Last night’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. offered yet more twists and surprises as Dr. Radcliffe’s LMD plan continued to develop. However, the LMDs took a backseat this week in favor of expanding on one of the biggest mysteries of the season to-date: Who is Director Mace? I don’t think the answer was something anyone really expected, though it certainly makes him a much more complex and interesting character moving forward.
- I am rather curious about the press conference officially welcoming Daisy back to the fold. Is the real story about the bridge collapse the one that Mace told (Daisy holding the bridge together until people got off), or did she actually bring it down? We know that she has both abilities. Of course, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter a ton what happened that day (unless at some point it actually will…).
- The assassin (I assume) used a Judas Bullet from Luke Cage, or at least a variation thereof. Is that not an awesome nod to the Netflix shows?
- The reveal with Director Mace was rather unexpected (I expected something about Vienna, not that his powers were fake), though I was able to call it earlier in the episode, based on Mace’s single-minded focus on getting the case. I had been hoping that Mace would be a “lawful good” character who would challenge Coulson and the rest of the team, but this makes him a much more complex (and therefore interesting) character.
- I really like how the reveal of Mace’s dark secret changes his character but doesn’t really change him. He is still the same man who cares about his agents, wants to protect people, and strongly supports the rights of Inhumans; he just doesn’t have the inherent super-strength make it happen. This also plays into his honesty: the reason he tries to avoid the subject of Vienna is because it is (in essence) a lie, not because of false modesty. Looking back, I really appreciate his conflictedness whenever someone brought up Vienna. And in this episode I really appreciate the moment with him explaining Vienna to Coulson.
- Placing Mace alone in the wilderness with Coulson and Mack was a brilliant move for this episode. Mace has been operating under the assumption that he needs super-strength to be a hero; Coulson was doing the “hero” thing long before he got a cybernetic hand, and Mack is a “hero” without any modifications to himself (just to his shotgun). If anyone would be able to put the lie to Mace’s “you have to be super to be a hero” line of thinking, it would be them.
- The sequence with AIDA and Radcliffe trying to calm May was quite illuminating for her character: she enjoys conflict. That’s something we already knew to some extent, but this is the first time it has been spelled out in these terms. It does make me curious to see what form of program Radcliffe is going to use to keep May sedate.
- LMD-May now knows that she is an android/LMD. That is never a good thing. That means that either Radcliffe will lose control of her or she will expose him.
- I need to look back and see if this was the case all along, but I don’t remember seeing the briefcase much if at all before this episode. That’s only a negative because it creates a bit of a cognitive dissonance between my memory and Coulson and Mack commenting on how attached Mace is to it.
- I’m not sure if it was intentional for LMD-May to behave differently from the real May, but it was rather noticeable. I especially noticed that she was a whole lot softer than the normal May.
- They have yet to give a conclusive reason for AIDA’s violent streak. Why is she suddenly killing people/trying to kill people without hesitation? Of course, this could turn into a positive pretty quickly, especially if it turns out that AIDA is the real brains behind the operation and is actually controlling Radcliffe.
Things to look for:
- How will LMD-May react now that she knows she’s not the real deal?
- What will happen with Mace going forward? Will he really become the Patriot (without being Inhuman)? Will he lose access to the Project Patriot serum now that he’s not really in Talbot’s pocket? Even without the serum, I expect Coulson to start training him so that he really can be the hero he wants to be.
- How is the new modus vivendi between Mace and Coulson going to play out? Now Coulson gets to be the men behind the man again, pulling the strings of the Director and getting things done. How long will that last?
This was a really good episode for how it expanded on the character of Director Mace. It gave him a lot more depth, but it did not change who he was fundamentally in terms of his motivations and desires. He is a good person who was put in a false position and never managed to correct it. I am very curious to see what will happen with him over the rest of the season, especially if he will continue to use the serum or if he will learn to do what he needs to do without super-strength.
What was your favorite part of the episode? Were you expecting Mace to not actually be an Inhuman? What do you think will happen with LMD-May now that she knows the truth? Let me know in the comments!