An episode that feels disjointed at times, “This Missive, This Machination!” manages to provide powerful moments for characters Mark, Debbie, and Allen. It sets the stage for an upcoming major plot development in the mid-season finale. Mark and Amber’s departure for college signifies a break from the show’s usual dynamic, offering them time to reflect on the betrayal of Nolan/Omni Man.
Strong Performances and Human Stories
Sandra Oh’s portrayal of Debbie showcases her talent, especially in scenes where Debbie’s emotions are mostly non-verbal. As Debbie grapples with her trauma in a superhero spouses support group, she is struck by the news that one of the members was married to a hero that Nolan murdered. This revelation ignites a conflict, leaving her as the target of Theo’s anger.
Moments of Maturity and Coming-of-Age
As Mark enters college and grapples with his lingering despondency, the show navigates Mark’s journey into adulthood with subtle nods to his childhood. The episode deals with the idea of Mark’s superpowers affecting his personal life, especially during an intimate moment with Amber.
Exploring New Plotlines
The episode introduces new plotlines involving The Shapesmith and Atom Eve’s family, but is criticized for not allowing them time to develop. Its portrayal of sexual themes is noted as being juvenile and avoiding complex issues that the characters face.
The middle section of the episode shifts focus to Allen’s adventures in space. The story of his assistive role in forming a plan against Viltrum’s incursions, along with his romantic subplot, is explored. The episode delves into Allen’s past and brings about a major twist that leaves his fate uncertain.
Cliffhangers and Intriguing Twists
The episode concludes with an intriguing turn of events that involves a mysterious visitor seeking help from Mark, leading to a significant decision that places Mark’s personal fulfillment at odds with his duties as a superhero. The unexpected appearance of Nolan at the end sets the stage for a potentially impactful development.