Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Midseason Premiere Has Robot Jokes Aplenty

‘BROKEN PROMISES’ PLOT SUMMARY:

While Daisy (Chloe Bennet), Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge), and Mace (Jason O’Mara) go on a mission to pick up a high value Inhuman, Aida (Mallory Jansen) plots to take possession of the Darkhold. Unbeknownst to S.H.I.E.L.D., she’s already replaced a member of the team with a Life Model Decoy.

As I get into my midseason premiere review, I have a question for myself. Do I remember how to write recaps for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? I think so.

The show is smart to state how bad it is to trust an android (technically “gynoid” for females). Movies have displayed again and again how bad they are. Mack (Henry Simmons) quickly points this out and his robot movie references are the running joke of the episode. Some of them surely flew over people’s heads and, honestly, references are a cheap way to connect with the audience and we’ve been conditioned to squeal with excitement over them. Still, some of them do work as jokes when given the proper treatment, not just name recognition. For instance, when Yo-Yo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) says Radcliffe (John Hannah) has to watch all the Terminator movies and Mack asks if that means even Salvation, to which she replies that he brought it on himself. Scenes like Mack and Yo-Yo listing off robot movies to each other to see if they’ve watched them make the duo feel like a real couple for once.

Besides non-movie related comedy moments, the episode has a number of good dramatic scenes. Radcliffe and Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) ponder whether or not replacing Aida’s hard drive is tantamount to murder. When you look at it that way, it’s not surprising that Aida reacts so violently. I just wasn’t expecting her power play so soon. I’m giving her a little too much credit though, since we find out that she’s following Radcliffe’s orders so that he can obtain the Darkhold. Just when Radcliffe starts to seem like a decent guy, he does this! Talk about a betrayal. We trusted you! It’s a nice twist though.

The other major plot doesn’t wow but it does give us some insights. We may find out Daisy’s motivations for robbing all those banks and going solo. Cross you fingers. The real revelations are with the Nadeers. Hopefully Vijay (Manish Dayal) has more than just super reflexes, because that ability is very close to Yo-Yo’s. He’s pretty dumb for going with his sister at the end, even though Mace makes it clear it’s his choice. Still, the Senator (Parminder Nagra) shooting him is so obvious and he should have seen it coming.

If Talbot (Josh Lucas) is returning next week, then big things might be going down. So far this back half of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 is off to an entertaining start, and it avoids Ultron comparisons by making Radcliffe the mastermind. I take his duplicity personally though. That’s a indication of good screenwriting.

RATING: 7.5 OUT OF 10 (GOOD)

Aaron Sarnecky is The Pop Break’s Television Editor and covers Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., among other things. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of staff writer Josh Sarnecky. He probably remembers that show you forgot existed.