What makes a hero? We know that Director Jeffrey Mace’s past as a hero isn’t all it seems, but he does have a costume a powers, so what more does it take? Quake has all that too and has been pushed into the spotlight, but what makes a real hero? We may find out with this episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., after the jump, in my review of “The Patriot.”
Holding Out for a Hero
At a press conference in Pennsylvania with Director Mace thanking Quake for her service and saving Los Angeles, the unthinkable happens. I’m not talking about Daisy going from vigilante to superhero in one news sound byte either. There’s a sniper on the roof who shoots an explosive bullet (did it look familiar, Luke Cage Netflix viewers?) at Mace. Heroically Mace deflects it with the podium and his ‘sidekick’ Quake takes out sniper.
Holy PR, Batman! This is what this show has needed for some time, superheroes, and now we have two at the forefront. I just wish it was under much less questionable circumstances. Neither Mace nor Daisy are playing straight here, and it hurts. Still, I love the superhero action, now if we could just work a little on those hideous costumes.
Heads of the Hydra
The assassination attempt on Mace was not necessarily meant to succeed but more or less a diversion to get what the baddies really wanted. They wanted the emergency protocols to activate, and the Director loaded onto a quinjet toward a safe house. There’s obviously a mole somewhere in S.H.I.E.L.D. for the bad guys to know protocol, and shoot that quinjet out of the sky.
And the bad guys? Remember that old Hydra saying – cut off a head and two more grow in its place? Hydra isn’t as dead as we thought they were. Those who ran and were not captured have now made alliances with the Watchdogs, which just makes the list of possible suspects for their leader, the Superior, even longer.
Talbot Takes Charge
Marvel favorite (he’s also the voice of Iron Man in the Avengers animated series) Adrian Pasdar is back as General Glenn Talbot, and with both Coulson and Mace temporarily missing, he has taken over S.H.I.E.L.D. And when I say taken over, Talbot is walking around like he owns the place, and in a way he does. As it turns out, not only did Talbot create that day-glo color code security the team now uses, but Mace is his puppet – more on that later.
Talbot, who ironically continues to be depicted like a cartoon character, is more concerned about Agent Burrows and that briefcase he always has at Mace’s side than anything else – Coulson, Mack, the quinjet, and Mace inclusive. Down on the ground, Mace too is worried about the case more than anything else – just what is in there? And why does everyone – Talbot, Mace, the Watchdogs, and ex-Hydra – want it?
The Secret Origin of the Patriot
The briefcase, we find, is Director Mace’s secret. He’s not an Inhuman, more lies, but more of a guinea pig, and a lot closer to the character’s comic book origins that we may have suspected. He’s just a Captain America knock-off. Empowered by a reformulated version of Mister Hyde‘s (!) potion in injection form, stored in the briefcase, that’s where his super-strength comes from. Is there anything about this guy that isn’t fake? Is that even his real hair?
After getting shot in the ass and having all his formula broken, things are looking grim for Mace, Coulson, and Mack. Coulson plans to use Project Patriot to their advantage and gets Mace to suit up, give the bad guys pause, and buy time. It’s a dramatic and dynamic move, and one only disarmed by Daisy saving the day. Just like she did in Slingshot. It’s getting old.
Boys and Their Robots
Aida, even beheaded, continues to come between Fitz and Simmons. He thinks it’s (she’s?) still viable technology, and despite banning Radcliffe from the base for a wee bit, Fitz is still trying to revive Aida’s head. This being the head of the Aida that was infected by the Darkhold, I can’t begin to express what a bad idea this is.
Radcliffe and the lesser Aida however still hold May prisoner. I loved the bit where May rejected the spa scenario, needing conflict and violence to relax. The LMD May however, after her tool shed combat with the Watchdogs, is now aware that she’s a machine. That can’t be good. After all, how would you react if you cut yourself and saw metal and gears inside?
In the end we are left with a new status quo leadership-wise, Mace still the PR puppet, but with Coulson in charge of operations and in the field. Win-win. How long it will last is anyone’s guess, though knowing this show, not long. How long until Daisy or Simmons are in command? That would be win-win, look how well the women took matters into their own hands this episode – and this weekend. Women are powerful, in fiction, and reality.
I really dug this episode a lot, and there was a lot to like – from Daisy and May chatting in the Lola, to Simmons using Hydra tactics to interrogate the sniper (go, Jemma!), to the battle of the garden shed tools, this was a great episode, and Mack just rules. There were a few interesting sidenotes – anyone else notice that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a decidedly Apple operation? I also was a little enamored by Talbot’s nicknames – ‘Poppins’ for Simmons, and the edgier ‘Squidheads’ for Hydra, among others. Good stuff.
Next: Wake Up!