Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Broken Promises” Review
Rise of the L.M.D.’s
Warning: Full spoilers will be on display for this review.
This week, after a month long hiatus – which is a hell of a lot better than a three month hiatus, although I’d gladly wait three months if it meant I’d be watching Agent Carter in the meanwhile… sigh – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. made its midseason return in an incredibly exciting and effective way. After a fantastic and truly satisfying first half of the fourth season with the Ghost Rider story arc, the team at S.H.I.E.L.D. faces their new threat: The L.M.D.’s. Aida and her LMD’s were teased to us way back in the season three finale, so this arc has been in the works for a while. “Broken Promises”, the jump off for the L.M.D. arc got off to a very quick and suspenseful start, indicating that this was an arc worth waiting for.
The Ghost Rider arc could have gone horribly wrong, but the team pulled it off with grace and skill, giving us a better tie-in to the Marvel universe we could have asked for in a Network TV show. I was kind of bummed when Robbie Reyes’ story ended. I wasn’t sure the L.M.D. transition could match the dark themed nature the series had taken on with the Ghost Rider arc. The midseason premiere sure did away with my doubts quickly. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to reassure me that it’s fully capable of providing quality comic book themed thrills with expertly placed human drama and a healthy dash of self-aware humor.
Most impressive of all is, this transition, as well as past seasons that transitioned to different story arcs, doesn’t feel like an entirely new season. It still features the team dealing with a lot of the same issues they were dealing with when the season began. There’s also been apparent growth between characters and relationships that continues to expand. The team has grown stronger. They’ve began to trust Mace a little more. Daisy is still obsessed with stopping the Watchdogs. Now that Mace knows Nadeer is working with them to eliminate inhumans, that conflict has gained momentum.
Man, Senator Nadeer is just evil, shooting her brother at point blank while staring him in the eyes after his inhuman abilities were confirmed. This episode did give valid insight as to why she hates and fears inhumans. In true paranoid fashion, she believes inhumans would pave the way to a possible invasion, referencing the Chitauri invasion in New York. This is a brilliant tie-in to the Avengers movie and adds a tremendous amount of prospective as to why a character like Nadeer would declare war on inhumans. In her mind, she and the Watchdogs are doing the world a service. But instead of helping her brother, keeping him at bay, she just straight up murdered him, showing her final solution to all inhumans. Just a cold hearted, misguided woman, she is. She is a true villain.
The storyline with Nadeer and her brother worked seamlessly with the main L.M.D. focus. I look forward to seeing S.H.I.E.L.D. battling it out with the Watchdogs and Nadeer, but the L.M.D. conflict looks to be intensely dramatic, especially with it being at the hands of Radcliffe, which was a pretty cool reveal by the way. I am so excited to see John Hannah as a bad guy. And not even an over-the-top bad guy, really. He’s simply been seduced by the Darkhold and its power. He’s never been a trustworthy person, so the reveal isn’t necessarily shocking, but it’s a very appropriate and a welcomed turn for the character. I grew suspicious once he started claiming Aida was turning into a real human being, and shutting her down would be murder. Kudos to Hannah for playing Radlicffe’s villainous turn so well.
But the acting award for this week goes to Mallory Jansen as Aida. Oh, my gawd, she was awesome. Her evil android act could easily be compared to Robert Patrick’s T-100 act from Terminator 2. She was downright scary and menacing. Hell, even the score was reminiscent to the score of Terminator 2 when the T-100 attacks. So far, she has played this part to perfection, but she truly outdid herself with this episode. I am truly glad Ms. Jansen will be sticking around now that it’s been shown Radcliffe made a duplicate of Aida. Which begs the question, was Aida really the one affected by the Darkhold, or was it Radcliffe? After all, he’s the one who wants the book and its power. Aida seems like a mere puppet, forced to do her master’s bidding. This is one interesting concept, indeed.
Mack and Yo-Yo provided the most laughs this week with their constant references to sci-fi flicks that involved machines taking over, killing humans. It also provided so more of that self-aware humor I love so much. Being that this sort of humans versus machines conflict has happened before with Ultron, Mack’s references shows us that while this isn’t a new scenario, it is something that is bound to happen with you abuse technology. Adding humor also helps keep the idea from going stale. Mack also has the most bad ass line of the episode, saying “roll credits” after decapitating Aida’s head.
I am also very pleased with how they are handling the Agent May decoy. I love that the decoy actually believes it’s May. It’s a refreshing approach rather than having the decoy turn on the team whenever it wanted to. The decoy, while possessing all of May’s memories, skills, affections, can infiltrate the team as deep as her handlers want her to go without the team suspecting anything. The only drawback is as a possible relationship grows between May and Coulson, the real May won’t have nothing to do with it. Though, that could provide an interesting dramatic conflict within itself, so we’ll see.
This episode made great use of Mace, Daisy and Simmons. I enjoyed seeing Daisy find common ground with Mace, and Simmons working more closely with Mace. I also like that Mace still has a lot to learn about his team, and remains eager to do so. We were also treated to a brief but sweet exchange between Simmons and Daisy, with Simmons stating how good it was to have Daisy back on the team. This is a welcomed development considering the two teaming up earlier in the season, despite being at slight odds with each other for having separate agendas. Oh, and hearing Simmons try to fool Nadeer’s aid with a southern accent was simply adorable.
So as I mentioned before, Nadeer kills her own brother, Vijay. His body is dumped at the bottom of the ocean. When it hits the ground, the body goes back to its Terrigenesis cocoon. What?! What does this mean? I truly don’t know. I can’t even begin to speculate. Although, I am wondering if Vijay comes back from the dead, will he be seeking revenge or become an ally to S.H.I.E.L.D.?
The shift over from the supernatural element to a high tech conflict couldn’t have been more graceful. The show continues to run like an unstoppable, well oiled machine. Okay, maybe that’s not a great way to put it, considering the L.M.D. arc happening, but you know what I mean. The midseason premiere was yet another solid, if not stellar addition to an already fascinating season. With the Radcliffe and his L.M.D.’s running a muck and Nadeer and her Watchdogs preparing for war, S.H.I.E.L.D. is about to have their busiest second half season yet.