I have been a little rough on Agents of SHIELD lately. I called them out for cost cutting episodes that did little to advance the plot. Now this week’s episode “Hot Potato Soup” still suffered from one of those things. The episode was incredibly set dependent. Just a few small sets with only a brief on location at the start of the episode. But even though they might have saved some money on this one it still payed off big.
The return of Patton Oswalt as a multitude of Koenig brothers set this this one apart. That opening scene of two Koenigs ping ponging back and forth on Segways set the tone perfectly. Riffing movie quotes at one another, we know right away this is going to be a funny one. Not only was it funny, it was a fun action sequence. The blocking, the use of mirrors and sound was fantastic.
I also loved how after all this time we got an answer on what the mysterious identical brothers’ deal actually is … kinda. Yes, they end up stating that they were technicians on the original LMD program for SHIELD, but is that all they said? I mean first the setup throughout was to tease us with a number of red herrings. The captured Koenig’s brave statement that he is “programmed” to take pain? That one was practically a middle finger at the audience, albeit it in a loving way.
Later on there are mentions of cloning programs and we even meet yet another brother, this one an activist? Or a terrible stand-up comic? I still am not really sure what he was but hey it’s more Patton and that’s always welcome. Also, Koenig interacting with Radcliffe was highly entertaining. Even Radcliffe’s ruse to be a fellow prisoner, while brief and odd, worked very well. I even liked the weird Russian billionaire captaining the submarine. He was like a ‘roided out Bradley Cooper. But yes, even this random Russian stereotype got some character development, a nice line about vodka and the old ways. Just very nicely fleshed out where we could have gotten cookie cutter bad guy.
I am going to call out Radcliffe’s mind reading helmet as BS. He’s had this tech but we’ve never seen it before? I know what you’re going to say, it’s a modified version of what he uses to copy minds into his LMD’s right? But he can literally shuffle through their memories? I feel like this would make future stories way too easy unless they write it out by saying it’s harmful or Radcliffe dies and no one can figure it out. Otherwise every story would end with “we read their memories and found the thing/person/place.”
But back to all the great moments, we haven’t even touched on Fitz, Mack, and the Radcliffe Bot. Even as a robot Radcliffe gets some of the best moments. Literally singing like a canary was as ridiculous as it was funny, and his possessed Latin speaking moment was Exorcist-worthy. Then more seriously we got a glimpse into Fitz through a possible connection to his dad. There’s no way that’s not paying off before this arc is over.
So I have to also call out how great Koenig and Quake played off each other too. Calling out the fan fiction of her and Black Widow, and Quake’s reaction? Priceless. If “Quack” shipping wasn’t a thing before, it definitely is now. Then a “red shirt” line, which are actually getting too common on genre shows nowadays, I feel like this is the fourth joke like that I’ve heard on television this month. Also the choice of actress Artemis Pebdani (Son of Zorn) as Koenig sister LT was perfection. I’ve seen that actress on a number of comedies and she knows how to hold her own, like she did here. Oh and the secret vault! The sheer obscene number of doors and codes to get in was such a Get Smart moment. Loved it!
So by the end we find out that our new Russian adversary has fixated on Coulson’s proximity to all the alien events of Phase One and decided he must be to blame … okay … He also is an agent of an organization that deals primarily with the shady and weird. This seems like a leap. What I was hoping the reveal was leading to was a picture of Stan Lee. Now that would have been an amazing cameo while connecting the dots of him appearing in every Marvel film. Oh well. Coulson it is then.
The other giant hanging thread was after the team discovered that May was actually an LMD, she is quickly taken out and brought back to HQ supposedly not functioning? This part was oddly unclear. We see Radcliffe leave her broken and beaten but in the next scene robo May is on a stretcher in the background with no security watching her. How can they be sure she won’t switch on and kill everyone? A small gripe but important. Also I hope they use her to find the real May so we can get some existential May versus May conversations.
When it was all said and done, “Hot Potato Soup” was an immensely fun episode of Agents of SHIELD. With hardly any flaws and so much humor, this might be one of my personal favorites. The kind of episode worth watching as a stand-alone and more than once.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Tell us in the comments section below!