"Broken Promises"
Agents of SHIELD Season 4 Logo
Director: Garry A. Brown
Writer(s): Brent Fletcher
Series: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season Number: 4
Episode Number: 9
Original airdate: January 10, 2017
Previous Episode: "The Laws of Inferno Dynamics"
Next Episode: "The Patriot"

"Broken Promises" is the ninth episode of the fourth season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..

Though Coulson and May are growing closer, Coulson remains unaware of the dark secret May is hiding beneath the surface. Meanwhile, AIDA is unrelenting in her search for the Darkhold.


After killing Agent Nathanson, Aida cleans her bullet wounds and gets rid of her blood-stained clothing. She then turns to the unconscious Agent May and promises to keep her safe until the LMD made in her likeness has served her purpose. Back at the Playground, Director Mace debriefs Coulson, Fitz, Mack, Dr. Radcliffe and "May" who, unknown to everyone, is an LMD about the situation regarding the Darkhold. Coulson is going to have the book destroyed, while Fitz and Dr. Radcliffe wipe Aida's memory. Despite their objections, Coulson and Director Mace agree that Aida cannot be trusted as long as her memory contains information from the Darkhold. Director Mace then has Daisy brought to his office, and after the two briefly argue over the Director's true motivations for how he brought her back into S.H.I.E.L.D., the Director gives her their next mission, to save the Inhuman held against his will by Senator Nadeer. Daisy surprises the Director by revealing Simmons already figured out the Inhuman is none other than the Senator's brother, Vijay. Since Yo-Yo is still recovering from the mission in Los Angeles, Director Mace will personally accompany Daisy and Simmons to rescue Vijay.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. team arrives at Dr. Radcliffe's home to shut down Aida. The LMD quickly realizes something is wrong from the looks on Fitz and Dr. Racliffe's faces. She pretends to follow Radcliffe's commands before she reveals herself and attacks the team sent to incapacitate her. She easily overpowers them and escapes, leaving the agents behind to discover Nathanson's corpse. Meanwhile, Director Mace sends Simmons, disguised as a lobbyist, to Senator Nadeer's office to find a clue to her location. Her assistant recognizes Simmons the scientist who worked on Vijay, after making a call to the Watchdogs to let them know about her, attacks. Simmons manages to take down the assistant, and grabs his phone to trace his call. At Senator Nadeer's estate, Vijay wakes up from a dream about his mother's death during the Chitauri invasion. He finds his sister, and she helps him catch up on what he missed in his seven months in the Terrigenesis cocoon. She goes for a walk with him, leading Vijay into a trap she set with the Watchdogs. She reluctantly agrees to spare him from the Watchdogs after he pleads for his life.

Back at the Playground, the team regroups after Aida went on the run. They prepare for her to attack the Playground to recover the Darkhold. Before they can do anything, however, Aida hijacks their phones to give them a message, she's coming for the Darkhold. Aida then shuts down the Playground's power to show them she's in control. Coulson tells Fitz and Dr. Radcliffe to start up backup servers disconnected from the internet put in place to restore power if they were hacked. Mack and Elena will stand as the first line of defense if Aida gets in the Playground. They move to the hangar, only for Aida to remotely take over a quinjet and open fire on them. Coulson and May go to lock down the base's emergency exit to the bar to prevent Aida from getting in, only to find her standing in their way. Aida overpowers Coulson, and once he's knocked out takes control of the May LMD. She makes the May LMD look beaten, so when Coulson comes to he thinks Aida overpowered her, too. Coulson tells May that the Darkhold is hidden in Mace's office however, unknown to him, Aida is listening to every word he says, leading her directly to the book. When she tries to get away with the Darkhold, Coulson and May stop her at the door. Fitz and Dr. Radcliffe got the Playground's systems running again, locking Aida out. The door opens up behind her, and with one slice Mack cuts her head off with his shotgun-axe.

Meanwhile, the arrival of Director Mace, Daisy and Simmons at Senator Nadeer's estate interrupts the senator's argument with the Watchdogs. While the S.H.I.E.L.D. team confronts Senator Nadeer on her brother's status, the Watchdogs receive word from "the Superior" to go ahead and take out Vijay. Before they can kill him, Vijay's abilities activate, granting him enhanced speed to escape the Watchdogs. His sister and the S.H.I.E.L.D. team follow him, with both of them trying to convince Vijay to come with them. Vijay chooses to go with his sister, leaving in her helicopter with her and some Watchdogs posing as her bodyguards. Once they're far enough from the estate, Senator Nadeer pulls out a gun and shoots her Vijay in the stomach.

While S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks they are comfortable with Aida's defeat, Dr. Radcliffe returns to his home in New York to talk about Aida's failure with another Aida. He's furious with her failure, how she was so close to getting out of the Playground with the Darkhold. But he's not done yet he has another plan to get his hands on the book, this time making sure everyone gets what they want.

Elsewhere, the Watchdogs dispose of Vijay's body by dropping him into the ocean. As his body sinks to the bottom, another Terrigenesis cocoon covers him.


Continuity and References to the Marvel Cinematic Universe


  • Mack references numerous robot and AI-related sci-fi/horror movies and television shows (mainly from the 1980s) through the course of the episode. Those mentioned include Maximum Overdrive, The Lawnmower Man, The Terminator, Short Circuit ("Johnny 5"), Blade Runner ("Roy Batty"), Small Wonder, and Chopping Mall.
  • Simmons refers to the Director's assistant as" the Director's little Smithers" which is a reference to the character from the TV show "The Simpsons" where Smithers is Mr. Burns shady assistant.
  • When Mack approaches Fitz and asks how Radcliffe is holding up, Fitz's responds "He's taking it pretty hard, actually. Aida was his life's work. She was kind of like a child". Mack comments in return; "Small wonder...". This is a reference to the 1985 TV series Small Wonder, which was based on the premise of a female child robot named VICI, who was created to be a domestic aide.





Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Episodes

Pilot | 0-8-4 | The Asset | Eye-Spy | Girl in the Flower Dress | FZZT | The Hub | The Well | Repairs | The Bridge | The Magical Place | Seeds | T.R.A.C.K.S. | T.A.H.I.T.I. | Yes Men | End of the Beginning | Turn, Turn, Turn | Providence | The Only Light in the Darkness | Nothing Personal | Ragtag | Beginning of the End

Shadows | Heavy is the Head | Making Friends and Influencing People | Face My Enemy | A Hen in the Wolf House | A Fractured House | The Writing on the Wall | The Things We Bury | ...Ye Who Enter Here | What They Become | Aftershocks | Who You Really Are | One of Us | Love in the Time of HYDRA | One Door Closes | Afterlife | Melinda | The Frenemy of My Enemy | The Dirty Half Dozen | Scars | S.O.S. Part One | S.O.S. Part Two

Laws of Nature | Purpose in the Machine | A Wanted (Inhu)man | Devils You Know | 4,722 Hours | Among Us Hide... | Chaos Theory | Many Heads, One Tale | Closure | Maveth | Bouncing Back | The Inside Man | Parting Shot | Spacetime | Paradise Lost | The Team | The Singularity | Failed Experiments | Emancipation | Absolution | Ascension


Vendetta | John Hancock | Progress | Reunion | Deal Breaker | Justicia


The Ghost | Meet the New Boss | Uprising | Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire | Lockup | The Good Samaritan | Deals With Our Devils | The Laws of Inferno Dynamics | Broken Promises | The Patriot | Wake Up | Hot Potato Soup | BOOM | The Man Behind the Shield | Self Control | What If... | Identity and Change | No Regrets | All the Madame's Men | Farewell, Cruel World! | The Return | World's End


Orientation Part One | Orientation Part Two | A Life Spent | A Life Earned | Rewind | Fun & Games | Together or Not at All | The Last Day | Best Laid Plans | Past Life | All the Comforts of Home | The Real Deal | Principia | The Devil Complex | Rise and Shine | Inside Voices | The Honeymoon | All Roads Lead... | Option Two | The One Who Will Save Us All | The Force of Gravity | The End


Missing Pieces | Window of Opportunity | Fear and Loathing on the Planet of Kitson | Code Yellow | The Other Thing | Inescapable | Toldja | Collision Course Part One | Collision Course Part Two | Leap | From the Ashes | The Sign | New Life

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