If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
So the L.M.D. story arc is set but where do they go from here? When will they know the truth? Where’s Vijay?
Synopsis: Separated from their team, Coulson and Mack discover a shocking secret about Mace, leaving all of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a precarious position. (IMDB)
Writers: James C. Oliver and Sharla Oliver
Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Running Time: 45mins
If there’s one thing that can be taken away from this episode, it is that Mace wasn’t exactly who he said he was. Sure, this season kind of foreshadowed that fact but here we finally learned the truth.
Before we got there, Mace was having a press conference where Daisy was being recognized for her actions in saving people from a bridge collapse. This was pretty much a PR move on his part but it of course does not go according to plan as the conference is interrupted by armed gunmen who were unsuccessful in their assassination attempt on Mace.
One thing you couldn’t help to notice was a mysterious briefcase being given to Mace’s PR guy, Agent Burrows (Patrick Cavanaugh), by Talbot. This briefcase was of great importance to him as Mace was being whisked away into a Quinjet by Coulson and Mack. We later learn that those responsible were ex-Hydra members who were funded by the Watchdogs and that their plan was not to assassinate Mace at the press conference but to get him out in the open so they can take the case for themselves. They counted on the fact that they would go to the Quinjet after the attack and they did, allowing them to sabotage it and having it crash where they wanted.
We learn that Mace did not really have powers. He was part of a program, run by Talbot, called Project Patriot where he was injected with a serum that gave him his superhuman strength. He and Coulson believed that SHIELD should be run by an inhuman that they could trust but since Talbot couldn’t find any, he created one. Here we got to see Mace as a normal guy who was just following orders. It could have had more of an impact if we saw Talbot more often but thanks to Jason O’Mara’s performance, we got to see Mace’s vulnerable and humble side which was nice to see.
Back to the Aida subplot, Fitz and Simmons had different views on the whole idea and even with her seemingly dismantled, they were still at odds on how to deal with the situation. Fitz still believed in the program and wanted to study her head to see what went wrong but Simmons wanted nothing to do with it. They appeared to have reached an understanding but we later got a glimpse of Fitz downloading Aida’s data in secret which may lead to some friction later on.
It it still unclear what Radcliffe’s true motivations are but he was worried that since he is not allowed into SHIELD headquarters, he cannot keep an eye on fake-May. They now have to play a long game. He just had to trust that she would build a relationship with Coulson who was the only one who knew the Darkhold’s true location. They also had to contend with real-May as she escaped her captivity as the tranquil simulation she was put under did not work. She was taken care of but how long will she stay there?
This episode was also a showcase for fake-May and Ming-Na Wen’s dual performance. She seemed to act exactly like the real May but she couldn’t stop thinking that something was off with her. Radcliffe programmed her to not be aware of her true existence but that is being chipped away. She spent some time with Daisy while on a rescue mission but seeing them together just made it so obvious as to how fake she was. Maybe Daisy will see eventually. In a fight scene later on, May falls on a saw blade and when she takes a look at it later, she is able to see her inner machinery.
Overall, while the Mace twist may not have come as much of a surprise, this was still a great episode full of action and excitement. The friction between Fitz and Simmons and the fake-May subplot continue to be engaging and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.