AOS – Ep. 19 – Season IV – “All the Madame’s Men”: A Review

Posted: 04/27/2017 in Uncategorized

AOS’ latest volley, “All The Madame’s Men,” set the bar impossibly high yet again. That this criminally under-watched show continues to up their game again and again, I can only hope results in a season 5 renewal. Should this not be so, I am assured it will go out with a bang and not a whimper.  The battle continues in the framework and the notion that who one is at heart can’t be changed is presented in tour de force fashion. My happy intro rendered, I press on with my review.

Last week’s incur….er episode ended with May (Ming-Na Wen) making a stand for good via ‘empowering’ – literally, Daisy/Skye (Chloe Bennett) as an Inhuman. The pace in this latest run was superb. This was a big screen level romp particularly as regards plot. From inception, there was very much a feeling that things were coming together and that the S.H.I.E.L.D. team was on the cusp of reuniting. The expedition of Aida’s master stroke adds to the excitement of what’s to come.

The opening sequence featuring a very palpable hit on “Ophelia/Madame Hydra/Aida” (Mallory Jansen), who is blasted several stories down out of a window,  was fairly damn epic. That she suffers only a broken spine, should lead even those deeply indoctrinated within the order to question that things are not as they appear. It is her framework however and the damage she receives forces her to return to the real word with her now subordinate former Watchdog “Superior” Ivanov (Zach McGowan). Now as non human as she,  he offers to solve the problem of May by shooting her real form. We then get vintage Azimovian first prerogative of “we cannot harm those we are sworn to protect”. Ever sharp, Aida rationalizes that Jemma (Elisabeth Hentsridge) and Daisy however are a threat to her framework and as such can be eliminated accordingly within the framework.

The team now shaken by Mace/Patriot’s (Jason O’Mara) death plan their next move. Ward (Brett Dalton) suggests retaliation. In the most organic of ways, Coulson steps in and guides everyone to a better path. At his core, he is a leader and even in this diminished form, namely a nerdy school teacher, he is still Phil Coulson, the glue that holds the MCU together, honestly. We understand that who the group are at their core will not allow them to remain separate or diminished for long. Fitz (Ian DeCaestecker) is the exception but with the effort and methods she uses to keep him in check, a degree of sympathy must be allotted. Kudos are to be given to David O’Hara for his depiction of the elder Fitz as an utter bastard. His interrogation of Radcliffe (John Hannah) ably demonstrates this fact. Aida’s use of him keeps Fitz in check and on point for her end game which is honestly pretty damn spectacular, big screen level really.

Seeing May back in the fold, fighting in tandem with Daisy was a cool return to form. Mac (Henry Simmons) still holds a due grudge but again Coulson is peacemaker as he always has been. The master plan of unleashing truth hearkens to arguably Marvel’s best film, “Winter Soldier” in which S.H.I.E.L.D. simply releases Mace’s last moments and the incursion at the Hydra “enlightenment centre” to give the world at large a dose of reality. Coulson’s notion that saving the world within the framework is key to their saving their own lives via an escape is duly earnest.

What makes this show as great is its ambition. AOS is all about the long game. The framework allows a return of characters that some might have perceived to have left the show too early, namely BJ Britt as Agent Triplett. His interactions with Jemma make it seem as if he never left. No less so are Ward’s moments with Daisy in which we see the man he could have been. Even the ultimate goal of Aida is ambitious and it and of itself could lead to restorations of characters and yet another redefinition of the show. Honestly, Coulson’s “I am an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” moment is as good as it gets. At its creative apex presently, AOS is simply outstanding and well worth your time.


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