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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4 E12 "Hot Potato Soup"

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Agents Billy and Sam Koenig are ambushed by the Watchdogs. S.H.I.E.L.D. must rescue them before they are killed or possibly give up the item they are safeguarding: the Darkhold.

Tropes in this episode

  • Actor Allusion: Thurston Koenig, the one Koenig sibling who isn't an agent, is introduced when Coulson's team shows up at his comedy club show. Like the other Koenig brothers, he's played by Patton Oswalt, a stand-up comedian.
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  • Action Girl: The episode introduces L.T. Koenig, the older sister of the Koenig brothers, and wastes absolutely no time establishing her badass credentials.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: While Billy is rescued unharmed, Radcliffe and Ivanov manage to acquire the Darkhold, an important S.H.I.E.L.D. facility is compromised, and the team now has to search for May.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • When Sam mentions that he gave the Darkhold to L.T. Koenig, yet another character played by Patton Oswalt is seen, implying that he's L.T. He's actually Thurston Koenig, and L.T. is their older sister.
    • L.T. mentions that Sam and Billy were part of the original LMD project. They were technicians, not robots.
  • Berserk Button: Fitz's father is a huge one for him. When Radcliffe's LMD just mentions him, Fitz slams a counter and looks like he's going to attack the LMD before Jemma gets him to settle down. When the LMD mentions that Radcliffe saw Fitz's father a few months ago, Fitz rips out the LMD's power cord and storms out of the lab.
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  • Big Brother Instinct: When Mack finds out the truth about Fitz's father, he sounds ready to punch the guy out if they ever meet. Jemma agrees.
  • Big Brother Bully: L.T. mentions that she regularly picked on her four brothers and made them cry.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Happens between Coulson and LMD May at the Labyrinth. Then she gets ahold of the Darkhold, her programming kicks in, and she pulls a gun on Coulson.
  • Blatant Lies: Billy Koenig is hauled in front of Sam Koenig:
    Sam: I've never seen him before in my life!
  • Breather Episode: The episode finally brought the Koenigs back in the middle of the otherwise considerably dark LMD arc to help lighten up the mood, making way for a lot of funny moments and snarky one-liners.
  • Bring It: Billy tells Shockley that he could cut off his fingers or eat his liver and he still wouldn't break, as Koenigs are programmed to take pain. Then, when Shockley leaves the room, Billy admits that he's in incredible pain, and asks if Radcliffe has anything that can help him commit suicide.
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  • The Bus Came Back: Aside from a cameo appearance late in a flashback late in season 2, the Koenigs haven't been seen for over two seasons.
  • Call-Back:
    • The brain Aida was designing back in "Deals With Our Devils" is revealed to be the template behind Radcliffe's human-mimicking LMDs, both his copy and May.
    • The reveal of the Koenig's sister was made back in Season 2's Episode "Scars" on Sam's Post It Notes.
    • Upon finding out the Watchdogs have Russian ties, the team makes the connection to the Prime Minister that was attacked by an Inhuman a year earlier and who forced S.H.I.E.L.D. to burn Bobbi and Hunter despite the fact that they saved his life.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Sam continues to be infatuated with badass women. This episode has him fanboying all over Daisy, who he continually refers to as "Quake" to her irritation.
    • Sam also mentions Black Widow... in that Quake is typically shipped with her in In-Universe Fan Fiction and Fan Art.
    • Anton Ivanov has compiled sightings of Coulson at every major alien event, including at the site of Mjolnir in New Mexico, having come to believe he's responsible for all of them.
    • Ward is mentioned a few times as one of the people that wound up letting Fitz down, alongside Radcliffe and his father.
  • Correlation/Causation Gag: Not a funny one. Ivanov has noticed that Coulson was present at virtually every unusual event to have occurred over the past few years and comes to the conclusion that Coulson is causing them, when in truth the reason Coulson always turns up is because investigating them is his job.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Aida effortlessly kills the two Watchdogs who attempt to escort her and Radcliffe off of Ivanov's submarine.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The radical, anti-inhuman Watchdogs and their conservative mouthpiece are led by a Russian with ties to the Russian Prime Minister.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Sam relays to Daisy that there is Fan Fiction of her on the internet, telling her to read some of it. Only to realize after saying just what kind of fanfics are out there. It gets worse when he mentions the Black Widow shipping...
  • Disappeared Dad: While implied in "Seeds", it's confirmed that Fitz's father abandoned him and his mother when he was ten, after spending the prior years saying Fitz was not smart enough and would never amount to anything. Fitz hasn't seen his father since, and has no real desire to change it. This comes second hand from Simmons, as it's such a sore subject for Fitz that she's the only one he's talked about it with.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Fitz realizes the true nature of LMD Radcliffe when Simmons tells him that something deeper than programming determines who a person is.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Radcliffe seems disgusted by Ivanov and the Watchdog's racism against the Inhumans, but puts it aside because he needs them to get the Darkhold. He also does not approve of Ivanov torturing Billy to get the location of the Darkhold, and uses a brain-scan instead.
  • Evil Luddite: Ivanov distrusts modern technology. At one point he decides that he needs to double-check the data produced by Radcliffe's brain-scan interrogation of Billy by torturing the information out of him to see if it matches, even though the whole point of the brain scan was to remove the need for torture in the first place. He believes himself to be a "superior machine".
  • Fantastic Racism: In addition to the Watchdogs and their hunt for Inhumans, Mack says that he likes to "hear robots scream".
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Three years after HYDRA, infiltrated within S.H.I.E.L.D., came within milliseconds of executing every threat to their new world order on the planet with drone strikes in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, conspiracy theorists are again a kooky minority; QED, the fourth Koenig brother, Thurston, who's a slam poet activist at a beatnik bar with no clientele.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: This seems to be Anton Ivanov's motive for hating the Inhumans. They got their power by exposure to the Terrigen instead of "earning" it.
  • Hipster: Thurston Koenig, if his appearance, overall demeanor and dislike of "sheep" are anything to go by.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: There's at least one more Koenig out there. They hid the Darkhold by passing it back and forth between each other, to make it impossible for any outsider to know which one actually knows where it is. The episode also reveals at long last that they're all simply human quadruplets, not robots.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Ivanov thinks Coulson is the reason for all the alien activities on Earth because he was always near the sites.
  • Insistent Terminology: Sam Koenig continues refer to Daisy as "Agent Quake", even after she expresses dislike of the moniker.
  • Internal Reveal: The team discovers that LMD May is, well, an LMD.
  • Ironic Echo: Ivanov constantly complains about Radcliffe "putting too much faith in machines", and goes on about how older technology (such as his sub) is superior to modern technology because it is "simple" and "built to last". Radcliffe gets in a good barb after Aida (as modern as modern technology can get) wipes the floor with Ivanov's goons.
    Ivanov: You brought an Inhuman on my ship?!
    Radcliffe: She's a machine.
    Ivanov: You... made her?
    Radcliffe: With my own hands. Simple. Built to last.
    • This gets echoed again later, when Radcliffe abandons the wounded LMD-May to the mercy of S.H.I.E.L.D. She begs her creator to save her, but he coldly tells her, "you weren't built to last".
  • Just a Machine: Jemma, Fitz and especially Mack have absolutely no problem with forcefully interrogating and later killing LMD-Radcliffe. The only reason LMD-May doesn't join him and Aida in the furnace is because they haven't retrieved the original May yet.
  • Kill It with Fire: Aida's head and the Radcliffe LMD are thrown in a furnace to destroy them. LMD May isn't, as Coulson doesn't want to risk losing May entirely if the original is dead.
  • Lampshade Hanging: On the Koenigs' long absence from the show:
    Coulson: Kidnapping a Koenig? That's like catching moonlight.
    Daisy: We can't even find them half the time.
  • Les Yay: invoked There are Daisy/Black Widow fanworks in-universe. Sam says they are pretty steamy, not that he has read any, of course.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Radcliffe puts Billy in one to find the location of the Darkhold. Apparently it involves puppies.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Superior himself, Anton Ivanov, introduces himself to Billy and Radcliffe by cutting up an onion and then carefully pouring out a dose of a clear liquid. Then, just as the tension peaks, he drinks it himself and sniffs the onion, saying that's how he likes to take his vodka. Then the mood snaps back as he breaks the vial he drank from and threatens to gouge out Billy's eye with it if he doesn't talk.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Anton Ivanov and his Russian goons earned their strength by fighting, and for this reason they hate Inhumans who received power through breathing mist.
  • Mythology Gag: The Labyrinth is located in the Pleasant Hill Public Library. In Marvel Comics, Pleasant Hill was the location of the Avengers Standoff crossover.
  • Oh, Crap!: Simmons when she realizes that May is an LMD, because she recognizes the implications for Coulson and the current OP (and May herself of course).
  • Oh, Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: "Oh, crap" sums up Daisy's reaction to learning about Quake fan-works, and that's before Koenig starts going into the "steamy" Slash Fic pairing her up with Black Widow.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Even though L.T. is as short as her brothers, she kicks some serious butt.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: In-Universe, Sam accidentally lets Daisy know that there exists fan-fiction of her and Black Widow on the internet, known as "Quack".
  • Red Herring: There are at least a couple regarding the nature of the Koenigs, such as Billy saying they are programmed to take pain, and L.T. saying that growing up there was enough DNA from their laundry to make a clone army. Then it's confirmed that they were part of the original LMD technicians. At the end they are revealed to be normal humans who are identical siblings.
  • Refusal of the Call: Thurston Koenig is the only one of the Koenig brothers who refused LT's attempt to recruit them into S.H.I.E.L.D. She's actually quite surprised by it, given that they all had the same parents, teachers, and liquor cabinet.
  • The Reveal: The quantum brain Aida was building in the Ghost Rider arc turns out to have been for Radcliffe's decoy, as well as May's.
  • Robotic Reveal:
    • Defied in the case of the Koenig brothers, who after four seasons of belief that they are replicas and there are hundreds of 'Koenigs' ready to step in, it turns out that they are simply four identical quadruplets. It doesn't help when they keep referring to themselves with computer jargon such as 'programming' and 'obsolete'.
    • RadBot in a unique way; the team already know he is a robot, but not until they look in his head do they see the extent.
  • Rule 34: In-Universe, according to Sam, Quake's fans have created "steamy" Fan Fiction and Fan Art of her, typically shipping her with Black Widow .
  • Running Gag: The "Koenigs are robots" joke is extended here.
  • Samus Is a Girl: L.T. Koenig isn't the hipster Patton Oswalt on the stage. She's actually the older sister of the already-seen Koenigs, and another S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, to boot. The guy on stage is Thurston, the only brother that isn't a member of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Satchel Switcheroo: The titular Operation Hot Potato: The Koenig siblings move the Darkhold around constantly, and continually give it to another sibling, who in the case of the brothers looks exactly like the previous holder. Radcliffe is initially befuddled by the memory of a man who looks exactly like Billy Koenig taking the Darkhold from him, before another memory shows him receiving the Darkhold back from a woman and clueing him into the scheme.
  • Saying Too Much: LMD Radcliffe accidentally lets slip the existence of another LMD when he says "brains" when gushing over the quantum brain in his head, revealing that there's another, and Simmons quickly figures out that it's May.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: In-universe, apparently Quake/Black Widow, or "Quack", is a thing, despite the two never having been shown to have interacted.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sibling Team: Sam and L.T. knock out a Watchdog together, which is to say nothing of the Koenigs as a whole.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: When Sam initiates a family hug to calm down L.T. and Thurston, L.T. punches him in the nuts because he let his guard down. She did this sort of thing all the time to her four brothers.
  • Too Much Information: Sam lets Daisy in on the existence of fanfiction about her Quake alter-ego, including some of the more explicit elements, much to her displeasure.
  • Troll: When Fitz attempts to hack LMD Radcliffe's CPU, he finds an extremely advanced code, and his attempts to alter it cause the LMD to begin twitching and speaking in tongues. When Fitz stops the hack and simply asks who programmed him, the LMD begins literally singing like a canary. It's later revealed that the Radcliffe LMD has a quantum brain, and the "code" Fitz found was nothing more than gibberish—the Radcliffe LMD acted like he was possessed just to mess with FitzSimmons and Mack.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Simmons is half convinced the reason Fitz became so hardworking is because his father always belittled and never believed in him. When LMD-Radcliffe mentions him, it's a Berserk Button for Fitz.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • Radcliffe leaves LMD May at the mercy of S.H.I.E.L.D., since she's done her job of getting the Darkhold and has no further use. Additionally, he somewhat coldly tells her that she wasn't "built to last".
    • LMD Radcliffe is killed and incinerated after he has revealed May to be an LMD and can't give them any more useful information.


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