“Wake Up” is one of the more unnerving episodes of Agents of SHIELD. I still don’t know if it’s coincidence that they are delving in to this LMD storyline just after HBO’s Westworld series finished its first season, but it’s an interesting coincidence, and the two have a lot of parallels. This episode jumps back five days to show us some of what we missed when May was replaced by the LMD. I was a bit surprised to find the extent of Radcliffe’s participation in the conspiracy. In a separate flashback, we see what led to May waking up and fighting Aida, which we’ve already seen.
Finally in the present, Radcliffe and Aida are watching over the real May. Aida is asking some disturbing questions that Radcliffe really needs to pay more attention to. If she was designed to preserve life and protect agents, her line of questioning is a pretty good sign that Aida’s time with the Darkhold rattled something important loose. Radcliffe hints that there’s yet another secret over at SHIELD. They really need a cool name for that base, and it would be nice to know where it was. I get it needs to be a secret location, but is there a reason they can’t tell the fans? I mean, we don’t even know what city it’s in.
Faux-May is in the conference room as Coulson and Talbot argue about the wisdom of the plan to bug Nadeer’s office. Coulson and Talbot don’t see eye to eye on much. The real May is still out cold, but we see what may be an escape attempt beginning as she slowly awakens and Aida apparently makes a big mistake.
Mac and Yo Yo have finally moved their relationship forward, from what we see when we check in on them. Everything’s going fine until Mac gets a phone call and they start relationship cliche 101: Man Gets Mysterious Phone Call, Won’t Talk About It, and Leaves. For obvious reasons, Yo Yo isn’t happy about this. Also unhappy, although for different reasons, is the Faux-May, who finds Fitz and asks a lot of questions about what was going on with Aida’s attack on the base.
A good bit of the episode shows May trying to escape, and being hunted by Aida. Something looked a bit off about this to me from the beginning, and we get shown that all is not what it seems. It’s a nicely done cat and mouse game, and the reasoning behind it makes a lot of sense.
In between scenes of May’s Great Escape, there are other issues at SHIELD HQ. Talbot and Coulson continue to argue, when Mace weighs in with a surprising opinion. Daisy and Mace get sworn in at a hearing that Senator Nadeer is running, which bodes ill for our heroes. I’m also not entirely sure why SHIELD doesn’t just reveal her connections to the Watchdogs. Then again, they don’t know she’s gone as far as killing her own brother. Yo Yo and Coulson go off on their own mission, and Yo Yo tries to get some info out of Coulson about Mac. Coulson wisely demurs. We even, for the first time I believe, see Fitz and Simmons at home. Their evening in is a bit disrupted by Fitz’s current project.
Nadeer is going after Daisy for everything from the Sokovia Accords to her string of bank robberies while she was operating as Quake. Coulson and Yo Yo aren’t having any better of a time, as their mission runs into some complications. All in all, SHIELD isn’t having a good day.
The team regroups back at base, arguing about what happened in DC (at least I presume that’s where the hearings took place). They clearly have a leak, and Simmons has a theory about what happened. Their theory mentions a character that’s been missing a while and I really wonder what’s happened to. Faux-May goes off on her own to try and find out what happened to her. She has a really odd conversation with Radcliffe that has to be rough on her. SHIELD storms in to arrest Radcliffe, but Faux-May keeps her cover.
Thankfully, the tension between Mac and Yo Yo doesn’t last long. Mac gets back from his mysterious errand and tells her what’s going on, giving him some tragic backstory. It’s a bit odd that we didn’t know any of this, but then again Mac isn’t one of the original team and a lot of the newer ones haven’t been fleshed out as well. Coulson and Faux-May commiserate over the events of the day as “she” reflects on some of Radcliffe’s earlier observations.
Fitz goes to talk to Radcliffe. Their talk doesn’t go very well, and Fitz makes another discovery. At least we know who the leak is by the end of it, as well as what they were talking about in an earlier conversation. We also see what May is being put through, and it’s a great way to keep her occupied. Radcliffe was clever when he set up that program.
What I liked: We got to see a good bit of May in action, which is always good. The Faux-May has all the makings of a really tragic character, and they are handling her well. Fitz’s determination on his own project is perfectly in keeping with his character. I hate what Radcliffe is doing, but he’s being damn smart about how he’s doing it.
What I didn’t: I don’t get why SHIELD is covering for Nadeer. For that matter, I haven’t liked her since she first showed up. And that’s really about it.
This was a good episode, and the whole plot here has been really interesting. I’ll give this one a 4 out of 5. It’ll be interesting to see where they go next.