We’ve known that there’s more to Director Mace than meets the pretty much since his introduction this season on “Agents of SHIELD.” Now, we know the truth as “The Patriot” unveils his biggest secret.

Look at that ‘Luke Cage’ nod

You might have noticed something familiar about that burrowing and exploding bullet at the top of the episode. It’s a Judas bullet, one Marvel fans will have seen on "Luke Cage," which means Director Mace having unbreakable skin is known to someone outside of the team since there’s a whole plan of attacks to get to him.

A few other fun nods? A 13% success rate for phase one of the assassination.

Marvel loves the number 13. Just check out any of the movies. The Patriot is also labeled as the next Captain America, just like in the comics.

Jemma Simmons outranks all of you

Talbot might not understand that fact, but Jemma Simmons has crawled her way to the top of SHIELD for moments just like this one: so she has the top clearance to help the people she cares about most. Jemma gets to spend much of this episode as the one calling the shots at the base, and nothing makes me happier than seeing her get to boss people around and employ a little snark. She’s earned it.

Fitz just wants to keep Jemma safe

In a moment that’s sure to make everyone go “Aw…” Fitz admits that he didn’t help Radcliffe with the Life Model Decoy program that became Aida out of altruism or for the rest of SHIELD; he just wanted to protect Jemma.

When you consider that she’s been kidnapped more times than she cares to remember, was swept off to another planet by a rock, and tortured by a metal manipulating Inhuman (and that was all just in the last year), you can’t blame him.

Three men in the woods

We lose Burrows and the pilot right away, but at least Mace, Coulson, and Mack are alive… and pursued by Watchdogs using Hydra technology.

While I love Coulson and Mack as partners because they have such different outlooks on everything around them, adding Mace to the mix makes it a little more stilted. The fun chemistry we usually get between the odd couple just isn’t there when Mace is like a plot point standing between them.

Director Mace and Mr. Hyde

Turns out Director Mace isn’t an Inhuman after all.

Considering we all knew the lie Jemma caught him in was big enough for him to let her get away with (nearly) anything, is anyone surprised?

What might be more surprising is that he is using a version of what made Daisy’s father Cal (A.K.A. Mr. Hyde) so strong and that he’s been doing it under Talbot’s orders. It’s an interesting choice given all the other options the show could play with in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, likely chosen because it’s the one that requires regular dosing.

Fitz tries to get ahead

Though Fitz and Jemma seem to reach an understanding early in the episode about his work on Aida, Fitz is still working on the decapitated head of the LMD left at the base. He’s even got her information downloading when Jemma almost catches him in the act.

While no one wants to see him lying to Jemma (or being even the slightest bit convincing when he does it), the fact that he’s checking out Aida’s programming just might be a good thing. After all, it’s not Aida’s data that’s corrupted by the Darkhold since she was just following Radcliffe’s orders. Fitz’s tinkering might just help the team figure that out.

Lingering questions

How will Jemma react to Fitz analyzing Aida?

Who will be first to peg May as an LMD -- May, Coulson, or Daisy?

The verdict

I loved how much the story moved forward and I loved seeing Jemma assert her authority. In fact, the scenes with Fitz and Jemma interacting with Talbot alone would have made the episode for me if the rest of it wasn’t so interesting.

4 out of 5 stars.

What’s next

Coming up, May will be trying to figure out what’s going on in “Wake Up.” Elena will also be back, teaming up with Coulson for a mission.

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