Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S04 E12: ‘Hot Potato Soup’


The series within a series on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. called LMD is not the first time that acronym has come up. The first time was early on to explain how Agent Coulson survived his apparent death in the first Avengers movie, and the second was whenever the mysterious Koenigs appeared. Now the Koenig brothers return, are they LMDs? Find out in my review of “Hot Potato Soup.”

Too Many Koenigs

We open on two of the Koenig brothers, Billy and Sam, chilling at an arcade quoting old sci-fi films at each other. As always it’s a delight to have Patton Oswalt back on the show, especially in multiple roles. As they play, they are being stalked by two enemy agents, each thinking they’ve targeted their prey, not realizing there are two Koenigs. The bad guys are after them/him because Coulson entrusted them with the Darkhold.


Believe it or not, there are no LMDs involved here. There are five Koenigs – the late Eric who died at the hands of Grant Ward, brothers Billy and Sam who we’ve met before, and non-Agent Thurston introduced this episode (all played by Oswalt), and big sister L.T., all confirmed non-LMD humans. The show is messing with us by misdirection. There are LMDs here, just not the Koenigs.

The Superior and Vodka Secrets

Not many folks outside of bartenders and mixed drink aficionados know about the onion shot – a shot of vodka with chaser of smelling a raw onion, but it’s here in this episode, the favored drink of our new villain. The Superior, or at least I’m assuming Anton Ivanov is the Superior, complete with his own sub, monologues like a Bond villain before his prisoners Radcliffe and Koenig with an onion shot.


Played by Zach McGowan of Black Sails and Shameless, he makes for a formidable villain, Superior or not. He leads the Watchdogs, Nadeer answers to him, and he’s got a serious vendetta for Agent Coulson. Wherever there has been trouble – alien invasion, super-villains, war with the Inhumans – Coulson is there. Ivanov believes Coulson is the cause, and is dedicated to destroying him, and thus stopping the madness.

Who Are the LMDs?

The Koenigs are not LMDs although the showrunners sure do play that card quite a bit in the episode. While on the sub, faux prisoner Radcliffe breaks character and tries to get in Billy Koenig’s head, the real game is back at S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. The Radcliffe LMD has programming beyond anything Fitz has seen, or could it be that he’s an LMD and is programmed not to understand it?


When Radcliffe LMD taunts Fitz about his father, the young scientist loses it. Like Mack, another character not prone to emotional outbursts, could he be an LMD? After some infighting caused by the Radcliffe LMD messing with their heads, Fitz realizes it has its own brain… and that May is also one…

Hot Potato

As we’re introduced to black sheep Thurston and Agent L.T., it turns out that Billy actually has the Darkhold, as the Koenigs have been passing it around like a hot potato, this the episode’s title. It is suggested that the Darkhold is in The Labyrinth, a S.H.I.E.L.D. vault that only Billy knows about. The race is on as on the sub, Radcliffe is searching Billy’s head for the book as well.


At The Labyrinth, once May has the Darkhold in her hands, her programming kicks in, moments after the kiss with Coulson we’ve all been waiting for. The whole thing goes fubar with Radcliffe taking the Darkhold from the May LMD’s dying hands. No one died, but still not a good day for S.H.I.E.L.D.


This was actually a fun episode, with guessing games, and lots of metaphors and wordplay. Who’s a robot and who’s not? Patton Oswalt’s presence times three brought a humor not usually here in this series. While the darkness and suspense is still there, we also got some comedy relief as well.


Next we find out just how many LMDs have really infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., and how would we know? And the Superior amps up his search for Coulson just as Coulson does the same for his hunt for May. One thing does intrigue me however – while it’s nice to have a solidly human villain in the Superior, it should be noted that for a time, one major Marvel Comics villain was referred to as ‘the Superior,’ and that’s MODOK. Discuss among yourselves. The chase begins.

Next: Boom!

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