‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: S4E14: “The Man Behind the Shield”

This week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson leads a rescue mission which has some disastrous effects

Last week, while trying to use the Terrigen crystals on Senator Nadeer, Lead Watchdog antagonist Tucker instead underwent Terrigenesis activating his Inhuman gene and unlocking his own superpower.  As someone dedicated to the anti-Inhuman cause, he still was down for the cause with The Watchdogs.  Working with The Superior, they captured Director Mace.

The episode begins with Coulson and Daisy engaging is a friendly sparring match with each other.  We once again see some pretty good choreography on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Besides Arrow, this is probably one of the best network television fighting we’ll see.  We know cable TV has the fight scenes on lock, but this is still very well done!  However, it turns out that this was fighting in a virtual reality environment.  Fitz was using a primitive version of Radcliffe’s Framework as a means of training.  This is pretty much Neo and Morpheus’ training program from The Matrix.  However, Radcliffe’s upgraded version of the software is way more advanced, but like Coulson says, it’s still very real.

The team learns the whereabouts of Mace’s super suit, as it had a GSP tracker embedded within it.  This leads the team off to Alaska, where they find an abandoned facility The Watchdogs used.  They find the suit there, but no Mace.  As they scour around Coulson finds The Superior’s wall which is full of pictures, newspaper clippings, and many other things tying Coulson and S.H.I.E.L.D. to all the ongoing alien events that have been happening throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  As the agents look at the data, there’s one thing that stands out to Daisy, a picture of an old Russian facility.

Coulson has a flashback to that time.  In his younger days, when he was a Level 4 Agent (he’s now a Level 8 Agent, so it was a while back), Coulson went to Russia on a mission to retrieve a “084.”  If you remember from past episodes, a 084 is an object of unknown origin that S.H.I.E.L.D. must investigate to determine if it is a threat.  Such objects of the past have been Thor’s Hammer, the Obelisk containing the Terrigen crystals, and the Tesseract.  Also, joining him is a younger Agent May (nice job digital and makeup guys on de-aging them) who provides him with backup.  It’s clear they have a thing for each other.  They did have to do some undercover work in the past where they had to pose as a married couple and even though Coulson’s romance skills were not up to par (he was trying to sell a legend of a bumbling husband), the two still flirt very hard with each other.  The talk of their “drink” they have to take together in the present is starting to make a lot of sense.

At The Superior’s hideout, he and The Watchdogs are torturing Mace.  Without his super strength serum, he’s at the mercy of his limited S.H.I.E.L.D. training.  He is quickly bested by The Superior, who insults him even further for pretending to be an Inhuman.  He reveals his past to Mace.  His real name is Ivanov.  Much of his hatred for aliens stems from his first interaction with Coulson.  Turns out he was at the facility when Coulson and May retrieved the 084.  His superiors killed his men when they lost the device to S.H.I.E.L.D.  Ever since then, he has been investigating Coulson, S.H.I.E.L.D., and all the alien activity.  Ivanov determines that Coulson is at the center of this conspiracy and he wants him, knowing that going to save Mace will lead them into a trap.  ADA has also been observing everything going as she is starting to become more “human” after touching The Darkhold.  Ivanov reminds her that she is “fake” but after he leaves she touches the necklace that she took after her human doppelganger died.

Coulson and the Agents find the base and infiltrate it to retrieve their cohorts.  Fitz and Simmons goes to look for any computer technology related to the Framework while the Agents (and their numerous redshirts) go looking for Mace.  Speaking of redshirts, Coulson rightfully mocks Ivanov as just another redshirt preventing him from saving the world.  He doesn’t even remember the mission that impacted Ivanov’s life so much.  Daisy then comes in for some much needed vengeance against him, as she has spent a long time trying to find him.  The two engage in a fight where she uses her quake powers and pretty much destroys him, burying him under rubble of one of the building columns.

They manage to save Mace but cannot find May.  Coulson decides they will tend to Mace’s injuries and come back for May.  Back at the lab though, Simmons is having some memory and time lapse issues.  Of course, there’s adrenaline from a firefight, but somethings off.  Doing a quick check on the headquarters systems, she notices that the LMD detector has been turned off.  She and Fitz realize that the LMD detector was turned off by Coulson.  They then realize that Coulson, Daisy, Mace, and Mack are not who they really are, they are LMDs!!!  ADA's plan for which The Superior was unaware, was to set it up to replace the Agents with LMD replicants!

Next week will be about Fitz and Simmons (the only true Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) trying to figure out a way to avoid the LMD agents as well as stop them.