Episode 19 – All the Madame’s Men
With three more episodes left in what has otherwise been a stellar season, All the Madame’s Men fell into Agents of SHIELDs filler trap. While the pawns moved on the board, the running climax diminished at the moment. While action is certainly what kicked off the episode, with May and Daisy staging a Captain America-esque breakaway from the Triskelion.
The information received and toyed with this episode brought us back to the Darkhold. Jemma and Agent Triplett (godness it feels good to type that again) investigate the plans Trip took pictures of. Jemma discovers that Aida is planning to build herself a real body and break free of her programming limitations in the real world with the Framework’s Looking Glass project. After surviving being dumped out a window by Daisy, Aida/Madame Hydra/Ophelia asks Fitzs to double down his efforts in finishing the project.
Fitz this episode spends his time ruminating between seething anger and manipulation. He threatens his father, the head of his security, on gathering information from Radcliffe. Fit’z father Alastair is quick to put down his son, furthering Fitz’ drive for success. The contrast between Fitz’ quiet anger verse the one or two times be pours it out is staggering and fleshes out his characterization. It’s exceedingly difficult to watch given how much we know and love the real version of Fitz.
Coulson also is on the upswing this episode, stepping in to the shoes left by Mace’s death. While Ward gives some resistance to this given the fact that Coulson is simply a history teacher, Coulson’s leadership skills kick in stronger. While Daisy and Jemma are both insistent this episode that they need to use the backdoor, Coulson surmises that in order to actually save them, they must stick it out andplay the game. He ends up delivering a solid speech when the ragtag team hijacks Sunil Bakshi’s television studio to leak May’s bodycam footage of Mace’s death. Their action appears to work, with a group of people waiting outside of the station to help them.
SHIELD continued to deliver the self-referential nods. Early in the episode, we spy a tribute to the late Bill Paxton, who played Ward’s superior officer John Garett in the first season. Fitz also completes Project Looking Glass on a holotable, which featured heavily in the first and second seasons while the team was on the Bus. The show even mirrors this with them having their own version of a bus – the Hydra bus they stole last episode. While not a certain nod, the music in this episode was reminiscent of Henry Jacksons ‘s score for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Now, for Project Looking Glass, does this mean the agents could potentially bring the dead and deceased back? If Aida could make herself a real girl, much like Pinocchio making himself a real boy (Marvel is owned by Disney, folks), could we see the likes of Trip, Mack’s daughter Hope and dare we postulate… Ward back too should the show be granted it’s deserved fifth season? Could be interesting!
Some things did not jibe as smoothly this episode, such as the visual for Madame Hydra’s impact from the fall. The shows graphics are usually top of the line for television, but here it lacked its usual pizzaz. Even with Anton Ivanov proclaiming that he’s found the location of the plane that Jemma and Daisy are on, this episode wasn’t as charged as its predecessors.
Sweet referential nods