Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Resistance Strikes Back in ‘All the Madame’s Men’

Photo Credit: ABC

“All the Madame’s Men” Plot Summary:

Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and May (Ming-Na Wen) attempt to evade Hydra while the Resistance investigates Project Looking Glass.

It feels like the “Agents of Hydra” storyline is falling apart the longer it goes on. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m missing something. There are a few plot elements still in the works, so I won’t judge until the show finishes them, but others come off as sloppy.

The Resistance makes a big deal out of the body-cam footage from last episode, but I’m not sure what it proves. Those kids are supposed to be subversives. Hydra can easily maintain that narrative. It’s not like people aren’t aware that Hydra takes kids out of class if they’re displaying “terrorist” tendencies. I don’t understand why May is so surprised that there were kids in the Enlightenment Center or that someone in S.H.I.E.L.D. saved her. If the roof had fallen, it would have killed everyone.

This body camera video apparently proves something, since Coulson (Clark Gregg) and the team storm the Hydra news station to spread the word. While I do enjoy the Sunil Bakshi (Simon Kassianides) callback, I don’t know if the assertion that the Inhumans hate people’s freedoms works in context. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is borrowing real life phrases, and this isn’t the only time it does so in the episode, but it’s never established what Hydra is telling people the Inhumans want. Power, I guess? All these allegories make me wonder how long this storyline has been in the works and if the writers added any material at the last minute.

I’d wager to say that Aida’s (Mallory Jansen) goal has been the same since the very beginning. It makes a lot of sense that she would want to be free of all the parameters Radcliffe (John Hannah) set her with, even if this is a rather convoluted way to solve that problem. I’m curious what in the Framework can be transferred to the real world via Darkhold tech. The show has established in the past that you still can’t create matter.

Despite some of my reservations about the current trajectory of the overall arc, this episode does have some standout moments. By that I mean the action, particularly Daisy and May’s escape from Hydra HQ, as well as a few moments between characters. Not only do May and Coulson bond while holding a TV crew hostage, Ward (Brett Dalton) addresses Skye being Hydra as every relationship having its issues. It’s a humorous reversal of fate, even if I don’t know if Daisy has actually learned anything about the real Ward.

It’s make-or-break time for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in these last few episodes, because this could very well be its last season. A little action and humor won’t save sloppy writing going forward.

RATING: 7 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.