So, Agents of Shield has been hitting on all cylinders lately, but this episode really felt flat. I think part of the issue was that it was mostly set up for future plots. There was also a lot of development of relationship between characters and couples on the show, though that also kind of felt like pointless filler in a lot of ways, or slightly out of place out of character moments.
The end result was a pretty mediocre episode where nothing really major happened. More on that going forward, so spoilers beware…
So what did we set up here exactly. May is secretly trapped in a simulation where she fights Aida over and over, instead of at a beach resort. This is played up throughout the first half of the episode a bit to imply that she is trying to escape again, though frankly, it was painfully obvious based on last week’s conversation that it was all fake. Though by the end, for some reason I didn’t quite catch, she’s reliving old missions instead, with “good endings” instead of bad ones.
I guess? The whole May plot was one of the major elements of this episode, but like I said, this was clearly going to happen, so it felt kind of eh.
There was also a bit of NotMay plot, where people kept encouraging her to “get closer to Coulson”. There was a lot of implying that everyone can tell there is something more there, and she needs to just go for it, except honestly, Coulson and May are close, but they never really seemed like a couple. Just, good, old friends. I feel like any romance between Coulson and May would be really out of place, unless it ends up being a plot element to help Coulson realize she is a robot. I’m actually pretty convinced that he already knows. Coulson knows May way too well, he’s playing her, and Radcliffe.
Speaking of Romance sub plots, there is this big one going on between Mack and Yo-Yo, where Mack reveals he has an ex wife and a daughter who effectively died at birth. I’m not real sure what could come from this in the future, but it sure felt like it went nowhere and existed solely as an excuse to keep Mack out of the larger mission of the episode. He and Yo-yo talk for a bit after having (off camera) sex, then Mack gets a mysterious text and runs off, then, he returns and Yo-yo is upset and then he makes his confession, end of story. We never see the wife or kid, even in a photo.
It sort of gives Mack some more back story, but nothing that really seems meaningful. Maybe he’s lying to Yo-yo but that seems doubtful really, given what the lie is. If you lie to cover some secret op, you don’t make up an story about a grieving ex wife and a dead baby, that’s a fucked up way to lie about a secret mission. You claim your brother needed something or just say it was a classified op.
There was also a bit of conflict and sub plot with Simmons and Fitz and Fitz working on the Aida head. Simmons of course isn’t happy but it turns out Fitz was just working to expose Radcliffe, whom they arrest. Except it’s an LMD Radcliffe (surprise!). I actually kind of wonder if Fitz is also an LMD the way NotMay is. There was that scene early on where Radcliffe and Fitz went to bring in Aida, and Aida disabled all of them, then suddenly they all just sort of show up back at base. Radcliffe is clearly “in on it” which really suggests Fitz may not be Fitz.
The rest of the plot felt… a little overly convoluted. Daisy and Mace are going to a congressional hearing so Daisy can sign the Sokovia accords. Meanwhile Coulson and Yo-yo are working to bug Senator Nadir’s office while she is distracted. Except it’s a trap and Nadir knows about the op and has them arrested for doing unsanctioned activities. This puts SHIELD under investigation, a plotline not really explored here but clearly more set up.
This leads Coulson to discover there is a Mole, which leads to Simmons discovering Fitz was working on the Aida head, which leads to Fitz mentioning the head and Aida were coded by Radcliffe which leads them to conclude that Nadir is working with Radcliffe to spy on them through the severed head… Except the head’s locked up, so, how does that work?
Side note, this idea isn’t too far off, since Radcliffe is working with Nadir to spy on SHIELD, except it’s obviously via NotMay (or potentially NotFitz).
What’s to Come
During their final conversation, Nadir mentions that Radcliffe will need to meet The Superior. Maybe we’ll finally get some idea of who this Superior actually is.
I imagine we’ll see some forced relationship nonsense between NotMay and Coulson. I really hope not, but they seem to be really pushing it up. Speaking of relationships, maybe Fitz and Simmons and FINALLY go somewhere now that Fitz is over his secret Aida obsession. Or is he. I mean if he were just investigating Radcliffe, why wouldn’t he just tell Simmons?
On more relationships, I feel like something is going to happen to Yo-yo or Mack. The show has really been playing these two up a lot, which feels like an excuse to kill one of them off. I have no idea which it would be, Yo-yo gives some Inhuman Variety to the team since Quake is the only other Inhuman, but Mack is “The token black guy”? Also they killed poor Trip off too, killing off the second black guy seems kind of lame. Maybe I’m going the wrong way for this and they are going to do the whole married and baby thing? It would kind of make the story about his dead daughter make more sense in terms of plot if Yo-yo and Mack had a kid, I guess.