‘Lockup’ Plot Summary:
Quake (Chloe Bennet) and Ghost Rider (Gabriel Luna) team up with S.H.I.E.L.D. to break Reyes’ uncle out of prison and stop the Darkhold’s power from being unleashed. Elsewhere, Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) faces a stressful lie detector test.
Considering that S.H.I.E.L.D. spent two full seasons underground, breaking a convict out of prison might not seem like their style. But this is the new and improved S.H.I.E.L.D. And desperate times call for desperate measures. In this case, they have to prevent an evil supernatural being from using an even more evil and supernatural force. And how are they going to do that? By working with a guy possessed by a malevolent spirit. Hmm. I sense a trend.
When seeing the promos for this episode, I wasn’t that excited with the prison break, to be honest. But I have to say that it satisfies more than expected. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has always featured great choreography, but this prison break is especially brutal, with dudes getting stabbed in the shoulder and their heads bashed into stuff. And a few people burned by Ghost Rider. And the return of the hard-light shield, huzzah! I suppose the more proper term would be prison riot, since things get way out of hand.
While Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his crew deal with that, other characters have their own crises to work through. By itself, Simmons keeping information about Life Model Decoys from S.H.I.E.L.D. is not that big a deal, but divulging that information could compromise Fitz (Iain De Caestecker). This isn’t the first lie detector test on the show, but it’s still quite tense. That something interrupts the interrogation isn’t all that surprising, in retrospect, but what interrupts it is.
The televised debate does feel a bit out of place, but it actually does lead somewhere. But, first off, I must say that S.H.I.E.L.D. has come a long way. I can’t imagine Nick Fury doing televised appearances, eyepatch and all. Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) makes a lot of good points, though his opponent’s “Human First” stance is a not-so-veiled swipe at the current political landscape. It still works if you don’t get the reference but I stand with the late, great J.R.R. Tolkien, who viewed allegory as restrictive and instead favored writing situations with larger applicability (Ring ≠ atomic bomb). Still, the X-Men are very allegorical and their films are some of the best superhero movies around. With the Inhumans serving as a substitute, you could even argue Marvel has to go this route.
Until the end of the interview I wasn’t sure the public knew Mace was an Inhuman, but they sure do now. But he also has another secret so big that Simmons can blackmail him with it. He’s probably actually a bad guy, considering how much he spies on everyone. When Coulson eventually takes back his director job, he should punch Mace in the face when he starts to spout that teamwork quote. That would be great.
I have a feeling that Uncle Eli (José Zúñiga) also has a secret, something that we’ll find out in next week’s episode. Until then, I got to say that S.H.I.E.L.D. appears to finally be stepping it up, with a nice web of lies going on. Plus, this hour is the most entertaining so far this season.
Keep it up, guys.
RATING: 8 OUT OF 10 (GREAT)
Aaron Sarnecky is Pop-Break’s television editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in television and film. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronSarnecky