Welcome back to my weekly coverage of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Be sure to catch up on previous coverage here.
There were a lot of fun moments in this week’s episode that culminated in giving us a face to go along with the growing threat of the Watchdogs. Agent May was transported to another facility in order to treat her ongoing hallucinations while the rest of SHIELD fought to deal with a mysterious group claiming to be rebel Inhumans that were threatening major cities with EMP burst machines.
Agent May’s situation grew worse this week as we saw another of the ghost touched individuals die on their bed from the corruption. This allowed Simmons and Dr. Radcliffe to combine brain processing power in order to come up with a solution to save May. It is because of scenes like this that I’m really glad the show allowed for the return of Dr. Radcliffe. His personality and intellectual status gives the audience a buffer zone between Fitz and Simmons. The reason why I like that is because the majority of their relationship is now focused on their romantic relationship and the emotion that comes with it. Insert Dr. Radcliffe who can provide the intellectual counterpart for both Fitz and Simmons. He can now be the one to facilitate the science exposition part of the show that both Fitz and Simmons need to provide. Dr. Radcliffe’s presence also allows for a different level of humor to arise, although not much humor existed in his scenes this week.
For the May saving scenes, there was an emphasis placed on creating tension. The goal of that tension was, I’m sure, to make us think that May’s life was actually in danger. Unfortunately, the show is playing against themselves as May is simply too important to the show at this point to remove her completely. While I felt the tension growing, I never once felt that May wouldn’t come out of it okay. I did find it interesting that Dr. Radcliffe had to use technology from his new android Aida. When he first went to remove her from her isolation chamber, I thought he was going to have to completely reveal her existence to Simmons, which Fitz advised he not do for the time being. For his own sake though he simply removed her energy core in order to power the defibrillator needed to revive May. Once she did get revived, the acting between May and Simmons came across as a little too abrupt and clunky as May has supposedly lost all of her memory from the time she came into contact with the ghost.
While May was getting saved, Coulson, Mack and Fitz were sent to Miami to discover who was behind the blackouts in the major cities and a way to stop them. I was rather impressed with Coulson’s ability to switch off his concern for May in order to get this mission underway. He clearly is having issues with the way the new director is handling his clearance, but ultimately he drops the issue momentarily to go out into the field. When all three hit the zone in Miami affected the EMP, all of their electronics stop as well, revealing that it wasn’t a singular blast but a device that is continuously pulsing. This creates a humorous moment for Coulson as his prosthetic hand is affected by the EMP as well leaving it clenched to the steering wheel of the car.
The EMP effect on Coulson’s hand also extended into the episode’s first of two major fight scenes as citizens of Miami took up arms to find the lone Inhuman at a high-end party. That Inhuman happened to be Yo-yo as she was celebrating a friend’s engagement. She did her best to disarm the men who had taken everybody hostage which gave just enough of an opening for Coulson, Mack and even Fitz, to come in and kick some ass. Mack as usual was brutal in his approach, holding nothing back in his front and back handed strikes. And Coulson, as I mentioned, used his deactivated prosthetic by swinging it around and clobbering anybody to come in his way. This episode went a long way in showcasing some cool action from all of our involved heroes, Coulson in the first sequence, and Yo-yo in the second.
When Fitz eventually tracked down the EMP device using some rudimentary science, Yo-yo went in to disarm the close to ten armed occupants in the room giving her an X-Men like Quicksilver sequence. Once again, I’d like to send a shout out to the effects team for this show. Each episode brings out something new that I didn’t think would be possible in this show’s budget and it just exemplifies the amount of faith ABC and Disney have in this show and the commitment that the visual effects workers bring every single day.
Two big things came out of the Coulson storyline, the first being that the group behind the EMP blasts is in fact the Watchdogs looking to locate and kill the Inhumans rather than rebel Inhumans protesting registration. The Watchdogs are clearly getting some big funding from somebody and that looks like it is Senator Nadeer played by Parminder Nagra who was shown early in the episode on a TV screen clearly taking the stance against the Inhuman population. Her motivations are clear through the reveal that her brother was hit by the terrigen mist but ultimately not bestowed with powers as he is encased with ash. What isn’t clear is whether or not she is supporting the Watchdogs on her own or through a collection of political bigwigs and/or business heads. We’ll have to wait and see. The second big thing to come out this week is the re-emergence of SHIELD as a publicly recognized organization dedicated to protecting and defending all threats to human and Inhuman life on this planet. We knew this one was coming but just not when and I’m glad it did come this week. This allows Jeffery Mace to become a public face for SHIELD and for Coulson to act in the shadows as an agent.
As for Daisy and Robbie this week, their storyline was a little bit subdued to fit everything in and I thought it was a particularly effective choice. The focus for Daisy was on her continued weakness that comes from using her powers and her inability to get proper help. She looks banged up in a really bad way after helping Robbie’s brother out and she showed no signs of giving in and returning to SHIELD, regardless of how public the organization is now. I thought it was particularly interesting how Gabe has chosen to view her. To us the audience, we know her as a flawed individual just looking to do some good in the world on her own. But to someone like Gabe who was able to identify her as Quake, she is dangerous and a threat to his brother’s world order. I think that hit Daisy more than she is letting on which is also why I think she did end up leaving and giving in to Gabe’s request as well as to why she decided to ignore the speech by Jeffery Mace on the radio in that final scene. Interesting stuff to come in the weeks ahead even if some of the villain motivations appeared a bit cliched and some acting in spots were a bit of a let down.
Episode Rating: 8/10