup

“This is Agent Koenig. They’ve got Agent Koenig.”

After being absent from season three, the Koenigs made an excellent return here. The writers had a lot of fun playing the game of “are they LMD’s or not”, and Patton Oswalt shone in his multiple roles. It was a lighthearted approached to a serious arc, but the episode still dropped some heavy notes when needed.

Billy, the shorter one, is kidnapped by Radcliffe and The Superior, because Coulson gave him the Darkhold. Sam, the shorter one, works with the team to find his brother and keep the book away from the bad guys. Radcliffe finds out Billy doesn’t have the book, he gave the book to Sam. Does Sam have the book? No. Why? Because he gave it to Agent Koenig. So Billy has the book then? No. But isn’t it with Agent Koenig? Yes. So it’s Sam who has it? No. Billy? No.

There is another Agent Koenig.

There we go to meet the fourth Koenig identical brother and he is an anti-establishment, all peace, no war kind of guy. “You are all sheep”, he says. His name is Thurston and, obviously, he is not the aforementioned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. The four identical Koenig brothers have a sister, L.T., who was the first S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in the family. It’s a cool reveal, and although L.T. was kind of a jerk to her brothers I mostly liked her and she got to kick some ass.

But the Darkhold wasn’t with her either, as the Koenig brothers and sister were playing hot potato with it, and the last one to have it was indeed Billy, the kidnapped one. Let me tell you, when the confrontation in the library happened, I was hoping Radcliffe would end up with that damned book, because another episode of him after it would’ve been overkill. Thankfully, it’s exactly what happened and now the LMD arc can move past it.

Now everyone knows that May has been replaced with an LMD, and what a hard blow it was to Coulson. It took long enough for him to realize it wasn’t really May. LMayD was coming so strong onto him I thought he would notice something was not right, but only when she pointed a gun at him he realized the woman before his eyes wasn’t his dearest friend. Now, I’m not sure if the romantic angle was really necessary, just last season we had Coulson going after the big bad because he targeted his love interest. On the other hand, there are important differences here. Coulson doesn’t know whether or not May is alive and he is conflicted about what to do with her LMD doppelganger. What if she is the only May that’s left? That’s more powerful material than last year’s rushed developments, so let’s hope it makes a distinct enough story.

This episode also put LMayD through the ringer, as she found herself lost once she accomplished her mission. It was heartbreaking enough to see her beg Radcliffe to take her with him, then he threw a harder punch by telling her she wasn’t built to last. Ouch. You don’t say that to a May, Radcliffe. I really, really want LMayD to be the one that saves May, and then both Mays to get their revenge on Radcliffe.

While LMayD was turned off, the other LMDs in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s possession met the end of the line and were burned. That was disappointing because Fitz had promised Aida One he would fix her, and Fitz and Simmons had just discovered LMD Radcliffe had a literal brain. A brain made of energy, but still a brain. So wouldn’t it be murder to kill LMD Radcliffe? I was also put off by how Mack treated him. Quantum brain or not, those androids are self-aware beings who are not responsible for their programming. They could clearly be programmed to be agents, and it bugs me an engineer wouldn’t think of that. It’s one thing to be afraid of a mad android, it’s another to be a jerk to a helpless one, and it all echoed the way Mack initially treated Inhumans.

LMD Radcliffe had some very interesting thoughts on what it means to be programmed and to have an “essence”. We are all programmed. Our DNA programs us to wake up, to sleep, to eat, to fear, to defend ourselves, to fight for our lives, and society programs us to pursue a career, to build a family, to work endlessly, to start wars, and so on. It’s all part of DNA and synapses, how different is it from silicon and coding? Mack tries to defend mankind’s superiority by arguing we have souls, but as LMD Radcliffe explains, if souls don’t depend on flesh and blood, who is to say androids don’t have souls?

While most of the episode was good, The Superior didn’t give such a great impression. Played by the imposing and captivating Zach McGowan (The 100), the character had a good fake-out entrance, but it went downhill from there. He was practically subdued to Radcliffe after Aida killed two of his men, not a lot of superiority there. Then he said he not only would eliminate the Inhumans, but the source of their existence. The writers built some suspense to reveal in the end that… the Superior thinks the “source” is Coulson, the man connected to all the alien events. Huh? He might as well think Stan Lee is behind it all. Why build suspense to such a dumb reveal? And why bring this new villain in at all when you already have a mad scientist in Radcliffe and a right-wing extremist in Nadeer, two very good foes to S.H.I.E.L.D.?

In a way, it is interesting that the Superior thinks Coulson is the main problem, because it shows how idiotic haters can be, but how are we supposed to invest in a villain whose reasoning is so weak? There better be some work there to engage us in this new piece of the tale.

Intel and Assets

- The Superior’s name is Anton Ivanov.

- The Superior likes to drink pure Vodka and smell onion right afterwards. It enhances the experience, according to him.

- Fitz’ father was a jerk to him and walked out on him and his mom when he was ten years old.

Look at cute little Iain De Caestecker.
- Radcliffe knows Fitz’ father.

- We finally had a decent Fitzsimmons moment. They even kissed! But seriously, Simmons was the best lifting up Fitz' mood.

- When Aida One and LMD Radcliffe were being burned, Simmons said “there is another one” in reference to LMayD, but it could also be a hint from the writers that there is another LMD at S.H.I.E.L.D. My money is on Fitz, who spent a lot of time with Radcliffe, and Mack, who left the base alone last episode and could’ve been captured and replaced.

- I totally rolled my eyes at Mack’s “everlasting soul” argument. I know everyone has the right to their own beliefs, but Mack evoking religion at that moment reminded me of politicians defending their views – such as if women should be allowed to get an abortion or not – based on their faith. No, just no.

- Chloe Bennet is a machine of line delivery. The timing, the facial expressions... She nails it all.

- This is what LMD Radcliffe said in Latin while “possessed”:

Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore.
Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur. Alea iacta est.

With some help from Google Translate and the Mighty Internet, here is the translation:

I hope the memory of our friendship will be everlasting.
A wise man [is the one] who speaks little. The die is cast.

As cryptic messages go, this is a cool one.

Coulson: “Kidnapping a Koenig? That’s like catching moonlight.”

LMD Radcliffe: “What’s the occasional bullet in the head among friends?”

Billy: “Koenigs don’t break. All right? We’re programmed to take pain, so bring it on. Bring it on! [After door closes.] Oh my God, I’m in so much pain. I don’t think I can take this. That guy hits really hard. Do you have any, uh, any, like, cyanide or...”

Radcliffe: “My intent was purely scientific. But, oh, the things I saw, it was expanding my brain and my reality.”
Billy: "You’re getting all Gollum-y again.”

LMD Radcliffe: “Singing like a bird? Why not Mick Jagger?”

Billy: “You’re not gonna get anything out of me. Because my mind is a steel trap inside of a sealed box, surrounded by quicksand and... Oh, is that a puppy?”

Sam: “Did you know that online there’s a library of fan fiction about Quake?”
Daisy: “Did not need to know that.”
Sam: “Oh, well, you should Google it. Because it’s... it’s... Actually, no, you shouldn’t.”

Sam: “They call you Quack.”
This was such a dumb joke, but oh my god did I laugh out loud at it.

LMD Radcliffe: “We all have programming. It may be more obvious in my case, but what is a human if not a function of programming?”

Daisy: “So, May is a freakin’ robot.”

Three out of four books in a Labyrinth,
--
Lamounier

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

May and Coulson has always been 'there' in the background since the very first season..It was just handled far better with subtlety and less Cw-ness.
The superiors reasoning is not weak its just a perspective that looks stupid to us. To him Coulson is some shadowy guy in shades who is at all these events dating back to Iron Man/Thor..He's meant to be dead but is still suspiciously around and in the company of the people/aliens/inhumans he hates..I thought it was clever turn on the Men in Black myth.
Also Aida punching a hole in a guys chest than nonchalantly sitting down all lady like with that smug look on her face was perfect.

Marianna said...

That guy needs to learn the difference between causation and correlation. (LOL Stan Lee!)

migmit said...

Yeah, the Superior wasn't that good.

Russian report: phrases that this mooks were saying while hunting for Billy and Sam were mostly correct, and even pronounced without any noticeable accent, but one thing was wrong: they mistranslated "arcade" as, basically, "passage", when they clearly meant "video games". In Russian we would say "gaming automatons", or just "automatons".

Patryk said...

So now we will have SHIELD vs Azgeda. The final reveal about Coulson was some kind of next level insane troll logic.

Anonymous said...

Why assume Nadeer is a "right-wing" extremist? She's a senator from New York for pete's sake - seems highly unlikely. Both sides are capable of intolerance in their own way. For once the Wheedons haven't given the evil politician a party affiliation (at least not that I've noticed) so let's just leave it at inhuman-hating evil senator, mm'k?

Lamounier said...

Anonymous,

First of all, there is no mm’k-ing here. We treat one another with politeness, no matter how much we disagree with their opinion.

Now, Nadeer is a right-wing politician. The show doesn’t need to state that explicitly. Her words and political war against Inhumans echo Trump’s against Muslims. Not just Trump, though. She has the same profile of the right-wing extremists who want to prevent Muslims and refugees from entering European countries. I didn’t say she is right-wing because I wanted to get political on the review, I said it because it’s an obvious aspect of her character.

Marianna said...

I agree with Lamounier that while not explicitly stated inhumans are clearly a metaphor for immigrants and other groups that are feared. (This was also true about the X-Men in the comics.) New York has indeed had Republican Senators and other politicians. In fact Giuliani, now a major proponent of the travel ban, was a beloved New York City mayor and had a competitive campaign for Senator until he dropped out for health reasons.