Agents of SHIELD Ushers in a New Era of LMDs

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 - 2:31PM
Marvel
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 - 2:31PM
Agents of SHIELD Ushers in a New Era of LMDs
The Ghost Rider arc ended in a brilliant blaze on last night's Agents of SHIELD, putting a nice cap on his storyline and providing a strong conclusion to the first half of the season. But like any great finale, it also set the stage for the next huge storyline: LMD. 

In season four, the LMD storyline was mostly placed on the backburner, as Ghost Rider was hogging the spotlight, but now the burgeoning artificial intelligence issues are taking front-and-center. At first blush, the obvious comparison is Ultron, as the MCU will once again see a team of heroes dealing with an extremely powerful AI. But unlike Ultron, Aida is a decidedly likable character (thanks to the talented Mallory Jansen) in whom the audience is already invested. As a result of that foundation, this has the potential to be much more emotionally and narratively satisfying than the Avengers' tangle with a robot antagonist.

With the popularity of shows like Westworld, AOS seems to be angling to enter into classic AI territory, particularly the meaning of consciousness. We know now that Aida has been programmed to feel pain, and the new Agent May LMG seems to have all of May's memories as well. This, paired with the addition of the Darkhold's "magic," could make for an exciting new arc. Aida also seems to feel an approximation of regret for the Agent she killed, so it will be interesting to see how the emotional component of the androids will be brought into play.
 
Speaking of emotional androids, I'm starting to think that Philinda fans aren't about to get quite what they were hoping for—at least not yet. Given that Coulson and May have been closer than ever this season, there's no telling how Coulson will react when he finds out what Aida has done. On top of this, we aren't sure just how long May has been an LMD. She could have been switched at the beginning of this episode, or back when she was in recovery from the ghost virus. Having May be the LMD Agent makes the most sense, since Coulson is the keeper of secrets at SHIELD and confides in May more than anyone else. Still, although seeing more of the dynamic between May and Aida was all I wanted a few weeks ago, this wasn't quite what I had in mind. Agent May is an integral part of the show, so even though it will be fun to see Ming-Na play an android version of May, hopefully the real May won't be out of commission for too long.
 
There are quite a few plots to tie together next season, but the LMD arc could lend itself to a more cohesive arc than ever. Director Mace wants to establish an LMD program at SHIELD, but his main goal seems to be delving into the secrets of the Darkhold. With a plot like this, it would make sense to have Ghost Rider on the team again, but either way it's likely that the magic and science mishmash will continue to factor heavily into the second half of the season. The mid-season finale left us with plenty of opportunity for Robbie's return in the future, even hinting at the possibility of learning more about Johnny Blaze. And then there's also the question of Senator Nadeer's Inhuman brother. Will the LMDs be needed to face him, or will he join the Secret Warriors to combat an army of LMDs gone wrong? We'll find out soon enough when Marvel's Agents of SHIELD returns to ABC on January 10th.
 
 

Best Lines + Stray Comments

 
May: "You don't have to twist my arm" Coulson: "I wouldn't dare, you might whip my ass."
 
"Aida is an android? Forget about the fact that I was mildly attracted to her."
 
"I do not like magic. Or clowns. Or clowns with knives. In the dark."
 
"Time for plan B. Anyone, feel free to chime in."
 
May: "Aida thinks?" Coulson: "Maybe about electric sheep."
 
"We're not a team at all" *Who else was waiting for someone to say "We're a time-bomb."
 
Eli: "Agent Coulson, you should be dead." Coulson: "I get that a lot."
 
"You're drunk on power, or drinking your own Kool-Aid, or drunk on Powerade."
 
*Daisy realizing that Coulson wanted her to be the face of SHEILD instead of Mace:  "Yeah right, maybe in the comic book version",  a nod to the Quake's storyline in the comics.
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D