Marvel's Agents of SHIELD Review by John Keegan

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD 4.09: Broken Promises

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD 4.09: Broken Promises

Written By:
Brent Fletcher
Directed By:
Garry A. Brown

Agents of SHIELD returns with the start of its “LMD” story arc, which means focus on Aida and whatever it is that Radcliffe has really been trying to achieve.  At least, what he has been trying to achieve since he got his eyes on the Darkhold; apparently, regardless of what he may have said and done, he was definitely tempted by the prospect of that kind of power.  This is actually a nice touch, since it adds a layer over the notion of an artificial intelligence out of control.  There is a human mind behind the threat, at least for now.

 


 

This seems like a bit of a twist, but in reality, it’s rather consistent with his original introduction.  Radcliffe was leading a secret society dedicated to advancing humanity via biotechnology, and everything we’ve seen about the Darkhold suggests that it would align with those goals rather easily.  Chasing immortality sounds like something Radcliffe would do, so even if he was a good addition to the team, those earlier goals are leading him back to the villainous path he appeared to be on from the start.

 

At this point, it appears that Radcliffe programmed Aida to mimic an artificial intelligence that has gained sentience, but that begs the question: what happens if she actually does, and she simply starts pretending to be playing her role?  It seems almost inevitable, and it may already be happening.  The same overall concerns about rehashing Age of Ultron exist, but there’s also the possibility that her care with May is an indication that a sentient Aida might be sympathetic, acting against SHIELD only because it’s necessary to follow along with Radcliffe to determine the full scope of his plan.

 


 

In a nice touch, the existence of LMD-May suggests that the line between actual self-awareness and programming is a fine one.  It’s playing in the Westworld sandbox, but focusing more on the external perception of the situation, as one would expect of this series.  And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when it is layered with interesting questions of self-awareness and self-identity posed by the ongoing Inhuman situation.

 

Nadeer’s brother was essentially treated as a thing, not a sentient being with rights, and it was practically inevitable that he would be killed before the episode was done (leaving aside his apparent survival at the end).  The biggest surprise was that Nadeer had a brief period of conscience before joining the Watchdogs in their blind adherence to wiping out Inhumans.  On the plus side, this gives Mace and Daisy a chance to work together, and considering that Mace is a far more nuanced character than expected, this is a positive development for sure.


Our Grade:
B+
The Good:
  • Thankfully the AI elements of this story arc look to be more complex than originally thought
  • The two plot threads complement each other surprisingly well
The Bad:
  • I’m going to miss Radcliffe’s friendships with the team, because I believe they were genuine

John Keegan aka "criticalmyth", is one of the hosts of the "Critical Myth" podcast heard here on VOG Network's radio feed Monday, Wednesday & Friday. You can follow him on twitter at @criticalmyth

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD by - 1/12/2017 7:38 AM163 views

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