Monday, 24 April 2017

TV Review No. 43 Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Wake Up (S4, Ep11)

Strong Points:
Twists and turns and more turns
May's almost video game-like experience
The awakening of LMD May
Fleshing out of characters
Mace is still being used, and well
More Yo-Yo action
The ending

Weak Points:
Difficult to keep track with it all!
Little build-up to Mack's reveal

Some spoilers ahead:

In-depth Review:
When the episode starts off with giant writing proclaiming '5 days ago' you know you're in for something different. And we were, with the episode first explaining how May got captured (standard tranquillizer) and then showing us Radcliffe's new attempt at keeping her sedated: the power of fighting. Yes, the way to keep May calm is to give her an enemy to fight, and boy did she, stabbing Aida, only to find her ahead of her when she tried to escape. Because this is a simulation and while May 'keeps getting further each time', the goal isn't for her to escape. However, this is May, so Radcliffe does struggle to come up with new floors for her to beat and it was only a matter of time that he would have to invent something new (we'll get to that). Two points though: firstly, I thought Aida had gained partial sentience at the beginning of the episode so to find out it was a simulation was a relief and secondly, how quickly can Radcliffe make a body or was he waiting for May?

Talking of May, we're now with LMD May who's having just a bit of an existential crisis. You see, she now knows she's a robot but is programmed to not want to tell anyone, and has a mission which she knows innately but not consciously. Ow. That was my brain popping trying to keep up with it all. We also found out concretely this episode something that has been hinted at for a long time: a romantic relationship between May and Coulson. We'll have to see how that pans out, just remember that anytime May talked with the team after May was sent to collect Aida is now LMD May. I'm also glad that they've dialled down the obvious tics that would denote an impostor that the audience knows but the cast don't (looking around nervously etc.), making the entire thing seem more real (if that's possible with magic brains and LMDs).

Oh (Na)deer (sorry). The political war wages on between Nadeer and S.H.I.E.L.D. with the winning side constantly changing. Using Daisy signing the Sokovia Accords (something that has been in the show a lot more than I thought it would have been) as a political gesture of goodwill for S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as a diversion to access Nadeer's files worked well, keeping all the plot points connected without any of it feeling forced. The events also allowed for an unexpected revelation - there's a mole in S.H.I.E.L.D.. The obvious culprit is May (for the audience anyway), but the final reveal of the episode pointed to a slightly different person.

So, Radcliffe's partnered with Nadeer now has he? Great. Good job Radcliffe. I've been really impressed with John Hannah's performance as Radcliffe - you pity him, even with all he's done as he really does just want to preserve life. Less can be said about Nadeer's intentions - she's not a nice person, so to see this partner up was particularly frustrating. It did allude to a potential reveal of The Superior next week though, and if it's Ward I swear...

Thank God that's what Fitz was doing. After some questionable motives for what Fitz was doing, finding out that he was investigating Radcliffe for making another LMD instead of being infatuated with Aida was a great little twist and shows just how smart Fitz is. Then he shot Radcliffe. LMD Radcliffe mind (the mole), but for a second there I thought that Fitz had gone nuts. I may need to go and lie down after this episode for a bit.

The final story thread I want to talk about today is Mack's daughter. While it's nice to see the King of all Supports getting some much-needed depth to the character, something about this part felt forced. Not the actual story mind, that's just heartbreaking, but the delivery. Just saying 'I went to see my ex' and pausing is almost asking for an argument and while I get that it would've been difficult to open up about his daughter, surely there was a better way to go about it. I don't think this is the last we've heard about it either.

Conclusion: some interesting changes to what I thought was going to happen, especially with Fitz's storyline. Now, what's going to happen next? Also, how about that ending with the revision to the Bahrain storyline?!

Rating: 88%

Thanks for reading, Satamer.

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