Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Ep. 9

(Marvel Studios / Marvel Entertainment / Disney Studios / ABC Studios -2016)

LMD Arc – Part 1

Summary: The next arc in the 3rd season of Agents of SHIELD has begun. Daisy has returned to the agency, Ghost Rider is nowhere to be found, and a new threat has arrived: LMDs! These Life Model Decoys are android replicates of our favorite characters out to divide the team and take over the show. Led by AIDA, an android created by the enigmatic Dr. Radcliffe, the robot revolution has begun and SHIELD is at the forefront!

“Broken Promises”

Directed by Garry A. Brown; Written by Brent Fletcher

[SPOILERS!!]

Review: In all honesty, I wasn’t too hot about this returning episode. I’m certainly not going to jump the gun and say that this may be a sign that the show is in trouble, no there’s no need to go there. However after the several, several weeks in 2016 where we were forced to go without Agents of SHIELD it did feel quite jarring to watch the returning episode of 2017 and feel uncomfortable during the entire thing.

What do I mean by uncomfortable? Simply, the acting was awful this time around almost unanimously by everyone. Especially Mack who’s given way too many robot apocalypse movie references to quote throughout the film and not a single one of them feels organic to the story or tickled my funny bone for understanding them. I like when comic shows aren’t afraid to go over the top, but that extends to ideas and premises, NOT over the top acting that feels campy as crap.

On the other side of that coin were the scenes with Senator Nadeer and her brother, Vijay who is the Inhuman who was stuck in a terrigen cocoon last half of the season. Every back and forth between the two of them felt very hollow and the actor who portrayed Vijay wasn’t over the top as he was just flat. If Mack was the epitome of campy, Vijay was the poster boy for amateur. I just couldn’t convince myself at all during this episode that I was actually watching these beloved characters fight against robots and the Watchdogs.

ep-9-broken-promisesSpeaking of, yes with the beginning LMD story arc we get a surprisingly large amount of screen time featuring Nadeer, her brother and the Watchdogs in a subplot that wasn’t all that exciting. I was glad to see this subplot return rather quickly however and as long as we get a satisfying conclusion to the Watchdogs subplot I’ll be a happy man.

Vijay as a character is a really interesting based solely on how his story in this episode ends. We learn that Nadeer and Vijay were at ground zero of the Chitauri invasion back in the original Avenger’s film where their mother was killed in the invasion giving the two of them a displeasure of aliens in general. A hatred that has manifested in Nadeer but has waned heavily with Vijay – now that he is one.

During the final moments of the episode Nadeer kills her brother and drops his body in the ocean. Once it hits the ground it then encases itself again with yet another terrigen cocoon. Is Vijay immortal? Will he have a new power each time he comes out of the cocoon? I think that would be really interesting, though it’s very similar to another character from George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards book series… but we’ll get into that another day if any of my theories come true.

Ultimately the bulk of the episode centers around AIDA’s siege on SHEILD’s HQ as she single handedly takes out the power and gets past both Coulson and May (who seems to be unaware that she’s an LMD herself) in order to find the Darkhold and gain more knowledge. This “siege” shows one of the problems that I do have with this show when we see the base: there’s so little security and personnel around it’s laughable.

Literally AIDA just has to get past our main heroes and she nearly succeeds in her plans. Are there no standard agents around at HQ that, ya know, could help hold down the fort? On top of that because this only part 1 of the LMD arc, to our knowledge the only LMDs currently operational are AIDA and May and because May is still a secret LMD the entire battle mostly centers around taking down AIDA alone. That leads for some not as exciting action and I really, REALLY hope we get to see something akin to a proper robot revolution by the end of the arc.

Don’t get me wrong on all of this, I am excited for the LMD arc. Robot revolution stories can be super fascinating if written just right and can be great commentary on the evolution of a species, and how we should treat one another with more respect rather than as servants. Unfortunately none of that comes across in this opening act and eventually we learn the whole thing was orchestrated by Radcliffe himself to try and get the Darkhold.

I’m sure it’s AIDA really in charge, but for now I’m simply not impressed. Come on Agents of SHIELD, you’re better than this. Tell a damn good robot revolution story.

I didn’t mean to be so harsh on this episode. I just know what this series is capable of. We saw it for the first 8 episodes of this very season just how strong it can be. So when AoS feels like amateur night I feel like I can’t give it a pass. I do have high hopes for things going forward however, if anything for any one bad episode of this series there’s several more that exceed entertainment for me. We can only go up from here.

Final Score: 1 Robot Movie Reference out of 5

DERRICK-imageDerrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.

You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net

@KazekunForever

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