Monday, February 13, 2017
We got some big and unexpected shake-ups in the LMD storyline. Topping both the "big" and "unexpected" list for me was the sudden death of Senator Nadeer. Despite Radcliffe ultimately being the "Big Bad" in all this, Nadeer had certainly been set up as a notable character. She'd been featured in many episodes, given a back story (that both humanized and dehumanized her), and it seemed like she was in it for the long haul. But Shockley's sudden transformation into an Inhuman abruptly took her out of the mix.
If there had been more time, it would have been interesting to probe Shockley's mindset a bit more deeply. I wouldn't have expected him to instantly become a pom-pom waving cheerleader for Inhumans, but I would have liked to understand the flavor of Kool-Aid a little better -- the Kool-Aid he drank that convinced him to stay fully in the "kill all Inhumans camp" even after becoming one.
But we didn't get that time because another interesting bit of history was being explored: that between Radcliffe and his former partner, Agnes. I'd never stopped to imagine whether Aida was based on a real person or not... though in retrospect, the answer to that seems like an obvious "of course," given that every other LMD we've seen has been. (And that, you know, they're "Life Model Decoys.") This revelation gave actress Mallory Jansen something quite different to play, and she really did an excellent job with it. I think I also liked that "she might later betray Radcliffe and help the good guys" was just taken right off the table, by killing Agnes off at the conclusion of the episode.
This was also a big episode for yet another guest star, as Director Mace had to face the deadliness of the serum that's been giving him strength, and was captured at the end of the hour. Indeed, I might have been a bit disappointed at the overall guest star focus this week, but the episode did a fairly good job of at least giving a moment or two that counted to everyone. (Except May, who remained trapped in cyberland for the episode.) Particularly fun moments to me included Simmons berating Fitz for risking his life, and Coulson pulling back and securing Agnes' cooperation with a raw emotional appeal rather than coercion.
I'd say this episode rated a B+, but it was right on the cusp of scoring higher. It might have been the strongest episode of the LMD story line so far, and I hope that signals the direction it will take in the weeks ahead.