Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. – S4E8 – “The Laws of Inferno Dynamics” | Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Henry Simmons, Elizabeth Henstridge, Iain de Caestecker, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Gabriel Luna | Writer: Paul Zbyszewski | Director: Kevin Tancharoen
IN THE DOSSIER
Gaining greater powers thanks to his completed quantum chamber, Eli Morrow is that much closer to achieving “godhood”. Still shaken from the excessive loss of personnel, Coulson tries to keep the team on the same page; between Reyes’ volatile personality and Director Mace’s shady behavior, things aren’t faring well. As Los Angeles is only moments away from being wiped off the earth, must look past their faults and find a way to work as a collective force of will.
CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
Just when SHIELD was finally gelling into the super team Director Mace has been jonesing to lead, they took a couple hard blows in the field. Though they managed to recover in time to deliver the knockout in the winter finale, Coulson’s plan (approved by an overly helpful Mace) to eliminate Morrow may place the agency on an even hotter seat if that’s possible.
In typical S.H.I.E.L.D. fashion, the team was split between the brains and the brawn as the smaller groups were tasked to shut down Eli’s operation with their respective strengths. Before they could even get their feet in the door, both squads had to contend with interpersonal struggles as Mack and Yo-Yo continued to have their tiffs in the field, while FitzSimmons and Coulson confront Director Mace (Jason O’Mara) about the severe lack of trust between them.
The resolution to their issues plays out in haste because of the looming threat that is Psycho-Morrow. However they aren’t entirely settled because of Mace’s tenuous rapport with Senator Nadeer, which we assume will be in heavy play once S.H.I.E.L.D. comes back from its (second) break. Thankfully, Mack and Yo-Yo’s problems appeared quashed as the big man fully admits his feelings and the two are officially shipped. Long live Mo-Yo! OK, their name needs work.
ALL’S BAD THAT ENDS BAD
Since their return last week from an extended break, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cranked up the action to an eleven as Eli (José Zúñiga) continued to fiddle with powers he believed he earned after years of rejection and discrimination. No doubt that Darkhold had twisted his mind like his late colleagues but “Inferno Dynamics” made it clear the foundation to Morrow’s descent into madness was laid long ago. The Bauers were lured by the tome’s knowledge and turned against each other because they didn’t want anyone else to acquire what they’ve learned. Whereas Morrow, like many educated person of certain persuasions, internalized his deep-seated rage. Not so much as motivation to excel beyond his peers but fuel for his vendetta.
Not even his nephew Robbie is exempt from Morrow’s wrath; Reyes takes heaps of punishment from Eli himself and the device he made to channel quantum energy. It took the combined efforts of Coulson and Reyes to bring Morrow down, with the latter making the ultimate sacrifice to assure Eli wouldn’t escape at the last possible second. It’s implied the two went into the same dimensional vacuum they occupied last week and one can only hope that’s the case. Ghost Rider has been the brightest spot in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fourth season. Robbie turned out to be an excellent soldier and it would be a grave disservice to have such a nuanced character be missing in action for too long.
NO GOING BACK
If anyone should be given basically all of the credit in giving SHIELD the means to neutralize Eli, it belongs to Aida (Mallory Jansen). Despite having the worst sense of humor and an eerie penchant for “studying” her associates with her eyes longer than she should, even the Director realized the engaging android’s value to the team in spite of the Sokovia Accords. Not that Mace is a towering exemplification of integrity with a vigilante and serial killer chilling on Zephyr One… anyway! Anything most of them can do, Aida can do better and that’s a fact none of them can dismiss.
Although Dr. Radcliffe (John Hannah) began as such a callous, unlikable villain held against his will by Hive, it’s hard to believe he’s remained a self-serving egomaniac after spending months with Fitz and gaining favor with SHIELD. If anything, Holden’s ego did get the best of him: as the final moments of the winter finale revealed, he didn’t save Agent May from her possession in “Uprising” and made a Life Model Decoy of her instead. Bad form, Doctor! Radcliffe entrusted Aida to protect his secret but it’s almost certain he never expected her to take such lethal measures.
So much for the team feeling like they can trust one another completely. Given the previews for the second half of the season, everything is going to blow up in their faces, figuratively and literally. The next chapter of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s fourth season – now subtitled LMD – begins January 10!
- Daisy: “Maybe in the comic book version…” we see what you did there, Paul Zbyszewski! For the not-so versed, that line was a clever nod to Quake’s brief stay in the Director’s chair in the comics, when she recruited Nick Fury Jr. and Agent Coulson himself. Ultimately, she was replaced by Maria Hill.
- Exactly what are the extent of Daisy’s powers? She can sense vibrations and tectonic shifts, absorb them and apparently needs to release the stored energy soon after. Oh yeah, and “leap” 30 stories and make a solid superhero landing.
- Mace finally got into the field! And he had his own uniform! Awww… His suit’s unique design appeared to take marginal inspiration from the character for which he’s named. Thankfully, Jeff was on the right track and didn’t ask for a mask. That would be terrible optics.
- Although it didn’t appear to have any effects on Aida, the Darkhold may have influenced her intuitive programming on how to proceed in protecting her secret.
- Coulson is going to be so mad he wasted his good hooch on a LMD that can’t appreciate its finer notes.
Agents of SHIELD S4E8