‘Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’ 3×14 Review: The Watchdogs and the Mack story

The one good thing about the departure of Hunter and Bobbi last week was that the cast is less cluttered and it gave other characters the chance in the spotlight in ‘Watchdogs’ – namely Mack.

We get to meet Mack’s brother Ruben, and learn more about his life pre-SHIELD while Daisy and her team face off against a new grouping called, The Watchdogs.

The Mack family

After his closest friends left SHIELD, Mack decided to take a much needed vacation and go visit his brother at their childhood home. Mack’s brother, Ruben, thinks that he is an ‘insurance drone’ and the two bond over their love of motorcycles and mechanics.

Throughout the episode, as Mack continues to flit in and out of Ruben’s home while performing tasks for SHIELD in their fight against the Watchdogs we see how the angry and frustration that Ruben has towards his family and his unemployment after he was laid off has made extreme groups like the Watchdogs seem attractive.

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

At the end of the episode, the Watchdogs hunt down Mack because they believe him to be the powered SHIELD member, and Ruben sees for himself how the actions of the Watchdogs caused them to go after Mack and his family even though he clearly was not an Inhuman. Ruben finds out about Mack’s true career – and just like the family members of the other SHIELD members – like May’s parents – we see a realization from him about just how important his brother’s work is and chatting to Daisy makes him understand Inhumans more.

It’s an interesting narrative, showing how it is easy to be influenced by others when you are down, when you feel defeated and frustrated, and how easy it is to put the blame on those that are different. I feel like this isn’t the last we’ll see of Ruben, especially since he is unemployed and SHIELD has some openings available.




The Watchdogs

This week SHIELD took a break from their usual war with HYDRA (kind of) in order to rage battle against a group called the Watchdogs, who want to protect the world or USA in particular from these aliens – the Inhumans.

The entire plotline screams like a metaphor for white supremacy and the rise of leaders like Donald Trump, whereby they are intolerant of groups that are different and see them as ruining their pure society.

This was especially emphasized with a scene where one of the Watchdog supporters phone into a radio station and says, “First, it was the illegal aliens. Now it’s actual aliens putting us all at risk..And we do need to keep tracking them. We have to take our country back.”

Credit: ABC

Credit: ABC

In the episode, the Watchdogs who were previously just an internet hate group, were weaponizing and began their triade by bombing an ATCU storage facility. The chemicals of the bomb residue however lead SHIELD to Agent Felix Blake, a former SHIELD agent whose spine was shattered by Creel, a couple of years ago. Apparently after he recovered he became so anti-powered people that he began to head up the Watchdogs, armed with the knowledge of the SHIELD organization and about spying and warfare he was a dangerous opponent.

With Mack and his brother defeating the majority of the Watchdogs and SHIELD getting away, we can expect them to be back, although they don’t seem as big of a threat as HYDRA. And we do discover at the end that HYDRA was working with Blake in order for them to distract SHIELD in exchange for weaponry, but seeing as HYDRA also wants powered we can see this relationship soon souring.

The most important part of the Watchdogs storyline is that it is blatant set up for Captain America: Civil War. We have seen slivers of this on Agents of SHIELD before and on the latest season of Daredevil but as the release date draws closer (yessss) the hints are becoming more obvious. The public is becoming extremely disillusioned with ‘superheroes’ and they keep listing New York and Sokovia, Ultron etc as moments when superheroes have done more harm than good. Groups like the Watchdogs and others will be a strong rallying point for Team Iron Man and why he choses to support the Superhero Registration Act.

Last minute notes

  • There was a cute moment where they showing the news in the beginning of the episode and the ticker at the bottom says gang war is raging in Hell’s Kitchen – an obvious nod to Netflix’s Daredevil
  • Simmons is struggling with a lot of guilt over Fitz, Will and Andrew, and she and May are teaming up to find and maybe cure Andrew. It’s about time the two of them team up.
  • On the other side, Coulson teamed up with Lincoln as he assessed his behavior in the field and what he still needed to improve upon.
  • Fitz also got more field time this week as he was sort of filling in for Mack and helping out Daisy.

 

Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD airs on Tuesdays at 8/9 on ABC

 

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