An assassination attempt leads to the team learning more about Director Mace.
SHIELD is holding a ceremony to publicly honor Agent Daisy Johsnon and further remove the stigma of her activities as Quake. The ceremony is interrupted when a sniper tries to take out Director Mace. The team scrambles to keep Mace safe. Coulson and Mack get Mace and Agent Burrows (the guy who holds his briefcase) on a Quinjet to fly to a secure location while Quake captures the sniper. When they return to the base, General Talbot has assumed control of operations for the time being. While the jet is en route it is attacked (or sabotaged) and crashes. Burrows is sucked out of the plane before it plummets and is killed. Mace, Coulson and Mack survive the crash and are trying to figure out what to do next.
Coulson wants to head to try and find a way to get help, but Mace’s first priority is finding the briefcase that was attached to Burrows when he was sucked out of the plane. Eventually, both Coulson and Mack and Fitz-Simmons find out why. Mace doesn’t have Inhuman powers, his powers come from a chemical cocktail created by Talbot. Talbot also reveals that the they used a version of the “Mr. Hyde” chemical cocktail created by Daisy’s father. Since they needed an “enhanced” person to lead SHIELD, they decided to create one out of a viable candidate. Even though none of the agents are thrilled about this news, having the secret uncovered does make their course of action clear. Simmons uses a little deception (and Aida’s decapitated head) to get information out of the captured sniper. They point Daisy and May in the right direction while Mack and Coulson work on stalling the Watchdogs who are after them. They arrive just in time to save the guys before Mace’s inexperience gets him killed.
During this operation, Radcliffe has been back at his home with Aida2. Fitz has advised him to lay low for a while after Aida’s attempt to steal the Darkhold. Fitz actually seems to believe that it’s worth trying to figure out what went wrong with Aida and fix her, but that has to be put on the back burner for the Mace emergency. Radcliffe is still plotting on a way to get the Darkhold back, but he runs into a problem when May unexpectedly wakes up. She attacks Radcliffe and Aida, but Aida is easily able to subdue her. They put May back to sleep and Radcliffe works on a plan to keep her in a simulated sleep that she won’t want to wake up from.
When they get back to the base, Coulson and Talbot get into a heated argument about trying to use Mace to lie to the Inhumans. Mace interjects and reveals to Coulson that it’s not just his powers that were a lie. His record as the “Hero of Vienna” was also a lie. The picture of him saving a woman, was actually just him tripping and falling at the right time for a photographer to take a picture. He believes in what SHIELD is doing, but is woefully under-qualified to be its Director. Seeing that Mace can be dedicated to a lie for the sake of SHIELD, he changes their working relationship. He tells Mace to continue being the political and public face of SHIELD but, from here on out, Coulson will be in charge of SHIELD’s operations.
During the attack, the LMD May is injured when she runs into a table saw. Since she doesn’t know that she’s not the real May, she’s surprised to find metal under her skin when she goes to check the wound. Daisy comes in to check on her but May, unsure of what to do, pretends that everything is normal.
- “Agent May, with the possible exception of my mother, you are the single most intimidating woman I have ever met” – Talbot
- “You know the saying. If a jet crashes in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, stay close to the guy with super strength” – Coulson
- Simmons initially suggests that Talbot had restarted the “Erskine Program”. That’s a reference to the scientist Abraham Erskine, who’s work led to the creation of heroes like Captain America and Luke Cage.
- It’s suggested that some of these Watchdogs are former HYDRA agents who were sent scurrying when Coulson and Talbot dismantled their network.
Gonna be honest, I didn’t expect the source of The Patriot’s power to be a test tube. I like that twist, but I don’t really like the way that they painted Mace’s actions. The idea of his character is complicated. On one hand, he’s a fraud but, on the other, it’s through circumstances instead of intent and he’s tried to use his circumstance for good. That part is fine. What’s strange is the change in his character. He’s gone from being strong willed and commanding to meek and apologetic just because people found out about the source of his powers. Was all of what we’ve seen from him in the earlier episodes really a show or is it just inconsistent character work? Either way, I suppose that the important aspect of all of this is that it once again puts Coulson in the driver’s seat at SHIELD. Just like with Talbot and the ATCU last season, Coulson’s got a face that he can hide behind. I can’t say I’m sorry to see the end of the bureaucracy and maybe more importantly, the complaints about bureaucracy.
It’s also clear that Fitz is determined to stay on the bad idea train by working on Aida. I get scientific curiosity and all, but this is just silly. You saw what happened with her and you still think that there’s a way around it? Like Mack and YoYo said last epsidoe, smart people are so stupid. At least in Radcliffe’s case he’s got the excuse of the Darkhold infecting his mind. This just seems like Fitz making a bad decision for the sake of bad decisions. Of course, that likely means that his bad decisions are going to have a major impact on the show moving forward.
Now that May’s woken up from the stasis pod, Radcliffe’s going to have to change his plans. He mentions that the Framework needs to change to adapt to May’s personality. More than that, it presents the problem that he can no longer carry out this plan without consequences. Even if he doesn’t kill anybody, May will know that he held her captive. That means that this will end up being more than just a covert snatch-and-grab for Radcliffe. Somehow, Fitz and Radcliffe’s plans are going to collide. I’m just not sure how yet.
When I see the how, it’ll tell me if I like this arc of the SHIELD story. So far, the show has continued to be more fun and felt like it’s had a more fluid pace. However, all of that could be ruined by some kind of ridiculous plot line going forward.