Agents of SHIELD 4.15 – “Self Control”
“You must never program a mechanical device with more wisdom than you yourself possess. You must never create a robot that can outsmart you!”
…The Human Duplicators, a terrible sci-fi movie Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) should have seen.
This quote crossed my mind while we’ve been seeing the “LMD” arc on Agents of SHIELD. While the agents have been concentrating on Senator Nadeer and her connection with the anti-Inhuman group, The Watchdogs, they never noticed that Aida was busy trying to take over SHIELD with androids that are better than the real thing. Now, Fitz and Simmons have to determine who is who.
That’s the easy part.
What follows is an exceptional story about technology run amuck with excellent dramatic moments and fight scenes.
But, that doesn’t compare to the last five minutes.
This week’s show was written and directed by co-showrunner Jed Whedon, who clearly did his brother proud. He came up with a very twisty episode where Fitz and Simmons really wonder who to trust and how to pull their friends out of the Framework, a virtual world where things are just a bit better, but still not real. As Fake Coulson tells LMayD, the Framework is “a world with a little less hurt for each of us.” It’s a virtual world where May could still be married and Coulson won’t be killed by Loki because he’s not part of SHIELD.”
It’s interesting that Radcliffe programmed everyone differently. LMayD didn’t know she was fake. She just had to get the Darkhold, and keep Coulson safe. Fake Coulson is just happy he’s not feeling phantom pain from his missing hand. That’s going to be important later.
That is what Radcliffe wanted for the world. He thinks he’s doing the agents a favor putting them in a virtual world, and he’s stunned how quickly Aida has worked to get so many agents replaced. So far, Coulson, Mace, May and Mac are LMD’s. The other agents are real. Oh, and the Superior, Anton Ivanov (Zach McGowan) is also out of the picture, for now.
Daisy, meanwhile, is being tasked to get the Inhumans together. What Daisy doesn’t know is that it’s an ambush. Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) is called by Fake Mac, who tells her she’s in danger. That’s true, but not in the way she thinks.
Then comes an excellent scene between Fitz and Simmons as they get an alert an LMD is nearby. They suspect each other, and Fitz offers to prove he’s real by slashing his wrists. Simmons believes it..until he stabs her leg and knocks her out.
When he prepares to make her an LMD, he says it will be good because it means they’ll finally be together as man and wife. She’s surprised Fake Fitz would do this before the real thing did, but she knows the truth. It’s really painful to see her stab Fake Fitz while she’s strangled, but she puts him down, until Fake Coulson is able to repair him
Daisy discovers the truth when she sees an Army of Her, a field of LMDaisies. The reason is that each will meet and dispose of an Inhuman. So, as Fake Mac shows up, he has to figure which Daisy is which. Thankfully, he guesses wrong. He’s no Kitty Carlisle.
Daisy then meets Simmons, who’s very unsure who’s what. Daisy offers to “quake her” to show she’s real. One desperate hug, and they both know they are real.
Meanwhile, Aida (Mallory Jansen) has reached a conflict. She is directed to protect the Framework and Radcliffe. Thing is, Radcliffe could eventually regret making the Framework. He says that won’t happen, because he’s given the agents a better world. It doesn’t matter if their bodies eventually give out and die. “Reality is just perception,” he says. “They perceive it to be real, which makes it real.” Well, that doesn’t work for Aida, who kills Radcliffe to protect the Framework. It’s part of her bigger goal: to be a real live girl.
Daisy and Simmons, though, are in big trouble. They have to overcome the LMDs and somehow hack into the Framework to pull the agents out before they die. Thanks to some gas that was used to knock out Fitz and Simmons, the girls put down the real SHIELD agents, while Daisy sacrifices her body to put down Mace and Mac. The way she shattered Mac by borrowing a weapon from Dragon Ball was a nice touch. Her fighting scenes are just amazing, and shows she’s come a long way as an agent. When the real agents wake up to an angry and armed Simmons, fans see she’s come a long way, too.
Just one more problem: getting past LMayD, who’s sitting on a bomb.
Solution? They just asked nicely, and Fake May says yes. Fake Coulson is shocked, as robots go.
He forgot that LMayD was programmed differently. She was wired to find the Darkhold, but keeping Coulson safe was a program she developed from within. It got her thinking that fake pain is still real pain, and it made her real. Since she knows LMD Coulson isn’t real, there’s no need to protect him. BOOM!
This sets up the home stretch for the fourth season: Simmons and Daisy now have to inject themselves into the Framework, the virtual world where the agents have different lives. They could literally be anywhere, and they must be found before their real selves die. Meanwhile, Rodriguez has to look after them in the real world.
It’s going to be a difficult search: May is in HYDRA’s version of the Triskelion (because according to Comic Book Resources, the Winter Solider beat Captain America), while Mac has reunited with his daughter. Daisy is called for a mission with her boyfriend….Grant Ward (Brett Dalton). He may or may not be evil, but it makes him FrameWard. Fitz is living large as a tech mogul, but not with Simmons because she is dead. Coulson, meanwhile, is a teacher, and his latest lesson is why we should fear Inhumans. No word on what became of Mace, though.
Oh, and Ivanov is awake…and an LMD. He’s not too thrilled, but at least his head is in a jar, controlling his new body. He’s still almost real, and he can read the Darkhold, too. As for Aida, she’s hoping to be real, maybe just like the girl who she was modeled after. However, will this also mean they will get together just for the need to experience real emotions? Aidanov may be possible, but it may short-circuit both of them, if the Darkhold doesn’t.
Oh, and there’s also Vijay Nadeer’s body in a Terrigenesis cocoon at the bottom of the ocean somewhere. He’s got to wake up sooner or later, right?
That’s a lot to ponder over the next six weeks.