Review: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Manages to ‘Wake Up’ Another Surprise LMD
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Wake Up”:
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has appreciably raced through the past few weeks of its post-hiatu sreturn; first kicking off the “LMD” arc with an all-out action flick, and last week placing “The Patriot” in a new light, and I’m glad to see that pace more or less intact with “Wake Up.” Not only do we have Radcliffe swiftly exposed as a traitor (and an LMD, at that), but also see S.H.I.E.L.D. on the verge of being de-legitimized once again, and get both real and LMD Mays more or less up to speed on their captivities.
Arguably, S.H.I.E.L.D. itself got the biggest focus this week, between Skye again becoming a public face with a hearing for the Sokovia Accords, and the various conflicts between Talbot and Nadeer threatening to ruin the agency’s public standing all over again; especially in light of Coulson and Yo-Yo’s arrest. I do wonder exactly how far Season 4 can reasonably take its exploration of the Accords while still playing within the bounds of the films*, but it also helps to have more personal touches like Coulson’s history with Talbot or Skye’s bond with Mace to fill in a few of those more abstract gaps.
*Technically speaking, we don’t know the status of the Accords, Iron Man, or any of the major players after Captain America: Civil War, and might not get any real updates until Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The only thing that perhaps felt a bit undercooked in “Wake Up” was that both May and her LMD ended up hitting the walls of their respective prisons. In the real May’s case, it felt pretty obvious early on that the impossible layout of Radcliffe’s compound would end up being another simulation, while the LMD’s confrontation of Radcliffe got shoved aside by his programmed control of her. I do appreciate the episode’s early effort to flesh out exactly how the switch took place, but I also worry we’ll end up going to the “surprise replacement” well* one-time too many, just as we learn of Radcliffe himself at the end of the hour.
*Yes, I realize the comics themselves were notorious for walking back character deaths and revelations with LMDs. I may also be bitter that the second robot didn’t turn out to be Fitz, though there’s still plenty of time, given all the errant dialogue and foreshadowing that could be used to mark various characters.
If anything, what “Wake Up” could have used a nit more time for was the progression of Mack and Yo-Yo’s relationship. The reveal of Mack’s daughter Hope gave Henry Simmons some wonderful material to play in the closing minutes, but the hour itself mostly only had time to frame the development as a payoff to Yo-Yo’s distrust of their partnership. I imagine Agents wouldn’t introduce Hope or Mack’s ex into the discourse without some stronger plan for the episodes ahead; it just felt a bit disconnected from every thing else.
Well, that and a chance to play with the lax 10:00 P.M. content restrictions. “Turtle Man.” ‘Nuff Said.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- I’m still not crazy about the new AIDA seeming so bizarrely murderous, but also have questions why a super-advanced robot still needs to pick up an actual phone.
- “Steaming pile of fart pebbles.” We are not giving Adrian Pasdar near of enough credit for this series.
- “The Superior” will be played by Zach McGowan of The 100 and Black Sails, if you hadn’t caught that.
- So May’s new simulation is to endure Bahrain over and over again? That should end well.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 will continue Tuesday, January 31 with “Hot Potato Soup,” airing at 10:00 P.M. on ABC.
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