Plot Lines of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD: Season 4, Episode 14 “The Man Behind the Shield”


By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)

WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.


Matt Owens

A Plot: Finding Mace

This episode focused on several different things, but the main point was finding Ivanov and, by extension, Director Mace. The time spent between Mace and Ivanov gave us some more insight into the so-called Superior’s motivations. We knew he hated the Inhumans, and pretty much any other alien, so that was no surprise. What was new was his motivations for hating Coulson. I left last week’s episode thinking Ivanov merely hated Coulson because he’s always around whenever anything goes awry on Earth, but it’s much deeper than that. A 0-8-4 (object of unknown origin, in case you forgot) landed in Russia and Coulson and May worked against Ivanov’s army squad to retrieve. It ended in the squad getting executed by their superiors for their failure (maybe we’ll learn later how Ivanov escaped their fate). I like that this has become a more personal story for Coulson. The MCU tends to get filled with so many Earth-threatening villains that the story gets to be too grandiose. It’s refreshing every once in a while to get a more personal story like Steve vs. Bucky in The Winter Soldier. That’s what Coulson vs. Ivanov is to me, a personal story about the past coming back to haunt one of our main characters.

I was also not prepared for the twist at the end. I need to keep reminding myself that the subtitle for this story arc is “LMD” because sometimes it feels like this is more of an Inhumans vs. the Watchdogs story (“Watchdogs” really should have been the subtitle for this). Fitz and Simmons are now in an impossible situation, but that’s where their characters shine. Much like with “4,722 Hours” from season 3, I think we’re about to get an in-your-face reminder that Fitz and Simmons are perfectly capable of handling themselves in extreme situations.

B Plot: From Russia, With Love

Agents of SHIELD always does a great job of telling their stories so the B plot melds nicely into the A plot and doesn’t feel like filler. In this case, Matt Owens was able to give us a little origin story on Coulson and May that set up a future romance between the two while also complementing the main story. I was little disappointed that we didn’t learn what the 0-8-4 was that everyone was chasing, but it’s not important. As Coulson said, “Cool origin story, bro, but this means nothing to me.” Owens gave us the relevant facts without distracting us with anything that wasn’t important to the story.

C Plot: Fitz’s Guilt

I’m not sure yet what’s being set up for Fitz, but he’s been feeling plenty of guilt lately. That’s a pretty natural reaction to everything that’s happened, and his part in making it happen this season. One has to wonder how this ends. Whenever characters go through the guilt that Fitz is displaying right now, it often ends in them going on a soul-searching journey at the end of a season. While I don’t think Iain De Caestecker will leave the show, it looks like Fitz may start next year on a journey to find himself again.

Thanks for reading!