Thursday, April 18, 2024

Agents of SHIELD Sets Itself On Fire Again; In A Good Way, Also Literally

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Okay, I’m just going to say it: that was fun. Know it seems like a silly thing to point out, since that is a television show’s job. To entertain us. But at the same time, most don’t. Most don’t manage to keep things fresh or interesting for long, or at all. Again, nothing groundbreaking here—to expect that kind of thing from Agents of SHIELD isn’t exactly productive; better to be surprised—but c’mon I just watched a fireworks store explode because Ghost Rider and James The Flaming Aussie were just that hardcore.

After last week’s kinda lackluster episode, it’s good to feel back in the saddle, as it were. The genre savvy-ness that showed up pretty prominently a couple episodes back has returned, and it’s actually still clever. Granted, it is a mix of our characters, who work for an intelligence agency, acting intelligent, and better writing, but the end result is the same: we like them more!

Will They? Won’t They? Ehh, Maybe Later

There were a couple of false-starts in this episode, and yet I didn’t feel cheated due to how they were played. Lola vs Ghost Rider? Nope, that’s gonna have to be for another time, because Phil’s too concerned about scratching the pain. For good reason, honestly. Lola is a sick ride.


Then we had Daisy and Simmons coming up with a super-spy plan that involved a Wi-Fi dongle, perfect timing, and like ten other hacker things…only for Simmons to just hop out of the van and circumvent the entire operation since, hey, remember that authority she got? So did the writers! I cracked up at her little smile back at Daisy. Still no mention of the “Spectrum of Security”, though. And yes, I am waiting for that to pop up again!

Radcliffe Needs To Stop. At Everything. Forever.

Right, so, Radcliffe taught AIDA to lie. No, I’m not kidding. AIDA’s been watching over May, like a good little android, tending to her every need—creepy form of Les Yay but okay I guess—and apparently she’s mostly made of Chinese parts. Which, while pretty funny on its own, only lead to Fitz scrambling to cover for her.

Because Canada is the best secret origin story ever, obviously. Also now I’m concerned about the stability of her construction. So, every mistake she makes from now on I’m blaming on poor Chinese manufacturing standards. And Radcliffe’s poor programming. May being the ultimate Turing Test? Pbbth, sure. 

Pictured: Totally-Not-A-Sex-Robot Not Pictured: Radcliffe’s Shame

Admittedly, the point that Radcliffe was trying to make when he said that some lies are okay, using the example of saving someone’s life or feelings, was a nice moment…but then you remember what she cited about thirty seconds ago.

Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey orders given by human beings except where such orders conflict with the First Law
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws

Yeah. Radcliffe knows this stuff. He’s quite clearly aware of the science fact of AI running amok, since Age of Ultron was kind of a big deal that he referenced in the first episode, so it boggles my mind as to how he could be so moronic as to even try this kind of thing! Sure, as Fitz and Simmons talk about near the end of the episode, it’s a really interesting experiment and not a horrible idea from a purely objective point of view but also she’s this close to becoming Skynet. 

So why on God’s green Earth would Radcliffe ever, under any circumstances be this stupid and—oh right she’s a Sex Robot. Yeah, that’d do it. And since even May likes her, wow, she is one charming Sex Robot. Classy man, that Radcliffe.

James Is An Even Bigger Jerk Than You Remember

Unlike the Watch Dogs hiding in the rest of the storage units—really the fact that he took SO LONG to open those damn doors should’ve been a huge red flag—this twist wasn’t as easy to spot. We got a few details on how the wrist communicators work, but other than the fact that we’ve seen them used a few times before, that didn’t really register with me as important. Clearly, I was wrong.

What I do appreciate about this twist, though, was that the way in which the Watch Dogs managed to track down the Inhumans wasn’t just “they hacked it real good” but rather intercepted the signal SHIELD was using for the sole purpose of keeping track of their whereabouts.

See, that’s just smart, and it makes perfect sense. James, however, doesn’t. And also he’s dumb. I get that maybe he thinks he’s a monster for all the crappy stuff he did during the HIVE storyline—still love that Ward is super dead—but to sell out his people like that is just…what?

At least he wanted to die with them, and wasn’t stupid enough to think they’d spare his life, but c’mon, what’s the point there, James? You want to purge the planet of abominations? That often look identical to humans? And basically are humans except for this tiny bit of differentiation? I don’t—just because you were a total ass doesn’t mean everyone else is one.

But, there’s no point in getting hung up over James and his hurrdurr logic. No, see, the best thing we can do is just enjoy the fact that he got his ass handed to him by Robbie Reyes.

In a fireworks store. While it was exploding.


Daisy Johnson, Agent of SHIELD

Biggest takeaway this week, though? Yes, the heading right there. Daisy is back under the SHIELD umbrella, and has apparently, for the moment, stopped trying to be a lame vigilante with shattered arms and hands and wrists. And she kind of brought the Ghost Rider with him! Who apparently doesn’t need to pay rent for that house he left his brother in!

Or maybe he does and SHIELD is footing the bill…? Still weird that he doesn’t call his brother to check and say that he’s, y’know, alive. Maybe the devil made him do it. Or, not do it.

Regardless of Robbie’s presumably faulty care-taking abilities, all of our plot threads have merged together into one simple idea: Find the Darkhold. Which is a book. A mystical book with dark magic powers that Hive, nor Red Skull or even Nick Fury himself could find! And that, to me, sounds like a ton of fun.

Anybody else feel some Indiana Jones vibes coming on? Eh?

Tune in next week, when we get to learn more about ghosts and the Crime Bible Black Book Five Books of Blood Religion of Crime Darkhold!totallynotthecrimebibleAhem. Sorry, got some DC Comics stuck in my throat there for a second.

Wrap-Up Thoughts

  • Phil actually saying the full name of SHIELD reminded me of the original Iron Man, and I couldn’t stop chuckling at that.
  • Lie Detectors don’t work. I don’t care if they have a fancy one. The science behind it is completely bunk, and has been since it was first invented by William Moulton Marston, famed creator of Wonder Woman and absurdly radical feminist that only now would his ideas be considered “mostly normal”, who pretty much said at every opportunity that it doesn’t actually work. So, basically, Simmons has nothing to worry about! Unless they made a Lasso of Truth. Then she’s boned.
  • Mack’s Axe Bayonet and grumping about not being able to drive Lola really makes me want to see him drive her. C’mon he deserves it! He saved your life, Phil!
  • Phil’s robot-arm breaking off the barrel of an assault rifle, coupled with him thinking that AIDA was a fellow amputee (that shouldn’t be funny but it was) are just more great examples of how much fun they can get out of that hand.
  • May being bedridden the entire episode, and being grumpy about it, and that still being extremely fun is really just a testament to how great her character is.
  • “You were only mostly dead.”
  • “In my experience, Gods usually turn out to be aliens, so…”
  • “You said alive, right?”
  • “Fitz, she’s an android. You do know she’s an android, right?”


Images courtesy of Marvel

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