Agents of SHIELD 4.15 Review: “Self Control”
The infiltration complete and it’s up to the women of SHIELD to save the day.
The D in LMD Stands For Daisy
What could be even more terrifying than finding your Life Model Decoy? Finding around twenty of them, of course. Daisy’s highlights in this episode range from shock, instinct, action, inspiration and heart. Let alone the best one-liner since 1987.
“I’m gonna beat the screw out of those junkers and you and I are gonna get the Hell outta dodge.”
Hug It Out
We couldn’t make it one episode without a Fitz & Simmons collapse. Though this time it fully feeds the story and sets the tone for Simmons’ fears. The tension between the two as they debate which one is a decoy is immense. Like so many other things in this episode you could cut it with a knife.
The reveal of Fitz being a decoy isn’t what emotionally knocked me back. The look in Jemma’s eyes as she took Robo-Fitz out had me on the edge of my seat with a locked up and broken heart. All of this made the stand-off with Daisy more tense but led to much needed catharsis as they hugged each other.
May. Robo-May. Both amaze me. I don’t think I’ve teared up during Agents of SHIELD before tonight. As Robo-May sits on a pile of explosives and explains to Robo-Coulson what makes them different, her sacrifice is that of the real May. She acknowledges she’s afraid to die, despite not being human. She’s a product of circumstance and was able to go out her way, as a hero.
Emotional understanding grows exponentially for Aida and has finally reached its peak. It’s not entirely her fault, Radcliffe was dumb enough to awaken this Pinocchio-esque urge to be real. Her misunderstanding of how Radcliffe wants to experience the Framework is on him. Slitting his wrists before jacking him into the Matrix is her only means of interpretation to his explanation of regrets.
May in the Hydra Castle, or Enter The May-trix
Every regret, as heavily touched upon in this episode, is retconned in the framework. Brought forward are moments from lives that could have been. Coulson teaching, May hanging out in HYDRA HQ, a gravestone engraved with Simmons’ name. Then, the big one for Daisy.
As she wakes up soaking in a bathtub, Daisy receives a text to wake her boyfriend up. She says, “Lincoln” but it was as she said that name I realized it wouldn’t be him. And it wasn’t. It was Ward.
Look, I liked Ward. For a while I really did but I’m tired of him finding his way back. He was charming as a friend in season one. His adversarial turn in season two had some interesting menace. Then he was there again in season three and now again in season 4. Just let him rest. After rising from the dead this many times the panache is gone and it becomes a crutch. Yes this is merely going to be VR Ward but at some point it’s time to just let him go.
Despite that one teaser moment, this is my favorite episode of AoS to date. Seeing the women of SHIELD, even Robo-May, save the day as the men were infiltrated was fantastic. (I was raised by a strong single mother, a heroine is easy to root for.) Experiencing the true fear and friendship between Daisy and Simmons and the gratification of Daisy’s action moments following it up. Robo-May’s monologue to Not-At-All-Coulson, possibly the most emotionally driven moment of the series.
This episode delivered on driving pace, emotional gut punches and fleeting yet fist-pumping glimpses at victory. Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge and Ming Na gave stunning performances that I believe will stand as the best AoS has ever had to offer. I can’t finish without sending a special congratulations to Jed Whedon on a remarkable directorial debut. Well done all around, everyone.
AGENTS OF SHIELD airs Tuesdays, 10/9c on ABC