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February 14 2017

(SPOILER) Discuss Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4x14 "The Man Behind the Shield". The episode was written by Matt Owens and directed by Wendey Stanzler.

Happy Valentine's from the land of Joe Trudeau!

A few pieces fall into place and some shippers may be happy. Next episode should be...interesting.

Also, hi.
Its nice just to be in a thread not involving doom and gloom of the AoS variety.
Hear, hear, JDL. We're all kind of suffering from PTSD at this point.
I still want to live in the world Aida made. Who's with me?
Anyone else looking forward to Aida beating up "The Superior"?
Uh Coulson, I'm pretty sure you don't have Facebook because you're dead. (He's still considered dead to the rest of the world, right?)
Smiling snarky May ? WTF ! :)

[ edited by JDL on 2017-02-15 04:09 ]
Aw, young May is kind of adorable. While Coulson is adorkable.
Smiling May with bangs. Worrisome.
Is it my imagination or did May really look younger ? More so than Coulson.
Poor Mace. Predictable but ...

Notice how they're all going on about May and not the Director?
Randomly deciding it would have been pretty cool if this "Superior" was one of the 5 other Winter Soldiers.

Back on topic: Not on Mack's side on this. At all.
The banter between Young May and Coulson makes me smile.
NYTinPA, oh man, he would have been sooo much more interesting as a Winter Soldier.
I am. He's one of the makers of Aida. Given how secrets go for his team and especially after Ultron Fitz screwed up big time.
Wouldn't it be ironic if Mace actually turned out to be Inhuman?
I just pictured the First torturing Spke.
Or maybe Glory, Dusk ...
I'm feeling a ratcheting up of the tension in this ep so far.
I agree it would have been cooler had he been a Winter Soldier.

Maybe Mace will turn out to be Inhuman.
LOL! javelina: was thinking about Glory, too.
I know Fitz is good too, but I thought Daisy was the computer expert.
I nominate Simmons as Director.
This is intermittently very hard to watch (yes, I'm a wimp). Javelina-spouse is having to supply extra commentary.
"Cool origin-story bro."
At this pace this is one of the best episodes of the season.
Watching Daisy kick ass, however, is eminently satisfying. So I'm a hypocritical wimp.

What is Aida planning to pull? She's acting super-suspicious.
I've decided I want Daisy's ability to throw people against concrete walls without laying a hand on them.
Damn. I totally spaced this was on tonight. Guess I'll be watching it tomorrow.
Their issues with coms make me nervous.
Hands up if the fact they all had wonky communications is weird? Like one by one they were put in the Matrix?
Bummer, Andrew.

They are all in a VR simulation.
Coulson was switched after he left Daisy to fight.

Mace could have been switched at any point.

Daisy after she knocked him out into the pillar.

Mack could have been switched anytime after he met Coulsonbot.

They left Fitz alone in the computer room.

Simmons and Davis split off to look around

ANY ONE of them can be replaced!!!!

[ edited by Dusk on 2017-02-15 04:55 ]
But they can't LMD Daisy, can they?

Or I guess they can ...
At the dock Daisy didn't have the cut in her shoulder...
Fitz and Simmons - still real?
Yeah, how do you LMD an Inhuman and her powers?
Check my above javelina.

Daisy's powers are vibration based, not that hard to mimic and they said with the Darkhold anything's possible...
How are they making LMD's so fast?
Aw. May and Coulson missed their window because she met hotty Doc! (PS Stll not feeling May and Coulson as a thing, btw.)
With the exception of FitzSimmons, AoS just doesn't do relationships well.
Scary ending! As far as I can tell, FitzSimmons are still real?
I was like this is an uneventful episode WHAT WHAT HWAT HOLY CRAP WHAT
Dusk, ah that makes sense.
The mind fuck in this episode is giving me a headache! And Aida is so creepy!
I would not be surprised if we got dueling matrix's at some point next week.
Welp, the promo kinda answered the question of whose a machine and whose not...
Not a bad episode but I didn't think it was as strong as the last few.But did have a damn creepy setup for next week.
So when is the next break? They have 7 hours left after next week and 2.5 months to spread them out?
Another theory, just because I'm super paranoid.
At this point, only one member of the team (besides May) has been LMD'd.

Leopold Fitz.

Fitz spent an extended period of time alone with Radcliffe and/or AIDA. This would have given them plenty of time and opportunity to construct the duplicate and scan his memories. Fitz was alone during the raid. He could have been replaced at that time. He knows about and helped construct the LMD detector. It would have been a simple matter to erase the actual detection record he generated. Then, generate false positives for Mace, Mack, Daisy and Coulson.

Fitz can enlist Simmons to take those four down and allow the REAL replacement of agents to happen next episode.
I have something even plot twistier in mind. Fitz and Simmons are in the Matrix and the puzzle/struggle Aida programmed for them is to believe they made it out but their entire team are LMDs! So now those two are running around a fake world thinking they're trying to thwart some LMD infiltration, when in fact they aren't. AND THEN the show reveals that Fitz and Simmons are the LMDs inside SHIELD and no one has a clue! No epic battles of robots vs. scientists. Just things going on la dee dah.
2 more LMD episodes. Then i think it breaks all March.
NYPinTA So the LMD signature on n the machine didn't come from the four, but form F&S themselves. Exactly what I thought. but the final scene made that questionable.
DaddyCatALSO, no. They aren't LMD's yet. They, as we saw them freaking out about the others, are actually in the same "framework" as the real May. And the problem that Aida created to keep them busy in the framework is the idea that SHIELD has been infiltrated with LMDs. So next episode is just them inside the framework thinking they have to run for their lives, etc. At the end of the episode, while it seems their fate is in question, the perspective changes and it's SHIELD HQ and everything is fine, and then Coulson pulls Daisy or Mack aside and reveals he thinks Fitz and Simmons are LMDs and are with the bad guys still.

Edit: this is all my head canon fan theory. Not what actually happened, probably.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2017-02-15 20:02 ]
Sat through episode thinking how much I don't like the May / Coulson stuff, how unimpressive the Supervisor is/was as a Big Bad, how I think the dialogue for Phil this week was cringe worthy at times. Then - BOOM - last 5 minutes of the show and I'm jumping in my seat and I'm highly anticipating next week
Is Coulson's over the top dialogue maybe a hint that he was an LMD at that point already?
I am having trouble with Aida (Radcliffe was in the Matrix) making copies of all of those peoples brains in that short
amount of time. Other than that most of this was fine. Other matters; I would be surprised a little if this runs for more
than 1 more episode. That makes the finish only 6 eps which is sort of short imo.
Its confirmed the arc ends next week.
Yeah, I'm super super super curious as to what he final arc will be.
My guess: someone else has the Darkhold, and Reyes is back.
@impalergeneral They've confirmed they are done with Ghost Rider - no plans to bring him back. Next week is also the directorial debut of showrunner Jed Whedon, who also wrote it
Finally saw the episode.

I'm sorry, but I don't trust that LMD detector. A couple weeks ago they got a false positive from a freaking coat hanger. If LMD's are supposed to be undetectable replacements for humans, how dumb is it if they can be revealed by a simple metal detector?

I did think that Mack was throwing around those goons in Mace's cell awfully easily, even for Mack. He's a big guy, but those were big guys too and he was picking them up and tossing them.

I also find it hard to buy that an LMD could be constructed that could mimic Daisy's Inhuman abilities, but... I find the whole concept of LMD's hard to buy too, as well as the notion that Aida casually re-created the entire world in the Matrix. Come on, who did all that programming? The Darkhold is starting to look like a hand-wave machine to me.

My prediction for next week: after the good guys win and Radcliffe is either being led away in handcuffs or lying on the floor dying, he tells them not to shut down the Framework because Agnes is still in there. They will download her and stick her in Aida's robot body.
@AndrewCrossett I would think it more likely that Radcliffe uploads himself into the framework permanently. As for Agnes
she obviously had the chance to already go into a LMD and didn't take it.

As for the final arc I'm at a loss unless its more Aida.
Final arc is probably VJ, Fitz Dad and maybe whatever the 084 is.
@JDL I'm sure they intend to shut down the Framework, especially since it's illegally hacking its processing power from devices all over the world. As far as SHIELD knows, May is the only one in the Framework right now. Assuming either Radcliffe tells them about Agnes or May does (if they meet inside the Framework), then they will have to take her out of there before they shut it down. Since her meat body is dead they will have no choice but to put her into an LMD... and luckily there's one of her body ready made. She'll even get her necklace back.

It may not be ideal for Agnes, but the alternative is death. (She might choose death, but probably only after either being put in Aida or being made the offer.)

There would be the opportunity for a pretty terrifying scene where Agnes is watching the world fade away into oblivion around her, and not knowing why.

[ edited by AndrewCrossett on 2017-02-16 19:57 ]
I kind of hope the o84 that was used in the backstory of this episode doesn't get mentioned again. I think that would be fitting considering Phil's little speech to the "Superior" about not even knowing what it was, or caring.

I wonder if since Coulson, Daisy, Mack, and Mace are all LMDs now, if Real Mace's body gets destroyed so they then download his personality into the LMD version of him so he's not an Inhuman, but he's not a weak ol' normal human either... the perfect puppet. (BTW, I'm thinking this is done on the down low, you know. Maybe Talbot again. Just so he and Phil can argue about it later, which is always fun.)

I was literally laughing out loud for two at least two minutes at the end, out of sheer shock, the "I can't believe they're doing this" kind.

I didn't love the first part of the season, Ghost Rider was poorly integrated into the story, and if they aren't going to ever even bring him back, it all seems pointless, except for hype. But I'm loving the LMD arc with its crazy twistiness. I hope you are all wrong and that the LMD stuff comtinues into the next arc. The next episode may be just about FitzSimmons vs LMDs, and then after that we get a lot of crazy Matrixy stuff with the characters in the Framework. That would be a great opportunity for a different look into the characters' minds. We haven't had a real look into Daisy's mind at least since she's been back with SHIELD, and Mack is a bit underdeveloped even after all this time.

Ming-Na Wen did a much better job at looking younger than Clark Gregg, but both of them convincingly acted younger. I liked the old Agent Coulson from the movies and season 1 much better than Director Coulson, so it was nice to have him back.

LOL at May saying the shrink is not her type. Well, she tends to fall for guys who are "not her type".

I like that they kind of acknowledged what a lame villain the Superior is. Speaking of him... why can't Daisy and Coulson stop mispronouncing "Ivanov"? (Americans. *sigh*)

@RobynH: Nah. That's definitely LMD Coulson at the end. Real Phil wouldn't want to hook up with RoboMay, but of course RoboPhil would, because why not?

Are Philinda shippers loving or hating this development? I think that RoboPhilinda getting together makes it less likely that the real Philinda will. God, this show loves to troll the fans.
As a (mild) comic fan I knew this was coming ever since last year's finale. I thought maybe they might have stopped with just the May reveal but this actually looks fun. Instead of another "Whose the mole?' episode, everyone is and we've gotta fight our way out.

Shippers see happy with the flashbacks and we're led to believe Coulson's feelings are genuine and May's have never been acted on but are there. I don't know that pulling her out of the Framework would kill the pairing and I' hoping we don't get another reserved/PTSD May story. Although the truth about Katja should come out at some point.
Kind of wondering why a low level agent like Coulson would have been back then would be assigned to an 084.

@AndrewCrossett I don't think they can shut down the Framework that easily at this point. Its too widely distributed.

[ edited by JDL on 2017-02-17 00:33 ]
Here's what Chloe Bennet says about the next episode on her Instagram:

"Next week its the end of the LMD pod you guys, and one of my favorite/craziest episodes to date. Written AND directed by Jed Whedon himself. It's literally gonna blow your minds. And make you pee your pants. "

I'm not sure how exactly something can *literally* blow your mind (I'm figuratively wrecking my brain trying to imagine that), but it seems promising.
But I don't want to pee my pants. :-(

As for the Framework, it may be widely distributed but something with such integrated and complex programming will have to be centrally administrated, by Radcliffe or Aida. Though, not being idiots, they've probably got multiple redundancies in place so a random power failure doesn't bring the whole thing down.
If Mace's thought patterns/"consciousness" are uploaded into the Framework the way Agnes' were, but his body is dead, then that's a copy and original Mace has died. While it would be cool if that consciousness gets copied into the LMD-Mace body and overrides Radcliffe & Aida's "bad" Mace version (agreed with everyone who suggested that, because then it'd be like he really DOES have superpowers!), original-Mace still will have died tragically. Same deal for copy-Agnes being put into Aida's robo-body (although the effect for both consciousnesses would be the same, because Mace and Agnes would FEEL like their original selves).

Except...The Darkhold. With magic involved, if the show wants to get into the idea of souls or wants to say that yes, the originals WERE in fact preserved in The Framework and can be ported around like insertable plug-in consciousnesses, great. No Dollhouse-like dilemma.

I thought the bulk of this ep was kind of lame and it was easily the weakest of the LMD arc. Unless this setup leads to some clever twists or amazing action and excitement next week, replacing most of the team with LMDs wasn't worth it.

The show needs to work on its mini-boss and misdirect-villains this season. Eli Morrow (Robbie Reyes/Ghostrider's uncle) was an undercooked character and so is Ivanov. Zemo from Civil War, he is not -- I didn't care about Ivanov one bit. I SHOULD be made to care about how one country's spy agency meddling in the affairs of another country's spy/military organization got potentially good people killed (not gonna assume all those soldiers were villains just because they were Russian). There was more the show could've delved into there, if it had wanted to, regarding international policy and believing you're the World Police (or have the right to be). Who's to say that that 084 was any safer in the hands of SHIELD than it was locked up in a Russian facility ? Maybe next week's ep will shed some light, but I doubt it and I prefer full concentration on the wrap-up or part of this LMD and/or Radcliffe's arc at this point.

Don't like Phil/May. Stop it, show. People don't have to be paired off just because they've co-starred together/characters have worked together for so many years. This show doesn't need 'shipping.

[ edited by Kris on 2017-02-17 04:25 ]
Has there been even one single show since "The Avengers" that failed to eventually pair up its male and female leads? It's like there's a law somewhere mandating it.
@AndrewCrossett: Well, most people think that Daisy is the show's female lead, so that would still not imply to AoS. (Fortunately.)
@Kris: "Who's to say that that 084 was any safer in the hands of SHIELD than it was locked up in a Russian facility ?"

Actually, we can be pretty sure it would have been safer locked up in a Russian facility than in the hands of SHIELD... Because SHIELD was also Hydra.

I agree that there are many ethical implications that the show sidesteps, but that's nothing new. Unfortunately, even though I love the show for many reasons, its ethics - or at least, its protagonists' ethics - have always been questionable. It comes with the territory of making a show centered on an organization like SHIELD. From the start, we've known that it's a semi-secret spy organization with incredible resources that hoards dangerous (including alien) technologies and weapons, operates on the global level and constantly breaks national and international laws. And I think that the showrunners are well aware of that, since they've said in interviews that they were facing the problem: "How do we make people root for members of such an organization?" and came up with the solution that the show would be based on the concept of "family" as the main theme, and the SHIELD team as a substitute/makeshift family unit. Focusing on the personal and making the main characters relatable and likable has indeed been a good way to make us invested and make us ignore the iffy ethics of SHIELD, for the most part.

The other way that the show tries to make us ignore it is present a convincing case that an organization like SHIELD is really necessary to deal with all the threats to the world safety. (Which is why the Hydra reveal worked so well, as the dark side of that - the idea that humanity cannot be trusted with its freedom and that it has to be put under absolute control.) So, SHIELD is presented as heroic because they have noble goals, protection and saving the world, but their methods are still often questionable. They are Pragmatic Heroes, but not Ideal Heroes. At least this is the idea - opinions may differ on whether the protagonists' behavior really always is heroic, and when it slips into something that looks more like anti-heroism or even close to villainy, which is always a danger with Pragmatic Heroes.
Ok, i'll shoot: who/what is VJ?
Nadeer's brother.

[ edited by Dusk on 2017-02-18 00:07 ]
TimeTravellingBunny said:
"Actually, we can be pretty sure it would have been safer locked up in a Russian facility than in the hands of SHIELD... Because SHIELD was also Hydra."

Point. And I did think of that as an argument, but then again, the current vice president or president of Russia (in-show) has been shown to be a bad guy, so...Hydra, corrupt VP, who knows where that 084 would've been safer, given those two options.
@Kris: The flashbacks took place at least a decade ago. Who knows who was in power in MCU Russia at the time, whether the current president or someone else.

Hah, maybe this particular 084 isn't even a weapon. Maybe the Kree who created Hive and the other original Inhumans left their ornate alien back-scratcher behind and it just looked high tech to whoever unearthed it. That 084 from Russia might've posed no threat whatsoever.

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