Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Recap

S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Blasts From the Past

This week on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we learned of the past event that both landed Coulson on The Superior’s radar as well as planted the seed for a romance that recently has been on the verge of blooming anew.

Searching for Director Mace, who was captured by the Watchdogs at the end of last week’s mission, Coulson & Co. followed the GPS on the Patriot suit to a bunker in Nome, Alaska. There, they found the abandoned armor and a wall map that documented myriad Coulson sightings over the years, all over the globe. One photo is of an old mining facility in Russia that Anton Ivanov aka The Superior owns — and which is all too familiar to Phil.

In a series of flashbacks, we learned that “some time ago,” Level 4 field agent Phil Coulson and downright peppy Level 3 specialist Melinda May were tasked with retrieving an 084 object from that mining facility, only to bump up against some Russkies — Ivanov included — in search of same. When Coulson got captured, May T-boned the baddies’ getaway van and rescued her colleague. Ivanov’s comrades were later executed for failing, for which he in turns holds Coulson accountable. On the drive away from that op, Coulson and May joked about their respective sad love lives and made a handshake agreement that, if May’s next date with a civilian went south, they would go for “drinks.” But then we learn that May’s date is with “a shrink,” meaning future husband Andrew. Raincheck!

Back in the current timeline….

Daisy deduces that Ivanov is holed up in the old detention facility where his comrades had been tortured and killed. Upon jetting to the location and storming it through the hole they blasted in an external wall, Fitz and Simmons head downstairs to (unsuccessfully) seek out Radcliffe’s base of operations, while Coulson, verbally, followed by Daisy, physically, whale on Ivanov. Powerless Mace, meanwhile, is getting a brutal beatdown in his cell when Mack shows up to intervene, with an assist from an arriving Coulson. The two then carry the battered Mace to the rendezvous point at the sub dock.

Back aboard the Zephyr, Simmons is vexed by the peculiar “timetable” of events in Russia — namely, how for stretches of time the comms went out, and how Daisy took so long to meet up with the team after her brawl with Ivanov. Just as FitzSimmons start wrapping their head around the several incongruities, they are alerted to the fact that the blast door’s LMD scanning system had been disabled — by Coulson. What was he trying to hide? An LMD scan revealing that the Coulson, Mack, Mace and Daisy that returned from the op are all android duplicates.

What’s more, the audience learns in the final tag, LMD Coulson seems to have smuggled into his room the LMD May. Kinky.

What did you think of the episode “The Man Behind the Shield”?

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  1. John Corbae says:

    Nice episode. Though I can never understand why Daisy didn’t just break Ivanov’s legs. And we get to see the beginnings of Skynet.

  2. BadPenny says:

    Can someone tell ABC to budget a little more money to the Electricians’ Union? I feel like I need to reset the brightness on my television every time they do an episode. It is Agents of SHIELD, not Agents of Shadow. How about using a few glow globes from season 1 rather then everyone constantly standing in the dark; even in their own “bus.”

  3. TrapperCat says:

    I love this show but come on, this is really going way off course here. Now the entire team but FItzSimmons are LMDs? I can’t understand how TV shows these days rarely let the good guys win without endless insurmountable odds stacked against them putting them in positions that seem to have no logical way out. Once in a while you need something good to happen to the cast or people will just give up. With the ratings in the tank this plot line seems to be a cement brick tied around the series.I fear it’s too late to save the show now. If I’m getting to the point where I don’t care anymore, then it’s no wonder so many less dedicated fans have bailed on this series.

  4. laurelnev says:

    Still not liking this whole romance retconning…unless it turns out to be the key to exposing the Bot Doubles. I’m thinking it will show how AI can misinterpret stored memories. Hoping we’ll get a brief Fury appearance when he hears about a May/Coulson romance and just HAS to show up in person to see WTF is up with that. :) If not, I predict the Koening Clan will be the ones to expose the dupes.

    At least this retconned non-chemistry was clearly established to be pre-Andrew. (May said #14 was a shrink.) (So that places the timeline to when May started dating Andrew.) Loved the usual trope of “let’s put the woman in a wig to indicate it’s a younger version.”

    So it’s FitzSimmons left to be the cavalry and rescue the real Agents from THe Matrix. Can’t wait to see how Simmons steps up to the plate. Tonight’s fearless Aida pursuit is just another illustration of how she’s grown since her u/c Hydra days!

    Great ep, but again, I’m left wondering exactly when the switches occurred. Methinks it may have been pre-Rusky takedown. And methinks those scenes with Mace “escaping” were his own Matrix-loop, and that was the bot taking the beatdown. Wonder how they’ll manage to rescue their team from a sub?

    • Xyz says:

      No retcon just a reveal. Learn the difference.

      • laurelnev says:

        YES a retcon. (I bet you’re still young.)

        Think back to s1…who did she hook up with? With whom did she have chemistry?

        Yes, I know a lot of fans want to write off S1, but…

        • Karen says:

          I agree – retcon. There’s been zero romantic chemistry until now. I think your idea of it being a misinterpretation of memories is a good one. Really good friends can sometimes appear to be something more to outsiders.

          • KayCeeCee says:

            totally disagree.
            Remember when he thought he was going mad, because he kept having to draw these alien symbols and he confided in her. If they couldn’t figure it out, she said that she had a bag packed and would run to the ends of the earth to keep him safe (I’m paraphrasing).
            How could you not want them together?

        • KayCeeCee says:

          In S1, I wanted Phil and May, Ward and Jemma and Fitz and Daisy. I thought that those would be more interesting couples:
          – Phil and May, because they had this rich history and you could tell that there was love there too
          – Ward and Jemma, because the smart girl and the action spy, cliched but it works
          – Fitz and Daisy, because they were the last two remaining

        • Xyz says:

          Older than you. Then didn’t say they never had anything between them you just assumed it. It is a reveal even if you don’t get it. Don’t be a c all you life.

  5. Jason says:

    It would be kind of awesome if the LMDs eventually have to work together in order to save their human counterparts. The LMDs are such a huge part of SHIELD in the comics that I don’t want it to be scrapped at the end of this. If it hadn’t been for the Darkhold, the project would have worked just fine. And if Fitz and Simmons can find a way to override Radcliffe’s programming, maybe they can turn the tide in their favor.

    • Alan says:

      That’s so true that the comics DEFINITELY use the LMD’s a lot….I seem to remember Nick Fury having like at least 5-6 (maybe more) LMD’s of him, and instead of going places in person, he sends the LMD who inevitably gets killed, and for Fury to show up some time later, explaining it wasn’t really him, lol…..The ONLY thing i’m confused about in the show is I THOUGHT they established that you cannot make an LMD of a powered person (like Daisy) because their power is genetic not technologic. So, would the LMD Quake think she can control seismic activity…try it and then nothing? or maybe they’ll address it next week in the LMD finale. Ah well…

      I’m actually ENJOYING this arc of the season….the LMD’s are always a lot of fun in the comics and the fact that pretty much the whole team is compromised means that it’s gonna take some pretty sharp tech-savvy scientists to figure this out :D

  6. Kim says:

    Thanks for showing Shield some love TVLine! I dropped Arrow ages ago but this is still must see tv for me. I hope when it reaches the end of its run, whenever that is, it gets a satisfying conclusion.

  7. DRush76 says:

    “AGENTS OF SHIELD” is becoming increasingly incoherent to me. And who is “the” main villain now?

    • skyebright8 says:

      Radcliffe? The watchdogs have kind of moved onto the superior, and he’s a bit flat personally, I’m not impressed yet.

    • Jimmy says:

      This whole season has been incoherent. They need better people behind the scenes or this series deserves to be cancelled. I expect better from something with Joss Whedon’s name attached — even if he isn’t all that involved.

    • Jenny says:

      Who needs a MAIN villain? Clearly one leads to another / villains combine. See Superior, plus Radcliffe, then Aida.

  8. Great episode, I want to see how they are going to get out of this

  9. Joey Padron says:

    New episode was good. Good to see a flashback of young Coulson and May on a mission together. Not good some of the team but Fitz and Simmons got replaced by LMDs. Sucks they’ll be in danger in next episode!

  10. Brian Bauer says:

    I don’t think ANY of them are LMD’s. I think Fitz and/or Simmons got captured and placed in the Framework virtual reality. That’s why they experienced the time discrepancies.