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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Wake Up - Review

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. “Wake UP” was written by Drew Z Greenberg and was directed by Jesse Bochco. The theme of this episode seems to be discovering the truth. I loved that we had to play detective as well as the characters – to figure out what was real and even WHO was real!

The episode begins “FIVE DAYS AGO” and fills us in on how – and when – May (Ming-Na Wen) was taken by Aida (Mallory Jansen). Radcliffe (John Hannah) has called ahead to tell Aida to access the Sunset Protocol. It seems clear that taking May had to have been planned – because May-bot was there and ready to have May’s memories uploaded! I loved May-bot picking up right where May left off.

I also loved how much May hated the spa and just wanted to leave. Of course May would punch out her masseuse! We get caught up to “TODAY.” I also loved the show suckering us into believing May’s new program. It looks like Aida is turning into a psycho and that Radcliffe is still playing the quasi-good guy – though I’m still not 100% convinced that Radcliffe talking about the second LMD isn’t reality.

I’ll admit that it seemed really off that Aida would be clumsy enough to knock over a glass jar and break it, but we’re set up to believe it is actually a set up and that Aida is taking matters into her own hands. Once we know, there is a clear visual clue. Just as the first scenario started with a close-up of the fountain, this one starts with a close up of the broken jar.

I love how we are teased with May’s fight and flight from Aida. Of course, I had questions all the way through – like when did Radcliffe move to such a tall high rise? We get treated to several great fights though! Loved May skewering Aida with the fire poker!

We get a second great fight scene when Aida catches up with May. We realize at the same time as May that it’s a simulation when Aida gets kicked off the balcony and disappears into a rip in air. And then Aida is back – and it’s nice, polite, subservient Aida. She tells May got further than her previous attempts in the “Framework.” Aida tells her that they are coding more, but she’s clearly beating it even though Aida keeps wiping her memory.

The show teases us throughout with just who that second LMD might be. Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) declares that Daisy (Chloe Bennet) and Coulson (Clark Gregg) aren’t acting like themselves. Daisy is going to testify with Mace’s (Jason O’Mara) help.

Coulson is planning on using the opportunity to bug Nadeer’s (Parminder Nagra) office with Yo-Yo’s (Natalia Cordova-Buckley) help. Coulson and Talbot (Adrian Pasdar) clash, the first of many this episode, over the strategy. For once Talbot doesn’t come across like a complete idiot. Talbot warns Coulson not to mess with politicians.

Yo-Yo and Mack (Henry Simmons) are adorable, especially when she calls him Turtleman – and then clarifies it’s his nickname. We get another tease when Yo-Yo says Mack doesn’t even seem real – all those beautiful muscles! Yo-Yo is a fabulous character – I loved that she teases him right back – she knows she’s a knockout! I also liked that she stands up for herself. She’s not playing jealous, and you can’t blame her for wanting the truth. I loved that she stood her ground.

May-bot goes to Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) for information on Aida, saying that it’s for her security report. She clearly wants to know if Aida was also unaware that she was a bot – and whether she has any hope of being able to control her own actions. Fitz assumes that May-bot is really re-thinking her hard choice about having Aida read the Darkhold – and the consequences that rippled out from that.

Coulson tells the others that Mack won’t be on the mission because he’s requested “personal time.” Talbot urges Coulson to re-think the second part of the mission. The stupid part. Talbot warns that there will be consequences – Nadeer will turn right around and want to investigate Coulson. Coulson calls him reactive – and you have to love Talbot’s reply: “Half the time I’m reacting to the steaming pile of fart pebbles you hand me!” Coulson suggests that they’re like the Odd Couple – and ain’t that the truth! Something Coulson complains he doesn’t get from Talbot. Mace is completely ineffective at interfering between the two – and he really is the missing puzzle piece – they need him to run interference if they are ever going to move S.H.I.E.L.D. forward.

Talbot wants to take the “assets” – clearly the Inhumans – to a secure military facility. Mace finally does interject to back up Coulson. He reminds Talbot that Nadeer tried to kill both him and the other Inhumans. Talbot, however, thinks that Mace has to back up Coulson now.

Mace sits with Daisy for her hearing. He’s actually trying to be supportive and she flings back at him that she doesn’t get nervous anymore and that she’s used to telling the truth, calling him on his lying. Mace brings up her childhood, suggesting that she had to perform for foster families so that people would like her. This pisses Daisy off more, and at first, it looks like maybe he’s just getting his own digs in. She grudgingly tells him that she only did it at the places she wanted to stay – like S.H.I.E.L.D.?

Mace goes on and says that if you enter every room thinking you have to put on an act, eventually, you’ll feel like you have to keep it up full time. He tells her he knows what that’s like – and he’s clearly telling her it’s not a good way to have to live. Daisy thaws a little. Mace says he knows that she’s the real deal and that Coulson has been singing her praises since day one. It’s another indication that at some point Mace is either going to step aside (or be killed) so that Daisy can replace him.

Mace says that he’s come to respect Coulson’s opinion. And that really does thaw Daisy out. She tells him that Coulson believed in her before she believed in herself. She also points out that Coulson believes in Mace or he wouldn’t have let him stay on. Mace seems a little surprised that Daisy and Coulson have talked about him. Daisy finally expresses some doubts about the hearing, and Mace tells her she’s got it.

The two are interrupted by the arrival of Nadeer, and Talbot steps in to defuse the situation before it can get really out of hand. Nadeer seems way too confident. Daisy seems to be winning over the rest of the senators grilling her – until she gets to Nadeer. Nadeer asks if Daisy feels more of an obligation to help Inhumans over humans. Daisy points out that it’s not like that. Inhumans ARE humans, but they are more likely to be persecuted. She also points out that they are like everyone else, they are somebody’s BROTHER – a total jab at Nadeer. Daisy seems to get that point – and then Nadeer asks about the money that Daisy stole, accusing her of taking the entire justice system into her own hands.

Meanwhile, Coulson and Yo-Yo carry out their mission. Yo-Yo is about to ask about Mack, and Coulson shuts her down – no way is he getting in the middle of it. He stresses that Mack is a very private person – Coulson spent six months on a plane with him and all he knows about him is what’s in his file. Yo-Yo would rather get all the information at once in a file than learn about someone “organically” as Coulson suggests.

Yo-Yo suggests that it must be even more difficult getting to know May – and Coulson looks surprised. He’s even more surprised when Yo-Yo says if you get together in tiny, annoying little pieces, you and May will never get together. Coulson denies it’s like that with him and May.

Yo-Yo grabs the key card they need right after telling him that she doesn’t have to read a file on the two of them to know. Coulson tells her that no one likes a smart ass and Yo-Yo just laughs and says that hasn’t been her experience.

Meanwhile, Fitz is seemingly trying to avoid Simmons. He turns down her offer to help with her and May’s mission. Simmons tries to get him to talk – she doesn’t want to intrude on him while he’s “processing” though. Fitz finally concedes that he’s sorry but he does go quiet while he’s “processing.”

Yo-Yo and Coulson plant tech in Nadeer’s office while May and Simmons monitor – until their screen goes dark. Yo-Yo opens a drawer and is blown across the room. Nadeer suddenly reveals that two field Agents were just apprehended planting surveillance equipment in her office. Yo-Yo signed the Accords and is acting without UN approval – therefore, S.H.I.E.L.D. is clearly a criminal organization. Coulson is pissed.

Mace and Talbot try to manage the fallout with Nadeer and the Chairman of the Committee (Chuck McCollum) while Daisy, Yo-Yo, and Coulson look like the naughty kids sitting outside the Principal’s office – and it’s just wrong! Daisy and Coulson conclude that there has to be a leak for them to have known specifically that Yo-Yo would be there.

Mace tries to sugarcoat that there’s a “catch” to the three being allowed to leave, but Talbot lets them have it with both barrels – there’s going to be a full investigation. Talbot threatens there may even be charges. Talbot says they’ll be dragged in front of every sub-committee, and Coulson says it’s the price of going legit. Talbot disagrees – it’s the price of going after Nadeer. Daisy tries to keep Coulson and Talbot from arguing, but they totally ignore her.

Coulson says Talbot is always lying to them. Talbot points out that they kidnapped his son. Talbot defends putting Mace in charge because Coulson has too much baggage. Coulson insists that they just have different styles. Talbot accuses Coulson of giving Nadeer all the ammunition she needs to go after them, but Coulson has a different take on it. It’s simply exposed the fact that there’s a leak in S.H.I.E.L.D. Coulson asks if Talbot warned Nadeer.

Talbot is clearly hurt – and even Daisy and Yo-Yo react like Coulson went too far. Talbot tells Coulson that he believed in him when nobody else did, and that S.H.I.E.L.D. only exists because of Talbot. Now he thinks maybe it’s a mistake. Coulson finally looks uncomfortable, realizing he’s gone too far.

Simmons realizes that the leak is because Fitz turned on Aida’s ocular receptors. Simmons knew that Fitz has been worrying through the Aida problem and let it go, but now she’s convinced that’s how Nadeer knew about the details of their mission. May-bot is right there and realizes that SHE is the leak because she has the same ocular receptors! She leaves while Fitz and Simmons continue their discussion. Fitz has a working theory. He denies that Aida is an obsession – it’s an investigation!

Meanwhile, May-bot confronts Radcliffe. She tells him she figured it out when she got injured. He wants to know how it feels – it’s such an insensitive clod! May-bot is furious. She wants to know how much of her is HER… Radcliffe is an utter douche as he’s delighted at May-bot calling the team “her” people. May-bot tells Radcliffe that there’s enough May in her to do what has to be done – but her coding won’t let her hurt Radcliffe and won’t let her want to tell Coulson. He tells her to do what she truly wants – which is to have that relationship between Coulson. It’s in talking to May-bot and telling her to let herself be happy – he realizes that what May needs is to win the fight she lost in Bahrain. He’s finally found a program that will keep May quiet.

Coulson bursts in with Simmons and Fitz. Fitz has discovered that it wasn’t the Darkhold that changed Aida, it was Radcliffe changing the programming. Coulson is a bit curious as to why May is there, and May-bot tells him that something Fitz said made her suspicious. She says tells him that Radcliffe confessed the truth to her – she just doesn’t say what that truth was. I loved that Simmons would even let Radcliffe talk to Fitz!

Yo-Yo is waiting for Mack when he arrives back, and she tells him that she wants the truth. Mack tells Yo-Yo that he went to see his ex and that he’s been meaning to talk to her about it – and Hope. Yo-Yo thinks that Hope is his ex and that he still has feelings for her – and that’s what’s holding him back from really committing. She says she’s not a cliché. She doesn’t want to play the jealous girlfriend and she doesn’t want him to be the cliché of the guy who plays the field.

Mack doesn’t think Yo-Yo is a cliché, and he tells her that Hope was his daughter – and she died 11 years ago. His ex, Nicole, has a hard time with it still, and he went to spend the day with her. Yo-Yo apologizes and ends up in Mack’s arms – pretty much where they started out the day – so let’s call that a win anyway.

May-bot and Coulson share a drink and commiserate over the day. May-bot says “Today wasn’t great” and once again Gregg delivers the best line in the episode: “Cauliflower isn’t great. Today was a kick in the balls.” And ain’t that the truth! Coulson actually agrees that Talbot is actually right for a change – Coulson acted impulsively. May-bot tells him that they are who they are, flaws and all – and that she’s fine with that – and it sure feels like May-bot has given up fighting her coding… She reaches out with a hand – but Coulson doesn’t lean in – it looks like they might be about to kiss – but I’m betting that Coulson smells a bot!

Fitz goes to see Radcliffe, and Fitz is pissed at him. Radcliffe vows that he was just trying to help. He tells Fitz that his first priority always is to preserve life. And he’s over stated his case – Fitz knows – and marches to the door, borrowing the guard’s gun and shooting Radcliffe-bot in the head!!

Radcliffe is now under Nadeer’s protection – and she tells him that she won’t be the one protecting him. It’s time for him to meet the “superior” – who the heck is this????

I liked how the episode had the thread of “truth” running through it. It felt a lot like this was still a transitioning episode, however, setting us up for the backend of the season. How were your detective skills? How long did it take you to guess May was in a simulation? Did you guess Radcliffe was the second bot? Do you think Talbot is going to be able to save S.H.I.E.L.D. again? Do you think he wants to? Do you think Coulson can learn to get along with Talbot or that he even should? Any guesses on who the superior is? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!