Review: ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Should Play ‘Hot Potato Soup’ With Patton Oswalt More Often
Warning – FULL SPOILERS for Tonight’s “Hot Potato Soup”:
Tragically, tonight’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. did not reveal Patton Oswalt’s Koenig brothers as the original LMDs, or even robots, or clones, for that matter. I mean, of course “Hot Potato Soup” wouldn’t, as the question behind the Koenigs has lingered since at least Season 1; leaving subversion our only real option. Still, as Justified viewers can attest, Patton Oswalt makes everything better – let alone three of them – and “Hot Potato Soup” was exactly the kind of fun you wish Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could have on a week to week basis.
That isn’t to say that “Hot Potato Soup” lacked for forward momentum; between Coulson and May’s first official kiss immediately giving way to the revelation of her LMD status, and subsequently shuffling all secret androids off the board (and into the fire). I still have to question the choice to play out Coulson and May’s attraction for multiple episodes after the revelation she’d been replaced, but it definitely offered a bit more emotional heft to the closing beat of everyone realizing the LMD might be all that’s left of May. Not to mention, the May-bot still thinks of itself as sentient, as we saw when she pleaded with Coulson her feelings were real.
We also got another big piece of the puzzle in the form of Zach McGowan’s “Superior,” though I can’t say a Russian submarine commander was exactly what I expected, given the kind of imposing physical presence McGowan has been known to provide on shows like The 100, Black Sails, or even Shameless. The apparent fixation on Coulson and believing that Inhumans haven’t earned their powers is an interesting one however, and I’d guess we’re in for a bit more explanation as the so-called third “pod” of Season 4 after the LMD arc runs its course.
Probably the highest consideration for “Hot Potato Soup” beyond the Koenig shell game was that of Fitz and Radcliffe (and kudos to John Hannah for essentially pulling double-duty this week), as the search for the Darkhold* was balanced by the LMD taunting Fitz about having deceived him. The series has definitely heaped misery on Fitz for his choice of mentors and peers, and Iain de Caestecker put in some intense work to show just how much Radcliffe had gotten to him. I’m less enamored of the series pulling out the whole “mysterious father” card again after Skye, but it’s a pretty vague suggestion for now.
*Given we never really saw what was inside the satchel that Billy hid in the Labrynth, I thought for sure the Koenigs would have the last laugh to reveal that they’d never hidden the Darkhold at all.
This was just a fun hour overall (with the added benefit of answering a seasons-long question about the Koenigs), and exactly the kind of weird leap I wish Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. could take more often. Exploring memories and all the back-and-forth were a fun method of keeping the hour moving as well, and I’m glad that most of the LMD guessing games have been wiped off the board.
AND ANOTHER THING …
- LMD Poop-Watch, Week 2: May-bot was definitely seen eating and drinking, and I’ve subsequently decided to abandon my fascination with robot excretory functions.
- Boy, that was a dark turn for Mack this week, no?
- It is a travesty that we never got to see Billy end up with an actual puppy.
- Pretty sure producers have ruled out Bobbi and Hunter returning this season, so why the refresher course in their exit?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 will continue Tuesday, January 31 with “BOOM,” airing at 10:00 P.M. on ABC.
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