We finished the second part of season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the LMD storyline. What did I think? Glad you asked.
Some spoilers included here, just so you know
The LMD backstory became the main story after the close of the Ghost Rider sequence (I hear the showrunners refer to these sequences as pods, so . . .). We were initially given the impression that Holden Radcliffe was looking to create avatars of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to work in the field, so that the real agents wouldn't be risking their lives on a day-to-day basis. Seems that wasn't exactly the case.
We know now that Radcliffe was driven to create LMD's out of frustration over his inability to save a woman he loved. After getting a peek at the Darkhold and thus enhancing his knowledge, and working with Fitz, Radcliffe was able to create The Framework -- a virtual world/environment that a human could jack in to and live in indefinitely. And in the case of Holden's lost love, one could live out their life in contentment and peace while their body dies away.
And we also now know that Radcliffe used anyone and everyone to achieve this goal -- S.H.I.E.L.D., the execrable Senator Nadeer (who personally killed her own brother, an inhuman, though he may not be dead as he is re-cocooned at the bottom of the ocean, and if stories about making Prince Namor [the sub mariner] an inhuman, maybe that's where he's headed), the Watchdogs, and this new Russian guy -- The Superior, to get enough tech and resources to develop The Framework and expand it to the point where it might encompass an entire world as opposed to a small confined virtual reality space.
Aida, Holden's original LMD was a replica of this lost love, and once she read the Darkhold, to build the interdimensional device that saved everyone in the first pod this season, now has her own agenda. Self aware and also aware of the fact of who she was modeled on and why, wants desperately to become fully human with the full range of human emotions.
I was thinking they were going to once again use the Asimov/I Robot scenario where the robots built to save humanity realize they can only do so by ruling humanity for its own sake, but it doesn't look like that's where they're going here. Though we do have Aida slitting Holden's wrists at the end of the episode and trapping his mind within The Framework so he doesn't interfere with her plans.
The final episode of this pod ends with Coulson, Mack, May and Fitz locked in The Framework without their knowledge. Daisy and Jemma (I think I've been spelling that Gemma all along 'cause that's how Brits always seem to spell it, but looks like I was wrong) are both injured from their escape from the LMD's of those four already mentioned and the next pod of the season will have them trying to break the rest of their folks out of The Framework.
Interviews with cast members and showrunners indicate that some early show (like season one) characters may return as one showrunner said there would be a nod to those who have stayed loyal to the show from the beginning. We saw in the final sequence that Ward may also return, possibly as Daisy's boyfriend in The Framework world that had been designed for her.
Chloe Bennet said in an interview that they would be exploring some current pop culture stuff in their own way in this final pod also. Not sure what she might be referring to as so much is churning in the world right now. We'll have to see.
I have to once again give props to MARVEL for the effort they're putting into this show. The production values are exceptional and the move to 10:00 pm has given them the ability to be a bit darker with everything they do. The fight sequence between Daisy and LMD Mace was awesome -- high energy and well choreographed with seamless integration of the stunt doubles into the sequence. The battle between Jemma and LMD Fitz was dark and scary and bloody. And the reunion between Daisy and Jemma as each agent, bleeding and battered, was trying to decide if the other was an LMD, was moving and touching. Excellent acting there.
And the sets and special effects are just the right amount and look theatrical quality as opposed to some of the other superhero stuff on television that looks more like a SyFy channel movie of the week. MARVEL has put their money where their mouth is with this show and allowed it to become a stand alone entity within the MARVEL universe. Bully for them for allowing this to happen.
I'm also pleased that they keep showing more of what Daisy "Quake" can do as the season wears on. In her climactic fight with LMD Mace and LMD Coulson, she showed more of her abilities as she created a quake-bomb thingy to destroy both of them. Daisy is one of the most powerful characters in the MARVEL universe. I'm glad they're growing her, but worried that they're taking so long with it. No telling how long any show will last on television. I'd hate to see this show run its course without her becoming the force she is in the comics.
In spite of that little complaint, the writing has kept the show fresh all year long with twists and turns that surprised without seeming forced or ridiculous. It's enough that I look forward to each episode and dvr it so I don't miss it. They're taking a six week hiatus before the next pod returns. Rumors have it that perhaps the early series character returning is Graviton, a nerdy scientist Dr. Franklin Hall who tries to disable a gravity manipulation device and gets sucked into it instead. I'm supposing that he gets out and becomes this supervillain type.
Daisy and Jemma are jacked in to The Framework. Daisy awakes to find she may/ may not be a S.H.I.E.L.D agent and her boyfriend is/may be Ward. We see Coulson is a schoolteacher starting a course section on "Inhumans, why we fear them," Mack is living a quiet home life with what may be the daughter who died years ago, May is in the Triskellion, now Hydra headquarters, and Fitz is climbing out of an expensive vehicle with his own security guards at the ready and reaches in for the hand of a woman we don't see. And finally we see a headstone at a graveyard with Simmons name on it, even though we're told Daisy was able to find the Framework avatar of herself and Jemma within the system.
It's a good cliffhanger scenario. If you haven't been watching and it's in syndication where you are or On Demand with your cable service, I recommend giving it a try. It's not Shakespeare, but they're doing some good work here for broadcast television. I'm looking forward to the completion and resolution of this season.
I found these pics of Chloe Bennet in some magazine called Bella. Chloe's been a bit frustrating in her glamour appearances to date, but these aren't too bad. But what caught my eye was a subtitle and a quote from Bennet in the accompanying text. The subtitle reads "From Chinese popstar to Hollywood Superhero" and the quote "I'm honored to be the first ethnic superhero." When I saw that I was like . . . okay, wait . . . what? But after checking her wiki page, I see that Chloe's father is Chinese and her mom is SoCal. Huh. I suppose that explains why they kept saying during the show that sightings of Chloe's character Quake always talked about her being a petite Asian girl. Hmmmm... Sort of wonder how Ming na Wen likes Chloe getting the ethnic cred on the show, but . . .