Top 7 Things We Learned in 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s “Hot Potato Soup”
1. We Finally Meet The SuperiorThe Superior turns out to be Anton Ivanov (Zach McGowan), the vodka-swilling, onion- sniffing leader of the Watchdogs. This was an admittedly anticlimactic moment, since throwing such a big reveal in with all the chaos this week really undercut all the buildup. In a show overrun with aliens and superpowered beings, the Superior doesn't quite measure up. That isn't to say that rich, powerful, racist men with a proclivity for torture can't be great villains, but as of yet Ivanov hasn't been built up as a proper match for the opposition he's facing. It's also disappointing that, after all this, we were given what amounts to a conglomeration of stereotypes, rather than a unique threat. Senator Nadeer is a far more interesting villain at this point.
2. What The Superior Is Really AfterIvanov wants to annihilate all Inhumans, so no surprise there. Still, now that they have the Darkhold, this poses a pretty serious threat. What's more surprising is that Ivanov is specifically after Coulson, who he believes to be the one behind all the alien events. Honestly, this seems a little silly, but maybe there's still a missing part of the picture. This could give us a chance to finally learn more about how Coulson fits into the MCU and could shed some light on the specifics of his past work for S.H.I.E.L.D.
3. Coulson and (LMD) MayCoulson finally kisses (LMD) May, only to discover that she's an android and that the real May is missing and in danger. Poor Coulson. Despite the betrayal, Coulson didn't miss a beat, maybe because he consistently loses every single person he dares to care about. Seriously, poor Coulson. Can't Philinda catch a break? It's been four seasons.
4. Everyone Gets a BrainThat's right, go ahead and bask in the golden glow because Radcliffe has officially taken the next step in humanity's evolution—LMDs with brains. The Darkhold was obviously responsible for the breakthrough and is clearly why Radcliffe is so anxious to get it. The concept of androids and souls was incorporated, building on the theme of the androids' humanity. A future explanation of how this magical technology works would be fun to see, but it could very well be dismissed as "dangerous Darkhold stuff". Still, there is a chance it won't be glossed over, and it could be a great opportunity to incorporate more Darkhold "magic" into the other tech-centric aspects of the show.
5. Radcliffe Knew Fitz's FatherSpeaking of Radcliffe's proclivity for betrayal, it turns out that he wasn't the only father figure to have betrayed Fitz. Radcliffe claims to know Fitz's own father, and he sounds like a decidedly unpleasant sort of guy. Fitz might not be remotely interested in reuniting with his long "lost" father, but chances are we'll get to learn more about him very soon.
6. The Koenigs Are Back—And They Have a SisterIt was good to have the Koenigs back this week, even if their sister was kind of abrasive. Even the most pretentious Koenigs tend to be fairly lovable, so it was amusing to see the contrast between them and their sister. The cast (Chloe in particular) tends to play well off of Oswalt's humor, and this episode was no exception. The show is truly at its best when it embraces the quirky self-aware humor we've come to expect from the writers. The meta quips about Marvel fandom were priceless, and the plethora of Star Wars references was even more heavy-handed than usual in the best possible way.
7. Overstuffing Episodes Is BackSome of the main reasons I love this show are its strong emotional core, fantastic character development, sci-fi technology, and perfect blend of humor and darkness. That being said, when each of those qualities gets its own plotline in a single episode, it's too much. Big weekly reveals can be great, but sometimes there can just be too many at once that don't fit together as smoothly as they could.
The biggest reoccurring flaw that the show falls victim to is its tendency to pack too much into a single episode. Season 4 has so far provided much more refined plotlines, with a more cohesive focus on fewer plot points each week. This has much improved the quality of the storytelling by tying all the strongest aspects of the show into a singular main plot, often with a related B plot and sometimes C plot that echoes the tone of the arc. This week though, the show slipped back into old habits. Hopefully, this was just a one-off cram session so that the show could move the LMD plot along a little more quickly.
Next week, Coulson sets out on a mission to get back the real Agent Melinda May. Someone's about to learn that being between Coulson and the people he cares about is a dangerous place to be. Suffice to say, something's bound to go "BOOM".
Best Lines + Stray Comments:
- You're getting all Gollum-y again."
- "The only thing worse than a robot is a possessed one."
- "Did you know that online there's a library of fan fiction about Quake?"
- "So—May's a frickin' robot."
The next episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., "BOOM", will air on February 7th, 2017 on ABC.