Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: Cool Origin Story, Bro

Listen, that was definitely a cool origin story for Anton Ivanov/The Superior, but is that all the flashback goodness we get?

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Man Behind the Shield”
Courtesy of ABC
It’s always such a treat to see tie-backs to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Coulson we met in Iron Man (2008) and Thor (2011) seems light years away from the man that hangs with us weekly on TV. Part of me was hoping this whole Ivanov arc would give us a few “Coulson-centric” installments with fun Easter eggs from the films. Would The Superior reveal to the world that Coulson was alive, leading to his resurfacing in Avengers: Infinity War? Apparently not, which is a total bummer. That’s not to say he won’t be outed at some point, but I just really wish the show and movies were more interconnected. While DC is now giving us epic crossovers between all their shows on the The CW, Marvel has toned down the guest stars and “It’s all connected” catchphrase. They’ve got to step up their TV game.

The episode had an odd start, and though it was awesome to see Clark Gregg kick ass against Quake… the scene was just a simulation. I get it “The Framework” is this season’s big thing, but I can’t help feeling a bit bored by this storyline already. Man, was getting rid of Ghost Rider a massive mistake… or what?

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Man Behind the Shield”
Courtesy of ABC
I’ll admit the cat-and-mouse aspect to the episode was entertaining, and at times I wasn’t sure Mace would survive. However it was the, “Some Time Ago” flashes to the past between Coulson and May that were the highlights for me. Seeing a Level 4 Coulson wearing a lighter less-fitted suit and May recommending he wear sunglasses was everything! It just goes to show that the sexual tension has always been present between the two. Who knows what might have been had Agent May not married Andrew? I enjoyed Coulson bumbling through the distraction with the Russians, while May swiped the 0-8-4. From past episodes we know an 0-8-4 is an “object of unknown origin,” but what was it they found? Did I miss something or was that bit just glossed over? Anyway, once May is rescued I hope there’s a chance for the pair to get romantically involved. If the writers have kept her away this long and don’t deliver on #Philinda fans are going to be pissed.

I thought Mack was a tad harsh on Fitz and almost comparing him to Radcliffe was plain wrong. Of course, the whole point was for our favorite genius geek to doubt himself. Luckily Simmons was there to diffuse the situation. She was absolutely right when she said, “You make things from the genius of your mind and the goodness of your heart.” He can’t feel responsible when someone like Radcliffe twists his creations to suit his own wicked agenda. Mack did have a great line about Ivanov having a sub like, “All great Bond villains.”

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Man Behind the Shield”
Courtesy of ABC
As for Mace, the poor guy took quite a beating at the hands of Ivanov. Episode 410 revealed Mace was a fraud, which was terribly disappointing. In my review, I wrote they had just made Director Mace “dispensable.” It’s nice to see they have managed to make us care about the character, despite the fact he wasn’t Inhuman. Credit goes to Jason O’Mara as well, who is terrific in the role. I went into this installment expecting Mace to die, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him live to fight another day. Although, he is an LMD now along with Coulson, Daisy and Mack. Anyone else feel like they’re overdoing the doppelgänger’s now? The synopsis for next week’s Episode 415 reads, “Suspicion turns to paranoia when the team doesn’t know who can be trusted as more LMDs infiltrate S.H.I.E.L.D.” Yeah, no kidding… It’s Westworld over at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ these days. I’ve always been much more interested in the Inhuman angle, and I’m curious to see if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. connects with Marvel/ABC’s upcoming “Inhumans” TV series.

Closing Thoughts…

While I enjoyed “The Man Behind the Shield” overall, I can’t help feeling let down by the potential for more MCU tie-backs to Coulson’s past. Zach McGowan’s a wonderful addition to the cast, and it was nice to see him again so soon after Charles Vane met his maker on Black Sails. Ivanov survived, so the writers are clearly not done with him. “Even filth has a purpose” right? He’s the “red shirt” that lived, which is going to come as a surprise to Coulson. As for the LMD storyline, its been okay for me but they’re pushing it now with four copies of our heroes. Besides, what happens when Quake is expected to do her thing? Will her LMD have Daisy’s powers as well? Is that even possible? Again, my favorite moments were the Coulson/May flashbacks. With both of them replaced by LMDs, perhaps Melinda ultimately escapes and it becomes her mission to save Phil? Go ahead and share your thoughts on the episode below…

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

  • kd94025

    I looked and was like HEYYYY, that’s Captain Vane!!! I haven’t really been into the graphic novel verse, except for Gotham. So, unfortunaely, I’m missing Zach. He’s also in the 100, which i also haven’t watched. I’m like one for four for Zach…

    • That’s funny, you watch the one comic show I dropped early on. Gotham Season 1’s tone didn’t work for me and I never looked back. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I dropped in the first season, but picked it up again after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The Marvel Cinematic connection to the show were more important then. However, S.H.I.E.L.D. has evolved into a great series over time. I really hope it doesn’t get cancelled at the end of this season.

      Zach was awesome on the show, though he wasn’t given enough to do.