Filling in the villain role this episode is the Marvel hate group called the Watchdogs. Akin to the X-Men’s Friends of Humanity, the Watchdogs hate the Inhumans and feel that super-powered folks such as the Avengers are impeding on their constitutional liberties. The idea behind this team isn’t exactly a new one, but they’re presented here with some interesting ideas along the way to make them seem fresh enough. The rest of this episode, though, seemed to shift more into the realm of predictability, dropping the show down a peg from last week’s great installment.
Ultimately, the show needs to bring more fresh ideas to the table plot-wise; in a sense, I think that the fact that it’s beholden to a 22-episode season hurts it a tad in trying to create material to fill the void. Just look at Marvel’s Netflix offering where they can determine how many episodes they ultimately need and can change the length of each dependent on how the content works. Alas, unless something changes, this isn’t to be for the foreseeable future.
Our main protagonist for this episode is, as the title suggests, Mack, revealing more about the team’s engineer/second in command than we had previously known. Out of nowhere, we’re presented with Mack’s brother, Ruben, and all the problems he’s currently dealing with. Money problems, mortgage problems, and job problems abound as Ruben presents a scenario we’ve seen thousands of times before. Believing Mack to be an insurance agent, the spitfire younger sibling begins agreeing with the Watchdogs after they assault a government installation which turns out to be a storage unit for the ATCU. After shooting the building with a strange gel, it implodes in a neat visual effect and Mack is forced to leave his bro to help Daisy and Fitz investigate. Again, leaving his brother clearly points in the direction of Ruben falling to the dark side and I wish they hadn’t made it seem as predictable as it’s almost a foregone conclusion this season.
Anyway, it turns out that the Watchdogs are using an element originally created by Howard Stark called “Nitromene” to implode buildings. How they got the element in the first place is due to their leader, the ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent from the first season, Felix Blake. For the life of me, I cannot remember who this guy is, but he had his back broken by Deathlok and offers yet another “rogue S.H.I.E.L.D. agent” to the mix. Again, a road retreaded, that’s for sure. Things begin spiraling out of control between Mack and Ruben once again as during the team’s attempt to bring down the Watchdogs, Ruben conveniently pops up and discovers Mack’s double life. With Mack leaving Daisy and Fitz to mend his brotherly love, one of the Watchdogs gets the drop on the pair and slaps a big old helping of Nitromene on Fitz’s neck.
Listen, I know it’s a comic book show. There’s a certain level of suspension of disbelief that you have to have going into these, but what follows elicited one of the biggest eye rolls from yours truly. With the solo Watchdog captured and brought back to HQ, Daisy and Fitz try to figure out how to help him not implode. Their solution? To spray a bunch of liquid nitrogen on Fitz’s open neck and hope for the best! SURELY there must have been a better, more careful way to go about this. I understand they may have been in a time crunch but this would have certainly had some negative effects on the team’s poor scientist. Lo and behold, it works perfectly however and they realize that Mack is under attack by the terrorist organization.
Let’s swing around to everything else that’s going down in the episode with the rest of the team. Coulson is attempting to break Lincoln in but is understandably a little hesitant, as the electrified Inhuman hasn’t proven himself and has a history of making terrible choices. The relationship between the two is going through a rough patch, while the pairing of Simmons and May is doing a-ok. Simmons has started training to make sure that she never falls into a situation again where she needs the help of her fellow teammates, which is understandable and a logical progression of the character. In probably my favorite scene of the night, following the action packed finale, May and Simmons chat over what’s to be done with Lash as “the Cavalry” scorns Simmons for giving her hope over curing her ex-husband Andrew, now the crazed Inhuman Lash.
Finally, spinning back around to the main plot, Mack and Ruben are besieged by Watchdogs believing Mack to be an Inhuman ripe for the slaughter. Mack uses some clever ingenuity in taking them down, along with the help of his newly made “shotgun axe” (can this just be a permanent fixture of the character?) and the day is saved. Our final stinger showing Malick’s Inhuman crony delivering a nuclear bomb to Felix Blake, promising a scarier future for the Agents moving forward.
In the end, this episode was predictable and unfortunately stumbled from the fantastic finale of Hunter and Bobbi from last week.
Grade: ★★ Fair
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
-Mack’s real name being Alfie gave me a good chuckle.
-I absolutely loved those Watchdog helmets that they made for the series and kudos to whoever did the design job on those. It’s certainly MUCH better than how the Watchdogs look in the comics.
-Hive has been out of commission for two weeks now. Hopefully we get a bit more depth given to what’s clearly the big bad of this season.
-Coulson: “There’s a bark/bite joke I could make here.”
-Daisy: “Thank you, Nerd Herd.”
-Mack: “Kind of gestapo, don’tcha think?”
-Mack: “Shotgun Axe.”