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The Debriefing: Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 9 “Broken Promises”

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This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 9

Agent Nathanson is dead. Agent May has been replaced by a Life Model Decoy (LMD) created by another LMD named AIDA. Senator Nadeer has hidden away her Inhuman brother and is up to no good with the Watch Dogs. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned tonight and picked right up where it left off before the holidays. So let’s dive in!

The episode opens with AIDA cleaning herself up and we get to see the real Agent May locked away in a closet being fed from an IV with music playing to keep her calm. AIDA reveals to her that she will be kept until her double has served its purpose. Mighty ominous.

Some Dark Magic

The Darkhold is at the center of this episode as it’s what AIDA is seeking, and Director Mace reveals he intends to destroy it – well he intends to have someone with magic ability destroy it (perhaps a nod to Doctor Strange, seeing as the Darkhold is part of the Doctor Strange mythology in the comics?). In this discussion about the destruction of the Darkhold, Mack becomes aggressively anti-android and cites movies about robots as his reference for what happens when you tamper with this technology. Smart move, since we as viewers are thinking the same thing, especially because this world has already seen what Ultron has done.

A Family That Hates Together…

Senator Nadeer has taken her brother to their childhood home. Vijay has woken from his seven month Inhuman cocoon and seems to be healthy and begins to stroll down memory lane with his sister, where we discover that their mother was killed by the Chitauri. This has filled them both with a hatred and fear of anything alien and they made a pact to each other to save the other if one of them is infected by the alien plague. However, he pleads with her that he is still the same man. He was able to fight off the Inhuman change.

Simmons and Daisy are looking into Vijay who has had the appearance on social media that he’s still alive and active and not in a cocoon. He’s being held against his will as far as Simmons knows, as she was taken to his location with a hood over her head and then removed by mysterious men with guns. Daisy wants to search for the Senator’s brother, but also wants to begin the hunt for the Watch Dogs. Director Mace agrees to find Senator Nadeer’s brother, so the three of them make their way to Washington to find any evidence of where Senator Nadeer might have gone.

AIDA at it Again

Fitz and Holden return to find AIDA and to erase her memory and shut her down. When Holden attempts to control her, she’s able to resist and fights them off, throwing Simmons into the same room as the dead body of Agent Nathanson.

Simmons fights off a Watch Dog member posing as an aide to Senator Nadeer in her office. They’re able to trace a call he made back to the Nadeer home which has Watch Dogs all over the grounds, there to kill Vijay on the orders of the Superior, who seems to be the one in control of the terrorist group.

Back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, AIDA has shut down the tracking program that’s installed in her programming and infiltrates the tech within the S.H.I.E.L.D. base to communicate with Coulson and the team. She shuts down the base’s system, in an attempt to get the Darkhold. AIDA takes down Coulson and confronts Agent May “FakeMay” inside the S.H.I.E.L.D. base. AIDA throws FakeMay and Coulson in a room together, locking them inside. FakeMay doesn’t seem to know that she’s AIDA’s inside A.I. force. Coulson confides in FakeMay about the location of the Darkhold within Mace’s office, not knowing that AIDA can see and hear everything that FakeMay does.

When Watch Dogs Attack

The Watch Dogs confront Vijay, but he discovers that he has super speed as his Inhuman ability. Mace, Simmons, and Daisy arrive to the property and are turned away by Senator Nadeer and the Watch Dogs, but when they hear a gun shot in the house they spring into action. When they find Vijay, he still decides to leave with his sister instead of going with S.H.I.E.L.D. in fear of being forced to become an agent or being held captive by the government agency. They leave in a helicopter together with the Watch Dogs where his sister shoots him and again the Superior is brought up.

Fitz and Holden get the base system back up and running. They confront AIDA who has the Darkhold. AIDA explains that she only wanted to help S.H.I.E.L.D. before Mack cuts her head off from behind. Holden returns home to mourn the loss of AIDA, however, the newer AIDA model is there and we discover that Holden is in on the entire plan to get the Darkhold including the fact that May is held captive.

The Watch Dogs throw Vijay’s body into a lake or the ocean where it sinks to the bottom and becomes encased in a cocoon again.

The parallel story of fear of Inhumans and fear of robots works extremely well in the episode. It actually reveals that the bigger monsters in the entire story are humans. The humans killed Vijay. The humans created and killed AIDA. Granted, AIDA had killed a human, but she was attempting to fulfill her programming of protecting the agents and be their shield. It was a great episode to dive fully into the LMD storyline and they’ve set the mystery of who the Superior is into motion, while making Nadeer even more terrifying. Plus all the robot movie and show references were fun to catch. Can’t wait for next week’s episode!

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