Agents of SHIELD is the first of the comic book hero shows back from the winter/holiday break. I suppose that makes sense. All the other heroes work for themselves, and SHIELD works for the government, so they can’t take the longer vacation.
“Broken Promises” follows up on a few elements of the cliffhangers from last time around. Ada is involved in her own agenda, and still has Agent May prisoner. About the only way you’re going to keep May captive is keep her unconscious, and that’s what Ada’s doing, with a steady IV drip of drugs.
Back at headquarters, Director Mace is briefing the rest of the team. He is going to send the Darkhold to a specialist, and send Fitz and Radcliffe to reformat Ada after her weird experiences with the book. I get the whole episode can’t be about this or anything, but it would have been nice if there was at least a reference to Ghost Rider, who disappeared last time.
The other big plot in motion this week is Senator Ellen Nadeer and her brother, Vijay. Vijay is the Inhuman that Simmons was sent to rescue last time from his long term Terrigenesis. Ellen has been very anti-Inhuman since we first saw her, which is creating some tension with her newly-emerged brother. I didn’t like Ellen before this episode, and by the end of it, I like her a lot less. I will give her that she’s committed to her cause.
Simmons and Daisy, meanwhile, have identified Vijay as the mystery Inhuman. After a very tense Daisy/Mace meeting, the team is in agreement on trying to rescue Vijay. Daisy is a bit surprised that Mace changes gears so easily. I am too, actually. It’s like he’s a good guy trying really hard to hide that under a layer of bureaucracy, but the good keeps slipping out in spite of his best efforts.
The SHIELD teams move out on their objectives, and nothing goes well. Team Ada get a lot of surprises when they show up to try and take her down. Let’s just say that if she had a version of Asimov circuits, they’re not working now. Ellen Nadeer is almost as rabidly anti-SHIELD as she is anti-Inhuman. The team going her way runs into more complications when a group of the Watchdogs show up. No one is having a good day today.
One of the best parts of this episode is Mac. He had an entire litany running through the show about independent robots always being a bad idea, and quotes movie after movie to back up his point. Later on, even Yo Yo gets in on the act with Mac, which just makes it better. Those two belong together, clearly.
Ada attacks SHIELD headquarters, trying to acquire the Darkhold. There’s a lot of action which doesn’t go smoothly, but does let Mac work out some aggression on this issue. The Ada story isn’t over yet, as we find out that she wasn’t working alone. In addition to the faux May she’s got running around SHIELD, Ada has an ally who is helping her. I have to say, that was a bit cliche.
The SHIELD/Watchdogs/Nadeer confrontation goes badly, too. We find out what Vijay’s power is. I would like to say that the Inhumans on SHIELD are a lot simpler than the ones in the comics. They usually have complicated powers with weird side-effects. Here, they often seem to be just generic powers. I wonder if they’re playing up Inhumans so much because they can’t use mutants, which about every other new character was back in the 90’s. There’s a death, a betrayal, and someone showing their true colors during all the chaos. In addition to the reveal of Ada’s ally and the character dying, there’s a potentially problematic effect with the body at the end.
What I liked: Vijay’s power is one of my personal favorites, so it was good to see that. I’m glad Daisy is back where she belongs, and that the big secret about Ada is out now. Mac’s diatribe about robots was great, and Yo Yo chiming in was even better. Mace agreeing to try and rescue Vijay without being argued with or persuaded was nice.
What I didn’t: The character death was bad on several levels, and I really don’t care for the killer. There’s a whole new level of bad coming from the Watchdogs. And it’s always disorienting when an actor, looking about the same, goes from hero on one show to villain on another.
I’ll give this a 3.5 out of 5. It was a good episode, and welcome back to the Agents of SHIELD.