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MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Patton Oswalt Returns for ‘Hot Potato Soup’

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: Patton Oswalt Returns for ‘Hot Potato Soup’

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Proceed with caution, agents. If you haven’t yet watched this week’s episode, “Hot Potato Soup,” we highly suggest you do so before proceeding. Okay? We good? Then let’s go.

I know I’ve said this before, but it sadly bears repeating — Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become one of the most relevant shows on TV for its fearlessness in tackling issues that affect our lives to an ever more chilling degree with each passing week. And given the events we experienced last week, this show has never felt more vital or necessary. For whatever minority group is the victim of real-world hate and prejudice in today’s headlines — African-Americans, Latinos, Muslims, or homosexuals — they have an obvious analog in the Inhumans, and the way that so many disparate factions are willing to unite to terminate them. This week, we learn that Radcliffe has partnered with the Inhuman-hating Russians and Watchdogs in his effort to reclaim the Darkhold. Thankfully, there’s some choice comic relief on hand in the form of the always welcome Patton Oswalt to prevent things from becoming too grim.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has become one of the most relevant shows on TV

It turns out that Coulson entrusted the Darkhold to the surviving Koenig brothers, and Koenig sister, which results in this episode’s titular schoolyard game. Coulson’s life is further complicated, however, by Radcliffe’s robot dupe of May, whose very real feelings for the former S.H.I.E.L.D. director don’t prevent her from betraying him in order to reclaim the book for her master. The long-awaited first kiss between the two veteran colleagues is a cheat in that it’s not our May who’s locking lips with Phil. But at least those of us who were longing to see the enormously charismatic Clark Gregg and Ming-Na Wen finally break the sexual tension between their characters don’t walk away completely empty-handed. Here’s hoping though that once the real May returns we’ll finally get to see these two pop open that bottle of wine.

Agents of SHIELD 2

Elsewhere, we unexpectedly get more of Fitz’s backstory when his demons come home to roost during his interrogation/analysis of the “Radbot,” who goes all Hannibal Lector in his taunting of the young agent; even dragging his estranged father into the mix. It turns out that between his Dad abandoning him at a young age, former mentor Ward betraying him, and paternal figure Radcliffe now sticking a knife in his back, the tech genius is feeling trapped in a loop from which he doesn’t think he can escape. Fortunately, walking ray of sunshine Simmons and his buddy Mack are there to pull him out of it.

While Senator Nadeer doesn’t show up this week, robot Radcliffe makes a surprisingly effective antagonist for the team. It’s a pleasure to watch John Hanna get the chance to play his villainy straight for a change, without a chaser of bumbling comedy. So much so that it’s a disappointment when S.H.I.E.L.D. ends up torching the evil android. Yet with the real Radcliffe now firmly ensconced on a Russian sub with America’s leading hate group, perhaps it won’t be too long before he no longer feels a shred of sympathy for his former friends. Still, kudos to him for saving Billy from torture, if only because it leads to Oswalt’s best moment thus far on the show: “You’re not gonna get anything out of me. Because my mind is a steel trap inside of a sealed box surrounded by quicksand…whoa, is that a puppy?”

Agents of SHIELD 3

Declassified Deliberations

— I don’t know about you folks, but I’d be perfectly happy watching an entire episode devoted to Billy and Sam trading pop culture references and playing video games in a bar.

— “Kidnapping a Koenig? That’s like catching moonlight.”

— Oswalt’s reaction to the onion is priceless.

— If the Darth Vader digital clock is an example of shameless cross promotion, then call me a sheep, baby.

— “They got you shipping with Black Widow. Some of the drawings are… They call you Quack!”

— “You know what Tony Star’s armor is powered by? Compromise.” Oh, somebody has simple got to get Thurston into Avengers: Infinity War.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@JMaCabre).

Images: Marvel/Disney/ABC

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