Spoilers ahead for "Hot Potato Soup," the latest episode of ABC's Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The short version: The Koenigs return as part of Coulson's plan to keep the Darkhold hidden; the gang unravels Radcliffe's LMD secrets but not before Fake May makes off with the Darkhold; the Watchdogs want to kill Coulson for … reasons?
The good: The LMD story comes to a head, Patton Oswalt FTW, Quake/Daisy/Skye
It was always going to be tough to follow up the excellent Ghost Rider arc that brought Robbie Reyes to life, but the LMD story was a palate cleanser of sorts in a good way. We got to see some twisty spy drama over the past few episodes as Faux May grappled with her programming and what it means to have the memories of a person but not actually be them. Heady stuff, and though they didn't go too deep into the repercussions, the past few weeks did an excellent job of touching on those elements in a satisfying way. Here we see the team figure out May is an LMD exactly five minutes too late (crazy how that happens, right?), and thanks to a Watchdogs assault, Radcliffe and his compatriots make out with the Darkhold.
However, arguably the best LMD story focused on Radcliffe's LMD that was captured by Fitz and S.H.I.E.L.D. last week. Here we get to see just how savvy these LMDs can be as Fitz peels back the robo-skull to realize these things actually have robo-brains, handily designed by Aida after she gleaned some mysterious dark arts knowledge from the Darkhold. Yeah, this is going to end well. That is woven into a personal story between Fitz and Radcliffe and Fitz's unresolved feelings about his father. It was a lot to take in during an already busy episode, but it really did work. Fitz is pretty much the best character on this show, and he's certainly had the most stark evolution across the four seasons. The more Fitz layers we peel back, the better.
Patton Oswalt made his triumphant return to the MCU this week as the multiple Agent Koenigs, and we got to see him do everything from cool action to tough-guy bravado. Oswalt has a great time on this show, and that joy seeps through to everyone else. We also finally got an answer to the lingering question of whether the Koenigs are just brothers or actually clones. Turns out the Koenigs were technicians on the first LMD project ... but no, they're not clones or robots. Just a bunch of nerdy identical brothers.
Lastly, Quake got to pretty much breeze in and be a superhero hero, and it's a testament to how far her character has come that she's semi-comfortable in that role. Koenig geeking out over her was also a nice touch.
Other good stuff: We want to read some of that "Quack" fan fiction; Mack’s shotgun-axe is back(!); the Koenig sister was a fun reveal.
The bad: The Watchdogs (yawn)
The Watchdogs and the lingering mystery of who is pulling the strings behind Senator Nadeer's operation is starting to get really, really tired. Also, they want to kill Coulson because he starred in all the Marvel short films where stuff happened, basically? C'mon. I'm sure there were a lot of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents around for all the weird stuff that's happened the past few years. The Watchdogs are basically HYDRA-lite, and if they were wanting to use this group as an analogy for the world we live in (something they've touched on in the past), they're not doing a great job of it. Again, the big reveal of this mystery leader better be awesome. Like, Thanos-twirling-a-mustache awesome.
Line of the night:
"So May’s a freaking robot!" - Quake
This episode wrapped up a whole lot of stories while also setting the stage for at least the next several episodes. The gang has captured Faux May but the search for Real May begins. So where the heck did Radcliffe stash her body before shipping off on the evil submarine?
Also, what is Radcliffe going to do with the Darkhold now that he has it? Fitz realized that the Darkhold knowledge is what led to the super-brain inside the LMD. So does Radcliffe want to use it to create artificial life in the next version? For that matter, will Radcliffe even get to hold onto the book or will Nadeer and her mystery boss take it away?
Up Next: BOOM!