Saturday, January 14, 2017

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 9, "Broken Promises" REVIEW (SPOILERS)

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Sorry it’s taken me so long to publish my review of this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Between my personal life and my job—and the fact that we are expecting the whole state to be covered in ice any time now—I’ve been too busy to devote as much time to this blog as I had been.  So for this week’s episode (and perhaps for a few more after this one), I will use a different format:  I’ll just go through things I liked about the episode, things I didn’t like, and things to look for moving forward.


  • AIDA’s role in the episode is really interesting.  I was expecting the reveal to happen a little more slowly—why do I expect slow reveals from this show anymore?
  • The reveal at the end of the episode that Radcliffe was actually behind the whole thing casts doubt on the AIDA story, both from the midseason finale and earlier.  When AIDA was constructing a “brain,” was she doing so for Radcliffe, or was she doing it independently?  When AIDA killed the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, was that directly commanded by Radcliffe?  What about all these times where AIDA has been “violating her programming” by lying and killing—did Radcliffe modify her programming?
  • The LMD May does not realize she is not the real thing.  That opens up some new and intriguing possibilities.  For example, was Simmons able to recognize AIDA as an LMD only because AIDA knew she was an LMD?
  • I really like the introduction of the new Inhuman, Vijay, and especially the way they use it to add depth to Senator Nadeer’s character.  Why is she so violently opposed to the Inhumans?  Because she blames the aliens for her mother’s death, and believes that the Chitauri are responsible for the spread of Inhumans around the world.  Vijay was just as opposed to the Inhumans as she is, and seems to believe that he had actually succeeded in preventing his Terrigenesis.  Obviously, we know that there is no way to prevent Terrigenesis, but his definite lack of transformation or abilities did cast doubt on that assumption.  But now we know that he was changed by the Mist, but don’t know exactly how.
  • This is the most that we have learned about Senator Nadeer since her introduction.  I really appreciate that they gave her a personal motivation for her actions.  This actually brings up a new and interesting question:  what percentage of Nadeer’s constituency is Inhuman, and how do they view her anti-Inhuman position?
  • Daisy fitting into SHIELD again is a good touch, particularly the friction between her and Mace after his declaration that she had never left S.H.I.E.L.D.  After spending several months as an independent vigilante, it would have been disappointing if Daisy slipped right back into S.H.I.E.L.D. as if she had never left.
  • Director Mace is an enigma still.  I am still left wondering what actually happened at Vienna, and why he seems embarrassed by the attention it received.  I do think that his real thoughts on Vienna are closer to what he tells Daisy—he feels some degree of shame over it—and that the public persona of modesty mixed with pride is the act.  Next week’s episode, “The Patriot,” should shed some light on this.


  • Mack and Yo-Yo’s role in this episode wasn’t overly defined beyond their constant banter about why androids are a bad idea.  There wasn’t anything wrong with having a reference or two to Terminator or 2001: A Space Odyssey, but at some point enough’s enough.
  • Senator Nadeer must not train her aides very well if they have phone conversations out in the open with the leader of the Watchdogs while S.H.I.E.L.D. agents (whom they recognize as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents) are in the same room and listening.  Also, the fight sequence between Simmons and the aide was cool and all, but she really shouldn’t have had so much trouble with him after four years in the field!
  • I actually preferred the idea of AIDA as a sentient robot over Radcliffe actually controlling the LMDs as part of his own plan.  I realize that “evil AIDA” would run the risk of retreading Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it actually would have given more opportunity for development, particularly as far as the evil robot’s motivation for turning on its human creators.

Things to look for:

  • I’m calling it now:  Nadeer either has gone through Terrigenesis or will go through it at some point this year.  We have not been shown too many Inhuman families on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—the only one is Jiaying and Daisy—but Jiaying did make it clear that the Inhuman gene is inherited from parents (hence their emphasis on genealogy).  In the comics it was possible to be the only member of a family to inherit the Inhuman gene(Kamala Khan and her brother inherited the gene, but their parents—so far as I know—did not have it, or at least not enough to transform).  In the comics there are also levels of the Inhuman gene:  some have enough Inhuman DNA to form a cocoon but not enough to survive Terrigenesis, while others are completely skipped by the gene altogether.  Regardless, since she has an Inhuman brother, the odds are very much in favor of Nadeer also possessing the Inhuman gene.  And that begs the question:  in what way was he exposed to Terrigen so that she was not?
  • I am very curious to see what Vijay’s second Terrigenesis means.  My first thought on seeing the cocoon reform around him after Nadeer killed him was of the X-Men Darwin, who has the power of “instantaneous adaptation,” which allows his body to adapt naturally to any stimuli around him with the ability which will best allow him to survive.  If he comes out of the cocoon with a different power than super-speed/reflexes, we will know that this is the case.  If he does have the power of “instantaneous adaptation,” that could potentially make him the most powerful Inhuman we have yet encountered, especially if he doesn’t need to die to reset his power.
  • Are the AIDAs really going to be sentient moving forward, or was that entirely created by Radcliffe to divert suspicion away from himself?  And what does he intend to do with the Darkhold?
  • What will the next season 4 arc be, and how will the LMD arc set it up?

I hope you enjoyed this review format, because I will probably be doing a lot this way (at least for the rest of this season).  As a whole, this episode was a lot of fun and I thought it did a great job of setting things up for the two key aspects of the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: LMD arc.  First, of course, there is the main plot of Radcliffe using his LMDs to acquire the Darkhold.  Second, there is also the story centering on Vijay and what’s up with him.  I can’t wait to see where both of these will go in the episodes to follow.

What did you think of this episode?  Do you like the reveal that Radcliffe is behind AIDA’s actions?  What do you think is happening with Vijay?  Do you think Nadeer is a transformed Inhuman?  Let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Aida was also exposed to The Darkhold I wouldn't be surprised if she ultimately has her own "desires" so to speak. Please don't give up on the notion that she may ultimately be the power behind the throne.