ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Watchdogs TV Show Review. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 3, episode 14, ‘Watchdogs,’ was a bit of Mack (Henry Simmons) fan service, with a little something for wider fans. With Mack having pretty much started the debate, over the fine points to the Inhuman dilemma (last season), it was only a matter of time before ‘real’ Humans started taking matters into their own hands, post-outbreak. Enter the Watchdogs: a group of well-armed, well-organized militiamen, out to do more than just troll about the ‘alien’ problem.
The fact that many of them were just internet trolls gave Daisy (Chloe Bennet) her in – but her method put her back at odds with Mack. The fact that they seemed to have Agency ties gave Coulson (Clark Gregg) the testing ground he needed to finally vet Lincoln (Luke Mitchell) – making for some pretty uneasy moments for the guy. For the most part, however, the episode centered on Mack just trying to reconnect with his little brother, Ruben (Gaius Charles).
I seem to recall what could’ve been a nod to Genosha, for the last couple of episodes; so you should understand why a paramilitary Human Supremacist group would seem a little X-derived to me.
Such a group did amount to as good a reason as any to resurrect an old frenemy of Coulson’s, however – only now without quite as much friend to that enemy status.
While Titus Welliver’s turn, as Felix Blake, predates the last Beyformers movie (Age of Such Stink, Son – or something), the motives borne of his character’s evolution – post Inhumans outbreak – seemed sort of similar to his Beyformers role. Still, Titus was one of those actors who seemed too good for a disposable role on the series, and it was nice to see someone other than WayWard run plays against Coulson from the same playbook.
That playbook included some signature weapons tech, which was as good a reason as any to get Mack & Fitz (Iain De Caestecker) back together, for a long overdue engineer geek-out reunion; but the episode still had its share of loose bolts. The amount of liquid nitrogen needed to pull off the Fitz save, for instance – to say nothing of the delivery method – should’ve done some major harm to his neck (at least).
One point, that may have been too subtle, was the Watchdogs picking up on that part of the Daisy-Mack dynamic concerning their relative sizes. It was nice to see it employed as more than just a running gag, or inside joke. It was also nice to see the gentle giant cut loose, again.
Usually, when a good guy, like Mack, gets bird-shot as a 2nd Amendment solution, you can expect some sugar-coating to the action. Well, there’s nothing like a meat cleaver to add some edge to the proceedings. You don’t need to be some guy named Ash to appreciate the simple beauty of… shotgun ax.
Despite the long-term potential of throwing a militant nativist group into the mix, another old playmate for Coulson, a new asset for HYDRA, and a more old fashioned uptick to the weapons race, ‘Watchdogs’ amounted to a filler episode. I don’t know if anything more will come of this peek into Mack’s personal life (new recruit?), or how much of the Watchdog element will contribute to this season’s endgame; but on its face, it was a decent diversion. I personally found the Mack-Ruben dynamic exhausting – but I imagine Mack & Lincoln fans may have appreciated the episode more, for what it was.
There was also a window into what to expect from a May (Ming-Na Wen) reunion with Andrew/ Lash… but that window was just for peeking.
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