Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD – Season 4 Episode 5

Oct 26, 2016 | Posted by in TV
Agents of SHIELD


Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD lets us see the pay-off of Daisy and Robbie agreeing to work with S.H.I.E.L.D. to get the Darkhold.

It’s another one of those race against time sort of missions and this show does it so well. On one hand it’s good to see this show continue to play to its strengths but on the other hand it’s possible that these scenarios will start to feel repetitive after a while.


This is never not cool

Thankfully that doesn’t happen with this episode as this scenario is as dynamic and exciting as any of them this season. A lot of this is due to the group of people involved. Coulson and May are always good value when they work together so that part is covered. Mack’s never a bad guy to have around especially when he has his shotgun axe. Combine that with the unpredictable elements of Robbie and Daisy then you have something really special.

It’s a simple objective with a lot of complications. They are in the prison to retrieve Eli and have to face up against every prisoner along with some ghosts in order to get there. The ghosts have been reduced significantly as threats now that their infection is easily cured but they are still another thing to deal with. I’ll never tire of seeing Robbie use a flame whip to put an end to them once and for all. Gabriel Luna plays the action so effortlessly as if it’s an easy task for him and it all adds to a really bad ass Ghost Rider.

Robbie ends up having a personal stake in all this beyond his uncle being the one that is broken out. The episode cleverly establishes that he is doing everything he can to keep the Spirit of Vengeance in check because he doesn’t want his uncle knowing the truth about him but that all goes out of the window when he encounters a member of the gang responsible for the incident that paralysed his brother. He learns that it was a targeted hit rather than an example of rotten luck and that pushes him over the edge. Who organised that hit and why is still unanswered but it will definitely be Robbie’s next obsession.

This also works because there are consequences to it. Robbie losing control means that Lucy can get to Eli and it’s all Robbie’s fault. He let his emotions and the innate thirst for vengeance get the better of him which caused major problems for the team and the success of the mission. It’s a good mix of human fallibility along with an inhabiting spirit itching to dish out justice to those that deserve it.


New gauntlets

Speaking of Lucy, I’m struggling to feel the threat that she represents despite the repeated insistence that she is something to be feared. The flashback scene involving her and Dr. Bauer (Kerr Smith) finding the Darkhold was interesting enough. I liked that the Darkhold displays different languages depending on who happens to be reading it. It adds a creep factor to the whole thing as this hints that the book can see into people in some way. It’ll never be explained how it works and it doesn’t have to but it just seems dangerous right away. There is some pay-off to this flashback as it bookends Lucy finding the book for the first time and reacquiring it by the end of the episode. What comes next I couldn’t say but the plot seems to be moving on which is the important thing.

Daisy being back on the team makes for some interesting moments as well. My personal favourite is when she helps to free Coulson and May from the Warden’s office and Coulson gives a brief look that indicates how happy he is to see her. The father/daughter dynamic seems heavy handed sometimes but moments like this are subtle and perfect. Clark Gregg does more with a look than pages of dialogue could do.

May recognises what Daisy is pushing everyone away out of a desire to protect them from the consequence of her actions from last season. May is best placed to call her out on it as she has some experience with that which harkens back to the time she worked behind a desk because she was afraid to go out in the field any more. Coulson was the one to bring her out of her self imposed exile and now May is trying to do the same for Daisy. May reminds her that she can try to leave after this mission but Coulson will never give up on her because that’s the sort of man he is and she has to remember that there are people who care about her. There’s a sense that some repair work needs to be done on some of the relationships but Daisy is on her way back to her family.

Daisy was also given the best fight scene of the episode and perhaps the season so far. She still can’t use her powers despite her new and improved gauntlets so relies on her skills and training to win. It’s a nice touch of symbolism as she uses what her S.H.I.E.L.D. family taught her to overcome the problem of being too injured to use her powers. This show isn’t often that subtle and it worked so well. Hopefully there can be more of this sophistication.


Simmons worries about the truth coming out

Coulson and May have some interesting discussions around death since experiencing it is something they have in common. May has very little to say despite Coulson’s repeated prodding and eventually tells him that she saw him at the moment of death. This might be her deflecting or a sign of something else. With all the mystical stuff floating around it’s hard to say one way or another.

Elsewhere we have the consequences of Simmons learning about Aida last week and having to find a way around the lie detector test. She isn’t confident that she can do it but luckily Mace delays the inevitable by pulling her away to act as the expert in his ear for a live debate with Senator Nadeer.

It’s one of those really cringe worthy scenes where it looks like the person who can’t find out the truth has found out the truth before revealing that they’re talking about something else. It’s the classic formula of building the tension with vague statements delivered in emotionless tones before disarming the tension with a joke. I’ve seen it a million times and it isn’t done terribly well here.

What happens after this is really strong as it shows that Mace has a fair idea of the strengths of his agents and is still fully committed to his bureaucratic methods of running S.H.I.E.L.D. by repeating his slogans until everyone buys into them. The fact that Simmons gets to throw that back in his face later on is great and so well earned for her.


The true Spirit of Vengeance

The debate between Mace and Nadeer is fine but doesn’t really scratch the surface. It’s full of the usual arguments over whether Inhumans are dangerous and how they are still human despite their enhancements. Jason O’Mara delivers his dialogue with enough sincerity to provide the illusion of depth to his arguments but it doesn’t really disguise how superficial it is.

It doesn’t help that Nadeer is reduced to being sneering and incompetent. None of her arguments seem reasoned or thought out so it’s easy to see how Mace would come off better. Having him reveal that he’s an Inhuman to the world after his list of accomplishments is listed worked fairly well though I’m not sure I buy that his public approval went up as high as they say it does. Hopefully him outing himself will tie into the human, Inhuman tensions that the show has been developing.

I was intrigued by the fact that he lied about one of his accomplishments and that it is used to the advantage of both Simmons and Nadeer but in very different ways. There is a sinister edge to Mace now and I am interested to see where that leads. Apparently you can’t be the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. without having a few secrets of your own.


The Darkhold in all it’s mysterious glory


Another excellent outing that uses the unpredictable alliance with Daisy and Robbie to good effect. The prison scenes have a lot of great moments, particularly from Robbie who really shows how conflicted he is. Daisy starting to come around to the idea of rejoining the team is handled in really subtle ways that are refreshing to see. Mace revealing to the public that he’s an Inhuman is a mixed bag in terms of execution but the implications of one of his accomplishments being false is intriguing. Seeing Jemma manipulate him and turn his slogan against him is a near perfect moment as well.

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Kneel Before…

  • great action
  • the complex development of Robbie
  • subtle development for Daisy
  • Mace’s implied dark side
  • Simmons turning his slogan against him

Rise Against…

  • the threat level of the ghosts being less than it needs to be
  • clunky dialogue in the debate scenes and a misguided attempt at building tension for Simmons
User Review
8.5/10 (4 votes)