Check out Josh’s recap of Season 4 Episode 14 of Agents of SHIELD, titled The Man Behind the Shield, where the team tries to find and rescue Mace from the Russians! Following the recap, we both share our thoughts about the episode.
- His thoughts on The Man Behind the Shield, Episode 414 of Agents of SHIELD
- Her thoughts on Agents of SHIELD, Season 4 Episode 14: The Man Behind the Shield
On this week’s episode of Agents of SHIELD, we have Mace still in the custody of Radcliffe and The Superior, and Coulson and company working to figure out a way to locate him and hopefully Agent May.
But before that, Coulson and Daisy are having some training fun in a simulator based on Radcliffe’s “framework”, which is very similar to how the movie trilogy’s “Matrix” worked. Inside, people could feel pain, exhaustion, etc.
The first clue that the gang finds leads the group to Nome, Alaska, which is following the tracker in Mace’s super suit. In Alaska, we see the Superior’s conspiracy wall surrounding that of Agent Coulson. After examining the wall for some time, they also discover that there is information about the Superior there, including one regarding a Russian compound that Coulson had a mission at “some time ago”. This mission is shown in flashbacks during the episode.
Meanwhile, Radcliffe is also enjoying some time in the Framework of his own, and the Superior comes to talk to him. AIDA stops him though, as Radcliffe doesn’t want to be disturbed during his sessions. The Superior insists though, so AIDA wakes up Radcliffe, much to his chagrin.
Radcliffe seems to be content with living in his dream world, as the Superior complains that Radcliffe is spending too much time inside there. But Radcliffe doesn’t seem too concerned about this himself.
A bit later, we see Mace, chained to the wall. He is able to break his bonds, and get free. He even takes out a few guards during his escape, but he runs into the Superior who takes him down pretty quickly. The Superior is not impressed, and orders Mace chained up again.
Back with SHIELD, Mack gives Fitz a bit of a hard time about his involvement in helping create the Framework with Radcliffe, and thinks their situation would be different had Fitz never assisted Radcliffe. Fitz gets defensive, and Simmons tries to calm things down.
Then we have The Superior having another talk with Mace, who is unimpressed with Mace. He then explains that Coulson is the cause of all of the problems in the world. Mace, meanwhile, sticks to his guns, believing that Coulson will come for him. The Superior is hoping for that.
Coulson and the team have made their way to Russia, to the compound that the Superior had a photo of in his “War Room” in Alaska. They discover dead guards, and find a cell phone that is ringing. Coulson answers it to find the Superior on the line. The Superior insists the world’s problems are Coulson’s, and such. Apparently these dead guards were tortured as a result of Coulson’s mission from “some time ago”.
Daisy does some more digging for the Superior, and learns the Superior was involved with the SVR guards in Russia. Daisy finds a submarine base and figures this must be the secret hideout.
The team suits up and heads for the base. They blow a hole in the wall, and infiltrate, taking out a few guards on the way. Coulson meanwhile runs into The Superior, and the two talk things out. Coulson tells the Superior he doesn’t remember anything about their previous encounter at all. But this conversation buys time for Daisy to come and save the day, taking out the Superior with her “cheating” powers.
Mack, meanwhile, finds Mace, and saves the day. He takes out the four guards, and gets into some trouble, but Coulson joins to help finish up. The two find a barely conscious Mace, and pick him up to evacuate.
Fitz and Simmons, meanwhile, hit a data room to see what they can find there. Unfortunately, not much is there. Simmons then sees that AIDA is making an escape, so she heads out with a guard to try to track her down. Unfortunately AIDA was too quick, and the submarine pulls away from the dock. We see Coulson, Mack, Mace and Daisy come and up moments later, then Fitz comes hustling to the dock, with some old data devices in hand.
Coulson calls for a regroup so that Mace can be healed up. The team heads back for base. At base, it seems the group had a good victory, but after doing some analysis, Simmons has something bothering her. She tells Fitz that it was strange that the team managed to meet up so easily, and close in time at the end. Fitz agrees, and says it is odd.
Simmons then checks with the LMD monitor, and discovers it was turned off — by Coulson. Curious about this, they dig deeper. They then find out a pretty big bombshell. It looks like Coulson, Daisy, Mack and Mace have all been replaced by LMDs. Simmons and Fitz are now on their own…
Meanwhile, the Superior, who was buried in rubble, is found by AIDA, who says that he has served his purpose. We also see that Coulson has decided to reawaken his romance with LMD May — quite literally.
The flashback in this episode revolved around Coulson on a mission to recover some item from the Russian compound we see in the present. Agent May shows up and she is there to provide the muscle despite Coulson not being made aware.
After some banter, Coulson is able to get to the safe he has to break into. But some soldiers outside aren’t really trusting Coulson’s cover. May works on the safe-cracking while Coulson provides some cover story to try to delay the soldiers. They aren’t buying his story though, and things go sideways when there is a big boom inside the building. Inside, the safe is empty, and then we see that May has sped away with the item she was retrieving. The Russians, including the man now known as the Superior, mock Coulson for having his agent leave him behind. Coulson is loaded up into the Russian vehicle, and it pulls away from the compound.
But May comes to the rescue, ramming the vehicle with her own, and Coulson is surprised to see that May came back for her. The two have a good laugh about it, and presumably they make it back to SHIELD just fine.
His Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD, Season 4 Episode 14: The Man Behind the Shield
So, this was a pretty entertaining episode. The Superior was not so much, given his lackluster fight with Daisy, who should have easily flattened him in two seconds. All his talk was a waste of time for the most part. But the Framework’s Matrix-esce feeling was pretty interesting to see, and its clear homage to it was pretty cool.
Then the whole situation of swapping out SHIELD for LMDs will be interesting as well. Simmons and Fitz are going to have their hands full-given that they weren’t swapped out either! Who knows who is real and not real now?! I have to imagine that there’s a possibility that Simmons and/or Fitz could have been swapped out too, so I wonder how this all plays out.
I wonder what Radcliffe’s end game is now. It would seem the Darkhold has a dark…hold on Radcliffe. But what is the motive for his plan. Swap out everyone for LMDs, and have humans enjoy a blissful world in his framework? Is he trying to create the Matrix? Is this how the Matrix came to be?! Eventually the LMDs evolve into the robots we see in The Matrix: Reloaded.
Overall, this was a good episode though. Aside from May’s terrible haircut/wig in the flashbacks. That was pretty horrible.
Her Thoughts on Agents of SHIELD, Season 4 Episode 14: The Man Behind the Shield
My first thought when Simmons mentioned the discrepancies about the timing was that they were in the Framework. Instead, it turns out that not one, not two, but four of them have been swapped out for LMDs… at least! What’s to say that Simmons and Fitz haven’t also been swapped out? The LMD May had no idea she wasn’t actually the real May, so it’s entirely possible that Simmons and Fitz don’t know that they’re LMDs either. Interestingly, it does seem possible that the LMD Coulson knows, since he’s the one who disabled the LMD monitor, plus he turned the LMD May back on. However, it could be so ingrained in his programming that he’s not realizing what he’s doing. Another possibility is that this still turns out that they’re in the Framework. Maybe Fitz and Simmons are the ones who were kidnapped, and they’re the ones in the Framework, thinking they’re facing down LMDs (since they like to solve problems, so this will keep them busy), while they’ve actually been replaced in the real world. Dun dun dun!
The flashbacks were kind of interesting, in that they laid a groundwork on which to base Coulson and May’s budding romance, which apparently began all those years ago, and may have progressed if it hadn’t been for May meeting Andrew when she did.
As for Mace, I think I finally trust him now, and feel like he has proven himself to be a true part of the team. I was a little hesitant to trust him there for awhile, even though it seemed like the only secret he was hiding was about him taking the super serum, as I thought there might be something else. However, at this point, it seems like all his big secrets are out. Well, except for him being an LMD now.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next!