Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 4×09 Review: ‘Broken Promises’

‘Broken Promises’ wastes no time in picking up where the midseason finale left off, especially with regards to the Life Model Decoys (LMD’s), Aida’s rebellion and her attempt to find the Darkhold, but they still had enough time to fit in Senator Nadeer, the Watchdogs and a surprise new villain. Let’s get into Broken Promises: 

The main plot of the episode centered around Aida and her search for the Darkhold and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team quickly caught up to her true antics after Director Mace ordered Aida to be reset and she fought back. This set the stage for the running joke of the episode, Mack and YoYo bringing up every movie where robots turned against the humans, questioning why Radcliffe invented Aida in the first place.

Broken Promises

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

Fitz eventually put the entire system at the base offline, which caused Aida to lose her power and Mack chopped off her head to end her tirade, but the greatest reveal of all was that Aida was not simply acting autonomously because of what she read in the Darkhold, she was following Dr. Radcliffe’s orders, and he had created another Aida model. It seems as if Radcliffe’s plan is to get hold of the Darkhold so that he can achieve eternal life.

This was surprising because dammit, Radcliffe was one of my favorite new additions, but when looking critically at Radcliffe’s history it is not out of character for him. When we first met Radcliffe he was literally plot of a secret laboratory that focused on improving humans with bionic features, and Aida was sort of Radcliffe’s version of the perfect, disposable human and the ultimate improvement on human life is eternal life. We also learn a bit more about why they chose to substitute May with a LMD – because of her connection to Coulson, it just took one question for LMD May to find out from Coulson where the Darkhold was held. It seems as if Radcliffe will be using this connection to garner more information from the team in future episodes.

(ABC/Eric McCandless)

But is Radcliffe a pureblood villain? Should we feel as betrayed as we did with Ward? The answer is of course no, because no one betrayed as much as Ward and we haven’t really trusted anyone since. Perhaps my moral compass is slightly off but a little kidnapping and a murder of an underling does not a true villain make. We know that Radcliffe was not playing a long game because he saw the Darkhold for the first time only a few episodes ago, and he was never introduced to us and truly good character, he always skirted the line. Other than that, his interactions with Fitz show that he has a genuine side but his own interests will always come first. I hope that when his duplicity is caught out they do not kill him, that he gets put in prison so that they can occasionally consult with him, or he escapes and appears now and then in the series.

The B plot in this episode was also done well. While Coulson and company were dealing with Aida, Director Mace, Jemma and Daisy went after Senator Nadeer and the Inhuman that she was keeping without their consent. We discover that the Inhuman is her brother Vijay, and the two of them had a deal that if any of them become affected by the aliens they would kill the other. Throughout the episode, you are slightly aware that it will probably end with Nadeer killing Vijay, especially since it is revealed that she’s been working with the Watchdogs all along. But we thrown off our game a bit when it seems as if she has changed her mind even if it does anger the Watchdogs but after the appearance of S.H.I.E.L.D. she takes Vijay with her, kills him and then tells the Watchdogs to get rid of the body. Although the sting at the end reveals that Vijay that he is still alive as his powers seem to be some sort of healing abilities. We know that there is a space open on the Secret Warriors since Lincoln’s death (and Joey’s exit) so hopefully he can join the team.


  • Senator Nadeer spoke about her superior so she is definitely working for someone, whether it is someone we have already met or someone new, this has the workings of a greater plan.
  • Have I mentioned before how much I love Yoyo and Mack as a couple? If not, this is your reminder.
  • So do we think Coulson and May’s first kiss is going to happen while LMD May is in position?
  • I really like Director Mace and I hope he sticks around.
  • My favorite lines: “Someone needs to make Radcliffe watch all the Terminator movies” – Yoyo
    “Even Salvation?” – Mack
    “He brought this onto himself.” – Yoyo
  • Next episode, another old favorite, General Talbot is back.

Next week:

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs on Tuesdays on ABC at 10 p.m.

Proud POC writer. Lover of books, TV, comics and films. Member of Ravenclaw, sworn fealty to House Martell, and worships at the altar of Peggy Carter.