Episode 5 – Lockup
With an episode opening on a huge Marvel reference, Lockup was sure to be a delight. And it was, with a prison riot, blackmailing and plenty of kickass scenes.
The reference we alluded to stems from several posters shown in the background of the basement Lucy and Joseph Bower had originally found the Darkhold in.These posters displayed advertisements for Quentin Carnival. Ring a bell, Ghost Rider fans?
If not, then maybe turn to Johnny Blaze’s run as the Ghost Rider, who often worked with Ralph Quentin, the propiertor of Quentin Carnival. This piece of information may imply that there is in fact multiple Ghost Riders running around the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, Marvel has said that Nicholas Cage’s Ghost Rider movies don’t apply to the ongoing universe, however, that doesn’t automatically dismis that there is someone else taking on the mantle. In this iteration of Ghost Rider, he interacts with Mr. Hyde, who is already in the Agents of SHIELD family as Daisy’s father. Whether or not this confirms multiple Ghost Riders at this very given moment has yet to be seen, but we encourage everyone to keep their eyes peeled for potential Easter Eggs.
Another fine line AoS looped in this episode was the charaterization of Jemma Simmons. Elizabeth Henstridge was not tasked with a simple storyline this season. In Lockup, she fights the battle of trying not to lose her job – and even worse – ending up behind bars. This is due to the sensitive information she was privy to with AIDA, Ghost Rider and Daisy that she is keeping from the director. In the beginning of the episode, she comes off as very cold to a misunderstanding Fitz. He misses the mark on understanding the severity of her situation and tries to play if off with jokes. Simmons, who has taken to upholding her leadership position with high-esteem because it allows her to protect her severed team, is worried that she won’t be able to get out of the lie detection test unscathed. However, through ingenious manuervings and her genius, she is able to admit that yes, she has withheld private information from the director, but because he has lied to the public as he did with his talking heads moment with Senator Nadeer, she is able to strike a deal. Simmons effectively blackmailed the very director of SHIELD. Simply put, that was a badass moment and really shows that Simmons has learned to play the game rather then let it win over her.
The primary action of the episode focuses around the prison bust, which like all SHIELD operations, goes awry. As Coulson and May realize the prison has already been infiltrated by Lucy who is pursuing Eli Morrow, Daisy, Mack and Robbie are called in to the rescue. Daisy, still nursing her injuries, pulls off an amazing defense against a bunch of recruited Watchdog prisoners sans using her powers. She is able to hold the horde off until she looses her strength, where May ends up saving her. This ultimately leads to one of the most beautiful moments the show has ever churned out.
“You don’t get to choose who cares about you,” May says to Daisy under the cursor of tough love. It’s a sentiment building upon the one Elena dropped on her earlier in the season. One can hope going forward that Daisy sees her disassociation with her team is hurting them, which is what she wanted to avoid. It was something Daisy may have not wanted to hear, but ultimately will need to should she make the decision that she doesn’t need to lone wolf it anymore.
As one of the last episodes until the Doctor Strange premiere it was great to get a good deal of action with the Darkhold, the book which is so closely tied to Strange’s storyline. At the end of the episode we are left with Lucy kidnapping Eli to use the book to restore her. It is a wonder if Lucy knew when she first used the book if what happened to her was something she should expect since she is so keen on it being reversed.
AoS continued to strengthen its tie with the greater MCU. Not only do they call Jeffrey Mace ‘a patriot,’ a nod to his comic book origin as being the Patriot, but, they place him at the United Nations bombing during Captain America: Civil War, the attack that killed King T’Chaka. This leads to the information that Jemma eventually blackmails him on, citing she knows he was not actually a hero that day. Mace also reveals himself to the world as an Inhuman, the first openly powered individual in a major leadership role. This is a bold move, because if Jeffrey Mace messes up in his position it could potentially set a negative precedent for future Inhumans, who are already under attack from Senator Nadeer’s Human First committee.
The writing in this episode also takes a lighter take than the previous episodes. Moments where Coulson nags May about her near-death experience are comical and we get another view of Coulson using the shield that is generated from his bionic hand. We get more of the shotgun axe, which is always a blessing alongside its user, Mack.It balances out Robbie’s mercy kill of the gang member and his subsequent guilt for allowg his uncle to be captured. The show also sets that up for a point of contention between Mace, Nadeer and the rest of SHIELD.
Lockup did its job in a season which has continously hit a golden stride for the series. AoS navigates some difficult storylines which resonate some of our own society’s current struggles, and it is done in an entertaining and thoughtful manner.
Interesting dynamics at play
Fun Easter Eggs
Episode generally has a well-oiled machine vibe
Would like to see more progression