Radcliffe gets inside May’s head, Daisy signs the Sokovia Accords, and Coulson gets kicked in the balls.
Daisy may have redeemed herself to the public, but the US government still has questions as she prepares to sign the Sokovia Accords. To clear her record while she was “undercover,” she is questioned by Sen. Nadir and a congressional committee. Seeing this as an opportunity to find out Nadir’s game plan, Coulson and Yo-Yo sneak into Nadir’s office, against Gen. Talbot’s advice, to plant listening devices and gather any intel they can. But Nadir was ready for them, catching them in the act and using them as an example of SHIELD’s illegal activity involving Inhumans. An official investigation of SHIELD will take place, but now, Coulson knows they have a leak.
While May fights her way through the simulation Radcliffe programmed for her to be kept sedated, LMD May questions her purpose as she discovers she is one of Radcliffe’s LMD spies. Keeping her new found identity on the down low, May speaks with Fittz about Aida and what might have prompted her to attack. But Fittz has his own theories and goes against Simmons orders not to interact with Aida’s head. What he discovers sends SHIELD to Radcliffe’s door ready to arrest him as SHIELD’s leak to Nadir. But, Radcliffe remains one step ahead as they discover the Radcliffe they’ve arrested was another LMD, and the scientist is safely with Sen. Nadir and her Watch Dog goons.
“Wake Up” has me a bit divided on how this half of the season is progressing. On one hand, there has been a lot of strong character development, especially in this episode. While the story follows the potential leak in SHIELD, so much time is given, and well earned, to the motivations of each character. Most of the cast has histories or internal struggles revealed to themselves or others. Even Daisy and Mace find a common ground. This is not the same fractured SHIELD we saw in the first half, trying to scramble together to trust each other. It seems the core group has found their middle ground to work together, even if it’s sometimes shaky.
But, on the other hand, this season is wasting a lot of opportunities in regards to the LMD’s. These are essentially creations that can take on the face of any past character, bringing them back to the show. Yet so far they’ve only replicated current characters. The reason for this is probably a problem on the production side of things, not able to have certains cast members return. But even in their set-up of this LMD story arc, they write themselves an opportunity and then waste it. For instance, this episode reveals that May was abducted by Radcliffe and Aida and replaced with an LMD only five days prior when she visited Radcliffe’s apartment. Yet, at the beginning of this season, she was Radcliffe’s patient, in and out of consciousness, which would have been the perfect time to make the switch. It would also clean up May’s reactions to certain events, like being in favor of Aida, getting Aida to read the Darkhold, getting closer to Coulson. But, it seem all of those moments were the real May, which, to me, brings up another problem.
Are they really leading Coulson and May into a romantic relationship? I admit I often have a bias against too much, or unnecessary, romance in stories, and that’s what this feels like. That was another aspect of this episode that had me sliding further and further down into my seat; so much focus on everyone’s romances. Fittz-Simmons are having problems, Yo-Yo and Mack (Mo-Yo? Yo Mack?) are having problems (though this did reveal a lot about Mack as a character), and now everyone is pushing for Coulson and May (Moulson? Cay?). This pairing makes a lot more sense (PHILINDA!) when it might have been Radcliffe’s assumption that there was some sort of romantic entanglement there, but it seems that’s the direction the show wants to go, and it worries me.