Agents of SHIELD: Boom

ivanov

O Captain, My… no, not this guy. He’s nuts.

The Agents of SHIELD get a new problem to deal with in “Boom,” which also gives us a new spin on an old Marvel villain. I’m not wild about the LMD plotline dragging on as long as it is, but this one has some interesting nuances to it. It’s not the best episode for the agents, but it has some good stuff in it.

The opening scene is in Spain. Coulson delivers a soliloquy to Mac over com as they wait. They are running surveillance, hunting for a woman they hope will be a lead back to May. We finally see the reference picture they are using, and it appears to be the woman Radcliffe based Aida on.

Elsewhere, the actual Aida is helping Radcliffe. He has got his “Framework” up and running. That’s the virtual prison that May’s mind is locked away in. Radcliffe is in awe of it, as it appears to have no limits– it’s a complete recreation of Earth. Radcliffe is less thrilled when he walks into another room and finds Shockley, the head Watchdog thug, and Ivanov there. Ivanov is holding the Darkhold, which makes Radcliffe twitchy. Ivanov is back to his obsession with ridding the world of Inhumans, and Radcliffe has a plan for that. He gives Shockley some pure Terrigen crystal, which is supposed to be harmless to humans, but will cause potential Inhumans to turn.

Team Science isn’t having a great day, either. Fitz is trying to rig up an LMD scanner at their base’s entrance, and not having a lot of luck. Simmons has run tests on Mace’s serum, and found that each time he takes it, he runs the risk of killing himself. Despite his hopes, Mace is not going to be the new Captain America. Mace is not happy to hear this, and it gets worse when Fitz comes in and babbles about a new suit for Mace, which he now can’t use. Mace is actually happy to be called away from the torrent of bad news.

Daisy is running an Inhumans relocation project, hiding her people from Nadeer. She has her own computer skills and the resources of SHIELD behind her, so it’s going fairly well. Mace is worried about how this will play in light of the Sokovia Accords. I’m really hoping those things get overturned in the upcoming Avengers movies. Coulson calls in about the Aida-like woman, and Mace complains he feels useless on the team now. Coulson offers sympathy and some insight from his time with the Avengers (I still want to know how many of them know Coulson’s alive. If Black Widow dumped all SHIELD’s secrets to the public back in Winter Soldier, they ought to know by now).

Coulson and Mac confront Agnes, who is kind of Aida-Prime. At first, she doesn’t seem to know what they are talking about, but she looks shocked when Mac shows her pictures of Aida on his tablet.  She holds some kind of major grudge against Radcliffe (although at this point, who doesn’t?).

Things take a surprising turn when Shockley goes to see Senator Nadeer. Apparently the thought was that since her brother turned out to be an Inhuman, she would, too. So he smashes the crystal down on her desk and lets the Terrigen mist out. Everyone is stunned when Shockley himself turns. Nadeer is very briefly amused, until Shockley’s power manifests. There’s a Marvel Comics villain called Nitro who can blow himself up and reconstitute himself. Shockley seems to have the same power. Nadeer’s office is destroyed in the blast. SHIELD watches this on the news and goes through various surprised reactions and theories. Mace decides to take a team to the Senate offices and investigate for themselves.

Agnes listens to Coulson’s story, and isn’t hugely surprised. She’s not happy about it, but still wants nothing to do with Radcliffe. Coulson is ready to pull out all the stops, since he’s so desperate to find May. Agnes, it turns out, has a brain tumor. When she’s already dying, there’s not a lot Coulson can do to her. He and Mac end up arguing about this, with Mac pointing out that May probably wouldn’t want Coulson bullying a dying woman.

SHIELD arrives at the disaster area that used to be Nadeer’s office, and the FBI isn’t happy to see them. After they spar over jurisdictional issues, Daisy strongly suggests that Mace go deal with the press, which he does, muttering about being demoted to mascot. Fitz and Simmons find nothing in their search: no explosives residue, no accelerants (which are usually for arson, not explosions), nothing to explain the blast. They wonder if the Darkhold taught the Watchdogs how to make a new explosive. Well… kinda.

A very dazed Shockley stumbles through the city and finally makes it back to the Watchdog base. Ivanov isn’t happy, since the goal wasn’t to kill Nadeer or make such a public scene. Shockley claims to not remember what happened or how he got away. SHIELD shows up, having traced Shockley, and Ivanov barely gets away while the others are captured and brought to the Zephyr.

Coulson takes a smarter and kinder tact with Agnes. Instead of threats, he tells her about May. Slowly, he persuades her to help them find Radcliffe. Agnes is still having trouble believing Radcliffe would do the things Coulson has described, and he tells her that the scientist is under the influence of “something dark and powerful.”

Shockley refuses to talk to anyone but Director Mace, which isn’t good. Fitz and Simmons put it together almost too late, and rush down to the holding area just as Shockley is powering up. Mace and Fitz manage to wrestle Shockley into one of the containment pods and eject it just before he blows up. Simmons is worried about Fitz, and Mace is again feeling the lack of his serum-based strength.

Radcliffe gets an email from one of his old fringe groups. He calls it fate when he figures out who it’s from. Aida, on the other hand, is a lot less thrilled. She’s not jealous of Radcliffe, but she’s displeased to learn she’s not “unique,” in her words. There’s a lot of interesting things going on in that android’s head.

Shockley reforms himself again, disposes of a luckless passerby, and gets to a motel. He finally tells Ivanov the truth in a very terse phone call, and then vows to take out as much of SHIELD as he can.

While Simmons comes up with an idea on how Daisy can possibly counter Shockley’s powers, Agnes is getting tired of waiting for Radcliffe. He finally contacts her, and manages to convince her to join him. Coulson and Mac lose them both when Radcliffe’s backup strafes the area with machine gun fire. Coulson needed to get that shield out again.

SHIELD homes in on Shockley, which isn’t that hard since he blew up the motel he was in. He and Daisy face off. She can’t make Simmons’ plan work, so she tries to wear him down instead. This is going not terribly well when it gets worse and more Watchdogs show up. Mace, feeling useless, decides he’s had enough. He takes his serum again and charges the Watchdogs. He stops one of their trucks, and gets captured, but he managed to slow them down enough for Fitz and Simmons to use their clever gizmo to imprison Shockley.

Agnes gets uploaded to Radcliffe’s “Framework,” and then dies. Radcliffe is ok with this, saying she can live forever in there. Aida seems puzzled by all this, but takes Agnes’ necklace when Radcliffe isn’t looking.

So, SHIELD captured Shockley, lost Mace, and lost their best lead on May. Not one of their better missons. You know Shockley’s not going to help them, and I can’t think of any other clues they may have. Hopefully, they come up with something soon and put the LMD craziness behind them.

What I liked: It would have been very easy to make Mace a cardboard, dislikable character. Instead, they have made him very sympathetic, even when he’s being an antagonist to the team. I felt bad for him this episode. He did get some of the best lines this week. Coulson’s frustration was obvious. Simmons concern for Fitz was entertaining. Daisy was the big hero of the episode. I sure won’t miss Nadeer.

What I didn’t: Radcliffe is getting just plain annoying, and I’m tired of him being one step ahead of the heroes. Shockley was smug and insufferable before he got powers; now he’s even worse. The team needs a solid win. It feels like they haven’t had one in a while. And I’m really kinda over the LMD crisis. I was liking Ghost Rider a lot better.

I’ll give this one a 3.5 out of 5. I hope Mace ends up being ok.

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