Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 9 Review: Broken Promises

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Well, the return of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had pretty much everything you could want in a television program: killer robots, kickass action, epic betrayal, and a copious amount of Eighties movie references. It was so much fun, I made it halfway through the hour before realizing I missed Robbie Reyes. 

Hunting for Darkhold - Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 9, Aida wasted no time in getting her evil plan into action. Said evil plan involved getting control of the Darkhold, the book of black magic that made Aida so powerful in the first place. 

Exactly how powerful? We're talking capable of rewriting her own programming powerful. Yeah. Imagine if your iPhone could do that. (To be fair, it feels like my phone is doing that to me every time I try to check my email on it.) Scary stuff. 

I didn't like feeling pain, so I fixed that.


Naturally, one member of the S.H.I.E.L.D. team is not at all surprised that Aida went awry. Mack has always been so sure that robots would be the end of him that he put a special provision in his life insurance policy to cover that cause of death!

Gear up. The robot apocalypse is here.


Mack's obsessive android paranoia throughout this episode was no fun for him, but plenty of fun for us, as it resulted in some truly hilarious lines. Seriously, this was by far the most quotable episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. of all time. I could have easily filled this entire review with just a top ten countdown of quotes. And then, a separate top ten just for Mack quotes. 

First of all, that thing is not a she. It's a damn robot. And second of all, what is the matter with you two chuckleheads? Have either one of you seen a movie in the last thirty years? The robots always attack.


As Mack reminded us so frequently throughout this episode, anyone who has ever been to the movies knows that the robots always attack. Movies like Blade Runner, Terminator, Maximum Overdrive and, you know, Avengers: Age of Ultron. 

As someone who is a sucker for Eighties science-fiction and action, I absolutely adored all of the references in this episode. When Mack name-dropped Roy Batty,  my heart soared as high as the attack ships of the coast of Orion.

Why would he do that? Has he watched no American movies from the eighties? Robots always attack.


And unlike a lot of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s attempts at pop culture witticisms, these references didn't feel forced. In the context of the episode – and of Mack's character in particular – they made total sense. 

Henry Simmons, always a favorite of mine, was in top form in this episode. His gruff, deadpan delivery as Mack is made for this kind of dialogue. 

This episode was also a great showcase for Mallory Jansen, whose cool, understated performance as Aida was often overshadowed by the more action-packed plotlines during the first part of the season.

Why do you want to hurt me, Leopold? I was your shield.

Aida [to Fitz]

However, with Ghost Rider's fiery skull now out of the picture (at least, for the time being), Jansen has showed us she is more than capable of stepping in to lead the second half of the season. When Aida spoke of feeling emotions like regret and desire for the first time, chills ran down my spine. 

Of course, by the end of the episode we were treated to yet another twist – one that, unlike Aida's turn for the worst, I did not see coming. Turns out, Aida is not as much in control of her own destiny as we all thought.

Simmons: You know how boys can be with their robots!
Daisy: Actually, I really don't.

That's right, Radcliffe is still a scumbag. I guess that we shouldn't be that surprised that a scientist who secretly created a beautiful robot girlfriend for himself is a bit of a creep (paging Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina!), but I really thought he was one of the good guys now. I'm naive, what can I say?

No, Radcliffe is not a good guy. He's using Life Model Decoys to help him obtain the Darkhold so that he can access all of it's nefarious power. He was willing to sacrifice the first Aida to do it; now, he's plotting with a new and improved Aida as to how they can use LMD May to achieve their aims. 

I'll play you music when I can. Studies show that listening to music increases dopamine levels by nine percent.

Aida [to May]

My fingers are crossed that Aida II is actually manipulating Radcliffe, instead of the other way around. It's icky to think of this man with a never-ending assembly line of women robots at his disposal, to use as mere tools. I'd love it if the tables were turned and Aida really was the one pulling the strings the whole time.

In other LMD news: Coulson spent a substantial amount of time locked in a room with LMD May and still couldn't figure out that his closest friend was not what she seemed. Clearly his spy tradecraft has gotten rusty.

Director Mace: I have this saying...
Daisy: I read the motivational poster in the bathroom.

The other big storyline in this episode concerned Senator Nadeer and her brother, Vijay, otherwise known as the young man in the Terrigenesis cocoon who Simmons helped free during Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 8

It doesn't get much worse than blood betrayal. Yes, their mother may have died in the Chitauri attack, but how does killing another member of her own family just for being an Inhuman make up for that? 

If Senator Nadeer hadn't already been established in audience members' minds as a ruthless villain, this episode sure as hell did a good job of doing so. Props to Parminder Nagra for pulling off such difficult material with aplomb. 

Following Ghost Rider is not an easy feat. I was prepared to be let down, but this episode pleasantly surprised me. Between the LMDs and Senator Nadeer, the second half of this season is set up to be pretty awesome.

What did you think of the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Who else is Senator Nadeer working with besides the Watchdogs? Do you think the LMDs are being controlled by Radcliffe, or is it actually the other way around? And when will Coulson realize May is an android?

Remember, you can watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. online via TV Fanatic. 

Broken Promises Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (104 Votes)

Lee Jutton was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She went into retirement in July of 2017. Follow her on Twitter.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 9 Quotes

I'll play you music when I can. Studies show that listening to music increases dopamine levels by nine percent.

Aida [to May]

First of all, that thing is not a she. It's a damn robot. And second of all, what is the matter with you two chuckleheads? Have either one of you seen a movie in the last thirty years? The robots always attack.