So, Agents of SHIELD. Another superhero TV show I watch pretty regularly. I used to have people ask me why. Not this season.
This season started out with Ghost Rider. And, I might add, a pretty good version of said character. He didn’t add himself to the group immediately, and be all “Hey, I’m an Agent of SHIELD now!” But he worked with them to achieve a common goal. He was a great character who didn’t fit into the show perfectly, and his edges showed. He had his own agenda (such as killing the prisoner), and his own motivations. I liked that it didn’t mesh with the rest of the cast perfectly. He ran against some burrs and edges that caused some serious (and seriously interesting) drama.
Then, we moved on to the LMD arc, re-introducing Dr. Radcliffe, and introducing the LMD, Aida. They already introduced the Darkhold (which, by the way, great idea as far as plots and story ideas. That is one nasty, evil book!), which led to Aida and Dr. Radcliffe almost destroying SHIELD. But the Darkhold showed Radcliffe a way to make a ‘perfect’ world, which he called the Framework.
Now, within the Framework, where everyone lives a different life, we see out intrepid heroes in a different light. Grant Ward is back. Not only is he still a badass, but now he is a loyal SHIELD member, undercover in Hydra. Oh, and he’s alive, and not some alien creature bent on world destruction. So that’s good. But Coleson is a school teacher, having traded his choice to join SHIELD in for a quite life of love and happiness. Well, insomuch as you can be happy in a world dominated by Hydra and a life of terror and lies. So, not very happy. Daisy/Skye is a loyal Hydra member, as is Agent May. Fitz is the 2nd in command of Hydra, and is one nasty, nasty piece of work. How different our life can be with one slight change. In Fitz’s case, his dad is still in his life. And his dad is one right git. So Fitz is the head Hydra guy, meaning he’s basically Hitler as Hydra are just an offshoot of the Nazi’s (according to comic book/Marvel history, of course). So the awesome, fun, and gentle Fitz is turned into a murdering, hard nosed, Nazi. Because his dad is in his life, instead of disappearing into alcohol, as in the ‘real world’. And boy is Simmons upset! She was killed off in the Framework, as she was always loyal to SHIELD, which made for quite the image when she came crawling out of her unmarked grave.
So, in the Framework, Hydra rules the world, Fitz is the top dog, and is controlled by Aida (called Ophelia in the Framework). May used to be loyal, but she turns. Daisy gets her powers back, thanks to May, and is able to break out of Hydra prison. Of course this is after Dr. Radcliffe (who is in the Framework, and stuck here because his body is dead back in the real world) tells Daisy how to use the back door to get out of the Framework. So Daisy and May encounter Ophelia, and Daisy shoots her out a 40+ story window, and then just walks away like a badass. I tell you, Daisy has gotten more interesting every year. She started off pretty cliché as the ‘rebel hacker’ and all, but since adding her father (Dr. Jekyll…err….Dr. Jones) and her Inhuman powers, and all the rest. She has really developed into a pretty entertaining character.
So, Daisy shoots Ophelia out the window, which doesn’t kill her, but sure does damage her human Framework body. In the real world, she comes out of the Framework machine, and looks like she wants to kill everyone. But she can’t, because it’s against her programming. Fortunately for her, the Framework world is providing a way around her programming, by helping her become a real human, and somehow making the Framework world real, the real world gone. Or something. It hasn’t been really clear on what Project Looking Glass really is, but it seems to have to do with merging, or switching the Framework and the Real World.
So Daisy and May escape, and team back up with SHIELD, while Simmons and Tripp search for the Looking Glass machine. Turns out, the machine is being build in the real world, but all the specifications and such are being worked out by Fitz in the Framework. UH OH! That means they really can’t stop it, because it’s in the real world, not the Framework!
The episode ends with the agents of SHIELD rallying the people of the Framework (which are really just digital algorithms simulating real people…but since it came from the Darkhold, that’s a REALLY, REALLY good simulation). The people are rising up against Hydra, the Agents of SHIELD are now, hopefully,going to be able to get to the back door, and escape the Framework and then somehow stop Aida/Ophelia from turning Looking Glass on.
Or, somehow, SHIELD goes REALLY off the rails, Looking Glass is enacted, and they spend the rest of the season trying to reverse it. Either way, this show has gotten very interesting, and has really found its legs, storytelling-wise. Season 1 was far too chained to the MCU (look at what Winter Soldier did to the show!) Season 2 was still too tied into it (lady Sif, Asgardians everywhere, Chitauri tech, etc). Season 3 FINALLY started to delve into it’s own mythology, and now here we are season 4, they don’t ever mention anything superpower related but Inhumans, no talk of Banner, or Thor, or anyone. Barely even a “green rage monster” reference.
And SHIELD is stronger for it. It brought in magic with the Darkhold, while the MCU brought in Stephen Strange. The Darkhold is absolutely 100% something Dr. Strange SHOULD be looking into….but for some reason he isn’t. So, SHIELD gets to, which works for me!
I’m glad it’s gotten it’s own legs, FINALLY, after 4 seasons. ABC wasn’t cutting it loose, because of the major tie with Marvel, but without that….I doubt it would have made it this far. And it deserves to have another season, after this one!