Losing “Self Control” On Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Credit: Eric McCandless/ABC

If any part of the LMD arc on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has seemed slow or dissatisfying to you, this is the episode that makes up for it. From start to finish it was crazy moment followed by awesome moment followed by tears. This was also the episode where the show best lived up to their reported “darker” tone to correspond with the 10pm timeslot. Let’s not waste any more time before diving in.

After last week’s shocking ending where FitzSimmons realized four of their friends had been replaced by LMDs, things are understandably tense at HQ. Our human duo is determined to stick together. They head down into the lab and pass through an LMD detector, which goes off. One of them is a duplicate.

Simmons pulls a gun first and she and Fitz have a tearful and angry confrontation trying to decide which of them is real and which is a robot. She makes him cut his wrist to see if it exposes wires and when she gets closer to investigate, he knocks her out, revealing himself to be the LMD.

The reawakened LMD!May has a very important conversation with LMD!Coulson about reality and perception. Whereas she had to slowly discover she wasn’t a human, his programming is such that he already knows and is fine with it. He wholeheartedly believes in the Framework and preaches how it’s a world without death or regrets.

When she comes to, Simmons has to listen to a robot version of her boyfriend be the first to mention marriage between them. He believes in the Framework they can be together forever. Then she has to endure a surely traumatic experience of breaking free of her restraints and repeatedly stabbing LMD!Fitz until he’s dead.

LMD!Mack suggests bringing in all of the Inhumans assets for “protection” but really to kill them. However, Daisy, who is her real self and not an LMD as we’d thought at the end of last week, stumbles upon a squad of her duplicates. In order to get the drop on LMD!Mack, she hides amongst them and is able to take him out and escape.

By watching the security feed, Daisy is able to deduce Simmons is the only team member who is not an LMD. But once she finds her, it’s a little more difficult to convince a shaken Simmons. Daisy eventually does so by grabbing her and giving them a minor quake since an LMD couldn’t reproduce her powers. In turn, she’s able to feel Simmons’ bones and know she’s real too. They hug one another fiercely for several seconds.

They decide they have to get to the Zephyr and find a way to plug themselves into the Framework and locate their friends. To do that, they knock out all of the human agents using sleeping gas and Daisy goes one-on-one with LMD!Mace. After defeating him, she’s shot by LMD!Coulson and LMD!Mack. But her final trick is a quake ball that literally blows LMD!Mack’s face apart.

Simmons wakes up three agents and explains she and Daisy are the only ones who aren’t LMDs. As Simmons helps the injured Daisy to the plane, they’re stopped by LMD!May. Believing he’s got the two cornered, LMD!Coulson tells the repaired LMD!Fitz to set the Daisy fleet to seek and destroy. However, when he gets to LMD!May, he finds she’s let Daisy and Simmons get to the plane.

In a heart-wrenching speech, she explains that her mission to get the Darkhold was programmed by Radcliffe. But her desire to protect Coulson and be close to him was instinctual. It came straight from Melinda May herself. And that desire is still there but only for the real Coulson, not a robot knockoff. So she blows up herself and LMD!Coulson, giving the Zephyr time to get away.

Daisy and Simmons pick up YoYo and explain what’s happened. Their plan is to plug into the Matrix, essentially, and find their friends. They do just that, waking up in the Framework to different lives. We see Daisy happily living with her boyfriend, Grant Ward. Coulson’s a teacher, though his lesson is one hating Inhumans. Mack is living a good life with his daughter, Hope. Fitz is wealthy though he’s without Simmons, who appears to be dead. And finally, May is looking pleased as she rides an elevator at the former S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, which now bears the HYDRA insignia.

All of this is down to AIDA having taken charge of the simulation far beyond what Radcliffe had intended. Still on the submarine, AIDA is exerting far more control by the minute. With Radcliffe constantly plugged into the Framework, she is running the LMD show. When she realizes Radcliffe himself is a threat to the longevity of the Framework, she kills him and plugs him in. Then she rebuilds the Superior as a robot but keeps his head in a glass jar so his mind is controlling the robot still. Her next ambition: to feel human emotion for real.

Field Notes

  • I spontaneously started crying during the FitzSimmons stand off. Highest quality acting.
  • We are blessed to have witnessed yet another incredible Daisy Johnson fight scene.
  • We totally knew LMD!May was the secret hero to this story. Real May would be proud.
  • GRANT WARD?!??
  • LMD!May: “But that pain, that regret, that’s what made you a person, a person I love. My programming was to get the Darkhold, that came from Radcliffe. But my impulse to keep Coulson safe and close, that desire? That came from me… And I’m sorry to say, you’re not him.”
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Stephanie Coats

Stephanie Coats is the Lead Events Editor at 4 Your Excitement. She has a B.A. from Hope International University and an undying passion for all things geeky. In addition to 4YE, she also writes for TheFlickcast.com, FlickDirect.com and works full-time as a communications coordinator.

You can follow her on Twitter for nerdy posts about Doctor Who, Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, Harry Potter and more.
Stephanie Coats
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