Episode 11 – Wake Up
Wake Up got two things very right, character interaction and the acting. Solid on both fronts, it does mask some of the glaring plot holes that addled the episode. Agents of SHIELD continues its foray into the messy world of LMDs. Despite the questionable gaps in plot, the episode was generally pleasing and a great sci-fi exploration.
With Coulson back at command, the return to his position as director of SHIELD is certainly different this time around. Coulson meets with nearly everyone – Talbot, Mace, Jemma and Daisy to determine what should be done concerning Daisy’s inquisition and Sokovia agreement and handling the problematic Senator Nadeer. While the episode was touted as LMD May’s struggle to find out who she is and the real May struggling to break free, the bigger action revolved around the Senator Nadeer and Daisy storyline.
Speaking of LMD May and real May, the Groundhog’s Day-esque plot felt ultimately week once it was established early on that it was a simulation. It lessened the impact of the great fight work by the actors and crew. The redeeming factor to this storyline is that shock of an ending which reveals what Radcliffe is putting real May through now, reliving her Bahrain experience with a happier ending. The May-focused episode in season 2 which delved deeply into why May is the Cavalry was one of the most emotionally draining episodes to date, and to revisit that and somehow make it even more heartbreaking was a true kick to the feels. Ming-Na Wen does a solid job in portraying several different shades of May in this episode, from the confused LMD May, to the aggressive fight simulator May, to the Bahrain bereaved version.
The actor to actor conversations this episode were all on point. While maybe the plot wasn’t there as much to support them, we get some great scenes. The talk Mace and Daisy have before her hearing is interesting and shows a disgraced Mace trying to redeem character – for both of them. It is reminiscent of the early talks Daisy and Coulson had which created a strong relationship for the characters. Senator Nadeer’s grilling of Daisy was done really well, except for one little problem. When Nadeer asks why Daisy stole $7 million dollars, instead of easily saying that it was for a classified mission, Daisy gives a pretty poor answer. SHIELD is a government agency, and even someone like Nadeer would have to understand what a classified mission would mean.
Mack and Elena also had a really intense episode. With Mack acting strange after their hook-up, Elena tries to gather pieces to the puzzle by talking to Coulson. When Coulson doesn’t divulge any information, either being truthful about not knowing it or knowing it wasn’t his information to tell, Elena then confronts Mack. With the misunderstanding, Mack comes clean about what he was up to and reveals that the day is around the anniversary of his daughter Hope’s birth and subsequent death.
Fitzsimmons, who have also been having a little trouble in paradise, may have solved their issues. While their problems weren’t necessarily based on flaws they found in each other, they were related to their jobs, which is also a point of contention for some couples. Jemma delivers some great lines about being there for someone, and even when she briefly thinks that he’s accidentally allowed the leak to happen due to Aida’s eye enhancements. Hopefully, going forward, Fitz and Simmons will get back to doing what they do best, science.
When Jemma calls out Fitz for keeping the decapitated head of Aida around, another plot hole pops up. Fitz tells Jemma he wasn’t obsessed with the Aida head, but investigating. If that was the case, why couldn’t he divulge that to Jemma, or to anyone?
Even though the episode had several emotional high points, the humorous side of the SHIELD writing room was also present. From Elena saying ‘I’m so glad turtle man came out to play,’ post-coitous with Mack (but just rferencing him, not his, erm, Little Mack), Talbot giving us the glorious line of ‘fart pebbles,’ and Coulson lamenting how much cauliflower sucks but getting kicked in the balls sucked worse, there was plenty to chuckle about.
Next week in Hot Potato Soup, we see the return of Patton Oswalt, coming back at the Koenigs. We have nothing more to say about this other than we are Very. Flipping. Excited!
Relationships reign in this traitor discovery plot
Needed more developed plot, characters ended up in the same place they began