Agents of SHIELD Concludes Its Second Pod of Season 4 Perfectly

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This episode was one of the ones that reminds me exactly why Agents of SHIELD is so magical. It had everything that has always made Agents of SHIELD such great TV: Incredibly well written twists and turns, impeccable reveals, beautifully shot scenes, great direction, and OUTSTANDING acting.

In tonight’s episode, we pick up with Fitz and Simmons after last episode revealed that four people, presumably Daisy, Mack, Coulson, and Mace, are all LMDs and it’s up to the two of them to get out of the base and to safety. However, in their attempt to escape, it turns out not everything is as it seems. The two who aren’t LMD’s are forced to fight their way out against not just the LMD replacements, but also against all the base personnel who think they are LMDs who must be stopped at all costs.

Before I start, I want to say that I’m going to leave this review spoiler free (as much as I can), but I feel like it is worth the minor spoilers to show you guys my notes on this episode as I wrote them and then actually write about the details (as best I can without major spoilers) below them. These are my notes only edited into a bullet points list. Nothing else. (WARNING FOR LANGUAGE!)

  • OH GOD MY FEEEELS
  • “I’m the bad guy, no matter what.” FIIIIIITZ
  • OH MY GOD!!!
  • Simmons  feeeeeels
  • Daaaaaamn Aida
  • “this is not how your story ends” WHY
  • This fight by firelight is so good
  • GOD DAISY IS SO AWESOME
  • FUUUUUUUUUUCK THAT IS SO COOOOOL
  • My God this episode is one of the best. Fucking fuck
  • “I’m sorry to say, you’re not him.”
  • WHOAAAAAAAA PLOT TWIST AT THE END THERE WITH THAT GUY!
  • Aw man
  • WHAT?! JEMMA IS DEAD IN THE FRAMEWORK??? THEN DID GOING IN MEAN SHE IS DEAD??? OR CAN SHE NOT GO IN???
  • Oh my God this is trippy

I just thought it was funny to see my enthusiasm in the aftermath when I’m no longer having my mind blown and thought you guys might enjoy seeing how dramatic I get taking notes for an episode.

Now! Down to business! (Time to defeat the Huns)

(I just realized I made a Mulan reference when I was about to talk about Ming Na Wen, who is, in fact, the voice of Mulan. That wasn’t on purpose, but I’m going to leave it in just for the humor, again.)

Tonight’s episode was a throwback to early seasons in which we have our remaining members of the original team team (and Mack) and tons of incredible acting in seemingly impossible circumstances. We saw some acting here that hearkened back to the Fall of SHIELD or the time Simmons was dying from the exploding static flu virus. There were some points in this episode where I couldn’t breathe and there was a lump in my throat because the performances we were given were so incredibly good.

I tweeted near the beginning of the episode regarding my long-standing opinion of Iain de Caestecker’s acting and I stand by this statement.

Iain de Caestecker is largely unknown beyond being Leopold Fitz on Agents of SHIELD, but in seasons 1 and 2 of this show, he is by far the best performer of the group, and that’s saying a LOT because this cast is packed with talent. There hasn’t been that much of him really delivering for a while now, and this episode carried us back to the days when he had scenes where he had to deliver an amazing performance with rich sincerity. This is not a man who chews scenery, this is a man who gives subtlety even in his most dramatic emotional outbursts. I think we can all remember that one big crocodile tear when he told that guy he would have to kill him before he worked for Hydra in such a ‘I’m terrified but brave’ way that broke my heart.

As Iain de Caestecker’s usual scene partner, I think that Elizabeth Henstridge shined more in this episode in scenes without him. Jemma’s scenes with Daisy have always been good, but tonight they both had that dangerous position of being in scenes that would have been so easy to over-act. There were so many places where both Elizabeth Henstridge and Chloe Bennet could have easily gone over the top, but instead their performances were so genuine and so beautifully nuanced that they gave some of the best performances I’ve ever seen from them in this show, and that’s saying a lot. Henstridge can break your heart with just the word ‘Fitz’ and it’s absolutely incredible.

And speaking of Chloe Bennet, I’m REALLY annoyed I can’t find a gif of the fight back lit by fire through the glass walls that she had, because that was such a beautifully shot scene. Daisy was giving off serious John McClane from Die Hard in this episode, as was Simmons, and I loved that we have two women against all of SHIELD basically, and both are injured, and yet they both manage to go so hard. And oh my GOD when Daisy did the thing I don’t want to spoil with the quake I lost my crap, it was so freaking amazing! In fact, there’s a tweet from that moment, too.

There is so much more I’d love to touch on, especially regarding Ming Na Wen and her incredible performances tonight, but I’m trying my hardest to not give away MAJOR spoilers, so let’s just say it was impeccably heartbreaking and I wanted to die. When the third pod starts in April – ALL THE WAY IN APRIL – it’s going to kill us all. I’m sure of it.

According to his twitter, this was the first episode of TV that Jed Whedon, one of the main show runners, has ever directed, and I really want him to direct some more. This was incredible. It was written by him as well, and honestly, before I heard that, I assumed it was written by Maurissa Tancharoen (his wife and fellow show runner) because most of the best episodes are written by her. She chose well in her spouse, because he is just as talented as she is, it appears.

This TV show is without a doubt one of my favorite shows ever week, without fail. Though the ratings are down for some INSANE reasons, Agents of SHIELD this season has been potentially some of the best Marvel TV has ever offered. I still maintain that Agent Carter is the best Marvel TV show within the MCU, but this show is still one of my favorite comic book TV shows that has ever existed, and it’s entirely down to the quality of the writing, direction, and performances.

This is just a good TV show.

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Agents of SHIELD Delivers A Shocking Twist

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This whole episode was really good, and I loved so many things, but I honestly just want to touch on a few things so we can get RIGHT to that crazy plot twist!

Basic synopsis to help anybody catch up: Director Mace has been abducted by Russian Charles Vane and Mad Scientist Scott and Aida the scary robot lady, and it’s up to Phil and the team to save him. Now, onto the more interesting points.

I don’t like how Mack was being aggressive about Fitz and his science. I feel like somewhere along the way, Agents of SHIELD forgot to continue developing their friendship and they went from being incredibly close friends to barely interacting to now, apparently, having a bit of friction without any real motivation that I can recall. Part of me hopes that somewhere along the way, Mack’s characterization shift over the past season will make sense, but I have little hope for that now that there’s bigger fish to fry. I have very few qualms with Agents of SHIELD this season, but Mack’s development has definitely suffered except for his girlfriend.

I really like the way that we got the look back at Phil and May’s relationship. Their youthful camaraderie was so funny and cute. I liked the way that they clearly had feelings for each other that didn’t work out (as we see with May mentioning that they should go out if her relationship with the shrink fails and we know that he ended up being her husband), they were able to stay friends throughout their lives. I really love May and Phil’s whole dynamic, because they’re not co-workers who are gonna just fall into bed together, they have history and a long-standing friendship and trust. They’re best friends first before anything else, and they’ve always had each others’ backs. It’s just a really nice depiction of a realistic, adult relationship that has been many things over many years but always managed to stay real. I just really appreciate the character information that backstory gives.

I also really loved that for a serious scene, the humor wasn’t neglected. There was Phil being a nerd and referencing, “Sharks with lasers”, which we all know very well, as well as calling a guy a “red shirt” and the whole, “Cool origin story, Bro” thing. We also had Fitz and Simmons and the whole “I’ll take Davis with me” and “Worry only slightly lessened” exchange. I enjoy that this show still manages to bring humor into each episode no matter how serious the episode is.

 

But more importantly, can we get to that plot twist??? Oh my Goodness, you guys, I never expected that! For a split second when Simmons started talking about the missing time and the LMD detection logs and such, I thought, ‘Oh no, they left Fitz alone, is it him?’ but then that reveal!

I’m not going to spoil it for you guys, but let me just say, it’s a really good plot twist. It isn’t the best on Agents of SHIELD, but it will still leave you going, ‘WHAT?!’ and you’ll really enjoy it.

how did you guys like the episode? Did anybody else notice how jacked Director Mace is? Whoa he’s built!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: LMD Continues To Impress

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D‘ s LMD story arc took a turn tonight that I never expected! We had so many wonderful reveals tonight and so many twists and turns that I don’t want to spoil for you guys since I know a lot of people watch this show on DVR the next day, so like my last post, I’m gonna do the ‘lazy’ review, but this time it’s because I’m trying to hide spoilers whereas the last review was just a boring episode of a TV show.

  • I love that Yo-Yo is so unapologetic about banging a sexy dude! You get it, girl!
  • Ha, against Yo-Yo is hilarious with her, “The stupid part.”
  • Oh my God, this grown man just said “Steaming pile of fart pebbles”!!!
  • Oohh reference to Daisy’s troubled childhood.
  • Oohhhh there’s a leak! Is it MayDroid???
  • Maaaan, poor May stuck in a simulation. Talk about nightmare scenario!
  • oh GOD Mack’s big secret is SO MUCH WORST THAN I HAD IMAGINED!
  • Coulson: “Cauliflower isn’t great” truth, cauliflower sucks!
  • That twist involving May (again) is so heartbreaking.
  • I knew better than to trust that guy. Screw you, Guy!

Now I’ll leave you guys to watch the show without spoilers and have all those points make sense to you! It’s a good one, I’ll tell you that much!

Sorry I’ve been such a lazy writer tonight. I’m dead tired and I’ve been writing all week. I’ve written thousands of words of essays and discussions and reviews and it’s only Tuesday!

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D Reveals A Bombshell

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In tonight’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. an awards ceremony to recognize Daisy’s contributions to saving the day is interrupted by an attempt on Director Mace’s life.

I have to be honest, tonight’s episode was a good episode as far as information learned, but I found myself a little confused about the methodology. Most importantly being that I never understood whether the attackers were HYDRA or Watchdogs. I assume the latter, but I don’t feel like I really got that clarified anywhere. Perhaps I missed the reveal, but that was something that should’ve been more explicit. Also, how did they know what was in the briefcase? Or did they know? If they didn’t know, why was it valuable to them? All I remember is that Mace assumed it was Senator Shitty Sister but did she know what the serum was? Either I missed some things or that was sloppily handled.

Either way, the biggest plot twist of the night was definitely the one about Director Mace not actually being an Inhuman! I actually really like this one, sort of. The idea that he was the ‘new Captain America’ because he did a heroic deed, only it turns out he didn’t actually do a heroic deed, could’ve been a really ‘wow you horrible person’ reveal, but instead the bigger point of it was that he accepted the position because he thought Inhumans deserved to be treated like people and he wanted to protect them. It’s almost more impressive and more humanizing (heh) that he isn’t Inhuman but did all of this deceptive stuff just to protect them. It makes him more likeable and I definitely approve of this plot twist. Great idea!

I loved Talbot in this one as well. He is still an annoying guy even though he isn’t the enemy anymore, and I like that. I feel like it’s fitting. He’s just a torn in Coulson’s side now, not the Big Bad coming for the team. Very interesting way to keep him fresh and interesting but still relevant.

And lastly, we had the big reveal of the dramatic irony we’ve been enjoying the past couple of weeks: May realized she isn’t really May! I really like the idea of LMD May not knowing she isn’t May, because it’s going to raise some serious ethical questions and moral questions and it’s just going to be a really interesting plot development along the way. I cannot WAIT to see where they go from here!

As always, a few little extra tidbits I enjoyed:

  • It would be amazing if it was the words best protected girl scout cookies in the biometric briefcase.
  • Coulson trying to be cool with his glasses and them being broken was hilarious!
  • Mack and his axes, lol
  • Also, Mack looks goooood in that shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Mmmmmm.

 

What did you guys think? Did you like this episode? Are you excited for next week? Did any of you get this far in the post? IS ANYONE READING THESE WORDS RIGHT NOW??? Tweet me the code word “Madagascar” if you did read this far down!

 

 

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: LMD Delivers My Worst Nightmare

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Anyone that knows me knows that I love anything about androids and AI. Why? Because I’m entirely convinced that’s how the world will end, with humans creating AI Androids who are so advanced they’re able to feel human emotions and understand that they aren’t human no matter what they feel and we’ll treat them like machines even though they feel like people and when they all have mental breakdowns because they are the definition of dehumanization they’re going to go batshit and murder all the humans for basically making them slaves.

… so basically, I’m Mack in tonight’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

In tonight’s episode, the mid-season return and the beginning of the LMD series after the emotional end to the Ghost Rider series last fall, Ada made her move on the book that gave her her ‘soul’, the Darkhold. After the shocking discovery last time that Agent May is actually Agent May-be A Robot, while the real Agent May is drugged and stuck in a closet back at Ada’s place, we were left wondering what Fake May was gonna do to everybody. Also, tonight’s episode opened with the inhuman that Senator Death To Inhumans had Simmons go examine, so we were in for a double-plot episode right off the bat!

I have to take a moment to say that I was not expecting to see Manish Dayal on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If any of you are some of the same readers who read my WILDLY popular Halt and Catch Fire reviews (Seriously, I had like 10 times the hits on every single one of those that I have on any other blog post ever), you will recognize him as Ryan, the guy who … well, I won’t post that spoiler in case you guys haven’t seen it yet.

But this guy:

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Manish Dayal as Ryan in AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire (Isn’t he so pretty???)

It turns out that Veejay Nadeer, that cute guy, is Senator Nadeer’s brother and, it’s up to Simmons, Daisy, and Mace to find them and save him from his sister! I really enjoyed that turn of events, even though, as a big sister, I hate her even more for ever even THINKING ABOUT her brother not being her brother anymore.

I can’t say very much about this episode without giving away massive spoilers, but I think it’s safe to say that the highlight of this episode was Mack and Yo-Yo’s anti-robot banter!

The highlights of which are as follows:

  • “Have you two seen a single movie in the last 30 years? The robots always take over! They rise up against their human overlords and go kill happy!”
  • “A blood-thirsty murder bot” “We catch her I’m sure we’ll get some crazy Roy Batty explanation”
  • “This right here? That’s exactly how The Lawnmower ends”
  • “Robots always attack!” “I’ve been saying that all day” “Why are smart people so stupid”
  • “Someone needs to make Radcliffe watch the terminator movies” “Even Salvation?” “He brought this onto himself.”

And then the best of all:

  • Mack has a special provision in his life insurance policy in case of robot murder. God I love Mack!

I wish I could say more, but sadly, I really don’t want to spoil this episode for you!!!

However, feel free to spoiler yourselves in the comments and let me know what you thought about this episode!

 

Agents of SHIELD: The Conclusion of Ghost Rider’s Story

And tonight the time has come that Agents of SHIELD: Ghost Rider comes to its end and, I have to say, I’m really bummed about that. This Ghost Rider story arc has really been good. I was just commenting to one of my friends that Agents of SHIELD Is the only one of the super hero/comic book TV shows that continues to get better every season, not worse. I had really worried when this season started that I wouldn’t like the new team, the new SHIELD, and the new storytelling structure, but I honestly really like it. I think this was the right format to try after three seasons of the normal structure, because it kept things fresh without sacrificing the essence of Agents of SHIELD, but rather enhancing it.

Tonight we start with the main thing: Eli Morrow is holed up in a warehouse planning to do Very Bad Things involving plutonium and potentially blowing up Los Angeles because he’s gone mad with power, and it’s up to the team to stop him and Robbie to get his secret vengeance after he made his deal with the Ghost Rider once again.

Beyond Eli Morrow and his crazy ‘Diamonds In The Henchman’s Lungs’ stuff, we also have issues with Director Mace versus the team. He’s keeping secrets, which is sort of the opposite of what this New SHIELD was supposed to be like, and now what do we have? It all finally coming to a head, that’s what!

Also, I loved that May clearly has no time for Mace’s vanity when he’s fussing about his news still and she interrupts with this ‘what the hell, man?!’ demeanor. You can always count on May… or can you? (MORE ON THAT AT THE END!)

I’ve  been suspicious of Aida for quite some time now (and I apologize for calling her Ada before now. I didn’t know how it was spelled!) and it’s nice that Mace brought up what we all should have been thinking: “Does nobody remember Ultron?” It’s always important to remember the complexities in Android ethics. Not only do we have issues such as what dangers there are, but also about what happens when you create a being that’s more intelligent than humans but without the empathy of humans. That’s one of the reasons Aida is so interesting. She’s been given the ability to empathize with humans better than most Androids ever can, so it’s really interesting to see how she interacts with the team.

As we’ll learn later, Mace was right to be worried, however.

This episode also had some good character interaction with everybody’s favorite recurring character, Yo-Yo! Yo-Yo and Mack and their flirtation all season has been leading up to something, and I loved how she didn’t put up with him being over-protective after she got hurt. She’s far too bad ass to let a hovering mother hen hold her back from kicking some bad guy butt! I do like that they finally talked and something happened there. GET IT, YO-YO!

(Also let’s take a moment to think about the diversity in Latinx representation this show has managed so far. Think of how many different nationalities, different characterizations, different stories, and different levels of ‘hero to villain’ this show has had over the seasons in just Latinx characters. It’s actually really awesome.)

I liked how we saw a lot of the comedy in the team that has been sort of missing in all the dark themes of this season so far. I particularly enjoyed Phil saying Morrow was, “Or drunk on Powerade”. So funny! Also, FitzSimmons overlapping, “We don’t trust him” and “He’s a lying weasel”. It’s so Simmons and so Fitz. I really love those two, but you guys know that.

Most of all, however, as I said, this was the end of the Ghost Hunter story arc and I figured it would be the end of Robbie Reyes on the show. I wasn’t wrong, sadly. Let me say this very clearly: I really love Robbie Reyes as a character, I love Gabriel Luna’s performance as Robbie Reyes, and I have really enjoyed this story line so much.

In tonight’s episode, we got some more incredible acting from Gabriel Luna. I joked on twitter that I felt ashamed of being distracted by how good-looking he is because his acting is the most impressive part, and in all honestly, he’s probably the best non-main-cast actor that has ever been on Agents of SHIELD. There was so much of an amazingly thin line between too aggressive and too heartbroken that tonight’s Robbie Reyes could’ve gone to either side of, and Luna was able to keep it right spot on. There was this Ghost Rider-heavy intensity behind the moment with, “You like playing with fire, Eli? Let’s play.” And then, later in the episode, there was this incredible vulnerability that was very Robbie-heavy when he said, “We trusted you, Tío.”

In our big climax, we had Robbie, while trapped and dying in the radioactive chamber with the plutonium while stabbed through twice with carbon stakes, calling upon Ghost Rider for the last enactment of vengeance, while Aida and the Science Team work on opening a portal below him, and, with some help from Coulson, Yo-Yo, and Mack, Robbie flames out and drags Morrow down to hell with him.

To be fair, that ending was very abrupt. Even though it was clear enough to me what they figured out was actually going on with Morrow drawing power from another dimension and what Robbie was planning with that ending, I feel like there wasn’t a lot of suspense that could’ve been gained from more clarification of what Morrow’s powers were doing. That said, it got the point across and they didn’t have all day, so I do understand.

However, that ending, while expected in that I knew Aida was gonna go rogue eventually, was A SERIOUS MIND-FUCK! I never expected that big reveal. Holy crap. Agent May in a closet. How long has she been there? When did Aida swap them out? Was it JUST Aida or is the man who made her in on it, too? Does that mean this Agent May is a LMD, too?

I AM SO CURIOUS! Gah, can it be January 10 already???

So, what did you guys think? Did you enjoy this episode? This half of the season? Have you loved Ghost Rider’s story arc as much as I have? Let me know in the comments!

Agents of SHIELD’s Exciting Return!

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When Agents of SHIELD ended last with a plot twist! Eli Morrow was the bad guy all along! DUN DUN DUN! There was a big flash and boom! People just vanished in a flash! And after such a long wait, we’re back to see what happened.

The team thinks their friends are dead after they all disappeared, but Daisy thinks they may be still alive. Personally, I think it’s pretty naive for the others to think they’re just dead after all that’s happened to them in the past. Between Inhumans and a guy with a flaming head and Coulson’s whole TAHITI thing, can you REALLY just go ‘oh darn, they’re dead!’ so easily? Kinda dumb.

In reaction to their loss on the team, we saw a lot of different reactions. One way or another, they’re all hurting and showing that hurt in different ways.It’s really interesting to see who freaked out and who clammed up.

For the record, Mack on a Motorcycle is really hot. Just saying.

I always love when someone’s walking around and people can’t see them even though they can observe everything in the room. It doesn’t happen often, but you all know the trope. It’s just so fascinating. I love having people finally seeing what people really think of them when they’re not around. There was nothing super revealing this time, but it’s still fun. Also, Phil cracked me up with the line, “I hate watching my own demise.” Oh Phil.

The revelation that the Ghost Rider had left Robbie and went into Mack was really good. It made sense, but it was also just so intriguing. Henry Simmons is such a good actor. He was really amazing as Ghost Rider!Mack, because it was almost normal Mack, but just SLIGHTLY off.

Also, you have to say, Gabriel Luna’s Robbie-sin-Ghost Rider was really good, too. It was such a subtle shift in who Robbie is, and it really showed that even when Robbie isn’t being the Ghost Rider, that’s always under the surface. I would say that Henry Simmons and Gabriel Luna both really shine this episode.

But of course, if we’re talking performances, as always, the point has to go to Iain de Caestecker. He’s always amazing, but so far this season he hasn’t really had a moment to really shine like he did tonight. Both in his sarcastic ‘Fitz’ moments and his upset, heart wrenching scenes, he was full Iain tonight. I’ve said since the beginning of this TV show, Iain de Caestecker is one of the most talented actors I’ve ever seen, and there’s not a single moment he’s ever been on the screen on Agents of SHIELD that I wasn’t fully into the performance.

A few more things to toss out there would include:

  • Holy crap that inter-dimensional portal was really impressive and so cool!
  • I’m sick of these people being evil to Simmons and I’m excited to see what happens next.
  • Is Ada gonna go evil? Probably, huh?
  • Ooohhh, “Mack lost his hope” meant HOPE, someone NAMED Hope. Interesting.
  • I have a terrible feeling Robbie might bite it. That’s no fun
  • Also, speaking of Robbie, whatever happened to Gabriel? Did they just stick him in a room somewhere? He has on family other than Robbie and his Evil Tio, so where did they put him?

Annnnnnnd next week is the winter finale. Of course it is. All that wait and BOOM! Two episodes and it’s over already. Oh well, at least this was a really good episode and next week is sure to be just as impressive!

So what did you guys think? Anything I missed that you want to add? Are you happy to see that I’m back to writing for this blog? I’ve just been crazy busy, so I’ve been watching TV on the weekends instead of the night it airs, sorry!