Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap and Review: "Uprising"
Previously on Agents of SHIELD: we got a new Director, Daisy and Robbie joined forces, and Agent May was in critical condition. This week's episode begins by bringing the show's various plotlines together, promising a stronger and more cohesive season than ever. A mass blackout with riots running rampant might seem like a clichéd plot device, but this episode pulled it off in the best possible way.
The Watchdogs return, this time using an EMP device to cause mass country-wide blackouts. Thanks to the Sokovia Accords, the terrorist group got hold of a list of Inhuman targets to go after. The multiple tie-ins to the MCU continues to be one of the best aspects of the show this season.
It was great to see Fitz in his element, sciencing his heart out, but getting in on the action this time too. Coulson, Mack, Elena, and Fitz take down the Watchdogs in a fantastic fight scene and make their way to the EMP generator to switch on the lights and save the day.
Meanwhile, Simmons and Radcliffe do some rescuing themselves. Agent May's condition continued to escalate after the whole possession incident. Using some truly gorgeous technology and some slightly less impressive science, they realize the only way to save May is to kill her first.
Obviously, the blackout reaches them at the worst time. I never had any doubt that May would be saved, so it wouldn't have been a particularity intense scene if it weren't for the Elizabeth Henstridge's moving performance (as usual). What I didn't expect was Radcliffe using Aida's detached power source to provide the life-saving electrical charge. I was hoping Aida herself would do the job, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer on that front.
Agent May wasn't the only one in dire straits this week, and the condition of Daisy's arm was almost more disturbing. Her powers have been taking a toll on her this season, and right now she needs Robbie as much as he needs her. The two strike a nice balance when it comes to justice and morality. The blackout proved they work well together, and we got another dose of Robbie's backstory for them to bond over. Unfortunately, Gabe (Robbie's brother) turns Daisy out when he guesses that she's an Inhuman. Daisy and Robbie's broody buddy cop era may seem destined to be short-lived, but it's clearly far from over. After the events of the blackout, SHIELD is no longer working in the shadows, and who better to maintain the secret mission vibes than a Ghost and an Inhuman hacker?
The blackout served its purpose, inciting feelings of fear and mistrust. As the plot plunges further into the darkness (literally), SHIELD has finally come back out into the light. Yep, the top-secret organization went public on National Coming Out Day.
It was a big step forward, but with professional terrorist groups using military technology to cause mass blackouts, the public will still be looking for someone to blame. And who better than the misunderstood Inhumans to take the fall? All we need now is a racist demagogue to move things along, and we got one in the form of Senator Nadeer. It will be interesting to see how this political plot plays out, and we always need more complex female villains. And, as we know, unbalanced, fear-driven individuals with a penchant for lying to the public can make for seriously threatening adversaries. SHIELD might have begun to come clean, but the Senator still has her own secrets. Her interactions with her statue of a brother bring up some intriguing questions. What's the backstory there? Did his terrigenesis fail halfway through? Did she stop it on purpose? Is he even still alive?
Mixing beautifully choreographed action scenes with shimmering displays of technology is something the show has done very well in the past, and this episode didn't disappoint. Next week looks like another can't miss episode with the rest of the team finally coming face to face with Ghost Rider. Now that SHIELD has gone public again, it will be exciting to see how that factors in to the confrontation. With Robbie and Daisy's new bond, and Daisy's rocky relationship with the rest of the team, SHIELD's attempt to bring in Ghost Rider is sure to be an explosive episode, both literally and emotionally.
You know, it's a myth we only use 10% of our brains. (Finally, someone said it on a sci-fi show.)
Ready when you are, slide rule.
It's a good light source, a guy with a flaming head.
Yeah, no big deal. Just rudimentary science. Maybe saving the day.
What, didn't any of you guys go to the Scouts? We're making compasses!
Coulson: I hear you're a little bit more yourself. May: I feel cranky. Coulson: Like I said.
*And, of course, Phil's fancy hand shorting out was a highlight of the episode
*Fitz counting using "One chimpanzee, two chimpanzee…"