AOS – Season IV -Ep 15 “Self Control”: A Review

Posted: 02/25/2017 in Uncategorized

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I have never been a fan of ratings as in my honest opinion they don’t paint an accurate picture of actual viewership. Some folks stream, some watch old school via cable and there are so many metrics that inform data that just isn’t always readily attainable. This being said, ratings for AOS Season IV are in the tank and that’s very sad. Easily it’s best season thus far, this show ably juggles multiple story lines, sub arcs and always returns to point unifying all aspects as a whole by season’s end. With this latest run, AOS manages to reinvent itself yet again with an awesome episode rife with spy fare, tension laden performances and wow factor moments that make one’s head spin. My review follows below.

We open with the revelation that key S.H.I.E.L.D. members have been taken and replaced with LMDs. Jemma (Elisabeth Hentsridge) and Fitz (Ian DeCaestecker) find themselves trapped, unable to out the compromised team members without placing themselves in harm’s way.  DeCaesteck and Henstsridge’s performance in this run were superior. The knowledge that Daisy (Chloe Bennett) was not in fact replaced leads to the discovery that one of the scientific duo was. Up until the last possible instant, the viewer just doesn’t know. Both are overwrought, both make logical points as to how it cannot be them. Until the actual moment of truth occurs, you are on the edge of your seat wondering what’s what. The presentation of exactly how much the LMDs possess memory wise and via emotional mimicry is incredible.

A sub arc involving Aida (Mallory Jansen) who many have posited will have a change of heart by season’s end gives evidence to the contrary as she “assists” Ivanov/The Superior (Zach McGowan) in discovering a new purpose. Now paralyzed after this battle with Daisy,the former Superior begs for death but Aida’s plan is far, far worse. What she does with him is vintage sci-fi and grimly disturbing. Her one on one with Dr. Radcliffe (John Hannah) simply reinvents the show along with presenting a holy eff incident. Aida advises she is in the midst of a “paradox” as she is tasked with protecting Radcliffe’s life above all others but is equally charged with protecting the framework. The paradox stems from Radcliffe’s actions towards the captured agents as he strives to remove a regret from each of them and allow them a life of relative happiness in the framework, which has become its own expansive self contained reality. Aida explains that the greatest threat to the framework is Radcliffe himself as he may some day ‘regret’ its creation and bring about its end. Her resolution to her paradox plays well and shows that however great the influence of the Darkhold is, Aida is on her own journey.

The LMD replicants, namely Mace (Jason O’Mara), Coulson (Clark Gregg), Mac (Henry Simmons) and May (Ming-Na Wen) inevitably push their incursion convincing all agents on site that the LMD replacements are actually Jemma and Daisy. What occurs next is movie level for both its spy fare tactical brilliance and the formidable demonstration of Daisy/Quake’s abilities. Watching her shred an LMD was big screen worthy. The duo of Daisy and Jemma taking charge and making their way out of the compound easily demonstrates why this is a superior show with well written female leads.

The next strongest performance of the night however goes to Wen’s “Faux May” whose newly gained awareness is nonetheless informed by May’s humanity. Her actions toward Daisy and Jemma play well but her moments with Coulson are heartbreaking. Her explaining to him that her programming is different from his when he tries to convince her to go along culminates in her doing what May would have done.

The closer of Jemma and May going into the mainframe to save their friends is mind blowing as the direction the captured agents have taken with their respective lives is awesome including  the cool return of an established character. The direction one of the group has taken presents a complete revision of an established arc set by the Winter Soldier. The end moment of May looking over the city is just superb. A new game is in play where the players are as changed as the game. AOS Season IV might be the best show on tv at the moment. It remains simply outstanding and well worth your time.

 

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