We gave it a B+
Welcome back, True Believers, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s midseason hiatus. This episode certainly had enough reveals and plot twists to make the wait worth it. Let’s dive in.
The episode picks up almost exactly where the midseason cliffhanger left off. AIDA has just killed S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nathanson (poor guy didn’t even get a second name before his neck was snapped) and replaced Agent May with a Life Model Decoy of her own. Now, AIDA goes about covering up her treachery best as she can, removing her blood-stained blazer. Accompanied by such soft music, the sequence feels weirdly like a commercial for luxury stain-remover, though it does have a story purpose. AIDA notes that music helps dopamine levels, and she needs to keep the real May (hooked up to an IV keeping her unconscious) out of the way until LMD May serves her purpose.
Meanwhile, Director Jeffrey Mace has assembled a veritable Council of Elrond to figure out what to do with the Darkhold. They all know letting AIDA read it was a mistake in and of itself. Fitz and Radcliffe try to protest, noting her decision saved lives, but Mack shoots them down: “Have either of you chuckleheads seen a movie in the last 30 years?” (Like, say, Avengers: Age of Ultron, perhaps?) Mack turns out to be an expert in robot movies, which always end with the robots turning on humanity.
Robots aren’t the only things capable of betraying humans, of course. We are reintroduced to Senator Ellen Nadeer’s brother, who thanks to Simmons’ efforts has emerged from the Terrigenesis cocoon he was trapped in for seven months (longer than any other known Inhuman). Luckily for him, Vijay Nadeer finds himself on a comfortable bed in a fancy house. When he goes outside, he finds his sister waiting for him on the lawn with breakfast.
Simmons isn’t done with him yet. Intensely curious about the job she was forced to perform, Simmons has looked him up and identified him as Nadeer’s brother. Simmons is certainly happy to have Daisy around again, especially since Fitz is so distracted these days — “you know how boys can be with their robots.” When Mace’s PR lackey Burroughs (or as Simmons dings him, “Smithers”) summons Daisy to come meet with, she finds someone less happy to see her.
Well, actually, Mace seems content with the good PR from Daisy’s public addition to the team. The two of them just seem to have different priorities. Daisy wants to focus on the Watchdogs and their possible connection to powerful backers, but Mace still sees all that as a conspiracy theory. He’s much more interested in the Nadeers, and when he brings up that the senator was keeping an Inhuman captive, Daisy’s on board. They set off with Simmons to rescue him.
Coulson, Fitz, and Radcliffe are otherwise occupied. They find AIDA and try to reprogram her for safety given her contact with the Darkhold, but she’s not having it. In fact, she’s already made upgrades of her own – mostly to take away her pain sensors, so a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent shooting her has no effect at all. She throws Fitz through a glass door, where he finds Nathanson’s body and realizes AIDA’s betrayal. AIDA gets away for now, though without the Darkhold in tow.
NEXT: Brother and sister