Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. S04E12 Recap: 'Hot Potato Soup'

Whenever Patton Oswalt is around Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the Agents Koenig iss when the show feels most like a comic book adaptation. Not because Oswalt is a self-described nerd or even because you can feel his enthusiasm about being part of something as huge as the MCU, but because of those characters and what they mean to the show.

By the nature of who they are, who plays them and what they're around for, Billy, Sam and (before he died) Eric Koenig inevitably serve as comic relief for a show that's already fairly comedic. The constant jokes about who and what they are, the fast-talking dialog, the general ridiculousness of seeing Patton Oswalt as a superspy, it gives the Koenig episodes a certain feeling that the show only rarely gets to duplicate, a feeling which gives you the impression that what you're watching is straight off the comic book page. And that's a feeling that's welcome, even though AoS is hardly a show that ever messes anything up these days.

"Hot Potato Soup" doubles down on this idea by making the episode all about the Koenigs and where they hail from. After the brothers become the subject of interesting from Radcliffe and the Superior, a Russian named Anton Ivanov whom we meet in this epiosde, we find out that Coulson gave the Darkhold to Billy for storage. Billy passes it around his siblings like a hot potato, as the title implies, before taking to the Labyrinth. Unaware that there are more Koenigs out there, Radcliffe and the Superiro kidnap Billy in order to extract the location, and as the show does this little red herring dance with us, they search his memories to find his location, while the team goes looking for LT, the older sister of the Koenigs (who is hanging around the other brother, Thurston, who is some sort of slam poetry insult comic), in order to help them find Billy.

Long story short, Radcliffe and the Superior get their hands on the Darkhold, and as they share a drink over this victory the Superior tells him that he hates the Inhumans because they have powers they didn't earn, and that he wants to get to the man who seems to be at the center of it all and in his eyes responsible for all alien problems on earth, Agent Coulson.

Now this could mean one of two things; either it's just a coincidence, since Coulson has always been at the forefront of SHIELD and helped assemble the Avengers before getting wrapped up with the Inhumans, or the Superior could be on to something, and Coulson's ties to Kree blood (which, as you'll remember, brought him back to life) could actually mean something here. Either way, it's an interesting and surprise motivation for the bad guy, and I like it. It offers the remainder of the season and higher level of stakes and sets us up to potentially get answers to questions we ddin't even know about. If this winds up being the final season of this show, tying it all back to what makes Coulson tick could be a good way of eventually wrpping things up.

The other major development in this episode is that the team discovers that May is an LMD after they figure out Fake Radcliffe's programming and piece together that he must have copied over her brain when he was saving her life. They get the message over to Daisy, but Coulson figures it out for himself, because come on, of course he's going to know. Some might See his fake romance with a robot contrived, but the feelings between Coulson and May have always been genuine. They're just deep enough that the real Coullson Knows exactky what May would or wouldn't do if they ever came out in the open.

The team winds up burning the copies of Ada and Radcliffe but keep May around in case they're never able to find the real one. While the search for May may be on, it's still entirely possible that another copy is among them, so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out, especially with the Darkhold in Radcliffe's possession now.

Overall, "Hot Potato Soup" is an incredibly fun episode that goes deep on the often missed Agent Koenig, all while advancing several plots and ensuring that the rest of this season will continue to be just as exciting, and that's why this episode gets 9 Darth Vader alarm clocks out of 10.

Notes & Quotes:

  • That's Artemis Pebdani guest starring as the female Koenig, turned absolute badass since her days on It's Always Sunny in Phialdelphia."
  • Koenig riding around on a hoverboard reciting movie lines is the most Patton thing ever.
  • "You're getting all Gollum-y again."
  • "You knew Billy had the Darkold?" "I couldn't say anything with all those redshirts hanging around."
  • "So May's a freaking robot."
  • "What did they do to you man?" "They took my puppy."