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Agents of SHIELD: The Laws of Inferno Dynamics – Season 4 Episode 8

SHIELD brings all hands on deck for a final confrontation with Eli.

Recap

Eli has set up shop in the middle of a city. He’s using his abilities to try to further his powers towards creating life. Towards that end, he’s created a giant version version of one of the quantum energy cells. Unfortunately, the device he’s created is also as a nuclear bomb. Coulson gathers an initial strike force consisting of Quake, YoYo and Ghost Rider. When they try to infiltrate Eli’s lair, YoYo gets caught in an explosive booby trap. Unaffected by fire, Robbie decides to go in and confront his uncle on his own. Eli ends up impaling Robbie on some spikes. The spikes and the radiation in the room aren’t enough to kill Robbie, but they do keep the Ghost Rider at bay. The two lay all their cards on the table and Eli leaves Robbie inside the device to finish making his preparations. Meanwhile, Fitz-Simmons have figured out some things about how Eli’s powers are working. The short version is that his powers (like the magic in Doctor Strange) is actually just him pulling matter and energy from another dimension. That’s why the energy that he and AIDA are manipulating share a similar look to the magic in that movie. Even though he’s achieved the powers that he always dreamed of, he’s still under the influence of the Darkhold. The bomb that he’s constructed isn’t just a fail safe, he plans to use it.

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In order to help fight against Eli, Mace decides to add his services to the fight. Mace shows up with Radcliffe, AIDA, May and his Patriot suit. Before they can move forward though, the team has to work out some serious trust issues. Mace had already been surprised at the beginning of the episode when Coulson revealed that AIDA was an android. He’s had enough of Coulson pushing back against him and all the secrets that they keep. Coulson and Daisy also confront Mace about keeping secrets from them about working with Nadeer. When Mace reveals that he was working with Nadeer in order to protect SHIELD’s reputation because they were working with Quake. After hearing that, everyone’s able to come together and help execute a strike against Eli.

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At this point, the team has to split off to do a few different jobs. Fitz-Simmons, Radcliffe and AIDA head underground to construct a device that will contain the damage of Eli’s bomb. Quake goes with them in order to counteract the tremors that are being caused by the energy that Eli’s device is emitting. The rest of the team (Coulson, May, Mace, YoYo and Mack) head directly to Eli. Coulson acts as a decoy before the rest of the team jumps into action. Using the element of surprise and YoYo’s speed, they are quickly able to get the upper hand. Robbie also manages to finally transform into the Ghost Rider, which disrupts Eli’s device and causes it to start to go critical. Coulson tries to help pull the Rider off of the spikes using a chain, but he decides he doesn’t want to be saved. Instead, the Rider reaches out, grabs Eli and sets him on fire. As Eli starts to burn, the device goes off and both of them are engulfed in a blast that is quickly contained by AIDA’s tech.

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After the explosion, Daisy is overwhelmed by the seismic activity and rushes outside to discharge her vibrations. The discharge blasts her into the air and she lands right in front of the media that’s been covering this whole event. When they start to question what she’s doing there, Mace appears beside her. He takes the opportunity to kill the Senator’s leverage by saying that “Agent Johnson” has been working an extended undercover mission as Quake. With that, the team is finally reunited at the base. Mack and YoYo finally express their feelings and Daisy is part of the team again. Even Radcliffe is there and Mace is telling him that he will be allowed to continue his LMD work under SHIELD supervision.

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Of course, everything can’t end perfectly. We see a poor agent who was tasked with moving Radcliffe’s research. While boxing everything up, he discovers a hidden room with an injured Agent May. AIDA clearly can’t have that and snaps the agent’s neck. It’s unclear on how long May has been there, but she is clearly injured and AIDA is caring for her. Knowing that, the question becomes who is the May that’s with the team?    shiled-s4e08-aida-real-may

Favorite/Other/Notable Moments

  • When Eli’s henchmen decide to demand payment, he causes diamonds to materialize from inside the man’s lungs.
  • Mace: “Okay, I mean forget about the fact that I was mildly attracted to her, that goes totally against the Sokovia accords. Doesn’t anybody remember Ultron?”
  • Mack is super protective of YoYo throughout the entire episode. By the end he finally makes his feelings clear by grabbing her and kissing her.
  • Coulson: “Yeah but you’re drunk on power, or drinking your own kool-aid, or drunk on powerade.”
  • Daisy: “You think Robbie will make it back?”
    Coulson: “The last Ghost Rider did”
  • Coulson: “I thought the new face of SHIELD should be an Inhuman, didn’t mean him though”
    Daisy (realizing he’s referring to her): “Yeah right, maybe in the comic book version”
  • There’s a moment where AIDA is shot and it’s interesting to see that she’s been programmed to feel pain. However, it’s awesome to see that Fitz-Simmons immediately pop up from behind her and return fire against her attacker. I used it as the cover photo for this post because I loved that moment so much.

Commentary

First, I have to say, what’s the point of the dramatic reveal going into the commercial if you were just going to show who was in the room at the end of the episode? We were already going to watch the end of the episode, we didn’t need the 3 minutes of extra suspense.

Second, I’m incredibly disappointed by the idea that Eli’s driving force for a plan that spanned years was all fueled by an inferiority complex. As was pointed out several times within the story, Eli is a very intelligent and resourceful man. I was just hoping that his motivation for wreaking havoc on so many lives would’ve been a little bit deeper than just “they looked down at me”. With all the good stuff that SHIELD did during the first half of the season, I think it deserved a bad guy that’s a little more complex than that.

This first half of the season really has been pretty good. I think that, overall, SHIELD has really figured out how to handle it’s cast and not let the large numbers get in the way of the story that they’re trying to tell. I also think that they’ve gotten better about telling a more direct story. In the past it’s felt like progressing a certain character’s story was detrimental to the overall story. This season has all been about Eli and the effects of his plans to get power. Even though there have been a lot of different things going on around that (like Daisy’s return to the team), everything felt like it was incidental to that main story.

Now, it’s going to be interesting to see what happens moving forward. Not only have the dealt with the immediate threat but, for once, there’s minimal collateral damage. They did lose the Ghost Rider but none of them seem that concerned about his well being. That’s not too surprising since he does seem pretty invulnerable. They also seem to have mended a lot of the fractures in the team. The only real problem is that May has apparently been kidnapped, which they don’t know yet. Personally, I’m guessing that May was abducted when she went to retrieve AIDA for the mission, but it’s possible that she’s been gone for a while. The longer that she’s been gone, the more sinister this situation will start to look. With AIDA’s possibly limitless intelligence and a programming to learn, she could make Mace’s Ultron reference a prediction more than just an allusion.

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