Okay, just gonna dig into the meat of whatever this episode of Agents of SHIELD was since the rest of it, while much better than last week, didn’t do anything remotely relevant enough by comparison.
Even if I did laugh at Phil putting his aviators on inside of a crashed Quinjet after making a one-liner before tossing them to the ground once he realized it was pitch black in there. Or Simmons using AIDA’s severed head to freak out an ex-KGB operative. Even though that really should not have worked, but I digress…
So, turns out, Discount Bruce Wayne is even more discount than we had previously believed. He’s not an Inhuman, after all.
No, Jeffrey is part of Project Patriot. Simply put, General Talbot needed an enhanced handsome face to be the next head of SHIELD so that Inhumans would trust the government. Of course, since Daisy went rogue, he had to make one up. So that’s what he did. This is more than a little problematic.
See, whether or not Jeffrey truly did become the new Director of SHIELD because he wanted to help end prejudice against Inhumans doesn’t really matter. He still “came out” as Inhuman on live television, claiming to be part of a marginalized and oppressed group for what was essentially a fancy staged event. The government needed brownie points so they could recruit their enhanced citizens to fight in the next global arms race.
Look, I love Cold War stuff as much as the next guy, but this? No. I fail to understand why this was at all a necessary development. Having Jeffrey be unqualified for the position of Director makes perfect sense to me; he’s enhanced and shown to be capable politically, but he hasn’t been a spy for long. Easy.
They need a face, so they pick the guy who has one. There’s nothing wrong with that, and frankly it’d be kind of neat to see him grow into the role of Director rather than acting as a puppet. But instead, we get what we got: a very gross manipulation of the public in order to coax people out of hiding so they could be registered.
Registered. Okay, remember how people in the MCU films don’t typically hate enhanced people on a broad level? Aside from Hulk, who apparently got a free pass for what happened in Ultron, everyone’s pretty cool with all of this. Aside from that minor Sokovia Accords hiccup, it’s been mostly chill.
Even on Marvel’s other television shows, this hasn’t been a problem. People can hate Luke Cage because he was falsely accused of murder, but for having unbreakable skin and super strength? Not really. That’s just frustrating because it’s harder to kill him. With Judas bullets. One of which showed up this week. So that’s neat.
Jessica Jones? There was that one couple who hated her, I think. But pretty much everyone had a bone to pick with Jess, Luke included, so that’s hardly strange. Oh, and what about Matt Murdock? Aka, Daredevil. Oh, there are a ton of reasons to hate Daredevil. The guy, not necessarily the show. But being blind and having superhuman senses? Not one of them.
So, why do people hate the Inhumans so much? Is it because Marvel has been trying to push the classic X-Men style schtick on them? Probably. Everyone hates the X-Men because they’re coded to be marginalized and oppressed by design. In general, any member of any minority can find something in the X-Men (well, the older tales at least) to connect with. We just touched on this a bit in our Lady Geniuses In Comics piece, specifically regarding Kitty Pryde.
But, since they can’t make movies about the X-Men, they just swapped out all that hate for the Inhumans. Which, okay, fine, you make do with what you’ve got. I get that. Sometimes you just need to think on your feet and change a few names around until it all fits together.
Having a regular white dude proclaim that he’s actually not a regular white dude in an extremely intrinsic capacity for the sole purpose of tricking a targeted minority to come out of hiding so that the government can target them for processing and/or acquisition is…abhorrent. As Kylie so aptly put it, it’s as if he’s saying “But I’m really one of the good guys!”
Man, I wish we could go back to last week’s pure Mediocre Television as opposed to whatever the hell this is supposed to be.
Tune in next week for more of Dr. Exposition—that’s Radcliffe’s new nickname I didn’t get to use today because that’s like literally his only job these past two episodes—and his growing family of Sex Replicants. I hope May goes all Blade Runner!