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Recap / Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S4 E5 "Lockup"

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S.H.I.E.L.D. goes to Eli Morrow to learn more about the Darkhold. Their plans hit a snag when Lucy has the same plan, and proceeds to turn the prison holding him into a chaotic situation.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Ambiguously Evil: Jeffrey meets with Senator Nadeer, and while he holds his own for a while, her insinuation that he's lying about his past gets him to make a deal with her.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: The Watchdogs are using prisons as recruiting stations, and as shown previously, they're not picky about race.
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  • Bad Liar: Simmons is preoccupied with her upcoming lie-detection test, noting to Fitz that there are about 212 micro-expressions that can indicate a lie, and she knows that she's a horrible liar.
  • Boring, but Practical: Someone managed to hide the Darkhold for years from HYDRA, SHIELD, and a host of other interested parties. How did they do this? They buried it in their basement.
  • Call-Back:
    • Mace's mandatory lie-detector tests are conducted using Fury's very thorough lie detector that checks at least 96 variables to determine a lie.
    • During a polygraph test, Simmons admits to having worked for HYDRA - as a S.H.I.E.L.D. mole. This not only references the time she worked for HYDRA as a S.H.I.E.L.D. mole, but also references how Ward bypassed the test once saying that he worked for HYDRA because of HYDRA's infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D., everyone on S.H.I.E.L.D. technically worked for them.
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    • Jeffrey mentions that more Inhumans were killed during the blackouts than humans. Curiously, he fails to mention that the Watchdogs were behind those attacks rather than the Inhumans.
    • May compares Daisy's self-exile to her own backstory, even referencing the cubicle she was found in at the start of the series.
    • Coulson and May make a few references to T.A.H.I.T.I.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Simmons' tells Fitz that there are over 200 micro-expressions that indicate a person is lying (presumably these are variables that Fury's lie detector checks). She later tells Mace that she knows he is lying about his involvement in Vienna because of the same micro-expressions.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Daisy uses quite a few things in the cafeteria for her advantage, like a plate or a fridge.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The U.N. bombing in Vienna, seen in Captain America: Civil War, is mentioned here. Jeffrey claims to have been present and saved lives, though Simmons knows he's lying.
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    • A female agent, Simmons, is getting a boss off her back by threatening to expose his fake heroism. Peggy Carter had done that already.
  • Death Amnesia: Coulson suspects that because Project T.A.H.I.T.I. erased his memories of his resurrection, it probably also erased anything he saw when he died. As a result, he keeps asking May if she saw anything when Radcliffe and Simmons stopped her heart. She finally admits that she did see something.
    May: I saw you.
    Coulson: (stares in shock)
    May: Don't let it go to your head.
  • Death Seeker: While Daisy has started to physically heal, her emotional scars still run deep. She decides to stay behind to hold off the Watchdogs in a completely unnecessary (but awesome) Hold the Line moment. May calls her out on this at the end of the episode, noting that Lincoln wouldn't have wanted her to kill herself because of him, but Daisy doesn't budge.
  • Exact Words:
    • Simmons confidently declares "I'm not going to be fired today", and Fitz compliments her on not betraying any uncertainty in her facial expressions. Once he's gone, she mutters to herself that there's no way she'll be fired because Mace will have her thrown straight into jail if she fails the lie detector test.
    • During the test, she bluntly says that she worked for HYDRA, then clarifies that she was undercover. When she's asked if she knows anything that should be shared with the Director and loses her cool, she tries to play it off as an "extremely broad" question, but is saved from having to explain further when Mace prematurely ends her test.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: The official story is that Jeffrey saved lives during the Vienna bombings, but Simmons reveals that's not actually true. We don't find out what happened and Jeffrey wants it to stay that way.
  • False Reassurance: Fitz insists the ghost antidote isn't that bad. You just have to inject it right into your brain stem with a hook and needle combination. Mack appropriately quips "Oh hell no" upon seeing it.
  • Fantastic Racism: Towards the Inhumans, from Senator Nadeer, who is now revealed to be a leader in the "human first" movement (i.e. hate group). The debate with Mace has her treating the Inhumans as Always Chaotic Evil and completely disregarding any evidence that shows them in a good light.
  • Found the Killer, Lost the Murderer: The incident which crippled Robbie's brother was a paid hit, and since he already unleashed the Rider on everyone who was directly involved, he has no leads as to who commissioned it.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Nadeer questions Jeffrey about the operation at the prison, he asserts that "S.H.I.E.L.D. has the situation completely under control". The next shot shows Coulson, May, and Daisy scrambling to get away from an entire cellblock of Watchdog-affiliated prisoners.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: When Lucy and Joseph uncover the Darkhold, it generates text on exactly what they want to know in their native languages. It backfires slightly for Joseph, showing up in German because he was presumably born in Germany, but never learned to read it.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Continuing the show's tradition, all of the agents except the main characters wear full combat armor. The main characters wear whatever they happened to have on them at the time; Mack takes it Up to Eleven by wearing just a t-shirt. It's actually justified for some characters who don't really need to worry about getting hurt, and it's not like armor is going to stop the ghosts. Still, they acknowledge that armed and likely crazy guards are in the facility, so the lack of even a proper Bulletproof Vest is notable.
  • Hypocrite:
    • "The team that trusts, triumphs." Director Mace seems to miss the fact that his continuous security screenings of Simmons at the very least provides the impression that he doesn't trust her, which is why nobody on Team Coulson trusts him.
      Jeffrey: A team that trusts is a team that triumphs. But trust must be earned with random non-invasive testing.
    • There's also Nadeer, who accuses S.H.I.E.L.D. of working with criminals, one of whom (Robbie, to be exact) she calls a "cold-blooded killer", while she herself is working with The Watchdogs, an organization of murderous criminals.
  • Internal Reveal: Jeffrey reveals himself to the world as an Inhuman.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: When Fitz refers to Aida as a 'she', Simmons is quick to correct him and label her as 'it'. Given that she referred to Aida as a 'she' in the previous episode even after realising she's an android, it suggests this may be frustration with Fitz and the lie detector test she must soon take, rather than any particular statement of her views on androids.
  • It's Personal: Jeffrey reveals himself to the world as an Inhuman because he wants the witch hunt for his people to end.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Mack doesn't wanna let Robbie in on the mission to raid the prison because the Rider tends to be this. The fact that the Rider only attacks the guilty isn't much of a reassurance in a place where just about everybody is guilty of something.
  • Kill It with Fire: Ghost Rider roasts two of Lucy's henchmen and the Fifth Street gang member.
  • Locked in a Freezer: Daisy stuffs one of the Watchdog-aligned prisoners in a fridge during the prison cafeteria fight. Presumably non-lethal, though we aren't shown that guy getting out.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Senator Nadeer threatens to make public footage of Coulson and May with Daisy and Ghost Rider in order to manipulate Mace.
  • Misplaced Retribution: The last member of the gang that had Robbie and his brother shot is not only reformed, but had nothing to do with the hit at all. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Robbie doesn't care.
  • Mythology Gag: During his debate introduction, Jeffrey is referred to as a "patriot", a nod to his comic book persona of The Patriot.
  • Newscaster Cameo: George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week hosts the debate between Nadeer and Jeffrey.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Daisy's staying behind needlessly forces Coulson and May to backtrack to help her, leaving Mack and Robbie without backup. Of course, she didn't ask for them to save her.
    • Robbie's need for revenge leads to Dr. Bauer kidnapping Eli.
    • Also one retroactively for Robbie, as he killed every single gang member who could have told him something about the people who ordered the hit in the first place.
    • Jemma not telling Jeffrey about Coulson, Daisy or Robbie allows the unscrupulous Senator Nadeer to blackmail him for the sake of PR.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The debate between Nadeer and Mace reveals that the only human deaths during the blackouts of Uprising were two people killed in the helicopter crash Yo-yo witnessed in Miami. Apparently, in seven major cities, only one aircraft was in flight when the EMPs hit, and not a single person was killed in the street violence we saw in L.A., or in a hospital when their power went down, or incorrectly killed by the Watchdogs (who, in Miami, were ready to execute a man for being able to do a simple card trick).
  • Oh, Crap!: The Rider frightens the prisoners so much that they willingly go back into their jail cells rather than provoke him.
  • Passive Aggressive Combat: Jeffrey and Simmons engage in one when Jeffrey wants her to undergo another Lie Detector routine, with Simmons pointing out him lying about his past.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Requirements: The Darkhold can only be read by the living. Lucy kidnaps Eli to get around that.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Coulson's keeping Director Mace in the dark about what measures he's taking in regards to the Darkhold case (and possibly that there is a Darkhold case) leads to Mace being blindsided by Nadeer having pictures of Team Coulson working with Quake and Ghost Rider. She looks almost gleeful to have something on him.
  • Properly Paranoid: Mack doesn't want Robbie anywhere near the prison since he believes that he can't properly control the Ghost Rider. He's partially right: Robbie can control the Rider, but not himself. He ends up staying behind to kill the Fifth Street gang member, and Eli is kidnapped because of it.
  • Reformed Criminal: The gang leader was trying to reform, having abstained from the riot. That, and admitting he had nothing to do with crippling Gabe, failed to save him from Ghost Rider.
  • The Reveal:
    • The "random" drive-by shooting that left Gabe crippled wasn't random at all. Someone ordered a hit on Robbie.
    • Jeffrey isn't as clean as he'd like people to believe. Apparently, he's lying about his past, and his meeting with Senator Nadeer leads to him offering her some type of deal to stay quiet about it.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Robbie abandons his uncle to take care of the last remaining member of the gang that attacked him and his cousin, despite his not actually being involved in it. This gets Eli kidnapped by Lucy.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When one prisoner's cell explodes in a storm of hellish flame and a figure stalks out of the inferno with a Flaming Skull for a Head, every single rioting prisoner in the vicinity desperately scrambles back into their own cells and close the doors in a panic.
  • Shield Bash: Coulson does it with his holographic version of Cap's shield on one of the guards under Lucy's influence.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Coulson sees that Lucy has brought friends, he refers to them as "Lucy and the Peanuts gang."
    • Robbie and Mack also make a few references towards Ghostbusters.
  • Slave to PR: Jeffrey's need for both S.H.I.E.L.D. and himself to look good creates a pair of problems in this episode:
    • He can't have the public knowing that S.H.I.E.L.D. is working with Quake (who the world thinks is a terrorist because of her crusade against the Watchdogs) and Ghost Rider (a Skull for a Head murderer) and this allows Senator Nadeer to blackmail him.
    • Simmons persuades Jeffrey to exempt her from future lie detector tests because she knows that he didn't really save people at the Vienna bombing.
  • Throwing Out the Script: Jeffrey has Jemma feed him facts through an earpiece to keep up with Senator Nadeer, but when Nadeer accuses him of being unfit, he turns it off and reveals himself as an Inhuman to counter her.
  • Translator Microbes: The text in the Darkhold appears to the reader in their mother tongue, even if multiple people with different mother tongues are looking at it at the same time.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jemma is mildly miffed that Fitz kept Aida a secret. Fitz counters he did it because he'd knew she'd have to tell the director.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Daisy is still recovering from her last bout of self-inflicted bone injuries and isn't sure if her new gauntlets can keep her from re-aggravating them, so she has to go the entire episode without using her Quake powers. This leads to her getting beaten up and nearly strangled by a bunch of unarmed common criminals.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Daisy tries to stay behind to hold off the Watchdog-aligned prisoners, though it's also partly because she knows it's a fight she'll lose eventually. Coulson and May manage to swing back around and rescue her.


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