AOS – Season IV – Ep. 12 “Hot Potato Soup”: A Review

Posted: 02/02/2017 in Uncategorized

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AOS’ latest run “Hot Potato Soup” seemed mired in a sight gag initially with the presence of fan favorite Patton Oswalt playing multiple roles as the Brothers Koenig. The opening sequence with Sam and Billy at a casino plays well up to and including a clash between the seemingly unassuming, average Joes taking a fight to their unknown Russian assailants. Billy is taken and we learn quickly his captors are the Watchdogs. A call in to Coulson (Clark Gregg) leads to the revelation that he used the Koenigs to hide the Darkhold which explains why they have taken him. This occurs within the first five minutes and the show that still continues to surprise keeps its record on that account.

Billy is shown held captive along with Radcliffe (John Hannah) who plays the victim as he is surprisingly unknown to Billy. Both are duly menaced and Billy is tortured. When we finally meet the Watchdogs’ superior, the game changes completely. Anton Ivanov (Zack McGowan) is the source of the Watchdogs’ funding and direction. He refers to himself as “a superior man” and speaks of the old ways, denigrating both mankind’s reliance on technology and the abnormal Inhumans. Radcliffe might be a bastard but he is not a complete bastard… in some ways. When Ivanov decides to conduct his own interrogation via torturing Billy, the good doctor drops the facade and prevents this from happening. His adherence to programming at the heart of all things plays well in this run as Hannah too plays a dual role as central villain and LMD. The demonstration of Aida’s abilities and the reveal to Ivanov that she is a machine earns Radcliffe further respect.

The LMD arc has thus far not overstayed its welcome.  The moments with the now reactivated Radcliffe LMD being interrogated by Fitz (Ian DeCaestecker) deliver as the charm and cunning of the real doctor is present in this replication. He professes friendship with Fitz, even offering that he knew his estranged father. His offer to deliver a message given to him by the elder Fitz prompts the young scientist to disconnect the RadLMD. Jemma (Elisabeth Hentsridge) supports Fitz as he deals with the doubt brought forth by the taunting machine regarding his inability to crack his code. Mac (Henry Simmons) takes a more standard menacing tact to obtain the location of the real Radcliffe, though even he is challenged by the machine’s logic and intuition. Fitz’s realizing the truth behind the LMD’s taunts leads to a terrific reveal as to the profundity and scope of Aida’s (Mallory Jensen) cerebral mapping due to the Darkhold’s enhancement. The revelation of the presence of another LMD escalates the secondary May (Ming-Na Wen) plotline.

AOS’s show runners have shown a terrific ability to juggle multiple plot lines and draw all together in a unified arc. This ep is no exception. The May reveal occurs on two fronts; one intimate via Coulson –  while the other is through the team’s brilliance. The coming together of the brothers Koenig and the reveal that the elder sibling who brought them into S.H.I.E.L.D. is their sister, LT (Artemis Pebdani) allowed for some cool moments including the ultimate reveal about the brothers’ origins. I could have done without the third brother, the conspiracy theorist “Thurston”, but this is a minor complaint.

The team’s coming together to grasp that Radcliffe has now partnered with their Inhuman hating enemy opens the field to a new game. Faux May’s intervention ruins an otherwise perfect gambit on Coulson’s part regarding the Darkhhold. It is testament to Ming-Na Wen’s talent that upon being revealed, her actions afterward earn her some sympathy and prepare for the next arc of the return of the real May. Ivanov’s blame on all things wrong from “the chitauri to the Inhumans” is placed on one pair of shoulders and the next run of AOS seems poised to deliver. AOS remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

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