Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 4B (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2017, our continuously small but newly more robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Jen, and new (to the panel, not to the podcast) panelist Micah–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. focusing upon the “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs! If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Episode sponsored by: Curious Arrow’s production of “Lucid”

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PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 4 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for agents of shield season 4 title

THIS EPISODE OF CPU! WAS SPONSORED BY: CURIOUS ARROW

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And their inaugural production of “Lucid,” a performance of original short plays

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Opening Friday, September 15, 2017, at Dog Story Theater in Grand Rapids, Michigan!

For more information, visit Curious Arrow’s Facebook Page or buy tickets at http://www.eventbrite.com!

CPU! Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays at 10:00 PM (as of this past season).

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: The Season 4 finale aired on ABC on May 16, 2017, at 10:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, previously directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons for most of the panel: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of a Marvel-type nature.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has covered Agents of SHIELD since the beginning, though in podcast format only starting last year.  If you would like to catch up on our SHIELD coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Mid-season

Season 3B (post-finale)

Season 4A Mid-season
Our SHIELD panel is back to talk about the heady second half of the fourth season, with two sections subtitled “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra,” respectively.  What’s especially exciting is that our SHIELD panel has experienced some growth of its own for the first time since its inception (which could bode well for the show…maybe…).  Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie are joined “around the water cooler” by an individual new to the panelist but not to the podcast, namely Micah, most recently heard as part of our ongoing Once Upon a Time panel.  Our newly, slightly more robust panel of SHIELD agents tackles talk of Season 4B as well as prognosticates upon possible future plot developments of the fifth season and speculates upon the likelihood that the show has moved markedly toward the bubble of cancellation, especially since the network is delaying the premiere of Season 5 until mid-season and is moving the show to a precarious Friday night time slot. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in August 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the fourth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will stay in the MCU as a handful of familiar panelists gather around the water cooler to take a First Look while simultaneously Looking Back at the gone-too-soon but never-forgotten, girl power driven spin-off of the Captain America films, Marvel’s Agent Carter.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1)  Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is (i.e .Hive’s home planet beyond Earth)?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

2) Still a Question: Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

ANSWER: Still questions without answers. 

3) Still a question: Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

ANSWER: As above, still questions without answers.

4) Is Ghost Rider (GR) gone for good?  Why was he even brought on the show to begin with? What IS GR?  Who was the GR before Robbie Reyes? Is Robbie the last GR, should he never return from where ever he landed with his Uncle Eli? Does GR reap souls from the living?  How was GR able to touch the physicists trapped within the dimensional rift? Where do the souls or people slayed or reaped by the GR go?  Do they go to hell?  Why was the GR mythology not flushed out more on this show if such care and attention to bring him on the show was necessary to the overall story?

ANSWER: Robbie/GR returned in the season finale, emerging from some sort of portal to a hell dimension, bent upon recapturing the Dark Hold.  His appearance also served to provide Coulson (Clark Gregg) a way to defeat the ultimate Big Bad of the season – the android Aida (Mallory Jansen), whose interaction with the Dark Hold motivated her to aspire to turning herself into a human and to bolster a virtual reality/artificial computer-based matrix created by Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah), nicknamed the Framework.  Further explanation of Ghost Rider and what his mythology is and how it relates to the MCU overall was not provided this half season, perhaps expecting some reliance on knowledge from the comics.

5) Is Nadir affiliated with Hydra?  Could Hydra be coming back – since it seems foolish to eliminate them from the MCU completely?

ANSWER: Nadir funds and protects (politically) the Watchdogs, the ranks of which contain some former Hydra agents.  Hydra as an actual entity – this side of the Framework, that is – has not, as of yet, returned or does not seem to exist. Yet, events of this season may signal the return of some growing heads of the many-headed enemy.  So speculates the podcast panel.

6) Aida, Radcliffe’s newest android creation, seems to have created a double for May (Ming-Na Wen).  Is the real May being held captive by Ada (we see a bloodied May in Ada’s storage closet)? Is the doubled May, back at SHIELD headquarters, an android? Or, is she some sort of inter-dimensional echo created by Ada with the knowledge from Dark Hold? Or, is double May an alien?  Because, when in doubt – aliens.

ANSWER: The real May is the captive May.  The doubled May, indeed an android version, breaks open the precious bottle of scotch that Coulson (Clark Gregg) and May were saving for the right time to drink.  This half of the season dealt heavily in the notion of androids, as Aida became more proficient in creating them alongside her creator, Radcliffe.

7) What was the Dark Hold book all along?  Some sort of window into Hell?  Is it alien?  Is it Cree?

ANSWER: It is a book of dark magic that permeates the Marvel Comics (listen to the podcast episode for Kristen’s research).  The show does not explain the book’s origins beyond its presumed mystical properties.

8) What happened to the Inhuman undergoing terra-genesis that Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) was blindfolded and squirreled away to help and, then, to abandon when the process was complete?

ANSWER: Unknown.  We never see this Inhuman again.

9) Is Mace (Jason O’Mara) going to remain SHIELD’s director?  Is he part of a new SHIELD Inhuman fighting force? What secrets is he hiding (since Simmons implied that there were secrets)? Will he be the “Big Bad” in the second half of the season as panelist Jen predicts?

ANSWER: Mace remains SHIELD’s director until he (spoiler) meets his heroic end in the Framework.  The only trouble is, as Jen predicted, Mace is hiding a shocking secret: his Inhuman powers are drug-induced and not actual Inhuman powers.  He is not an Inhuman but part of an experimental program spearheaded by General Talbot (Adrian Pasdar), in which humans injected with a super serum develop superhuman powers; however, if those in the program do not receive regular injections of the serum, they suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms and eventual loss of the enhancements initially provided by the drugs.  Mace, however, always has his heart in the right place.  He wants to help people, particularly, he confesses, after he was recognized for being a “hero” when he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  The future of SHIELD, on the other hand, hangs in the balance.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Is Coulson really attempting to position Daisy (Chloe Bennett) as a possible future SHIELD director?

ANSWER: It’s hard to see this eventuality as truly possible as of the end of this season, particularly since the Framework fallout cast a gray cloud over SHIELD as an agency once again in the eyes of the judging fictional public.  There’s no question that Coulson is fond of Daisy, though.

11) Are Mack (Henry Simmons) and “Yo-Yo” aka Alana Rodriguez going to make a legitimate romantic go of it?  What pain is Mack nursing?  The loss of his brother?

ANSWER: They are, and they do, make a legitimate attempt at coupling (in all the ways), and it’s a true connection, filled with simmering sexual tension and consummated and mutual romantic interest.  The audience, via Mack’s revelation to Yo-Yo, learns that Mack lost a child, a daughter named Hope, a few days after her birth.  He and his ex-wife, Hope’s mother, mourns this loss annually and privately, wondering what might have been had Hope lived.  This loss haunts Mack more than any others in his past.

12) Will we see any more Avengers or Avengers-related characters on the show?  The panel feels strongly that the show would benefit from an injection of movie-caliber quality, either in character appearances or in story reworking.

ANSWER: We haven’t so far, unless you count Framework Hydra…which does not really count…

13) Was Aida truly affected by the Dark Hold?  Does her creation of double May mean she is evil or an insane robot now?  Will SHE be the “Big Bad” in the season’s second half? Does Holden know or having any inkling of what his creation has become?

ANSWER: There is no question that Aida is consummately affected by the Dark Hold – it gives her knowledge, ambition, and desire far beyond her initial programming.  “Evil” and “insane” are strong qualifiers that do not quite fit the situation, though. Aida is ruthlessly efficient, incapable of considering collateral damage and human cost beyond the calculations she completes, first to help Radcliffe build LMD’s like her as well as build the Framework, and then to help herself in terms of completing Project Looking Glass, which enables her to become human through a merging of science and mysticism from the Dark Hold.  As such, Aida’s increasing observance of Radcliffe’s ambitions (fueled by an unmistakable God complex) matched against her own desire to be human and to be loved – specifically by Fitz (Iain de Caestecker) – positions her as the season’s Big Bad and the ultimate force that our heroes must defeat this go-round.  Radcliffe surely knows that Aida surpasses her own programming but is forced to catch up to the realization that Aida has loftier aims than merely creating a Framework, which Radcliffe builds to preserve the consciousness of his real life, ailing wife Agnes, the physical/bodily inspiration for Aida.

New Questions

1) Will we see Ghost Rider again?  Or, is he being limited to this season?  The podcast panel votes for a spin-off for this version of Ghost Rider, with frequent guest appearances by Daisy.  They have a certain chemistry, we think… And Ghost Rider and Quake together are kind of bad-ass.  At the very least, he should simply return from time to time, as long as he is not used as a method of convenient last minute escape (lest his appearances feel cheap).

2) Who captured the SHIELD agents during the season 4 epilogue?  Who are the shadowy figures really? Kristen predicts that the government is behind this abduction; Jen predicts Hydra is back and behind this abduction as does Kylie; Micah speculates that a group called “Sword” from the Marvel Comics or the Inhuman Royal Family or groups like “Raid” or “Aim” are all possibilities for the potential perpetrators.  Kylie also hopefully wonders if the Cree own the spaceship/space craft on which Coulson finds himself and if the audience will finally be given more answers around the mysterious alien race consistently referred to in the show’s earliest seasons.

3) Where is Coulson?  How did he end up in space?

4) Where is everyone else?  How did Coulson get separated from the team?

5) How much will Marvel’s Inhumans, premiering in fall, affect Agents of SHIELD, if at all?

6) Will there be lasting effects of the Framework on the team, especially Fitz and Simmons and Coulson and May?

7) Will there be another time jump?  If there is, dear writers, explain it!

8) Did Nadir’s brother Vijay start a second terra-genesis when he fell into the water, as Micah observed?  If so, what does this mean for Inhumans, for him, and for our team?

9) Will Coulson and May finally admit their obvious feelings for one another?  Will a romantic coupling between them feel weird?  They’re kind of like the mom and dad of the whole outfit.

10) Will SHIELD survive the move to Fridays?  We hope so!

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, our newly expanded podcast panel believes that Agents of SHIELD remarkably rallied in Season 4B, paying off the doldrums and missteps of Season 4A with some excellent action-fueled drama. In fact, all panelists find new excitement in anticipation of the show’s fifth season, after the execution of the excellent “LMD” and “Agents of Hydra” arcs, which rejuvenated the story, our enjoyment of the show, and possibly the performances of the acting ensemble, as the story and pacing felt more energized and more cohesive in the fourth season’s second half. The panelists are more willing than ever, even eager, to continue watching the program at this stage, given that several disjointed story choices have since been corrected, including reintegrating Daisy back into the SHIELD team (the panel continues to regard the season starting time jump as anticlimactic and seemingly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things, for the record). The panel now universally recommends tuning in to SHIELD, provided that would-be new viewers begin with the first season, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing, as the panel maintains that, despite a bumpy start and a rocky first half of the fourth season, Agents of SHIELD is entertaining and worth the watch, with these arcs and the third season “Hive” arc being the high points for this comic book adaptation.

LOOKING AHEAD

Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fifth season by ABC, which is slated to premiere following the complete airing of Marvel’s Inhumans, on a new night and time, Fridays at 9:00 PM.  The Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next and likely reconvene following the complete airing of Season 5 of SHIELD, depending upon how many episodes are produced and whether or not the show is interrupted by a significant hiatus during a reasonably lengthy mid-point (in other words, will CPU! have enough time to record a reaction panel at some point in the middle of SHIELD’s fifth season? Time will tell).  No official premiere date for this show has yet been announced as of the publication of this post. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 4A, “Ghost Rider;” MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in December 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 4A of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with particular focus upon “Ghost Rider!” If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 4 Mid-Season Recap and Progress Report (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for agents of shield season 4 title

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays at 10:00 PM.

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: Season 4 premiered on ABC on September 20, 2016, at 10:00 PM.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, previously directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons for most of the panel: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of a Marvel-type nature.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has covered Agents of SHIELD since the beginning, though in podcast format only starting last year.  If you would like to catch up on our SHIELD coverage, click the embedded links below, or find the audio equivalents on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play (links further below):

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Midseason

Season 3B (post-finale)

Our SHIELD panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, recently reconvened “around the water cooler” to discuss Season 4A and the introduction of “Ghost Rider” as well as to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments of the second half of the fourth season (and to speculate upon the likelihood that the show has moved markedly toward the bubble of cancellation). Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in December 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the first half of the fourth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will catch up on coverage of a CPU! favorite, in podcast format for the first time – and just in time for the program’s last season. Next week, CPU! introduces a new panel of old favorites as we talk about seasons three through five of NBC cult favorite Grimm.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1)  Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is (i.e .Hive’s home planet beyond Earth)?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

2) What happened in the six months prior to the third season time jump/epilogue?  How much could have really happened to change everything so much?

ANSWER: As we discuss in the podcast episode, not much back story was flushed out in this half season regarding the time jump.  In fact, the panelists universally felt that the time jump was largely meaningless and did nothing for the story.  What we do know is the following:

–Afraid that the events surrounding Hive, Lincoln’s death, and Daisy’s (Chloe Bennett) response to Lincoln’s death might lead the government to shut down SHIELD, even though the agency previously existed as a black ops division, Coulson (Clark Gregg) removed himself as director and appointed Jeffrey Mace (Jason O’Mara) as the new Director. Mace is (SPOILER) an Inhuman, as well as a public relations dream and a long-time camera-friendly politician, so Coulson felt that Mace was best positioned to legitimize SHIELD in the eyes of government figureheads and the public and to downplay some of the more high profile SHIELD missteps (or events that looked like missteps).

–Daisy, aggrieved by Lincoln’s death, went rogue and decided to go after Inhumans by herself, for reasons unexplained.  She used her powers openly and without discretion in the process, allowing the public to dub her, somewhat fearfully, with the “Quake” moniker.

–Coulson and Mack (Henry Simmons) searched for Daisy with Mace’s approval, but she consistently eluded them, trying the new director’s patience and vexing the paternal Coulson.

–Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) positioned herself to be promoted through the ranks at SHIELD and to earn the Director’s trust enough to be made an assistant within his inner circle.  As a result, she is subjected to random lie detector tests to ensure that she is not withholding secrets from him, which, of course, she is.  She’s also in the process of buying a place to live with Fitz (Iain De Caestecker), which is nice.

–May (Ming-Na Wen), Mack, Coulson, and Fitz are all agents tasked with securing Inhumans, aliens, and, by extension, Daisy/Quake.

–Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah) was pardoned by the government/SHIELD regarding his dubious cybernetics practices and is kept on as an adviser, though he is expressly prevented from working on robotics and cybernetic technology as part of his pardon. He doesn’t comply, of course.

In the end, not much happened in that ballyhooed six months, so none of the panelists understood why the jump was necessary or why a passage of time to demonstrate yet another chase for Daisy would add to the story.  Also, we felt that it was not executed well.

3) Is Daisy definitely “Quake” now?  What is her aim at this point?  Is she totally rogue?  Is she working undercover for SHIELD?  Is she off the reservation over mourning the loss of Lincoln?

ANSWER: Daisy is definitely Quake now, owing to the public’s Cisco Ramon (DC REFERENCE!) like ability to name superheroes.  Her aim at the start of the season is to track Inhumans and, particularly, Ghost Rider on her own.  She is totally rogue and totally off the grid and not working for SHIELD, finding the agency’s rules and bureaucracy “too confining.”  She is, in fact, or so it is implied by May later in the season, off the reservation because she is grieving Lincoln’s death.

4) If Coulson is no longer the director of SHIELD, who is?  Is May the new director? Why is Coulson no longer the director of SHIELD?  Did he break away over his personal (fatherly) feelings for Daisy or for another reason?

ANSWER: As above, Mace is the new director.  Coulson stepped down more to protect SHIELD itself from politicians who feel that SHIELD is sheltering (i.e. allowing to live/roam free) rather than containing Inhumans at humans’ expense. One side bonus of this move, however, is that he could track the hurting Daisy with more freedom as an agent under the radar than he could as SHIELD’s high profile director.

5) Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

ANSWER: Still questions without answers.  The Inhumans/Cree story lines and alien mythology were subverted this half season in favor of creating the “Ghost Rider” story arc.

6) Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

ANSWER: As above, still questions without answers.

7) Will we be returning to some “the team chases Daisy” motif as we already experienced in season 2?  The panel is against this idea.

ANSWER: The panel was not heeded, to a point, and the show was the worse for it (listen to us, man!). Some time was devoted to Coulson and Mack’s chase of Daisy. Fortunately, a frustrated Mace prevented Coulson from being distracted by this eventuality for too long, feeling that Daisy outmaneuvered Coulson and Mack every step of the way and to no avail and at a significant expenditure of SHIELD’s resources. Eventually, everyone catches up with each other in the end.  That’s usually how it works.

8) What or who will be the new “Big Bad” now that Hive has expired?

ANSWER: The “Big Bad” is as yet undefined.  It could be the Watchdogs, the anti-Inhuman terrorist organization that first appeared in season three.  It could be politicians like Senator Ellen Nadir, who seem to be funneling money and resources to the Watchdogs.  Or, it could have been Robbie Reyes aka Ghost Rider’s Uncle Eli, who toyed with quantum physics and got himself sucked into an inter-dimensional rift by playing with forces he did not understand.  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this half season was a bit messy.

9) Is Hydra really gone?  It can’t be, right?  New heads and so forth?

ANSWER: So far, so gone, though panelist Jen predicted that Senator Nadir could possibly be, or be connected to new heads of, Hydra, since she is holding captive Inhuman(s) undergoing terra-genesis for as yet unknown reasons (with Mace’s knowledge; listen to the podcast for details).

10) Will Bobbi and/or Lance ever be brought back to the show, since their purported spin-off was axed before airing?

ANSWER: So far, so gone, though it would be nice for SHIELD to accidentally bump into them at some point.  I can’t imagine they would stay gone for good, unless budgetary reasons prevent them from returning.

New Questions

1) Is Ghost Rider (GR) gone for good?  Why was he even brought on the show to begin with? What IS GR?  Who was the GR before Robbie Reyes? Is Robbie the last GR, should he never return from where ever he landed with his Uncle Eli? Does GR reap souls from the living?  How was GR able to touch the physicists trapped within the dimensional rift? Where do the souls or people slayed or reaped by the GR go?  Do they go to hell?  Why was the GR mythology not flushed out more on this show if such care and attention to bring him on the show was necessary to the overall story?  The podcast panelists felt that the GR arc combined with the several other story lines introduced or continued in this half season (Daisy as Quake, the humans vs. Inhumans, SHIELD as an evolving SHIELD) was ultimately a misfire in execution, mostly, on the part of the producers and writers.

2) Is Nadir affiliated with Hydra?  Could Hydra be coming back – since it seems foolish to eliminate them from the MCU completely?

3) Ada (Mallory Jansen), Radcliffe’s newest android creation, seems to have created a double for May.  Is the real May being held captive by Ada (we see a bloodied May in Ada’s storage closet)? Is the doubled May, back at SHIELD headquarters, an android? Or, is she some sort of inter-dimensional echo created by Ada with the knowledge from Dark Hold? Or, is double May an alien?  Because, when in doubt – aliens.

4) What was the Dark Hold book all along?  Some sort of window into Hell?  Is it alien?  Is it Cree?

5) What happened to the Inhuman undergoing terra-genesis that Simmons was blindfolded and squirreled away to help and, then, to abandon when the process was complete?

6) Is Mace going to remain SHIELD’s director?  Is he part of a new SHIELD Inhuman fighting force? What secrets is he hiding (since Simmons implied that there were secrets)? Will he be the “Big Bad” in the second half of the season as panelist Jen predicts?

7) Is Coulson really attempting to position Daisy as a possible future SHIELD director?

8) Are Mack and “Yo-Yo” aka Alana Rodriguez going to make a legitimate romantic go of it?  What pain is Mack nursing?  The loss of his brother?

9) Will we see any more Avengers or Avengers-related characters on the show?  The panel feels strongly that the show would benefit from an injection of movie-caliber quality, either in character appearances or in story reworking.

10) Was Ada truly affected by the Dark Hold?  Does her creation of double May mean she is evil or an insane robot now?  Will SHE be the “Big Bad” in the season’s second half? Does Holden know or having any inkling of what his creation has become?

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, the podcast panel believes that the show’s critical crossroads has come and gone, and that in the case of Marvel Agents of SHIELD, in the heretofore described “make it or break it” scenario, SHIELD may be close to breaking it.  The panel felt that the show hit a low point in this half season, comparable to the first half of its first season, while rebooting its trajectory post-Hive and post-departure of Brett Dalton.  The panelists, though still willing to continue watching, feel that the show has become stale and somewhat boring as it flounders to find a new focal point, though we still have numerous questions, as above.  In addition, though Daisy would be a logical choice for that new focal point, the panel also universally felt that the writers have short changed one of the more popular characters this season by creating Daisy’s petulant, somewhat flat response to her grief, while the character herself is mired in a repetitive story line centered on her developing powers and Quake persona.  Furthermore, the fourth season’s first half has only served to confirm another panel perception: the time jump was anticlimactic and seemingly unnecessary in the grand scheme of things and did not create an enticing enough cliffhanger to convince fickle fans to continue watching, resulting in lower ratings overall. The panel still thinks it’s worth tuning in to SHIELD, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing, though, for the first time, all three panelists felt hard pressed to recommend the show to others, as all panelists believed strongly that SHIELD might not be able to recover from its current, disorganized, post-Hive path. In fact, viewers who stopped watching the show much earlier may finally be justified in their quick prejudgments, though the panel still asserts that the first three seasons are worth the watch.

LOOKING AHEAD

A full season of Marvel Agents of SHIELD was ordered upon renewal, but both our podcast panel and other TV pundits believe that renewal for a fifth season could go either way, meaning that the show has unofficially entered bubble territory; thus, no official announcement about the show’s fate has yet been made.  Agents of SHIELD returns from its mid-season hiatus on January 10, 2017. The podcast panel will revisit this program at the end of season, so keep checking back with CPU! for all the latest blog posts and podcast episodes. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage. Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3B; MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2016, our continuously small but robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3B of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and all things Hydra, Inhuman, and Hive! If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” – The Season 3 End of Season Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on network TV, specifically on ABC, fall to spring Tuesdays, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D,” a serial television drama based on the comic/graphic novel and film universe of Marvel Comics.

SYNOPSIS

The mission of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, i.e. S.H.I.E.L.D., is to monitor and collect rogue supernatural subjects, forces, and people and to control them.  The Division is kind of like the so-called Men in Black but is focused on any fringe element looking to create the next Tony Stark (Iron Man) or Captain America or Thor without the natural-born endowments (or the cool suit invented by a rich guy).  Of course, the mission has been complicated ten times over since the start of the series.

When: The season 3 finale aired on ABC, Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

Where: The show is set in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe and closely follows the events of “The Avengers” films, directed by series creator Joss Whedon (along with brother Jed).

Why: Two reasons: Joss Whedon and Disney’s first television production of the Marvel property it recently acquired.  It seemed like a no-brainer, really.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! began this season of Agents of SHIELD by publishing our first podcast about this series, which reviewed season one, recapped season two, and ruminated on the progress of season three; we then recorded a second podcast episode bridging the gap through the mid-season finale.  If you would like to catch up, click the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-3A

Season 3A Midseason

Our SHIELD panel, namely Kristen, Jen, and moderator Kylie, recently convened once again to discuss Season 3B and all things Inhumanly Hive as well as to prognosticate upon possible future plot developments, since SHIELD was renewed for a fourth season by ABC. Listen to the podcast, and see if you agree or disagree with our comments, reactions, and predictions.

This podcast was recorded in July 2016, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the second half of the third season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, and/or our Stitcher Radio channel to keep track of brand new episodes. In the meantime, let us know what you think! Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next podcast episode will revisit Gotham and the second half of its second season, dubbed “The Wrath of the Villains!”  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Revisited: Will we learn about the secret society and how far back the knowledge of this alien portal goes?

ANSWER: The secret society is, in fact, the root of what we know today as Hydra.  Part of Hydra’s existence is defined by the worship of the alien creature on the Planet, who we find out was exiled to the Planet by the Cree.  The secret society formed around the discovery of the portal, which is most likely Cree in origin, though nothing has been confirmed.  The secret society, for centuries, has engaged in a ritual in which sons of fathers were forced to draw lots (via selection stones) in order to determine who would “volunteer” to venture through the portal and search for the creature.  None came back alive until Ward/Not Ward (Brett Dalton), Coulson (Clark Gregg), and Fitz (Iain de Caestecker)/Simmons (Elizabeth Henstridge) orchestrated their respective escapes.

2) Still a Question: Will we learn which planet it is?

ANSWER: We haven’t yet, and it’s one of the main questions of the podcast panel.

3) Revisited: Will we learn what’s out in the desert?

ANSWER: The alien, which we learn was the first Inhuman ever to be created by the Cree alien race, was Hive.  Once an Earth-born human, the Cree experimented with terrogen crystals to create the first genetically mutated Inhuman, who had the power to “swarm” and affect the constitutions of other Inhumans and humans alike.  This being possessed the lifeless body of Ward after Will was killed and after Coulson strangled Ward on the Planet with his bionic hand.

4) Revisited: Who is Powers Boothe’s character, and what is his true mission?

ANSWER: Known as Malick, he became the de facto head of Hydra in this third season. His true mission, like all other Hydra heads before him, was to find Hive and bring him back through the portal, as Hydra officials worshiped the unknown Inhuman like a god (or maybe a devil).

5) Revisited: Will the Inhuman program be successful, and what will be its purpose?

ANSWER: This half season, Daisy (Chloe Bennett) was able to effect more of a program with metal manipulation guy, Lincoln (Luke Mitchell), and a new discovery nicknamed “Yo-Yo” by Mack (Henry Simmons); however, not all of these individuals survived this season.

6) Revisited: Can Lash/Andrew be saved?

ANSWER: The short answer: no.  Though Lash/Andrew (Blair Underwood) survived and was squirreled away to the recesses of SHIELD’s headquarters after the mid-season finale, it turns out that Lash’s specific abilities were apparently ordained by some higher purpose, according to Lincoln; that purpose was to be able to cure Inhumans, specifically Daisy, who were held under the hypnotic “Sway” of Hive.  Sadly, Lash/Andrew completed his transformation and then was annihilated by the formidable Hive in one of many confrontations with the powerful being this season.

7) Will Ward/Not Ward use any lingering sense of Ward-ness (his memories, his feelings for Daisy, his skills, his grudges, etc.) while occupied by the alien being, or will this new Ward be a whole new animal reflective of the being within?

ANSWER: Hive Ward was most definitely a blend of Ward as well as all who Hive occupied before Ward came along.  Ward’s memories and feelings for Daisy did appear to affect Hive’s unusually strong Sway effect with Daisy; he seemed to favor her above all others.

8) What is the alien being’s endgame?

ANSWER: Once on Earth, Hive Ward’s mission was to create a new race of humans by attempting to make all humans Inhuman.

9) What or where is the alien planet?  Is it the Cree home world?  Is it somewhere else? Are there any other occupants on that planet besides the alien being, or did it kill everyone off all over the planet?

ANSWER: What or where the alien planet is remains a question, but it’s safe to say that Hive probably did kill everyone on the planet because he attempted, directly or indirectly, to do the same to Earth in season 3B.

10) Is the alien being the true face of Hydra/did it create Hydra?

ANSWER: Yes, Hive is the true face of Hydra, in the sense that Hydra was created partly in worship of Hive.  Thus, Hive indirectly created Hydra, though Hive was long exiled to the Planet by the Cree who created him.

11) What was the Hydra-symbol shaped structure on the alien planet?  Did the alien being live in it?

ANSWER: Still a question without an answer.

12) Have other alien beings inhabited other human visitors and found their way back to Earth?  Or, is the Ward/Not Ward alien being the first one?

ANSWER: As far as we know, Hive Ward is the only human possessed by an Inhuman to ever come to and from Earth, in either direction, because he was the first of his kind and the only one to be exiled to the Planet.  At least, so it appears.

13) Does the alien being plan to destroy Earth?  Why?

ANSWER: Indirectly, Hive’s intention was to expose all humans to terrogen crystal gas in order to effect their “evolution” to Inhumans.  Many humans do not have the alien genetic marker to allow such a transformation without side effects, mainly death, and though Hive enlisted a scientist obsessed with human evolution (and artificial augmentation) to experiment with human DNA such that humans might be able to accept the terrogen gas mutation without death, the humans subject to these experiments became mindless neanderthals with strength and speed but no real ability and no trace of who they used to be.  Thus, if Hive had succeeded in exposing the globe to the gas, he would have annihilated most of the human population on Earth, but his aim was to create a society evolved like him, as he was once human and believed himself to be altogether superior to humans.

14) Who are the Cree after all?

ANSWER: All we know so far is that they are an alien race of beings not originally from Earth.

15) Is Andrew/Lash actually dead?

ANSWER: He was not as of the mid-season finale, but he is now.

16) Where will May’s (Ming-Na Wen) head be when the second half of the season starts?

ANSWER: She was largely dutiful to SHIELD and to Coulson, though she vehemently disagreed with Phil in how to handle Daisy after she was affected by Hive’s Sway.

17) Who is the Powers Boothe character (beyond what we know), and is the Ward/Not Ward being what he was after in the end?

ANSWER: As above, he became the de facto head of Hydra after all other known heads were destroyed.  Yes, Hive Ward was his true objective; he was tasked with bringing him back to Earth.

18) Will Daisy learn to fly?  Soon?

ANSWER: Yes. As of the season finale, Daisy was flying, “Quake” style, though this was presented in a time-jump epilogue, said to be occurring six months after the primary events of the season.

19) When is the Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki)/Lance (Nick Blood) spin-off supposed to start, and would it be worth watching?

ANSWER: The purported spin-off was canceled by ABC prior to the network airing the pilot, so it doesn’t seem very worth watching.

20) Does the alien being have any plans for Hydra?  Is it aware of Hydra?

ANSWER: Hive planned to rule Hydra, all humans, and the whole world.  Hive became aware of Hydra when it arrived on Earth and sized up Malick after Malick fed information to Hive in the early days of his return to Earth (he watched a lot of TV).

21) What will happen with Daisy’s Inhuman task force?

ANSWER: As of now, two of them have died, and Daisy is off the reservation as of the “six months later” epilogue, so it is safe to say that the task force was short lived, or it is on effective hiatus, though it did help fight Hive in the end.

22) What will the aftermath of Will’s death be for Fitz/Simmons?  How will they evolve? Will they evolve?

ANSWER: Though Simmons very much missed Will, she allowed herself to explore a long overdue relationship with Fitz.  By the end of the season, they had done the horizontal mambo and come away without too much emotional fallout, so they seem to be well into romance territory.  Let them stay healthy and alive, Whedons!  We know the game!

23) How will the new Captain America movie and the events depicted therein affect our characters on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?

ANSWER: There was mention of the so-called “Civil War” and the “Secovia Accords” on SHIELD, but the film’s events bore little overall effect on our television characters, but for mention of the need for Inhumans to “register” themselves.

24) What is the alien being’s true form?

ANSWER: He was once human but became a being that can swarm and possess others as well as affect Inhumans with his Sway.

New Questions

1) What happened in the six months prior to the third season time jump/epilogue?  How much could have really happened to change everything so much?

2) Is Daisy definitely “Quake” now?  What is her aim at this point?  Is she totally rogue?  Is she working undercover for SHIELD?  Is she off the reservation over mourning the loss of Lincoln?

3) If Coulson is no longer the director of SHIELD, who is?  Is May the new director? Why is Coulson no longer the director of SHIELD?  Did he break away over his personal (fatherly) feelings for Daisy or for another reason?

4) Will we find out about the “purpose” behind the Inhumans, as alluded to by Lincoln (RIP), and explore more of the mythology and connection between the Inhumans and the Cree?  Will we ever find out the true origin of the Planet?  Is the Planet important beyond being the place where Hive was exiled for millennia?

5) Will we ever learn more about the Cree themselves?  Are they related to any of the individual Avengers?

6) Will we be returning to some “the team chases Daisy” motif as we already experienced in season 2?  The panel is against this idea.

7) What or who will be the new “Big Bad” now that Hive has expired?

8) Is Hydra really gone?  It can’t be, right?  New heads and so forth?

9) Will Bobbi and/or Lance ever be brought back to the show, since their purported spin-off was axed before airing?

PARTING SHOTS

By consensus, the podcast panel definitely feels that Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. hit a show high point with season three; in fact, there was consensus, in that we think the third season is the best so far. Even if the panelists vary in whether we think this show is “can’t miss” appointment television, we’re still eager to see what happens next, though the season-ending time jump gave us a significant amount of pause. The body count in season three was high; the cast turnover was, therefore, also high; and there was definitely a sense of “Where can they go from here?” after the tense and engaging story of Hive and the origin of Hydra, especially as Hydra seems to be effectively benched in the show’s story lines.  There is also a sense that SHIELD is at a crossroads; the next season could be a “make it or break it” season for this program, since it seems, after years of following the Ward character through his many transformations, the story will need a new focal point. Will that new focal point be as engaging, as entertaining, and/or as satisfying as the last three seasons of Ward’s evolution and eventual demise?  That’s the question plaguing CPU!’s SHIELD panel today, particularly since the time jump epilogue seemed so anticlimactic in comparison to everything that came before it, but we all intend to keep watching at least a bit longer to find out the answer.  At the very least, the panel agrees that the show is moving along at a great (and better) clip than previous seasons, with engaging story arcs for its characters.  The panel still thinks it’s worth tuning in, even if the “tuning in” does not necessarily occur at the time of first airing.

LOOKING AHEAD

Marvel: Agents of SHIELD has been renewed for a fourth season, which is slated to premiere on ABC on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 10:00 PM.  The Marvel: Agents of SHIELD podcast panel will next reconvene following the fourth mid-season finale of SHIELD, which will likely air in or around December 2016.  As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional SHIELD coverage.  Until then!

iTunes PODCAST – Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Season 3A; MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded on February 7, 2016, our small but robust panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, and Jen–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 3A of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!