‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: S4E10: “The Patriot”

Last week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the agents managed to defeat ADA, the Life Model Decoy (LMD) who after reading from the Darkhold gained sentience and became as murderous as Ultron.  However, after ADA’s defeat, it was revealed that it was all a rouse as Radcliffe was responsible all along and secretly wants to gain the Darkhold for his own nefarious purposes.  Meanwhile, Radcliffe embedded a LMD to replace agent May to be with the agents, although she doesn’t realize that she is not the real May.

This week primarily focused on Director Mace, whose layers have been slowly peeled each subsequent episode he has appeared in this season.  At first, he was a smug corporate type who seemed a little out of touch with the nitty gritty of how S.H.I.E.L.D. really does things.  Then it was revealed that he was an Inhuman and chosen to lead the agency after they went public once again after the events of Captain America: Civil War for better relations within the Inhuman community and the general public.  However, it was also clear that he had a big secret that he was hiding.  Tonight’s episode, his big secret was revealed.

The episode began with Mace doing his usual public relations game, honoring Daisy for her heroic actions.  Although Daisy was a fugitive, he managed to find a way to make it look like she was a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent all along and gave her a hero’s welcome with a press conference and celebration in her honor.  Daisy even went along with it.  However, the ceremony was cut short by an assassin’s bullet (great not to Luke Cage using the “Judas bullet” for the scene).  Because he was the perceived target S.H.I.E.LD. protocol called for him to be evacuated to a safe zone.  Coulson and Mack escorted him and his assistant (holding a mystery briefcase) out of there.

Turns out the bad guys weren’t done as it was only “Phase 1” of their attack (another Marvel reference to the different phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phases of films).  The bad guys were really after the briefcase and blew up the jet that they were on.  Mace’s primary goal was to recapture the briefcase, although it’s materials were “classified.”  Throughout the episode, we learn that the briefcase actually is connected to Mace and his abilities.

Mace actually isn’t an Inhuman.  In fact, he’s just a “normie.”  The contents of the briefcase were a formula the US Government gave him to temporarily give him superhuman powers, for the appearance that he was one of the Inhumans.  As General Talbot reveals, they needed their own Captain America, so they created a program called “Project Patriot” to grant him super strength for appearance purposes.  The real Mace is somewhat a coward.  Even his backstory of being a hero at the Vienna bombing is just dumb luck as he was not trying to save anyone, optics just made it look that way and the government took full advantage.

As he, Coulson and Mack were under attack by The Watchdogs, there was little a depowered Mace could do.  So of course, he had to wing it and pretend that he had superpowers.  It worked for a while, but then he had to hide for cover along with the rest of the humans.  Lucky for them, Daisy and LMD May ended up saving them in the last hour.

During the final battle, LMD May engaged in hand to hand combat with one of the Watchdogs and he ended up slamming her onto a saw.  She ended up damaging the saw but at the same time, it injured her back.  By the end of the episode she took a look at her back realizing that instead of muscles and bones, she had robotics underneath.  For the last two episodes, she has had a nagging feeling that something was wrong with her.  Now she knows the truth that she is a robot.

Meanwhile, Radcliffe and ADA 2.0 have held the real May hostage in his lab.  While prisoned there, she was kept in a virtual dream state, so that she was unaware what was going on.  She managed to escape her captivity and tried to fight back, but was no match for ADA.  Radcliffe puts her back under but instead of a nice dreamlike virtual reality, he would place the warrior woman that she is in a more violent virtual reality that she would more accept.

The episode was interesting as we learned yet another new tidbit about Mace.  However, the reveal was a little bit of a letdown.  His entire persona being an act takes some of the steam out of him.  Even though he’s the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., he does not even know how to shoot a gun.  Hopefully, he can get his mojo back as now it looks like Coulson is the real leader as he’s the public face.

Next week it looks like the Agents will be betrayed by one of their own.