So, the latest episode of the Agents of SHIELD has come and gone this last Tuesday. Another adventure in the Framework – with some possible lasting consequences. And with only a couple of episodes left in the season, we’re going to have to have some closure..soon! I hope it’s not too much of a cliffhanger season closer.
Here are the Agents, they know where the backdoor out is, it was programmed by Radcliffe originally, it cannot be removed, so they know that’s their only way out. AIDA (aka Ophelia) is working on something called “Project Looking Glass” which is supposed to, some how, give her a body in the ‘real’ world, and allowing her to be fully human and circumvent her programming. Specifically the programming not to kill humans, especially the Agents of SHIELD, and MOST especially, anyone connected to the Framework. It’s a bit of a convoluted way to get her into a human body, but the Darkhold has plans within plans. There always seems to be another later.
We while have the Agents trying to escape, Ophelia is in critical condition in the Framework, thanks to Daisy’s 44th story defenestration of her. She is running Hydra from a hospital bed, as they work to complete their side of Project Looking Glass. In the Real World, she has the Russian running things, as he is an android now, too. She keeps promising him a new body, so he’s working with he. For now. I’m sure that won’t last.
During this, Simmons asks May about Fitz, and finds out his father is alive, and the reason why Fitz is such a terrible person in the Framework. His dad’s influence makes him a cold,heartless man, with no room for sentimentality…except for Ophelia. And Ophelia and Fitz’s dad both make use of that love to manipulate him to no end. So now that Simmons know what caused Fitz to change, she thinks she can solve it, by confronting the father. In his home. Alone. With no one else there as backup. But hey, she brought a gun, so she could threaten him!
Simmons makes Fitz’s dad call him, and during the call, tells her the fugitive is with him. He reaches out, and tries to strangle Simmons, as they both fall to the floor. He is near the point of killing Simmons when she fires off her gun. Fitz gets to hear it all over the phone, as his father dies. He swears vengeance, and chases after her, wanting to kill her as she killed his dad. Simmons returns to the SHIELD base, and Daisy convinces her to go to the back-door location.
The AGENTS leave, taking Mack (who doesn’t want to go), and leaving Tripp behind (because he’s dead in the real world, the exit wouldn’t do anything for him….right?). They head to the location of the back-door, but when they get there, they see some changes have been made. AIDA couldn’t destroy the back-door, it was hard-coded into the Framework by Radcliffe. But she has changed te nature of the area. Instead of it being a nice, public park, and the back door being a pool of water – AIDA has made it a steel mill, and the portal is a vat of molten steel. Not much of an exit anymore.
Fitz is close behind, and Mack discovers he was tricked. This wasn’t a mission that needed him for his skills, but because Daisy wants him to return to the real world. The Hydra stormtroopers show up, and start shooting. Daisy realizes she can quake the molten steel out of the way, and below is revealed the reflecting pool exit. Coulson starts towards it, but is shot in the chest. He collapses, while May comforts him, and he says it all feels familiar (A call back to The Avengers movie, of course). She pushes him through the portal, and Coulson is out! May follows soon behind. Free of the Framework, and trying to readjust to their normal lives, Coulson immediately takes a scalpel to AIDS’s body, which is connected to the Framework….effectively killing her!
Inside the Framework, Simmons confronts Fitz, expressing her love, and giving him every chance to ‘come out of it! I know you’re in there!”. That speech doesn’t work, although TV history says it should, and right before Fitz puts a bullet in the head of the woman he really loves, Radcliffe kills the two Hydra agents keeping guard over him, and knocks Fitz out. They carry him to the exit, and push him through. Fitz wake u p, and is absolutely horrified by his actions in the Framework – including the death of Director Mace in the real world. He fights for emotional equilibrium as Coulson and May try to confirm him.
Inside, Simmons has a heart-to-heart with Radcliffe, about how it’s all his fault and not Fitz’s. She gets out, and is awakened in the airplane where she and Daisy had their Framework pods plugged in. Unfortunately, that aircraft is almost out of power, and is being gunned down by a Russian plane. Not a great place to come back to.
Daisy is still inside the Framework, talking with Mack, trying to convince him to come home. He asks about his daughter, Hope. Daisy tells him the truth, that Hope is dead in the real world. She explains that’s how AIDA keeps him from wanting to leave, is by giving him a false daughter. He sees the digital reality revealed around him when Coulson and May leave. He knows it’s a recreation, and not real. Daisy pleads for him to come, but he refuses. If his daughter isn’t alive in the real world, he isn’t going back. Daisy finally has to leave him behind, hoping she can convince him to leave at a later date.
So, she exits, Yo-yo asks about Mack, and she has to apologize for leaving him behind. Yo-yo is devastated, but they have more pressing problems – like the Russians shooting them down! Mack is shown going back to the SHIELD base, and meeting up with Tripp who is looking over Mack’s daughter, Hope. Tripp says he didn’t think Mack was coming back, but Mack says he could never leave his daughter.
So the end of the episode comes with Everyone but Mack waking from the Framework, AIDA’s robot head on thee ground, and everyone thinking that it’s over.
Then AIDA shows up, in her human form. Fitz is still enthralled by her, and is inadvertently blocking May’s view, and shot. May wants desperately to kill AIDA< and end the threat. But Fitz is blocking. AIDA gets closer to Fits, holds his hand, saying how she is real, and can feel, and can experience! Then she grabs him in a hug, and seems to teleport away.
So, Mack stays behind, neither Ward, nor Tripp, nor even Hope gets a new body to come back from the dead, and AIDA gets away with Fitz and her human body – and SOME kind of power?
I think back to where this all started, with the Darkhold. Obviously, there is a long term plan.
Plus, if the Darkhold is involved, it means Ghost Rider will be back! And that is good news for the Agents of SHIELD.