Friday, February 24, 2017

Legends Of Tomorrow Season 2, Episode 12: Camelot/3000

This week Legends Of Tomorrow delivers a fair to middling episode, which as you might guess from the title, is set in the world of King Arthur and Camelot.

Way back in 1982, DC Comics published a miniseries called Camelot 3000, which was obviously the inspiration for this week's episode. The comic concerns the real King Arthur and his Knights Of The Round Table, as they're reincarnated in the year 3000 to fight an alien horde that's invading Earth. It's a pretty good read, and I highly recommend it for Brian Bolland's artwork alone.

Fans of Camelot 3000 shouldn't get their hopes up though, as this episode has absolutely nothing to do with the comic. Too bad.

By the way, look at the cover price of that comic above. One dollar! Yikes! Last time I checked, some comics are up to $4 now! No wonder they're dying off. I have a full time job and can't afford them. How's a kid supposed to?

Obviously I enjoy the various Arrowverse shows quite a bit, since I write about them every week. That said, I don't think I've ever been as aware of a TV series' budget as I am whenever I'm watching one of these shows. That's definitely true this week on Legends Of Tomorrow. They try desperately to deliver Game Of Thrones production values here, but alas, they just don't have the cash to pull that off. Once again, their ideas are just too big for their budget. Somehow that adds to the charm of the show.

Speaking of the budget, apparently there just wasn't enough money this week to include Malcolm Merlyn and the Reverse Flash, who curiously enough sit out the episode.That's a shame, as the writers missed a golden opportunity to have Merlyn meet Merlin!

Lastly, I'm very disappointed there wasn't at least one Monty Python reference in this episode.


The Plot:
We open in Detroit, in the year 3000. Evil Rip pays a visit to man named Charles. who's working in a high tech lab. Charles (whose last name was McNider in the comics) is secretly Doctor Mid-Nite, a former member of the Justice Society Of America. Evil Rip notices that Charles is working on a piece of tech that can suppress or amplify violent thoughts. Convenient! 

Evil Rip then says he's there for the piece of the Spear Of Destiny that Charles is protecting. He tells Rip he'll never find it. Evil Rip realizes that Charles has hidden it inside his body, and brandishes a knife. Yikes!

On the Waverider, Gideon tracks a Spear fragment to the year 3000. The Legends fly there, and find Charles' body, with the name "RIP" written on the floor in his own blood. Now THAT'S hardcore! Back on the ship, Gideon reports that she's detected another piece of the Spear in medieval England. The Legends then head for the past.

Atom and Steel suit up in appropriate period clothing. Atom's excited because he's been a fan of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table since he was a kid. Steel points that the stories of Camelot are just that myth and legend, and real medieval England will be nothing like that.

Meanwhile, Heat Wave catches Professor Stein examining a piece of tech, and asks where he got it. Stein sheepishly admits he stole it from Doctor Mid-Nite's lab. Heat Wave is impressed.

The Waverider arrives on the island of Britannia in 507 AD. White Canary, Vixen, Steel and Atom exit, and make their way through a forest. Suddenly they're captured by a group of knights led by none other than Queen Guinevere, who takes them to Camelot.

There they meet the honest-to-god King Arthur, who's sitting at the Round Table. Atom is suitably impressed, as he's living out his dream. Steel is baffled, as none of this should exist. Arthur summons his wizard Merlin, who turns out to be Stargirl, of the Justice Society.

The Legends take Stargirl back to the Waverider. There she explains that years ago, Rip Hunter asked them to help him track down the Spear Of Destiny. The eventually found it, and the decision was made to split it into four pieces and scatter them across history, to keep anyone else from ever finding and assembling it. 

Doctor Mid-Nite took his piece of the Spear to the year 3000, while Stargirl took hers to medieval England. She then decided to play around with history a bit, and form the Knights Of The Round Table in order to protect her hunk of the Spear. She says the Spear fragment is well hidden, somewhere in Arthur's court. Gosh, I wonder where she could have possibly hidden it, as we see the camera slowly pan across Excalibur sticking out of a rock.

Later King Arthur goes on a hunt, and is confronted by a Black Knight. The Knight turns out to be Damien Darhk, who says he has great plans for the King. 

Meanwhile, Guinevere invites the Legends to a party at Camelot. Arthur returns with the Black Knight. Arthur grabs Stargirl and holds a knife to her throat, as Darhk reveals himself. He tells the Legends that he's using Doctor Mid-Nite's tech to mind-control Arthur, and demands to know where the Spear fragment is. Stargirl says she'll never tell, and the Legends attack Darhk. 

During the fight, Arthur, who's under Darhk's control, kills Sir Galahad and then puts a knife to his own throat. For some reason, Darhk then leaves, saying he'll return with a mind-controlled army and kill them all if they don't hand over the Spear fragment.

Stein examines the piece of tech he stole, which turns out the be the same mind control device Evil Rip and Darhk are using. Stein says the device requires an abnormally advanced mind to control another person. Jackson suggests the device might operate on intensity, not I.Q. They put a headset on Heat Wave, and his brutal, intense mind is instantly able to overpower and control Stein's precise, ordered brain.

Meanwhile, Guinevere doubts her abilities, saying she doesn't want to lead her knights into battle with Darhk. Canary gives her a Patented The CW Pep Talk, telling her she'll be great. Guinevere then gives her army a rousing speech and they ride off to battle. Atom follows, intent on joining the fight as well. Steel asks him if that's a good idea, and Atom says it's something he's dreamed of doing since he was a little boy. Steel looks worried, as his Big Book Of King Arthur contains a drawing of a knight being buried after a battle, and he looks amazingly like Atom.

Since Stargirl refuses to say where her Spear fragment is hidden, Canary and Vixen decide to take it themselves for safe keeping. Using a tracker, they discover it's hidden inside Excalibur (GASP!), and Vixen uses her powers to pull the sword from the stone. She snaps the end off of Excalibur, revealing the tip of the Spear Of Destiny.

Meanwhile, Atom takes the late Galahad's sword, using the power from his suit to turn it into a light saber. Steel tries again to talk Atom out of fighting, since now that they have the Spear fragment, there's no point in staying. He even tells Atom he saw his death in the book. Atom says he doesn't care, as he's staying and is ready to die for Camelot. Guinevere even knights Atom, as Sir Ray Of The Palms (aka Ray Palmer).

Back on the Waverider, Canary's ready to get the hell out of Camelot. Steel says they can't leave Atom behind, but Canary says he made his choice, and getting the Spear fragment away from the Legion is more important (I agree!). The rest of the crew disagrees, and comes perilously close to mutiny as they all tell Canary she's wrong. She finally agrees to stay and help Guinevere fight Darhk and his mind-controlled army.

Guinevere's army attacks Darhk. There's a fierce, low-budget battle, and eventually Vixen, Canary and Steel join in. Stein places the headset on Heat Wave, and tunes it in to Darhk's army's mind-control frequency. Heat Wave unleashes his intense, dark thoughts on the army, which incapacitates them (!). 

Arthur wakes up, back to his normal self. He attacks Evil Rip, throwing him off his horse and injuring him. Darhk tells Evil Rip he "doesn't do rescues" and abandons him. Canary captures Evil Rip.

Atom pursues Darhk, and the two fight. Amazingly, Atom does a pretty good job against Darhk, who's a several hundred year old assassin. Eventually Darhk pretends to surrender to trick Atom into lowering his guard, and shoots him with an anachronistic gun. He then runs off.

Steel finds Atom, thinking he's dead. Atom wakes up, revealing he somehow had his power suit on underneath all his armor (?), and is OK. 

Back at Camelot, Arthur gives Canary the Spear fragment with his best wishes. Stargirl reveals she's in love with Arthur and is staying. Canary plants a big kiss on Guinevere and says goodbye. Steel looks at his book, and sees it's changed, as it now contains a drawing of Guinevere placing a crown on Atom's head (?).

Cut to Evil Rip in the Waverider's brig. He summons Gideon, he responds, "I'm here, Captain."

• I think Steel does the opening narration this week. It's hard to tell though, as he sounds a LOT like Atom. I'm fairly sure it's him though. Unless it's not.

• For a few seconds I thought we were gonna get a Star Trek: The Next Generation reference in this episode. 

When we first see the formerly blind Doctor Mid-Nite, he's wearing a device over his eyes not unlike Geordi La Forge's VISOR. Then Evil Rip says, "I see you found a way to cure your blindness," as Mid-Nite removes the VISOR and we see his eyes are working normally. Oh well. They were so close...

• I loved how all of Steel's historical knowledge of the period turned out to be consistently wrong. Especially the part where he said his outfit was historically accurate, only to be mistaken for a leper by Guinevere.

• We get a Lord Of The Rings moment when Guinevere removes her helmet and her flowing locks cascade down her back. Any second I expected her to say, "I am no MAN!"

• Historical scholars can't agree on whether King Arthur was a real person or not. Some believe the myths and legends are based on an actual military leader in the 6th century. Most believe he's a completely fictional character.

Even if he was real, it's a given that Camelot, the Knights Of The Round Table and especially Merlin were not. So how do we explain this episode then? How the hell are the Legends able to visit the world of King Arthur if it never existed?

The writers make a faint attempt at explaining this by having Stargirl state, "When I arrived in Camelot, it was a middling kingdom. To help me protect my piece of the Spear, I fashioned it into the legendary court of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table."

Hmm. She fashioned it. What the hell does that mean? Did she find a small village on the island of Britannia in 507 AD, and use her cosmic staff to brainwash the inhabitants into thinking they're the Arthurian characters of legend? Or did she find the island and use her staff to create Camelot and the Knights Of The Round Table out of whole cloth, like a god?

If she brainwashed the existing inhabitants for her own pleasure, that's a pretty despicable act, making her as much a villain as Darhk. If she was somehow able to conjure up an entire castle full of living Arthurian characters, then she's far more powerful than the Spear Of Destiny, and the Legends should be more worried about her and what she's capable of than the Legion Of Doom!

We never really get an answer here, as the writers (wisely) blur over the matter of creation, hoping the audience won't think too hard about it.

By the way, according to the official Arrowverse Wiki, Stargirl "has the power to shoot fiery blue energy out of her staff, although it's unknown if this energy is magical or technological in nature. She's also able to levitate and fly with the use of her staff."

Note that nowhere does it say she's has the freakin' ability to magically create life!

• The idea of Stargirl posing as Merlin the Magician might have been more fun if the show had A: Spent more than ten seconds on the idea, and B: Hired someone who could actually act.

Seriously, Sarah Grey, who plays Stargirl, is one of the worst actresses I've ever seen on a network TV series. Heck, I've seen more convincing performances in high school plays! Is the talent pool in Vancouver (where the series is filmed) really that shallow?

• Think about all the hundreds make that thousands of different books about King Arthur that have been published over the centuries. What are the odds that Steel would just happen to own the one version that contains an illuminated manuscript of Atom being given a warrior's funeral? 

Besides, as crude as that drawing is, it could be literally anyone!

• In order to pull Excalibur from the stone, Vixen summons the power of a gorilla, an eagle and a bear. I'm pretty sure this is the first time we've seen her use more than one power at the same time.

OK, I get why she needed the strength of a gorilla and a bear here, but what the hell was the eagle good for? Did its power of flight somehow help her lift the sword from the stone?

 I've got nothing to say here, I just wanted to include a photo of Atom's light saber, er, I mean flaming sword.

 This week the Legends pretty much mutiny against their Captain, when Canary wants to leave but the rest of the crew wants to stay and rescue Atom. If she intends to stay captain for long, she needs to shut that sh*t down fast. 

It doesn't matter if you agree with an order or not a Captain's command is law. Canary should have locked them ALL in the brig just to make her point.

 Vixen needs to figure out exactly how she feels about the possibility of the Legion Of Doom acquiring the Spear Of Destiny. 

When Vixen decides to steal the Spear fragment from Stargirl, Canary asks her, "You sure this is the way you wanna do it? Stargirl was your teammate, not to mention your friend." Vixen replies, "The Legion of Doom are closing in on us as we speak. There's no time for sentiment. Do you really wanna chance Damien Darhk having the power to rewrite reality?"

Later the crew's ready to mutiny against Canary because she doesn't want to jeopardize the mission to save Atom (which makes sense). Vixen then says, "I've already lost one team. I'll be damned if my decision rips the Legends apart too." Canary says, "What are you saying?" Vixen says, "Listen to your gut, Captain. Don't abandon Ray. It may be sentimental, but the team should come before tactics."

Um... those are completely opposing viewpoints. I guess she's entitled to change her mind, but these people are trying to prevent a group of psychos from getting hold of a weapon that can literally rewrite reality. They need to accept the fact that it might be necessary to sacrifice a team member for the good of the universe.

• How the holy hell was Atom able to hold his own in a sword fight against Darhk for more than five seconds? Darhk is supposedly hundreds of years old, plus he was trained by the League Of Assassins. Yet somehow Atom, who's never even held a sword in his life, somehow isn't instantly killed by him.

Yes, Atom did have an electrified light saber, but still...

 I have absolutely no problem with Canary's sexual orientation. Really, I don't! That said, is she going to put the moves on EVERY confident, self-reliant woman from history that she meets? Isn't it a bit insulting to imply that every strong, independent, "I Don't Need No Man In Order To Live My Life" type of woman throughout history was automatically a lesbian?

 I'm hoping that when the Legion Of Doom inevitably collects all the pieces of the Spear Of Destiny, that it'll magically fuse itself back together. I'd hate to see them have to wrap it up with duct tape.

• The Legends capture Evil Rip and throw him in the brig on the Waverider, hoping they can somehow restore his mind in a future episode. Too bad no one thought to restrict his access to Gideon before locking him up. At the end of the episode he simply calls to Gideon, and she obediently answers, which can't possibly be good...

• This week's best lines:
Heat Wave: (sensing Stein stole something) "Thieves. They have a certain smell."
Stein: "I thought that was just because you didn't bathe."

Steel: "The Medieval world was a time of turmoil. It was the collapse of Rome, which led to the collapse of civilization itself. And don't even get me started on the health and sanitation."
Vixen: "Yeah, please don't."
Steel: "Cholera, diphtheria, uh, typhoid fever, and I'm not even touching skin diseases."

Guinevere: (to the Legends) "I am Guinevere. We shall escort you to Camelot. But your leper must remain outside the castle walls."
Steel: "I'm not a leper!"

Canary: "From what I see, Camelot lives up to its reputation. Where is the good king?"
Guinevere: "On the hunt. No doubt chasing a boar through the brush as we speak."
(From Guinevere's dismissive tone, I wonder if this was a subtle Game Of Thrones reference? In Season 1, Queen Cersei was always complaining about King Robert going out on boar hunts...)

Atom: (to Galahad) "Apologies, you must get this all the time, but I must tell you, I am a really big fan."
Galahad: "A fan. So you make wind?"
Atom: "No, no, no, no, no, um... Well, I mean, maybe after all this food. No, what I mean is I'm a... I'm a big admirer of yours."
Galahad: "You've heard tale of my exploits?"
Atom: "Yes! Yes! Since I was a wee lad."
(Galahad gives him an odd look, as they're the same age)
Atom: "It's hard to explain."
(this episode will go down in history as the one that brought the fart joke to the Arrowverse)

Damien Darhk: "The king has left the building! You don't get the reference? Ugh, pity."

Darhk: (to King Arthur) "Hey, Sir Drools-A-Lot, prepare the rest of your tin men to get ready to march."
Steel: (seeing Atom's makeshift light saber) "Please tell me that's not Galahad's sword."
Atom: "I know, it's not historically accurate, but I couldn't resist."
King Arthur: "It's like a saber made of light."
Atom: "Yeah. Uh, just don't call it a light saber. Major trademark issues, right?"

Stein: "I have more patents than Mr. Rory has felonies, and that's saying something."

Darhk: "Give it up, Raymond. You're a glorified nerd, not a knight.:
Atom: "I'm Sir Raymond of the Palms, and on behalf of my 12-year-old self, allow me to retort!"

Stein: "Surely you must admit that it's not a superior intelligence, but rather the murky depths of your mind that proved vital." 
Heat Wave: "Just admit it, my brain saved the day."
Stein: "I will admit nothing of the sort."

Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4, Episode 15: Self Control

This week Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives us what is possibly their finest episode yet, as they wrap up the LMD storyline.

I say it every week, but it's worth repeating— the Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. writers have figured out the secret to writing serialized dramas. So many shows out there feature one plot per season, and give us numerous filler episodes to pad out the season (yeah, I'm lookin' at you, The Walking Dead!). 

Not so with Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. They give us two, and sometimes three different storylines per season. The show's writers call these "pods." Silly name, but whatever works. By giving us two or three pods per season, there's no filler or padding, and the storyline moves right along at a nice, quick pace. Even better, this means the audience doesn't have time to become bored with a particular storyline!

I wish more shows would adopt this business model, but I don't see it happening. Having three pods per season is a lot more work. It means coming up with three story arcs instead of one they can milk for a whole year.

It's amazing how much this series has improved since its admittedly less-than-stellar first season. Those early episodes chased away a lot of viewers, which is too bad. You guys who bailed have no idea what you're missing!

The end of this week's episode set up the next "pod," which looks like it's gonna feature an alternate "what-if" kind of world. Sort of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s version of the Flashpoint timeline over on The Flash.

There were many awesome and memorable moments in this episode, so let's get to it, shall we?


The Plot:
As AIDA busies herself, we see Coulson, May, Mack and Radcliffe strapped onto tables, as their minds are plugged into the virtual world of the Framework. AIDA works on The Superior, who was badly injured in his battle last week with Daisy. The Superior tells AIDA to let him die, because he doesn't want to become "a thing" like her. She tells him, "Don't worry. You'll be many things." She then starts carving him up with a power saw while he's still awake, which is the most horrifying thing I can imagine.

At S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ, FitzSimmons are terrified after discovering that Coulson, Daisy, Mack and Mace have been replaced with LMDs. Fitz says they need to stay calm and act natural so they don't draw attention to themselves. Sure, that's exactly what Fitz would say, isn't it? 

LMD Coulson enters and says they're going to round up all known Inhumans to keep them safe from The Superior, whose mission is to wipe them out. 

Outside the lab, LMD Mace tells LMD Coulson they need to scan and replace FitzSimmons as soon as possible. LMD Daisy says they need to contact Yo-yo to help bring in the other Inhumans.

LMD Coulson finds LMD May watching the snow fall. She's horrified and repulsed when she realizes Coulson's been replaced. She's still having trouble accepting the fact that she's not real. LMD Coulson says none of this matters, as their real minds are already living in the Framework, a painless version of the world, where their greatest regrets have been erased.

As FitzSimmons move some equipment to another lab, the LMD detector goes off. Simmons instantly pulls a gun on Fitz, believing he's a robot. Fitz tells her that he believes he's real, but admits that LMD May didn't know she was a robot, so it's impossible to be sure. For some reason, Simmons tells him to cut his wrist (instead of a less deadly body part) to prove if he's real or not. He slashes his wrist and begins moaning and bleeding profusely. Simmons gasps and moves to help him, and he immediately grows cold and emotionless, stabbing her in the leg and knocking her out. I KNEW he was an LMD all along!

Back at Radcliffe's lab, wherever that is, he comes out of the Framework. He's angry that AIDA's altered the Framework without his permission. She says it was necessary to provide "regret-free" virtual lives for all the new inhabitants. We see that Fitz is hooked up to the Framework, but Daisy's not. Huh? More on this later.

At S.H.I.E.L.D., LMD Fitz places a headset on Simmons so he can scan her brain and replace her with an LMD. While he busies himself with settings, she crawls across the floor and grabs a mallet. Instead of hitting him with it, she uses it to knock over a heavy piece of machinery on him. She then stabs the holy sh*t out of LMD Fitz, causing him to short out and "die."

Daisy goes downstairs to check out the Inhuman containment area, and finds a room filled with twenty or so identical LMD copies of her (?), all dressed in black sports bra and panties. Mack, who didn't want her to find this room, comes looking for her. She strips down and hides amongst the copies as he enters. As he tries to flush out the Daisy, she stuns him from behind with a quake blast.

Daisy hides in a closet and taps into the security cameras on her tablet. She sees LMD Coulson and LMD Mace find LMD Fitz's body, and watches in horror as they slaughter several S.H.I.E.L.D. grunts who discover them. Well, that took a dark turn!

Daisy then sees a trail of blood that leads to Simmons. Once again, each suspects the other of being an LMD. Finally Daisy grabs her and gently quakes her, just enough to feel if Simmons has bones or a metal skeleton under her skin. She feels bones, and Simmons realizes an LMD wouldn't have quake powers. The two embrace.

Meanwhile, AIDA tells Radcliffe there's a paradox in her programming. She's programmed to protect both Radcliffe and the Framework, but she fears he'll someday want to shut it down. He tells her that'll never happen. She thanks him, saying he's just solved the paradox for her, and slashes his wrists (!). She places his mind back into the Framework, as his body slowly dies. Yikes!

LMD Coulson and LMD Mace gather all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and announce that Daisy and Simmons are robots, and they want them capture "alive." Daisy and Simmons release sleeping gas into the base (why do they even have such a thing in storage?), causing all the human agents all drop like flies. The LMDs are unaffected of course, as are Daisy and Simmons, who dosed themselves with "sleeping gas antidote." Sure, why not?

LMD Mace then attacks Daisy. They battle for a good five minutes, until she finally defeats him. She's then shot twice (!) by LMD Coulson and LMD Mack. As LMD Coulson monologues, she secretly forms a couple of balls of quake energy in her hands, then flings it at them. LMD Coulson is knocked out, while LMD Mack's head is blown off (!!!). 

Daisy then joins Simmons, who uses the sleeping gas antidote to wake four S.H.I.E.L.D. grunts. The agents fear the two are LMDs, but they somehow convince them they're real. They order the agents to power up the Zephyr One and wait for them. As Daisy and Simmons prepare to exit the base, they're confronted by LMD May, who's sitting on several barrels of explosives, a detonator in her hand. Uh-oh!

LMD Coulson wakes up and finds that LMD May apparently let Daisy and Simmons pass. He tells her to put down the detonator, but she says she can't handle the fact that she's not real, and wants to end her pain. She detonates the explosives.

The blast rocks the hangar as Daisy, Simmons and the four agents take off in Zephyr One. They pick up Yo-yo, and fill her in on the situation. They want to rescue Coulson and the others, but unfortunately there's no way to figure out just where AIDA and the Framework are located. However, Simmons says if they enter the Framework themselves, they can inhabit the versions of themselves that live there, and figure out the location. Sounds perfectly logical to me!

Simmons lays out the rules of the Framework for Daisy (and the audience), saying if they're killed in the virtual world, they'll die for real. She also says they can't stay inside the Framework for too long, or their real bodies will die. Lastly, she warns Yo-yo not to pull them out of the Framework without warning, as that will fry their brains. Foreshadowing Alert!!!

Daisy and Simmons then lie down, put on their headsets, close their eyes and enter the Framework.

Daisy wakes up in her Framework avatar, who's taking a bath. She gets a text telling her to wake her "boyfriend" and come in to work. She assumes her boyfriend is Lincoln, but as she walks into her bedroom, she sees a framed photo of herself and Grant Ward!!!

Coulson is apparently a high school teacher in the Framework. Mack is at his house, picking up a little girl's bike that no doubt belongs to his daughter Hope, who's still alive in the Framework. Fitz is now a tech billionaire with a mysterious, unknown woman at his side. Simmons is apparently dead in the Framework, which seems more than a bit odd. Lastly, we see May working inside the Triskelion, which is now branded with a HYDRA logo. Wow!

In the final scene, The Superior wakes up, puzzled to find his body's whole. He asks AIDA what she did to him. She assures him that his mind is alive and well, and still inside his head. He calls her a liar, saying he can feel his robotic body. She points to a table, where he sees his head is now resting in a jar, and apparently controlling this new robotic body!

Shaken, The Superior asks AIDA why she did this to him? She says she needs him whole in order for him to protect the Framework, and she wants him to still be able to feel genuine emotions, such as joy. He asks her when exactly she thinks he'll ever feel joy again. She replies, "When I am able to feel those things myself."


• For weeks and weeks now I've been saying that Fitz was secretly an LMD who, like May, was unaware he was a robot. The writers did an excellent job hinting around at this, but never quite confirming it, keeping the audience guessing and wondering.

The clues were all out there in the open though, if you knew where to look. For me, the moment that confirmed my suspicions came in BOOM. Fitz is carrying Mace's new costume on a clothes hanger, and sets off an LMD detector when he walks by. He casually dismisses the alarm though, saying the metal hanger must have activated it. When's the last time anyone saw a metal clothes hanger?

Kudos to the writers for coming up with an actual well-crafted mystery, complete with subtle clues!

• Let's talk about Daisy and the LMD detector, shall we? I'm VERY confused by this whole situation. Last week, at the end of The Man Behind The Shield, the LMD detector goes off in S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ. Simmons checks the security footage, and is horrified to see that Coulson, Daisy, Mack and Mace have apparently all set off the detector. The readout clearly says "[4] LIFE MODEL DECOYS DETECTED."

Yet in this episode we find out Daisy hasn't been replaced after all, and is still human. So what gives? How could she still be real if four people entered the base and the detector says they're all LMDs?

Unfortunately I don't have a good answer for this, and it seems like a huge goof on the part of the writers.

The only possible explanation I can come up with is that maybe the LMD detector's totals are cumulative. If you look closely at the readout on the detector, it says, "Memory Buffer  Compile All Report Totals." I think maybe when it says it detects four LMDs, that's the aggregate number, not the current number. In other words, the detector is counting the total number of LMDs it's recognized since it was activated (which would be four Fitz a couple weeks ago, then Coulson, Mack and Mace now). It's not counting the number of LMDs currently entering the base (which would be three).

Ouch. I think I just threw out my back bending over backwards to explain away this mistake for the writers.

If this explanation is right, then that's a VERY confusing way for a device to keep track of the LMD population. It's a little too subtle and convoluted. 

I suppose it's also possible that LMD Fitz messed with the detector to alter the readout and make Simmons think that Daisy was a robot as well. If that's the case, a simple little line of dialogue was needed to explain it.

I'm all for not spoon-feeding every little detail to the audience and letting us make connections on our own, but not when it seems like the writer's screwed up. I'm going to go ahead and chalk it up to being a mistake.

• Surely there's a better way to prove if a person is real or not than by forcing them to slash their wrist? Sure, if the subject is an LMD it does no harm to them, but if they're real... "See, I'm a real person! Now help me lie down so I can quietly bleed to death."

Last week I had many questions about how replacing most of the S.H.I.E.L.D. staff could possibly work, which I assumed would be answered this week. And I was right. Most of my questions were adequately dealt with.

First off, I kind of wondered why LMD Coulson, LMD Mack and LMD Mace seemed to know they were robots, when LMD May didn't (until she did). That's covered this week, when Radcliffe asks AIDA, "Are their commands working on a subconscious level to avoid detection, as with Agent May?" AIDA replies, "There wasn't time for such subtleties. They're much more... objective-driven." So that explains that!

I also asked why LMD Coulson would reactivate LMD May, since everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. already knows she's a robot. Wouldn't that give away the fact that he's an LMD too? As we find out in this episode, he locks LMD May in a room, so no one else can see her. Also he's on a tight schedule to either replace or kill everyone at S.H.I.E.L.D. as well as round up all known Inhumans and kill them, so he doesn't really care if anyone figures out he's an LMD. So that was covered as well.

And last week, when I thought Daisy was an LMD, I questioned whether AIDA was able to give her quake powers, and whether that would tip her off that she was a robot or not. Again, these questions were dealt with in this episode. Well done again, writers!

• Maybe I'm missing something, but why would AIDA create an entire squad of scantily clad Daisy LMDs? Other than to give the horndogs in the audience something to ogle, of course.

As we've seen, the Daisy LMDs don't have quake powers, so they weren't created for that reason. Daisy's a kickass fighter though, and the LMDs would all have her skills, and they'd be stronger than normal, so maybe that was AIDA's plan.

When Daisy hears LMD Mack coming for her, she strips down and blends in with the copies of herself. What a lucky break for her that she just happened to be wearing the exact same undergarments as all the copies!

By the way, this whole "Hiding Among The Copies" scene is lifted practically shot-for-shot from I, Robot (with a dash of the Westworld TV series thrown in for good measure). 

• LMD Mace seems to have the superstrength that the original naturally lacks. Handy!

• When Daisy's being chased through S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ by LMD Mace, she picks up an iMac from a nearby desk and smashes it over his head. I actually cringed when I saw that! I use an iMac at work and thought, "Welp, there went about $3,000 of this week's budget!" Hopefully they used a dead computer that was destined for the scrap heap.

• One of the best moments in an episode filled with them, was when Daisy gently quaked Simmons to see if she was real or not. I loved the look of sheer relief on both their faces when they realized they were both still human. Kudos to Chloe Bennet and Elizabeth Henstridge!

• Is there any good reason why S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ has a storage room full of knockout gas? And a supply of knockout gas antidote? I didn't think so.

• LMD Coulson and the others are eventually undone by LMD May. Apparently Radcliffe programmed this robotic duplicate a little too well, as she's so much like the real May that she can't allow LMD Coulson to succeed, and destroys him (along with herself).

This "Robotic Duplicate Undone By The Original's Goodness" subplot was very similar to Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In that film, the alien space probe V'ger kills Lt. Ilia and makes a robotic duplicate of her to study the Enterprise. Unfortunately for V'ger, it makes the Ilia-bot a little too perfect, and it falls in love with Commander Decker, a loophole that Captain Kirk exploits to defeat the probe.

• Near the end of the episode, Daisy and Simmons realize the only way they can rescue their teammates is to find AIDA, who could be anywhere in the world. They decide the only answer is to enter the Framework themselves, inhabit the avatars of themselves inside it, and figure out where it's located.

Earlier in the episode, AIDA said to Radcliffe, "You even asked me to repair one regret for each person entering the Framework." I interpret that as meaning that each of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents is living out an idealized life inside the perfect world AIDA created. Some of these lives deserve some scrutiny. Let's take a look at them, shall we?

First up we see Daisy taking a bath (man, they were obsessed with getting her naked in this episode, weren't they?). She assumes she's living with her late flame Lincoln, but discovers she's apparently shacking up with former agent Grant Ward (!). 

Daisy and Ward had a long history together as fellow agents and student/trainer. Later on she was even possessed by Hive, who looked like Ward. I guess it's entirely possible she could have secret feelings for him and regrets not acting on them.

This is clever way to bring back Ward yet again, but I worry it might be one time too many. On the other hand, actor Brett Dalton's probably happy to return to Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. so he doesn't have to star in more dreck like The Resurrection Of Gavin Stone.

Next we see Coulson, who's apparently a high school teacher inside the Framework. This makes sense, as earlier in the episode he— or rather the LMD copy of him— wondered what his life would have been like if he'd never become a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.

What doesn't quite make sense is why he's apparently teaching a lesson in Inhuman fear-mongering.

We then see Mack, who's living the good life as a family man in the 'burbs. His late daughter Hope is apparently alive and well too.

This all makes perfect sense, as the death of his child would be Mack's greatest regret.

Next is Fitz, who's apparently some kind of tech billionaire, with a mysterious woman on his arm.

I guess from this scene we're to assume Fitz regrets not using his genius for monetary gain? I suppose I could see that.

Oddly enough, we then see Simmons' tombstone (with her date of death conveniently obscured by leaves)! Apparently she's dead in the Framework! Does that mean her greatest regret in the real world is that she's alive?

I'm hoping this is a fake grave, and that Simmons' Framework avatar is still alive and well and living in secret. It'd better be, otherwise she's going to spend the next six or seven episode in the body of a dead avatar, buried six feet underground!

Lastly we see May riding an elevator inside the Triskelion, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s headquarters that was destroyed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Oddly enough, in the Framework the Triskelion is branded with the HYDRA logo! Yikes!

I'm not quite sure what to make of this one. Does this mean May regrets that she never joined up with HYDRA? What else could it mean?

• At the end of the episode, we see The Superior doing his best The Brain That Wouldn't Die impression. Even though this is just a simple "head sticking through the table" effect, something about it is absolutely horrifying!

So apparently AIDA severed The Superior's head, and it's now remotely controlling a robotic duplicate of himself. Not sure how that's better than just putting his living brain inside an LMD, but whatever.

• This week's best lines:
Simmons: "Cut your wrist. If you're the LMD, I'll see your substructure and I'll know. And if not ..."
LMD Fitz: " Not, then you're the android, and you just convinced me to slit my wrist."
Simmons: "Do it!"

Daisy: (to Simmons) "Are you a robot? Because I just saw a truckload of myself, and Mack is in on it. And Coulson just bashed an agent's head in ..."

Daisy: "Simmons... it's me. What about you? Prove to me that you're not a frickin' robot. Because it looks like you're malfunctioning."
Daisy: (to Simmons) "So, we fight our way through the trained military personnel, then the ultra-powerful android doubles of our friends, somehow make it to the Zephyr, which we can't fly, to escape the base and try to plug our minds into an alternate reality. Okay, well, don't say it out loud, because that made it sound way worse."
Related Posts with Thumbnails
Site Meter