Fan service is hard to avoid in any dense, genre world. While some franchises merely dip their toes into the pool, other properties are entirely built upon the concept. The entirety of the Arrowverse fills out much of its seasons with moments and sometimes whole episodes of full-on fan service, for example. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. We all know what we’ve signed up for when we watch those shows. And the MCU is certainly no stranger to the idea. The very notions of Easter eggs and end credit scenes fall under the fan service umbrella, and Coulson himself is almost the living embodiment of the concept. One could argue that the original premise for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Coulson’s resurrection was merely an exercise in catering to fans of the Marvel movies. But the show has grown since then and developed its own unique voice and agenda in the process. Still, the tributes to the audience remain. I’m thinking specifically about moments like Coulson first displaying his holo-shield last season while mimicking Cap’s pose from The Winter Soldier. And then there’s the Koenigs.

From the moment the characters were introduced, the Internet has been abuzz about whether they were LMDs. Even if they turned out to be identical siblings, clones, or something equally banal, the producers were clearly playing with the LMD concept and knew well that fans would jump to that conclusion. The casting of a nerd icon like Patton Oswalt even served as a sort of favor to the more dedicated viewers in the audience. Since then, the writers have had fun teasing out the mystery of the Koenigs whenever one of them appears. It’s been awhile, though. The last time Oswalt was on the show, he was helping Coulson take a Helicarrier out of cold storage to set up the Deus ex-Fury at the end of Age of Ultron. Almost two full seasons later, and wouldn’t you know it but we’re right in the middle of an LMD plot. What better time to bring back the Koenigs and continue last week’s deluge of awkward hints about people being secret robots?

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Clunky wordplay aside, we finally learned that all of the Koenigs are part of the LMD program. Okay, they’re not actually robots (but I doubt the show will ever stop toying with the idea). Instead, they were technicians on the original LMD program that Radcliffe picked up after. Why we’ve never previously heard of the existence of this program in light of all the LMD shenanigans going on is a small hole in this development, but it’s fun nonetheless so no harm was done. It also means Radcliffe didn’t invent Aida whole cloth but rather continued the work already being carried out by SHIELD. That’s a wrinkle that could certainly be explored more, but I doubt it will.

Still, the episode was plenty exciting and fun, with lots of action, comedy, and some slight advancement of the story. We still have no idea where May is, but Nay has been outed. Sadly, her kiss with Coulson preceding this revelation likely squashes any true romance between Phil and Melinda for the near future, but I guess we have to take what we can get. We also finally learned who the Superior was and if you had random Russian guy in the pool, congratulations! SHIELD is great at many things, but whenever it shoves a mystery down our throat for multiple episodes, the reveal is always underwhelming. Not only is the Superior just a generic, onion-sniffing meathead, but even his position as the Superior isn’t clear. You just kind of assume it as the episode progresses, making all the vagueness surrounding him seem pointless. He even pulls a similar stunt in the tag, teasing some unknown, unifying factor as to why crazy alien stuff keeps happening to the Earth. Instead of giving us some new MacGuffin or cool comic connection, turns out it’s just Coulson. Maybe he’s called the Superior because he seems to be the only one who’s noticed Coulson is alive.

FINAL SCORE

4 Koenigs out of 5. Get it, cus there were 5 Koenig siblings and now there are only four?!

ONE-SHOTS

  • I’ve decided on Nay (Not May) for the May LMD, but Fay (Fake May) was a close second. Ultimately, the pun of the former pulls double duty, so it wins out.

  • Though I had hoped Agent Piper would be our recurring tertiary SHIELD agent, it looks like generic, white guy Agent Davis is it. This marks his tenth episode without dying!

  • Jemma’s got her cool shoes back.

  • Quack! Slash fic aside, I do want a plutonic, ass-kicking team-up between Quake and Widow.

  • “What was all that about his father? Fitz has never mentioned him before.” I was thinking the same thing. The old “Give the the carefree character daddy issues out of nowhere” trope.

  • “They have great power, but they did not earn it.” Is he talking about Inhumans or Americans? Scathing socio-political zing!

  • Where do I get one of those light-up hexagon tables?

  • The Soul Patch makes up for the awkward and dated man-bun and handlebar mustache comments from Daisy.

  • Speaking of poor follicle choices, Fitz’s hair is dangerously close to being a fashy.

  • I’m not a fan of genre shows cramming in religious text, but Radcliffe made a good point to Mack about the “logic” of souls. Imagine Vision and Mack hashing it out.

  • In case you were wondering, LT is in fact Artemis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. More LT, please!