Warning: This article contains major spoilers for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 Episode 14, "The Man Behind The Shield", below!
The "LMD" arc is coming to a head in Season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the latest episode, "The Man Behind The Shield", left us in a dark, disturbing place. The episode closed with Fitz and Simmons realizing that the mission to rescue Jeffrey Mace had just gone badly wrong; they'd brought not one but four LMDs into the S.H.I.E.L.D. base! The final twist showed the Coulson LMD choosing to awaken May's LMD, which had been kept in cold-storage since Fitz and Simmons exposed her.
So where do we go from here?
Two Types of LMD
One thing's becoming clear; there are actually two types of LMD. Agent May is one of the first type; an LMD who doesn't know what she truly is. As a result, when she was injured, she realized the shocking truth, and was emotionally devastated. Her programming overrode her will for a time, though, and she remained an undercover agent at S.H.I.E.L.D. until the critical moment when the Darkhold came back into play.
On the other hand, the Coulson LMD's decision to awaken May suggests that he is well aware of what he is, and that's likely true of the other three new LMDs too. The dialogue hints that he's 'inherited' Coulson's feelings about May, and has transferred these to the May LMD. Still, the fact remains that, unlike May, it looks as though Coulson is well aware of what he is.
What Does This Mean?
Even as he left the Agent May LMD behind, Doctor Radcliffe made a confession; she wasn't built to last. He made that particular LMD for one specific purpose: to find the Darkhold. With that purpose fulfilled, she is no longer useful. Most importantly, that means that the May LMD has now followed her programming to its completion, and that Radcliffe's influence over her mind should now be gone.
Unlike the other LMDs, the May LMD started off believing herself to be human — and thus is fiercely loyal to S.H.I.E.L.D., and specifically to Phil Coulson. Frankly, I can't imagine any version of Agent May who would ever settle with an android duplicate of Coulson sabotaging everything she stood for, not even if she herself had been replaced by an android!
Of course, Radcliffe never planned this. The teasers have suggested that Aida went behind his back — but frankly, she's made a big mistake. She's just given Fitz and Simmons a weapon — an LMD of Agent May, brave and fearless, as kick-ass as the original May on her best day. Worse still for Aida and Radcliffe, the Coulson LMD clearly cares for her, leaving their plans very vulnerable indeed.
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 has been a wild ride, and the second act is coming to a close. It's pretty clear that the Agent May LMD is going to figure in the climax in a big way, and my instinct is that she'll be switching sides, choosing to betray Radcliffe and Aida in favor of the man she loves. If I'm right, who knows? Maybe an LMD can save the day.
Do you think Agent May's LMD is going to save the day?
(Poll Image Credit: ABC)