SHIELD starts their efforts to find May, starting with an unexpected plan.
Radcliffe and Ivanov are working on their own plan to take down SHIELD, specifically Coulson. Radcliffe reveals that he’s been able to synthesize pure Terrigen after taking samples when he worked for Hive. Their idea is to use the crystals to create an Inhuman for SHIELD to chase. Ivanov sends his lead Watchdog, Tucker Shockley, to dose Nadeer with Terrigen. Given that her brother was an Inhuman they suspect that she also carriers the gene. However, when the crystal shatters, it’s the Watchdog who turns into an Inhuman with explosive powers. When he comes out of his husk he detonates, killing Nadeer and her aides. Now that he’s become the thing that he hates, the henchman decides to use his new power to suicide bomb the director of SHIELD, Jeffrey Mace.
At the SHIELD base, Mace has just received bad news. According to Simmons, the serum that he is taking has a potentially lethal backlash. With no apparent paths to fixing the serum, Mace is relegated to doing pres conferences and bureaucratic work. It’s hard for him to take, but he’s trying his best to be part of the team. Daisy has been working on relocating all of the Inhumans that they know of since the people who are hunting them now have the Darkhold. When they see the news of the explosion, they head out to Capital Hill to get to the bottom of things. They don’t find the source of the explosion, but they do find Shockley. Fitz-Simmons manage to figure out that he’s the source of the explosion just before he can detonate. They throw him out of the plane, but his body reconstitutes on the ground after the explosion.
Fitz-Simmons have also discovered that Shockley’s body explodes by using a vibration to reconfigure his body into combustible elements. They plan to use Quake’s powers to neutralize his combustion. When they get out into the field, Simmons mentions that reconstituting takes a lot of energy. That gives Quake the idea to wear Shockley out by continuing to detonate him. While she’s blowing him up over and over, the rest of the team is approached by mysterious vehicles. Mace realizes it’s a trap and decides to do what’s best for the team by sacrificing himself to be captured.
While all of this has been going on Coulson and Mack travel to Spain to find Radcliffe’s ex, Agnes Kitsworth, who is the spitting image of Aida. Agnes has an inoperable brain tumor. Despite all of Radcliffe’s post-human work, he couldn’t figure out how to save her so he ran away from her. Agnes wants nothing to do with Radcliffe, but Coulson isn’t willing to let this go. Despite Mack’s objection, Coulson goes after her but he does change his tactics. He appeals to Agnes on behalf of May and gets some insight into Radcliffe’s work. Agnes also agrees to meet with Radcliffe in order to draw him out. As Coulson and Mack are watching Agnes, Radcliffe reaches out to her. After reading the Darkhold, Radcliffe has come up with the idea to prolong Agnes’ life by putting her into the Framework. When presented the opportunity for a life free of the fear of death that she’s been living under, Agnes decides to leave with Radcliffe. As the episode ends, Agnes is put into the Framework next to may. Aida remarks that there is no way to save her body, but her mind is now safely inside the machine.
- Radcliffe is spending a lot of time inside the updated Framework. Apparently, Aida has built it into an entire world. May is currently being held in a “happy” state inside the Framework.
- “Radcliffe took something from me too. Her name is Melinda May and she means everything to me” – Coulson to Agnes
- After his henchman causes a national incident, Ivanov leaves the country.
- Mace must be a big football guy. There are so many football metaphors flying around this episode.
Thus ends the life of one of the most unnecessary characters of this season, Senator Nadeer. She quickly proved to be a means to an end in this series. Her story was just a gateway to getting to Ivanov and his crazy, anti-Coulson ideas. At the same time, the show has also essentially gotten rid of the Watchdogs. The only one of them who had a name has now been turned into an Inhuman and captured. There’s still the chance that they could have to deal with some splinter cells or hate groups, but I’m hoping this means a permanent end to that aspect of the story.
Speaking of characters who don’t have a solid place in the series, this was an interesting attempt to make Mace more relevant again. While I enjoyed all the football metaphors and his self sacrificing choice, I still don’t really like his character. He just comes off as pouting and self-pitying because he can’t do things without his powers. Aside from Daisy, no one else on the team has powers, they have skills. In a way, he’s kind of the antithesis of Ivanov, who relishes the idea of working to achieve power. Mace is spending a lot of his energy wishing that he did have some kind of powers. His choice to sacrifice himself seemed to come out of a need to feel important to the team. That doesn’t make his sacrifice un-heroic, but it does make me less inclined to like him.
It was also interesting that there was yet another relationship surprise in this episode. Radcliffe having an ex that motivated a lot of his behavior is a bit of an unexpected surprise. It was fun seeing Mallory Jansen play a spirited woman as opposed to a dead faced android. I can see why Radcliffe would’ve fallen for a woman like Agnes, the character is really fun. It’s also funny how much she identifies with May. Now that Radcliffe has Agnes inside the Framework it seems like shutting it down could become more complicated. If they shut it down, they will effectively be killing Agnes.