Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Man Behind the Shield

“This is why I don’t have Facebook.”

Holy twist, Iron Man.

You are an LMD, she is an LMD, everyone is an LMD. How about that?

The last ten to fifteen minutes of this episode were great. I figured the rescue mission was a trap, that Aida would seize the opportunity to switch some of the agents with LMDs, but at some point I just had no idea what was going on. The sense of confusion was palpable, the script setting everyone apart so we couldn’t tell who would be replaced.

I also thought it was strange that first Ivanov stepped aside and let his watchdogs beat Mace, then Coulson stepped aside and let Daisy fight Ivanov. The parallel between the two scenes was evident and, from my paranoid eyes-opened-for-the-twist perspective, it looked like a programmed scenario. Then later Simmons chose a weird way to describe the weirdness of the mission. She could have simply asked Fitz, “Don’t you think some people took too long to reappear?”, but she kept talking about the time, that the timetable of the mission was off, that something didn’t feel right. Her choice of words was so peculiar I thought everybody had been captured and we were watching them trapped inside the Framework.

But, alas, the big twist was that Coulson, Daisy, Mack and Mace were replaced with LMDs and now Fitz and Simmons are the only S.H.I.E.L.D. main operatives left. You know, a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking that it would be really cool if the show pulled a “me against everybody” story, similar to Fred’s situation on Angel during the Jasmine arc, and I think we just got that. Sure, it’s “the two of us against everybody”, but Fitzsimmons are such a tight couple they even go by one name.

Should I say thank you to The Powers That Be? I should. I’ve been complaining Fitz and Simmons were not getting enough attention, and not only did they have a great moment on this episode – Simmons lifting Fitz up with a terrific speech –, now they will be the ones to save the day. So, thank you, Powers That Be.

Coulson too delivered a killer speech through which he totally owned, OWNED, The Superior. I wonder what the director of the episode told Zach McGowan to do. “Look defeated, Coulson totally destroyed you. Look defeated.” Just so we are clear, I don’t mean to offend McGowan, I do like his work, but Ivanov’s reaction of defeat to Coulson’s speech did amuse me. Then Daisy kicked his ass and Aida went for the final blow.

Aida has gotten a very good and nuanced development, just like her predecessor. Unlike her predecessor, though, she is becoming eviler and eviler. This has been a very smart way to tell an AI goes bad story, avoiding clichés and infusing Aida with more personality with each new episode. Overcoming Ivanov – not that he had the upper hand to begin with – was the icing on the cake.

I wish I could say Ivanov became more interesting, but unfortunately, he hasn’t. In fact, the first half of the episode was mostly a drag because of him. It was pleasant to see Coulson, Daisy and Aida overcome him later, but I still don’t understand the point of this character. We had flashbacks to explain his origin story… and the point was that he doesn’t really matter. So why should we care?

The flashbacks also served to show the early interactions of Coulson and May and to justify the romantic turn their relationship got. I’m not sure if that was necessary, they always had a bromance type of relationship and it’s understandable why they would finally go for it. But seeing May so happy and sassy was worth it. God, that woman deserves a happy ending.

Intel and Assets

- I have no idea what Ivanov wanted to achieve by torturing Mace, but Mace more than held his own, and that’s pretty impressive and brave for someone that was a regular joe until mere months ago.

- The Framework initially was created by S.H.I.E.L.D. to train the agents in simulated environments.

- The opening scene with Daisy and Coulson fighting one another inside the Framework was foreshadowing the end.

- Mack went all in to blame Fitz for all that has been happening with Aida and the Framework. Really, writers? Even for Mack that was too much.

- What names do the new LMDs get? I thought of Son of CouLMD, LMDaisy, LMackD and LMaceD. I’ve also seen iMack and Skyenet, which are just the best.

- I’m so suspicious that I think Fitz' untypical slowness to figure out what had happened (“why would someone do that?”) could be a sign that he is actually LeoMD.

- Son of CouLMD awakened LMayD.

- This is what we are getting next week. Be still my heart:


Simmons: “You do need to think about the implications of the things you create. But just because someone uses your ideas for evil does not make it your fault for creating it in the first place. You make things from the genius of your mind and the goodness of your heart. To help people. Don’t let Radcliffe’s actions corrupt that. You are not responsible for the twisted things he’s done. Wrongs have been committed, now we make them right. Together.”
This was such a great speech, and Henstridge nailed it.

Coulson: “All of these things you’ve done, all of the energy spent, the hatred. And you know what the funny thing about it is? I have no idea who the hell you are. (…) As far as I’m concerned, you’re just another red shirt like so many others, who try unsuccessfully to stop me from saving the world. ‘Cause that’s what I do. So, cool origin story, bro, but this means nothing to me.”

Ivanov: “The butcher does not seek forgiveness from the animals he slaughters.”
Daisy: “Have you ever read Animal Farm?”

Three out of fours LMDs, mostly for the final part. And I can't wait for the next episode.
--
Lamounier, who once again apologizes for the lateness of this review and hopes the timetable of his life is back to normal next week.

5 comments:

sunbunny said...

I watched this review after I saw just the top of your review (the "holy twist" bit) and I kept expecting the big twist to be that they were all in the Framework. This is fun too. :)

migmit said...

Skyenet!

Russian report: there was a lot of Russian — some of it correct, some of it not, some just awful. I laughed loudly when one of the underlings addressed the Superior as "shef" — "chief", in Russian — and the subtitles translated this as "Superior". Sure, that's technically correct, but "chief" is a semi-informal, friendly way to address one's boss, while "The Superior" is more like a nobleman's title.

Russian writings were also hit and miss. On one container it was written «Хрупкое» — "Fragile", which is correct. But the big sign over the entrance to this factory was entirely wrong — it spelled, to the best of my memory, «добывающая Барков компания», which they clearly intended to mean "Barkov mining company", but what they actually wrote was more like "Company, mining Barks".

Coulson speaking broken Russian doesn't count — his Russian was bad in-universe. One thing stands out though — in Russian the UN is called "OON", pronounced like "oh-on". Not like "you-en".

OK, back to the episode. For some reason, it left me cold. I guess it's about wrong expectations. I expected — feared, actually — that Ivanov would be the major villain, and that this episode would try to establish his villain-y. Which would be bad, because, well, nobody cares about him. And it looked like they were going in that direction. Thankfully, that was cancelled; but as I mentioned somewhere else, a plot twist doesn't repair the plot before it, it just adds another one.

Speaking of twists, four (now five) LMDs confused me. Are they saying that Coulson, Daisy, and Mack were just captured? Without making some noise? I mean — Quake, silently grabbed with no structural damage to the building? Really?

And why exactly was Skyenet injured? The real Skye was, sure, in a fight with Superior whatever, but there was nobody to tell about it? Or was it Skyenet already? But then we have to conclude that Radcliff managed to reproduce her powers. Which by itself is a BIG game changer, much bigger than four major operatives of S.H.I.E.L.D. being compromised.

Marianna said...

I agree with migmit that it's unrealistic that the great Quake would go down so easily when she's expecting a fight as opposed to May who was taken by surprise. I would like to see how that happened. Also there was another agent, Morales, who went in with Coulson and then immediately disappeared and no one seemed to notice.

Nitpicking aside, I'm excited about what I'm assuming will be focusing on my two favorite characters! What I would like is for FitzSimmons to call Bobbi and Hunter for help, but I don't have high hopes for that.

Lamounier said...

Maybe they released some kind of gas that knocked them out? I don’t know. With you guys nitpicking, now I’m wondering why they didn’t replace Fitzsimmons too. It’s not like they didn’t have a chance, especially with Fitz, who was left alone.

migmit, the Russian reports are really cool. :)

Marianna, if this is the final season, I hope there is at least a cameo of Bobbi and Hunter.

sunbunny, it could still be. Maybe Fitzsimmons were captured and we were watching them inside the Framework.

Patryk said...

I think noone was captured, the LMDs just used the comms jamm to quickly leave teh basse before the originals even finshed what they were doing. I think Simmons said something about hearing Daisy fight after she already retruned to the team. Let's hope the next episode explains where the real ones are.

Ivanov was fun in that he's the villian version of the little orphan who got his village burned and then looks for the warlord who did it to kill him and the warlord doesn't even remember what village it was. :)