MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Patriot”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: Playing The Hero

I’m bummed that comic book superhero The Patriot turned out to be nothing but a “charlatan” (as Simmons said) on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

While we definitely needed some answers regarding Director Mace, this hour was a classic S.H.I.E.L.D. filler episode. When you think about the fact the series is a “DVR” show, it’s installments like this one that keep it from rising to appointment television. They totally just pulled an Iron Man 3 “Mandarin” switcheroo on us. At least the big secret is out of the way.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Patriot”
Courtesy of ABC/Marvel

In the comics Jeffrey Mace was a hero and even became the third Captain America, which Talbot alluded to towards the end. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it would have been a hell of a lot cooler if Cap’s “super-soldier serum” somehow factored into Mace’s abilities. We already had the feeling he wasn’t Inhuman, yet a super-soldier would be a guy the audience might get behind. The only problem with giving him a real storyline is he would have to remain Director. Basically, Coulson gets to be boss again while an imposter plays the hero. The thought of that arrangement irks me. I really like Jason O’Mara too.

It took just one episode to make Mace dispensable. Hey at least Daisy/Quake is officially back on the team, right? Yes, I realize our core team is the show and others will simply come and go. Mace could have been such a cool addition, but the writers can now kill him off so he goes out an honest-to-goodness hero. It’s pretty clear that’s exactly where they’re going with the character. Which is a shame, because when things get predictable the audience grows bored. Anyway, let’s touch on some of the fun stuff.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Patriot”
Courtesy of ABC/Marvel

Though General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) always makes questionable decisions, his one-liners are priceless. Wasn’t it great when he called Simmons, “Poppins”? Pasdar’s presence never fails to help lighten the mood, as he’s usually that comic-relief character that breaks the tension. His face-off with LMD May was terrific as well. Speaking of LMD May, we now know for certain that she was unaware she’s a bot (very Westworld-y). Well, until those closing moments when she spied her electronic insides. Ouch!

Meanwhile, the real May woke from her slumber because relaxing for her is slaying a dragon not lounging at a spa. I thought that was hilarious and thank God for Ming-Na Wen, who has been a consistent highlight of this series. Radcliffe didn’t want her harmed and mentioned that Aida was more lethal than expected. My theory that Radcliffe might be an LMD seems to have gone out the window. He’s back to that suspicious scientist from last season. However, Fitz tinkering with the Aida head is just flat out dumb. I mean, I get the scientific mind being curious when it comes to artificial intelligence, but a big fight with Simmons is on the horizon. I hate it when they fight.

The Quinjet explosion and Burrows getting sucked out the door was probably my favorite scene. The timing was perfect too because I was thinking, “can’t we get rid of this douche.” Ha! I’m a sucker for that stuff. Of course, the fact Mace was only interested in the briefcase meant we would soon learn his big secret. I was surprised to hear the “Project Patriot” serum was derived from Cal’s work. They took the bad stuff out, seriously? Still, it’s nice to hear a reference to Daisy’s dad now and again. Think Kyle MacLachlan might return someday?

The episode had action sequences to spare, which helped the pacing and served to distract us from Mace’s lame arc. I mentioned in my last review I could care less about Senator Nadeer and her Watchdogs, but they keep coming back. Makes me long for the days I used to bitch they were overdoing it with HYDRA. I will say… Coulson’s robot arm shield FTW!!! That never gets old.

VERDICT

The direction the writers chose for Mace in “The Patriot” was terribly disappointing. He tripped in that famous photo? I admit I’m curious to see how his relationship with Coulson develops moving forward. Yeah I’m fine with Coulson being the badass calling the shots. I guess I just had different expectations for Director Mace. The LMD storyline continued to unfold nicely. Both Mallory Jansen and Ming-Na Wen are doing outstanding work. Again, here’s hoping this all doubles back to Ghostrider in the finale. Last season, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started off really strong, but fizzled in the second half. I’m hoping the writers don’t fall into the same trap this year. What did you think of the episode? Share your thoughts below…

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.