Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S04 E14: ‘The Man Behind the Shield’


After the fun episode with Patton Oswalt and the Koenigs, and a run-in with a Nitro wannabe, it looks like it’s back to the grind for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Mace has been captured by the Superior, who is hunting Agent Coulson. Meet me after the jump for my review of “The Man with the Shield.”


Apparently Radcliffe had been working in the Framework for S.H.I.E.L.D. for combat training purposes before turning it to his own evil purposes. While at S.H.I.E.L.D. it contained only a few scenarios, with May, Aida built an entire world. While Fitz works at locating similar tech to track May, Mace’s tracking device in his battle suit has gone off.


The team finds the suit abandoned without Mace in Nome, Alaska. Also there they find a serial killer-esque bulletin board all about Coulson. Now they know that whoever has Mace also has a serious obsession with the real guy running S.H.I.E.L.D., not good. Also as the scene cuts to the show’s title card, it’s notable that the LMD subtitle is gone. It’s a whole new adventure.

Parallel Missions

On the board Coulson and Daisy discover a clue connected to an early mission with May in Russia. As the team heads to Russia, a facility owned by the Superior, Coulson flashbacks to his time there with a younger May, and the two getting to know each other better. It seems like a set up for a future romance between the two, but really do we need it? I do love May’s line however about going through men like paper towels. How long ago was this?


In the present it’s a trap set by the Superior. The men killed there by an 084 in the past were the Superior’s brothers, and the plan is for the present day day team to die the same way. It feels like some sketchy plot building here, especially for a character so against Tucker’s loyalty last episode. The Superior is not consistent. Not for the first time I’m wondering if some or all of what we’re seeing is actually in the Framework…

Among Villains

Radcliffe seems to be wearing out his welcome with the Superior, and big boss definitely does not like robots any more than he does Coulson or Inhumans. Something tells me, besides the missing LMD subtitle that Radcliffe and Aida may not be long for this world. I thought it odd how Aida reacted to the Superior’s threat, and it made me wonder if she would protect Radcliffe if the Superior tried to kill him while in the Framework.


Of course the one thing we have all forgotten is that Aida is infected with the Darkhold, and Radcliffe has read the thing as well. Who knows what weird things it’s done to their heads, what weird powers it’s given them, and what they’ve done to the Framework. The Superior should be watching his back… and not just from S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Inhumans. It all goes back to the old saying, there is no honor among thieves.

Confrontation and Revelation

The invasion of the Superior’s base by S.H.I.E.L.D. is one of the more triumphant moments in the whole series. From breaking through a wall while on the quinjet, to first Coulson’s verbal parrying with the Superior, to Quake’s stand against him with super powers – it’s just amazing, and should be the crowing moment of every episode of the show. I loved Coulson making the Superior feel petty, like he doesn’t matter, and Quake finishing him quickly is a grand insult to the ‘superior human.’


The problem is that this assault goes too well, making me suspect this all may be happening in the Framework… or worse. It becomes very apparent to Fitz and Simmons that something is wrong with the timeline, that they are missing time in this assault, and then they realize – everyone but them have been replaced. Mace, Coulson, Mack, and Quake are all LMDs.

Apparently the missing subtitle was just a glitch. It is twists like this that keep this show fresh, the giving of the good and then the victory of the bad. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is best as a rollercoaster, and man, are we rolling now. I loved this episode, and can’t wait for more. What did y’all think?

Next: Self Control!

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