Episode 13 – BOOM!
BOOM! Was a perfect amalgamation of what Agents of SHIELD does best, combine adjacent MCU storytelling, with its own original characters, with lots of heart and action. While the episode didn’t boast the biggest plot developments, it surely expounded on the tenets of good television. It offered so many levels to the story without being overly complicated.
The episode begins with Mack and Coulson in pursuit Radcliffe’s muse for Aida. Agnes, an Australian ex-pat living in Spain is pained to hear anything about Radcliffe, and reveals as a woman living out the last of her days due to terminal cancer, she wants to waste no time on him. This helps make Radcliffe’s motivations a bit more complex, but Coulson perseveres, knowing May’s own life is on the line. The juxtaposition of May and Agnes at the end serves up an interesting point of morality. May was kidnapped and is held in the Framework against her will, while Agnes willing goes and understands this is an opportunity to having a life after, with her soul intact.
Another interesting point is figuring out Aida’s reaction to Agnes. Aida seemed perturbed that she wasn’t one-of-a-king, that she was a duplicate of a person. After Agnes passes, she takes Agnes’ necklace for herself and we are left wondering how real and justified Aida’s emotions are.
While Coulson and Mack chip away on finding Radcliffe through their means, figurehead director Mace takes control of the team to investigate Senator Nadeer’s murder. After dying in an explosion in her office, Mace is convinced on being more useful to the organization, especially after Simmons delivers some harrowing news about his health. In a bonafide gut punch, Simmons tells Mace the next time he uses Talbot’s attempt at a Captain America serum, he runs a high risk of death. Even though Mace turned out to be all that he wasn’t cracked up to be, there has been something so innately endearing about him. As someone who has only ever wanted to help, it is difficult to watch him fall off his pedestal. When Coulson gets on the phone with Mace, he offers some wonderful advice on why even though he feels useless, he isn’t, and it ends up being a fantastic piece of writing, hitting a bittersweet emotional chord.
This episode was also keen on delivering a total package. Bear McCreary’s soundtrack was in top form, with the orchestration swelling with impact, tapping into what makes comic book soundtracks so iconic and fun. Mark Kolpack and the VFX team shined as well, from the explosions to the amazing materialization of Shockley. That moment reminded me of another iconic comic book moment – when Doctor Manhattan materializes for the first time.
Speaking of anti-Inhuman Watchdog Tucker Shockley, his power aligns with an established Marvel property, Nitro. Nitro, was a catalyst of Civil War (in the comics). In short, he ends up detonating near a school, killing a bunch of children, prompting the call for legislation. While Mace sacrified himself (thus becoming an actual hero), Fitzsimmons were able to use their Pokeball-like contraption to capture Shockley as he was re-materializing.This episode did a great job in letting the agents of Shield win a little bit, with capturing Shockley, but also falling behind in that Mace is captured.
It’s hard to imagine this is the same season that included a prominent Ghost Rider story, but it is. And while we miss Ghost Rider, this LMD arc is shaping up to deliver a ton of great SHIELD moments.
Next week, the agents investigate Anton ‘The Superior’ Ivanov’s obsession with Coulson in The Man Behind the Shield.
- Everything seemed finely tuned
- Barely saw May