‘Agents of SHIELD’ S4: E05 ‘Lockup’ Review

Photo Credit: ABC/Marvel
4.5

While Robbie (Gabriel Luna) finds himself having a harder time keeping the Ghost Rider at bay, SHIELD infiltrates a high-security prison. May (Ming-Na Wen), Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Daisy (Chloe Bennet) find themselves in danger though when prisoners are on the loose.

 

**Spoiler Alert**

This review contains spoilers for S4E06 of Agents of SHIELD. If you haven’t yet watched, read at your own risk.

 

The Good

We find out a little bit more about the Darkhold. The episode’s cold open is devoted to Lucy and her husband finding the book in someone’s creepy basement. The magic book is not only exhibiting some strange properties to help them find it, but once they open it, both of them see different things on the page as it appeals to their first language - hers is English, his German. It seems to read them instead of allowing them to read it. As a ghost, Lucy finds that she can no longer see what’s on the page though. It’s an interesting look at how the show is using the Darkhold since both sorcerers and the Marvel comic book version of demons have used the book in the past. Souls have even been trapped in the pages in the comics, so I can’t wait to see how far they take the book the show.

Fitz and Simmons have their first relationship spat on screen. As the two of them are packing up the “ghost cures” for Fitz to take into the field, Simmons is giving him the silent treatment - at least until other agents are out of earshot. The two argue about keeping secrets as Jemma believes they should share everything with one another since they already share a bed. Fitz argues that he was keeping secrets from her specifically so she wouldn’t be put at risk. It’s evident in the sequence that what she’s really worried about is losing her position at SHIELD if she can’t beat the lie detector test though. Remember, this is the woman who purposely rose through the ranks under new leadership to place herself between the director and her team to keep them out of the line of fire.This is also the woman who was worried about getting court martialed when she lied to a superior officer in season one. She’s a worrier, and now that she and Fitz are in a relationship, aspects of that worry are going to be targeted in new ways.

The prison sequences are intense. Not only do we have the group divided as Daisy heads to save May and Coulson while Mack and Robbie head to get his uncle, but Lucy and her ghosts are in the prison making people lose their minds as they try to find Eli and there’s a whole cell block of Watchdogs to deal with. We get action sequences from both groups as Eli gets rid of two of Lucy’s ghostly buddies and Daisy tries to sacrifice herself to the Watchdogs to give May and Coulson an out, all while Fitz is trying to navigate exits for everyone from the plane. There’s so much going on, it’s hard to pick just one great moment, though the next item was certainly a highlight for me.

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The “Mama May” label gets accurate. When Coulson and May finally get to Daisy, just as a Watchdog is about to strangle her to death, May lays into her for picking the most suicidal option to go with instead of working with them. She also approaches her on the plane to remind her that she’s been in Daisy’s spot and that pulling away from everyone to keep them safe and wallow in your guilt just doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work when Coulson is in your corner. May has been termed “Mama May” by fans of the show in the past since she’s the one character who always seems to look out for everyone and always seems to have a better idea of what’s going on, but never have I seen the label more accurate than during these two lectures.

A little Gabe and Robbie backstory. We get a bit of a tease her toward the backstory for the two brothers. As it turns out, a hit was placed on them and while they were out, the two were shot at by the gang members who took the job. Gabe ended up in a wheelchair, and Robbie… well, we’ll find out more about him next week. This tease should be enough to get people interested in just how he survived and just who paid someone to kill them though.

Lucy has Eli. The ghost doesn’t just want his help “fixing her,” but also “finishing what [they] started.” This probably doesn’t bode well for future episodes since Robbie has been keeping his own ghostly secret from his uncle. He’s probably going to end up exposing that secret when he has to take him on in a fight at this rate.

Simmons puts Mace in his place. Turns out Jeffrey Mace might not be the squeaky clean poster boy SHIELD needs after all. Simmons realizes that he’s lying about something specific in his heroic past, and she uses that knowledge to get out of any future lie detector tests. It’s gutsy on her part and a great demonstration of how far she’s come from season one. While she’s always been ready to do what’s necessary to keep her job and protect her friends, season one Simmons would never have made this move.

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The Bad

Fitz offers to help Simmons prepare for her lie detector test. This whole sequence was a bit strange to me. Not because Fitz and Simmons were arguing - as I said, I think the spat played really well - but because Fitz offers to help now. This is set the next morning after the events of the previous episode as he’s heading out on a mission. With Jemma so freaked out at the close of last week’s show, why wouldn’t they have discussed fooling the lie detector before now? Wouldn’t that have been the first thing they would have tackled when they were alone? Why would she have been stewing in anger all night and morning when she seemed more excited about the possibility of Aida last week than she did angry with Fitz? It’s a small inconsistency in the episode, sure, but in season three, we saw how small inconsistencies became much bigger problems.

 

The Marvel-ous Links

Stars and stripes helmet. When Lucy and her husband enter the basement in the episode opener, they shine their flashlights over what looks like a helmet, but it’s covered in stars and stripes. I may have imagined it, but it looks like a nod to either Captain America or The Patriot (AKA Jeffrey Mace) and their marvel comic book costumes. Of course, that helmet might actually provide a nod to another character if you keep reading.

Quentin Carnival poster. In that same basement, which the two point out belongs to the family of the last man to kill the previous owner of the Darkhold is a poster for Quentin Carnival. If you thought it looked like a reprint of a comic book page, that probably wasn’t a coincidence. The Carnival is straight out of Marvel comics and happens to be where motorcycle stunt driver Johnny Blaze made a living as it traveled all over the US and he performed for carnival audiences. Johnny Blaze, as comic book fans will know, is another version of Ghost Rider. Easter egg or foreshadowing another connection? We’ll have to wait and see.

“It doesn’t feel like a trip to Tahiti.” If you’ve been watching the show since the beginning, this probably needs no explanation. Suffice to say that Coulson’s death was hidden from him with false memories implanted of a trip to Tahiti. And a whole lot of alien tech.

Daisy’s new gauntlets. As Daisy has taken on the Quake name given to her by the press, it should be no surprise that her new gauntlets actually are the closest to her comic book character’s we’ve seen on the show. In fact, at this point in the series, she’s closest to her comic book character’s look as a whole.

Jeffrey Mace gets called “a patriot.” Probably not the first time we’ll hear this on the show, but it’s got special meaning since Patriot was his codename in the comics before he stood in for Captain America.

The U.N. bombing in Vienna. Something fishy apparently happened in Vienna, but the audience should already know a little bit about this bombing. It’s the one that kicks off events in Captain America: Civil War that the Winter Soldier is blamed for and that claims the life of the king of Wakanda.

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Blue-skinned killers in Wyoming. While Mace dismisses this as rumors, this is a nod to season three when Hive took his follower’s to a town previously owned by Hydra. Kree also landed there, intent on stopping the “abomination,” though they didn’t succeed.

That Stephen King book. Though I couldn’t place the cover at first, twitter users caught on that it was the Spanish language version of Pet Cemetary. This is an interesting choice for the show, and probably a bit of foreshadowing for those who caught it since the man reading the book in prison is the same man who gave us a little Reyes family backstory. The book features a “sematary” where, if corpses are buried, they can be brought back to life. In the comics, Robbie doesn’t just magically become Ghost Rider. He actually dies and Ghost Rider brings him back to life.

 

The Questions

What do Lucy and Eli have planned? She says they need to finish what they started, but what exactly were they trying to start in the first place?

What is Jeffrey Mace’s lie? I actually wonder if Jemma even knows what the lie is yet. She didn’t get into specifics and she based her threat to him on her research into micro-expressions. Was she bluffing?

Are we going to see another Ghost Rider? The show seems to be hinting at a Johnny Blaze appearance.

 

Grading the episode: With the tense action sequences, the teases at the mythology being unveiled and the fun character moments this week, this might just be my favorite episode we’ve seen this season so far. A-