Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season4, episode 10: The Patriot
Directed by: Kevin Tancharoen
Written by: James C. Oliver, Sharla Oliver
Starring: Clark Gregg, Jason O’Mara, Mallory Jansen, Henry Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge, Adrian Pasdar

Apparently being Director of SHIELD is always as stressful as Fury made it look, as this week Mace steps into the action once more. After almost being assassinated within the first five minutes of the episode (though he did a rather splendid job of looking after himself, despite agent Burrow’s humorous comment that the Director was “on the clock), the Director’s bad luck only continues as the rescue helicarrier he is on with Coulson and Mack crashes. His luck is better than Burrows, who is literally torn out of the plane (along with the important briefcase he is holding) and the pilot, who gets Washed in his seat.

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Agent Burrows is even less fortunate as after the somewhat Lost-esque crash, the Director uses him as an excuse to go find the briefcase, despite Coulson’s insistence to get to higher ground. It becomes very obvious very quickly to anyone paying attention that this briefcase holds some significance. Lo and behold, the contents of the always-close-to-Mace-case (the rhyme in that is very pleasing), is a super-soldier serum. Remind you of a certain someone’s dad, anybody? In any case, we find out that Mace is not, in fact, an Inhuman. Rather, there were no enhanced individuals for the job of Director (or, at least, no trustworthy ones), so one was made. Of course, super-human serum is kind of an all-or-nothing deal in terms of how well it works out – think the Hulk or Red Skull vs Captain America – but Patriot seems much more like the Captain, luckily for us. Unfortunately the Director’s need for the serum continuously puts him at a severe disadvantage, opening up a dangerous possibility in later episodes.

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It’s hard not to feel a little bit sorry for Mace by the end of the episode. Although lying about being an Inhuman isn’t a great way to slide yourself into the midst of an Inhuman war, it seems as if he genuinely had their best interests at heart. He even almost finishes off his Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by resigning but Coulson warns him off the idea, believing him to be a good face for SHIELD. Which is both good and bad news as, while it technically lands Coulson back in charge again, it still leaves Mace with the admin and paperwork. Swings and roundabouts, one supposes. It also poses an intriguing question for the viewers as, with Coulson in the know about the location of the Darkhold, it’s possible that this will also allow the ever more integrated LMD Agent May access to it.

Speaking of LMD May, things are starting to get really interesting with her. As we’ve seen before, the show has taken a Westworld/Battlestar Galactica outlook on some of the robot philosophy as LMD May believes herself to be the real deal. This might come clattering to the ground however as, during a fight alongside a newly public Daisy, she is injured and later discovers her robotic exoskeleton. Evidently this will be picked up next week as the ramifications of her discovery could tip her either way.

Along with LMD May running around, we also have AIDA to contend with. Mallory Jansen is doing wonders with this role, combining a sweet kind of vulnerability with the menace of a very dangerous bot and this winning combo seems to be building like shaken up soda in a bottle. It’s not long now before things are going to go sideways for Radcliffe, that much is clear. Fitz on the other hand, as oblivious as Radcliffe is to AIDA’s mounting instability, apparently only wants to help fix her, even at the cost of more secrets from Simmons. The distance and lies with Simmons is starting to grow a little weary at this point and some might long for the good old days when these two could have uninterrupted witty banter and science babble, though the individual growth for both characters has been a nice turn.

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In all, the episode was pretty stunning this week, lining up surprise after surprise in a blend of action and trademark Agents of SHIELD humour. The LMD half of the season looks to be continuing just as strong as its Ghost Rider counterpart.

I give “The Patriot” 4 out of 5 creepy LMD heads

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