Episode 10 – The Patriot
As Agents of SHIELD nears the halfway point of its fourth season, they seemed to finally have grasped the art of the filler episode. While The Patriot was not without fault or plot hole, it managed to bridge the murky territory between one big plot point to the next. And hey, there was even an Easter Egg for Luke Cage.
Where this episode falters lies in the introduction of Director Mace’s briefcase. The plot point would have had a much bigger impact if the briefcase had been introduced earlier in the season as just something that was there. But, it wasn’t something that became apparent only until the story called for it in this episode.
The introduction to the episode promised a good time, it was soon became a ‘Capture the Briefcase’ story. Beginning with Daisy being publically honored for a good deed while ‘undercover,’ the team has to protect Mace from multiple assassination attempts, while Mace tries to reclaim his lost briefcase. With Mace, Coulson and Mack running, hiding and fighting their way out of Watchdog-infested wilderness, the action is both satisfying and entertaining. The culmination in LMD May nearly getting shredded by a table saw helps push the story along.
Speaking of LMD’s, the show is slowly bringing us back into that world of trouble with Fitz’ fascination with the decapitated Aida. While Jemma uses the head to shake down a Watchdog crony, the other half of Fitzsimmons is off downloading Aida’s data to see if he could troubleshoot and repair her program. That definitely doesn’t sound like a good idea when you have LMD May realizing she isn’t all what she seems while the real May is still being held in Radcliffe’s closet.
Fitzsimmons had a particularly great episode. As aforementioned, Jemma was back to her total boss self, shaking down thugs and stepping up to Talbot. His amazing zippy one-liners didn’t even steer her off track in getting the true information about Mace using an updated version of Cal Zabo’s serum.
The characterization of Mace after the discovery of his fraud was also another well-fleshed out part of the storyline and drew allusions to his comic book base. In the comics, The Patriot is used as a cover while Captain America is thought to be deep under ice. Here, it’s pretty similar. Talbot picked a guy who was a charismatic politician with a strong moral compass. While Mace tried to tell others he wasn’t the hero they thought him to be, it comes across as humility, and the lie snowballs until he is injecting himself with a serum he knows little about. There’s a succinct sorrowness evoked in this moment for the now figurehead leader of SHIELD.
With Coulson back to calling shots as Mace remains the image, LMD May becoming aware of her actuality and Fitz tampering with something he shouldn’t, it helps push the story steadfast.
Earlier we talked about that Luke Cage Easter Egg. Did you happen to catch it too? It occurs early into the episode during the first assassination attempt on Director Mace. The sniper fires a bullet that lodges itself into the podium. Mace, seeing the sparks flying from the projectile, tosses the podium into the air where it explodes. Yes, what you just saw was the Judas Bullet introduced in Luke Cage.
Some additional shout-outs should also go to Mack, who held the screen during his impressive ass-kicking this episode. Played by Henry Simmons, he is a character we definitely want to see more of as he’s grown into quite the astonishing action hero. Ming-Na Wen also got to unleash her acting prowess this episode, as she gets to deviate from the normally stoic and calm May. And of course, to Talbot, who always delights us with his corny 80s-esque GI Joe inspired lines.
Fun action scenes, very 'Capture the Briefcase'
-Just regular old human Mace is a bit disappointing