Agents of SHIELD Episode 403 recap and preview for next week
We start in Miami. Elena is attending a bachelorette party for her friend Maria, when the power goes out in the building and the city. All cell phones shut off, and a helicopter crashes into the side of a building. It was an EMP. A video goes live on all networks with a shadowy, anonymous person warning that the blackout was caused by an Inhuman resistance, wanting to end the registry. The director sends Mack, Fitz, and Coulson out to Miami to get to the bottom of this.
In five hours, four cities around the world have gone dark: Miami, Los Angeles, London, and Moscow. People seem surprised that rioting broke out in Los Angeles almost immediately. We will get to the other cities and other team members in a minute. In Miami, a gang of thugs storm Elena’s party with big guns (that apparently still work despite the EMP). They are not here for money; they are here for the Inhuman. They have reliable information that an Inhuman was in the building. One drunk at the party points a finger at a guy who was doing sleight of hand magic. The thugs turn on him.
Coulson’s team is on the ground and on their way to Elena’s location when the car goes dead. They hit the EMP spot. Coulson’s hand is frozen to the steering wheel, requiring Mack to pry it off. All of their guns, and Fitz’s toys are useless. He grabs some pencils and paper and they head out on foot. They gotta go old skool.
At the party, the thugs pull guns on the magician, and Elena uses her powers to steal the gun away and slip it into a plant. The second time she does it, Maria sees her ditching the weapon and rats her out. The thugs turn on Elena, but are interrupted by Coulson’s team, who comes in and beats the hell out of the thugs. Everyone leaves, including Maria, who is insulted and disgusted to find out her bridesmaid is an Inhuman. Elena can’t be upset right now; the team has to figure out what is going on. The thugs were here for her. Elena was registered, but she thought she was protected.
Coulson starts the interrogation, then changes it up and shoots the leader in the chest. He’s wearing an advanced military bulletproof vest. Coulson realizes this is a setup; it is Inhumans who are being hunted. They are part of the Watchdogs, and Elena finds a list of local Inhumans pulled from the registry. One of the government agencies is behind it.
Out in Los Angeles, Robbie wants to go see his uncle, who raised him and Gabe. He was an engineer at the Momentum facility, but is now doing time in prison for attempted manslaughter. Suddenly an EMP hits Los Angeles. Like a switch was flipped, the rioting begins, and Robbie rushes (with Daisy) to find Gabe. Luckily his car has no electronics in it, so they race through the streets. They find Gabe about to get the crap beat out of him by some gangbangers who are trashing cars. They like Robbie’s car, but when it heats up and burns their hands, the gangbangers turn their violence on Robbie and Daisy. The gangbangers are no match for Ghost Rider (even though he doesn’t light up) or Quake, who uses her powers to blast back a banger with a gun to Gabe’s head. Her wrist snaps in the process.
Robbie, Daisy, and Gabe rush home. Robbie doesn’t know how to help her. He will go get her meds and supplies. Before he leaves, he warns her that Gabe doesn’t know about his “night job.” Daisy and Gabe have a little heart to heart in Robbie’s absence. He has figured out that she is Quake and promises her secret is safe with him – but she needs to leave immediately and never come around Robbie again. “He needs good people,” Gabe says, “and that’s not you.” When Robbie finally gets home, Gabe says he fell asleep and when he woke, Daisy was gone.
Simmons is apoplectic because she can monitor May’s vital signs from the lab, but she can’t get anyone to tell her what is going on. May’s vitals are all over the place. One of the Chinese guys who suffered the same “infection” has died, and May’s death seems imminent if they cannot come up with a cure. The director authorizes Simmons’ “drastic measures” to try to save May. Simmons shows up on Radcliffe’s doorstep after collecting May from the CDC lab she had been taken to.
Simmons and Radcliffe put May into a headset that can read her brain activity. Radcliffe identifies extreme hyperactivity in her brain – an extreme “fight or flight” response. Essentially everyone was scared to death. So they just have to figure out how to cure fear. No big deal. Radcliffe suggests they kill May, effectively rebooting her brain. Simmons has severe misgivings, but with no other options, she goes ahead with a lethal injection. May flatlines, and the doctors watch anxiously as her brain slows. Radcliffe decides May is ready to come back, and Simmons prepares the paddles – when the power goes out. An EMP has hit the DC area. In a panic, Simmons begins chest compressions. Radcliffe has an idea, and retrieves the magnetically-shielded clean energy device that normally runs Aida. He plugs the paddles into it, supplying enough power to wake May. She is confused and cranky, but alive.
Back in Miami, Fitz sets up a tech-free way to map the EMP. Pulses go off every few seconds, and each pulse gives off a signal that pulls north. He makes some compasses, passes them out to the team, who mark the movements. Fitz charts all these and gets a general idea of where the EMP is located. But they have to hurry. The director has gotten a call from the president, who wants to send troops into blackout zones (now seven cities) and take out Inhumans by “any means necessary.”
Fitz has a general location for the EMP. The team heads in, and hears voices. Three guys with guns are guarding a huge EMP device. They are worried because they are out-gunned. Elena uses her powers to distract the gunmen, then steal their guns. They attack the men, and Fitz unplugs the EMP. Power returns. The gunmen all have Watchdog tattoos. Coulson calls into the director, to let him know they have a fix.
Back at SHIELD HQ, Coulson warns that someone is backing the Watchdogs, spreading fear. Coulson wants to speed up the public launch of SHIELD, but the director wants to stick to the plan. “It’s important to know when to throw out the plan,” Coulson advises. Elsewhere, Mack confronts Elena about her contact with Daisy. He is pissed, but Elena defends it by pointing out that Daisy is always the one to initiate contact.
The director decides to throw out the plan. He holds a televised press conference where he sets the record straight: Inhumans were not responsible for the blackouts; human extremists bent on spreading fear were responsible. He then reveals that SHIELD is back.
During this press conference, Senator Nadeer is on the phone with someone. She is at her brother’s place, and tells her contact that the Watchdogs were able to take out 17 Inhumans. Clearly she is at least partially behind the Inhuman genocide. I feel like Jeffrey Mace is also, somehow, involved. Anyway, Nadeer leaves the TV on for her brother, and promises to return in a few days. As she leaves, we see that her brother is in a concrete Inhuman cocoon.
You can watch a preview for the next episode, titled “Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire,” using the player below.