Welcome back, true believers! Last week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. we saw fugitives Daisy and May reunite with their team in hopes of escaping from the Framework as they wrestled with the death of Director Mace. Unfortunately, the events of the Framework are postponed momentarily in order to let us know that Yo-Yo and nameless Agents are still circling around in the “Bus”, having done so for the past ten days. I can understand the need to pad out the running time of an episode in order to meet a certain standard, but these scenes with Yo-Yo fretting about her friends as one nameless agent attempts to convince the rest of the crew that maybe the best option is to pull the plug on Daisy and Simmons was tedious at best. Fortunately, it doesn’t take up a lot of time, though it still manages to grind the momentum to a screeching halt each time we return to this situation.
In the Framework, Daisy and company begin to make a last ditch attempt to exit the system through a portal that was implanted by Radcliffe originally as a failsafe mechanism. The agents are on the clock as they begin to realize that Aida is nearly finished with her machine that will allow her to become human in the real world, with the added benefit of having the ability to kill the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. by no longer being beholden to her original programming. Before Daisy starts the mission, there’s a nice little interlude wherein she gets to meet the deceased Agent Trip. The pair were somewhat close, before he originally died thanks to the Terrigen Mists in the second season, so seeing them back together once again was a breath of fresh air here. The conclusion between the two–Daisy suggesting that Trip become the new Patriot to continue the fight against Hydra–ends on an upbeat note and packed an emotional punch, even though Trip isn’t technically alive at all.
Simmons, in a bid to save Fitz from the Framework herself, pays a visit to Fitz’s father and begs him to call his son home, with a gun pointed at him of course. The twist being that Fitz truly did get everything he wanted wherein Fitz’s dad truly loved Leopold, but unfortunately this love ended up turning Fitz into a straight up supervillain. Before Fitz is able to make it back home, Fitz’s father attempts to wrestle the gun away from Simmons, inadvertently causing her to shoot him and killing the false version of Fitz’s father. Jemma manages to escape but this, of course, isn’t received too kindly by Fitz himself who pledges to kill Simmons for the death of his father. Once again, Fitz, Director of Hydra, was such a breath of fresh air here, continuing his hot streak of quite possibly being one of the best villains that the series has had to offer so far. The way things are building toward the finale, it’s certainly possible that we see Leopold Fitz move back toward this villainous side of himself.
Meanwhile, Daisy, Coulson, and the rest of the gang figure out where the exit to the Framework is, though unfortunately, Aida has covered it with molten steel, making it a tad difficult to enter. With Quake managing to use her powers to open up the portal, Coulson manages to leap through–after being shot by Hydra agents for the drama–along with May as the two wake up back in the real world. Before Simmons can leap through, a pissed off Fitz appears and nearly kills her, before being forcibly pushed into the exit by Radcliffe. Fitz, understandably, freaks out once he awakens in the real world, realizing that his greatest wish not only made him evil, but also resulted in him ordering the airstrike that killed Director Mace. This was my favorite scene of the episode here with Leopold losing his mind, struggling with the very idea of his own moral compass as Coulson tried desperately to calm him down.
Of course, not everything ended as expected as Mack, who had his daughter alive and well in the Framework, learns that Hope is not alive in the real world. Rather than jump into the real world, he decides to live in a perfect lie with his daughter. I really hate to see Mack go but if they had to do it, this seemed like a perfect way for the character to exit the series, earning his paradise even if it was fictitious. The final shot of Trip and Mack talking with his daughter was a nice final beat. With all the agents out of the Framework, Aida as a human awakens and begins relishing her newfound humanity. Trying to convince Fitz that their love was real, she grabs the shocked scientists and teleports away from Coulson and May, leading us into the finale of the season coming shortly.
And so wraps “Agents of Hydra” which managed to use the show’s history, characters, and modern day commentary to make arguably one of the best story segments of the series. Everything clicked along the way and it was a fun ride as we now careen into the season (and possibly series) finale.
Grade: ★★★★ Very good
Agents of M.I.S.C.E.L.L.A.N.E.A.
– Marvel has confirmed a certain flame head will be appearing in the season finale, so excited to see how they bring back Robbie into the fold.
– Apparently, Aida can teleport! Will be interested to see what powers the Darkhold has given her here.
– I am really rooting for the series to get another season. It really has found its legs this season.
– Agent: “Just look at her uniform, so crazy hot.”
– Trip: “Hey person I don’t know!”
– Coulson: “Crafted a lot of soap to try to stay sane.”
– May: “How did a little Pop Tart like you evade capture?”
– Agent: “You’re in an airplane where the power is being drained by a machine that is plugged into an alternate reality. Pretty sure you get a pass.”
– Trip: “Not going to lie, I would look pretty damn fine in that suit.”
– Mack: “They did not just go ahead and use the Bible against me.”
– Coulson: “This feels oddly familiar.”
– Coulson: “Stinkin’ robots!”
– Coulson: “At least you had a shotgun axe!”