Now that Coulson knows the truth about May and Radcliffe has the Darkhold, everyone’s on the hunt for Radcliffe. There’s also a new Inhuman on the block this week, though probably not who anyone really expected.
Daisy gets quite a bit of spotlight this episode as well, which is a pretty nice change. She’s been kind of feeling a bit back burner this season in general, though that’s not really a bad thing considering she has been overly focused for the previous few seasons.
Generally this was a pretty good episode with some set up for what will probably be the closing bits of the LMD arc, which is rumored to last 7-8 episode, which would put it at an end in 2-3 episodes, which probably will mean another break.
More spoiler based details below.
So, there are two main story arcs in this episode, one following Coulson and Mack as they track down the woman whom Aida was modeled after, Agnes, as a means to get to Radcliffe. The other involves the rest of the crew and tracking down a mystery bomber in an effort to get to the Watchdogs, and Radcliffe.
I’m going to touch on the Watchdogs storyline first, since it is the least consequential really and while good, was mostly filler to give the rest of the cast something to do. The main purpose was to remove Senator Nadir from the picture. Radcliffe needs an Inhuman to please The Superior and his plan to destroy Inhumans, so he breaks out some Terragin crystals he has laying around from his time working with The Hive. The Superior sends one of his lackeys (Shockley) with the crystal to visit Senator Nadir and expose her to the crystal, since there is a good chance she is also an inhuman like her brother due to genetics.
It turns out she’s not Inhuman. Except Shockley is. On a side note, he is very likely the MCU version of Nitro, he shares the same power and though Nitro in the comic isn’t quite Inhuman, he does have his powers due to the Kree. His claim to fame in the comics is being the catalyst for Civil War when he exploded during a battle with the New Warriors, killing several of the New Warrior, an hundreds of people in a small town, including an entire elementary school.
Anyway, Shockley cocoons up, and they explodes free, killing Senator Nadir.
Now, we know Nadir’s brother is still alive, they dumped him in the ocean and he cocooned up. We have not heard from him again but whatever his power is, he can survive death, it would seem. It’s possible, Senator Nadir shares this power and she isn’t actually gone. The news in the show mentions her confirmed death, but she may well cocoon up and revive herself as well, she wouldn’t have been affected by the crystal since she had already changed in the past.
Anyway, Shockley starts doing his best to draw SHIELD out by detonating himself a few more times, meanwhile SHIELD tracks him down using cameras throughout the city and his explosions. Eventually Simmons and Fitz realize that they can’t find any explosive residue on the site because Shockley IS the explosive. They also discover that his power works by building up ultra sonic vibrations, which Quake should be able to counter act.
Daisy isn’t able to counter act his explosions, and instead just uses her power to stall him by accelerating his vibrations causing his to explode and reconstitute himself repeatedly. Which is kind of comical really. He starts ranting and she just makes him go pop, over and over.
Eventually Fitz and Simmons suck his exploded dust body into this sort of vacuum containment thing, which I also have to say I got a kick out of. I mean how do you stop a guy who explodes into a gas and reforms? I guess you just vacuum him up before he can reform.
Along the way there’s also some bits about how Director Mace’s super serum is killing him, and he can’t use it without risking death. He ends up using it anyway near the end of the episode to protect the rest of the crew as they deal with Nitro. He also ends up getting captured by The Superior and his crew, who still think he is an Inhuman.
Boy, the Superior is going to feel like a fool when he learns otherwise, especially after assuming Aida was an Inhuman as well. It’s almost like there is an underlying message about how blind prejudice can make someone.
The other plotline here is Coulson and Mack working to convince Agnes, whom Aida’s likeness was lifted to help them find Radcliffe and save May. It turns out Agnes is Radcliffe’s ex girlfriend, or something (wife?) who is dying of an incurable brain tumor. Radcliffe had devoted himself to trying to save her but couldn’t and it tore them apart. She isn’t happy to learn that Radcliffe has made a robot sex doll of her (not her words).
She also doesn’t want anything to do with him, or SHIELD.
Coulson appeals to her emotional side and she agrees to help and calls Radcliffe for a meeting. Things go south though when Radcliffe suggests he has found way to save her using something called The Framework, which seems to basically be The Matrix. It’s also where Radcliffe is keeping May.
Radcliffe and Aida plug her in but her cancer gets the best of her and she dies anyway. Radcliffe mentions that it’s ok because her consciousness will live on within the Framework, which was kind of his goal here anyway.
A bit of speculation here. Agnes is likely pretty smart. She’s not really depicted this way in any particular way, but given Radcliffe’s personality and affections, it’s a good chance she isn’t an idiot. She also probably know a lot about Radcliffe’s overall goals. I’m making a bit of a prediction here, that she went with Radcliffe, willingly, to help save May. She knew she was dying anyway, and when Radcliffe brought up The Framework and already having one successful subject, she put two and two together and figured out May was the subject. Now, she gets to live on, within the Framework, with May. If she can find May, she can save May and break her free of the control of the Framework. This is just speculation, but it feels like the obvious angle.
So I’m wondering how much longer Director Mace is going to last. This episode had a lot of undertones of offing him. There’s the obvious bit of the Serum killing him. There was a subplot about him trying to find his place on the team, and then there was Coulson’s speech, that basically said he (Coulson) had to die to find his place among the Avengers.
Maybe he gets a robot body so he will have real super powers instead of fake ones, though I kind of suspect that may end up being the end game for May, the real May will end up dead or just so fucked in the head after the mind games Radcliffe has put her through that they will replace her with the LMD May, who really didn’t quite know she was an LMD in the first place and did a pretty good May.
The previews for the next episode also imply Coulson may die… again. There are so many ways right now with the LMDs and The Framework that Coulson could die and not die, I doubt he really dies. Also he more or less carries the show, so yeah, it’s doubtful hat he really dies. Now, it’s possible Mace may sacrifice himself to save Coulson, however.