TV Review: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4 Episode 13 "BOOM"


SYNOPSIS: Daisy, Mace and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team must find a way to contain an explosive Inhuman. Meanwhile, Coulson and Mack come face-to-face with Radcliffe’s inspiration for Aida.

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REVIEW: With The Superior's master plan revealed and Radcliffe in possession of The Darkhold, the next thing Coulson needs to do is avenge May. So, where do you start? By tracking the inspiration for Aida as a way to find the mad doctor himself. That is where we find ourselves at the outset of tonight's episode which puts an angry Coulson on a direct course to find the man who has taken everything from him. At the same time, Radcliffe is not only on the hunt for the same woman but also pushing the Superior towards Coulson whom the Russian villain blames for all of the Inhuman problems on Earth. To get things started, Radcliffe provides Shockley, the Watchdogs leader, with some homegrown Terrigen crystals to try and find out if Senator Nadeer is an Inhuman herself. To say that the plot of this week's episode lacks any sort of logical focus would be an understatement. The entire hour feels like it was missing a prior episode's worth of explanation as we are thrown into a pile of story without much anchor.

Nevertheless, the team feels the same difficulty as they face the challenge of finding May with no resources or direction. No one feels it more than Director Mace. The not-so-super hero gets the tough news from Simmons that the serum he has been taking to pose as an Inhuman is potentially fatal with each successive dose possibly the one that will kill him. He is also neutured in his role by Daisy and Coulson who do everything on his behalf, leaving him as a figurehead. You have to feel bad for the guy as he just wants to help but he is no more special than any average human. Mace is thrust into the middle of the limelight again when Nadeer is murdered in her office during an explosion the team believes will be blamed on Inhumans but was actually due to Shockley setting off a Terrigen Mist that resulted in he himself being revealed as an Inhuman. His power: a massive detonation every time his body reacts, hence the episode's title. Both the team and The Superior begin their hunt for the newest Inhuman.

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The hunt also intersects with a beautiful Australian expatriate living in Spain named Agnes. Coulsin and Mack intercept the woman who is an exact doppelganger for Aida. Agnes is, in fact, the template for Aida and Radcliffe's former lover. The two parted ways when Radcliffe learned of Agnes' inoperable brain tumor that would mark her death. This also served as the scientist's motivation for creating Aida to begin with. Coulson uses the pain of losing May to try and convince Agnes to help them stop Radcliffe which she eventually does, begrudgingly. Eventually everyone converge on the Spanish home of Agnes with Radcliffe eventually convincing his paramour to come with him under the guise of having a way to help her. She listens and Coulson is one more step further away from finding May. Poor Coulson just cannot catch a break but he will soon have to reteam with his S.H.I.E.L.D. cohorts to try and stop Shockley.

This episode also gives Daisy a lot more of the leadership role she had been building towards before departing S.H.I.E.L.D. at the end of last season. Now back into the swing of things, she has fully embraced her Inhuman abilities and is seen as a respected leader of the organization and amongst the contacts the group has. She also recognizes that despite her powers having such a physical drain, she is always willing and able to use them. It becomes key in this episode to try and stop Shockley whose preponderance for exploding can be countered by her earthquake skills. This also gives the team just enough time to craft a device to try and stop the explosive villain.

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In the climactic battle, Daisy and Shockley showdown and it is not disappointing. The special effects have improved as the show has focused on the abilities of these Inhumans. Fitz and Simmons use a massive device to eventually stop Shockley but the damage is done as Radcliffe gets his hands on Agnes, May remains his captive, and Mace is kidnapped. One step forward for the team and two steps back. We also see that Radcliffe is unable to use the world Aida created to keep May mentally captive to put Agnes into a peaceful stasis. She is going to die regardless and I am not sure what other use her character now has except to show Radcliffe's callousness and lack of empathy while under the grip of The Darkhold. What comes next may spell the end for Jeffrey Mace but will hopefully move this narrative forward better than this hour did.

What could have been a great hour that mines the intolerance of the Inhuman haters instead became a generic episode. Both Senator Nadeer and Shockley were wasted this week. One was killed off rather unceremoniously after being positioned as a significant character since the beginning of the season while the other could have been a perfect example of a person full of venom learning that they are part of what they are so inherently against. But, instead of showing Shockley the errors of his ways, the writers completely gloss over that aspect and have him embrace the destructive side of his powers as he uses them to further his own agenda. It feels like a major oversight that could have informed this hour greatly. Aside from that, this episode feels like it drops the audience in mid-narrative with little to tell us why we are starting where we are or why. Usually, I have no issue with that narrative technique but it comes across as jarring and poorly executed here. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been solid for several weeks now so this could be just a blip on the mediocre episode radar.

MARVEL CINEMATIC UNIVERSE REFERENCES: Steve Rogers and the Super Soldier serum are name-checked. Coulson references his time with the Avengers and his death by Asgardian staff.

NEXT ON MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.: "The Man Behind the Shield" airs February 14th - Mace fights for his life while Coulson and team find themselves in a deadly cat-and-mouse game as they attempt his rescue.

Source: JoBlo.com



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