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TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4 Episode 11 "Wake Up"

01.25.2017

EPISODE 11: "Wake Up"

SYNOPSIS: May races to find the truth about what happened to her, while Aida’s next move could mean the death of them all.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TV Review, Drama, Comic Book, Marvel Studios, Superhero, Clark Gregg, ABC

REVIEW: You what I like about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. right now? The little things. Over the first episodes of the current LMD arc, the writers have been planting little seeds about who could be a robot and who could be a spy, all while delivering some well written and decidedly not cheesy episodes that counter-act the weakest entries of the last two seasons of the show. Coulson still has his one-liners (his one about cauliflower is a highlight of this episode) and the show still has the gloss of a network show, but the stories are getting closer in line with the quality of Marvel's Netflix brethren than ever before. Tonight's episode especially did a great job of balancing some deep character focus for May and Mack while also uniting two storylines that had so far been isolated on the show.

The mid-season finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. showed us Aida's darker side but that turned out to have only been five days ago within the series. Tonight's episode recapped how Melinda May fell into the clutches of Dr. Radcliffe and how his plan to have the LMD May steal the Darkhold came together. In trying to keep May sedated, Radcliffe continues to argue with Aida about why they are not killers and that his motivations for tricking S.H.I.E.L.D. are honorable. For a short time, I actually felt like Radcliffe was a misunderstood character and would end up being redeemed by the end of the season. But oh how one hour can change things. While Radcliffe and Aida deal with keeping May in line, Coulson, Mace, General Talbot, and Yo-yo have to appear before a Senate committee. Coulson and Yo-yo decide to use the cover to bug Senator' Nadeer's office since they know her true motivations. Nothing can go wrong, right?

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TV Review, Drama, Comic Book, Marvel Studios, Superhero, Clark Gregg, ABC

Of course, Nadeer somehow knows about the secret operation and catches Coulson and Yo-yo in the act. This forces S.H.I.E.L.D. into the limelight of being as underhanded and traitorous as Nadeer claims, especially since using Yo-yo and Daisy without U.N. authorization violates the Sokovia Accords. While awaiting their punishment, this reveals to Coulson and his team that there is a mole within S.H.I.E.L.D. This becomes the focus and not the fact that news reporters where snapping photos of the presumed dead Coulson (will Tony Stark and Steve Rogers find out their buddy is alive??) and puts the spotlight on who is ratting them out to the enemy. Simmons realizes that Fitz has been working with the Aida head and assumes that was how they were being tracked. Fitz then reveals his true reason for studying the LMD: he didn't trust Radcliffe.

All of this leads LMD May to realize that she is not human. For most of the episode, we have been watching as the real May has fought Aida and tried to escape Radcliffe's home, but that all turns out to be an elaborate program to keep her under sedation while the mad doctor's plan goes into effect. LMD May arrives at Radcliffe's home and confronts him but Radcliffe rationales that she is only doing what the real May truly wants and that is to get closer, romantically with Coulson. May is unable to fight Radcliffe and when the agents arrive, she lies and says she was onto the doctor. Taking him back to base, Fitz realizes something horrible and shoots Radcliffe in the head, revealing him to be an LMD himself. We then learn how Nadeer knew about Coulson's plan: the real Radcliffe has joined forces with the Inhuman hating politician. Radcliffe still wants the Darkhold but Nadeer says he needs to meet the Superior first.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., TV Review, Drama, Comic Book, Marvel Studios, Superhero, Clark Gregg, ABC

Just who this Superior is remains to be seen, but all of these double-crosses and tricks are being pulled of brilliantly so far. The episode wraps up with two scenes focused on the romantic elements of the series. After some love-making to start the episode, we get an argument between Yo-yo and Mack. Mack, who sat this episode out for personal reasons, reveals to Yo-yo that he was seeing his ex-wife as the mourned the death of their infant daughter, Hope, who died 11 years earlier. It is a dramatic scene perfectly executed and gives us the most background we have gotten on Mack in a long time. Mack continues to shine as a solid supporting character on the series and this episode proves why the dynamic between him and Yo-yo is just as good as what we used to see from Bobbi and Hunter. We also get a scene of LMD May and Coulson getting closer with their romantic entanglement all but certain at this point. But the episode ends with Radcliffe having found the best way to keep May sedated: allowing her to save the little girl during the operation where she became The Calvary.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is hitting on all cylinders right now by providing a mix of character development for the entire team of agents while still furthering the main narrative with episode after episode of relevant storytelling and very little filler. This show has always had a solid core story and format that was being bogged down by seasons that were way too long and too forced to tie into the MCU at large. Right now, the show is doing what it does best and the split into two shorter narrative arc each season is paying off wonderfully. The LMD storyline is now linked to the Darkhold/Ghost Rider half of the aeason which is also tied right into the ongoing Inhuman plot. This is how good this show should have been years ago and I just hope the next eleven episodes can continue this trend.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: The Sokovia Accords are the lone MCU reference this week.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: "Hot Potato Soup" airs January 31st - Agents Sam and Billy Koenig are hunted down to get at the Darkhold book, and only Phil Coulson and the team can save them before the clock ticks out.

Source: JoBlo.com

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