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Agents of SHIELD: Farewell, Cruel World! – Season 4 Episode 20

It’s been 10 days since Daisy and Simmons went into the framework. Time is starting to run out for them in both worlds.

Recap

Outside the Framework the Zephyr is starting to run out of power. The crew has shut off all non-essential functions just to keep the plane in the air. Without being able to trust anyone in SHIELD, they’ve been dodging everyone, including Talbot. In order to save power, they shut off the cloaking on the Zephyr. After they do, they discover that they are being targeted by Ivanov’s agents.

Inside the Framework, HYDRA has declared martial law and is literally dragging people off of the streets. Of course, that’s just the backdrop to the real issue. Simmons has figured out that Aida is working to build herself a body in the real world. Once she does that, she will be able to unplug the Framework, killing everyone in it. With things burning down around them, Daisy and Simmons know that they’re running out of time and opportunities to get to the exit point that Radcliffe told them about. The hardest part of that is convincing Mack and May to go, given that they still have no knowledge of the “other world”. There’s also the problem of Fitz, who’s almost unreachable as the head of HYDRA.

After talking to May, Simmons finds out that Fitz’s father is still alive. She realizes that he’s the thing that’s changed Fitz so much and races off to find him, alone. She breaks into his house and holds him at gunpoint in order to force a meeting with Fitz. However, Alistair Fitz has no intention of turning over his son to a “terrorist”. He calls Fitz to tell him that he loves him and attacks Simmons. Simmons shoots Alistair in self defense as Fitz listens on. This sets Fitz off on a mission of revenge. He is now determined to find Simmons and kill her.

Simmons and Daisy have managed to get their other compatriots to the exit point, but they find out that Madame Hydra has rewritten it’s location. Instead of being in a park, it’s hidden underneath a molten steel mill. At first, they fear that it means that they can’t get back, but Daisy gets the idea to use her powers to “part the red sea” and uncovers the portal. Once the portal is uncovered, Coulson tries to enter but is shot several times by pursuing HYDRA agents. Even though May still doesn’t believe everything, her instinct to protect Coulson kicks in and she kills the agents before helping Phil into the portal. Once Phil goes through, the digital world shimmers, proving what Daisy and Simmons have been saying. May follows Coulson through to the other side.

Simmons is next to go but, before she does, Fitz appears. Radcliffe had given Fitz the location of the exit point in exchange for the promise of building him a new body in the real world. Fitz shoots Simmons in the leg while trying to force her to admit that he means nothing to her. Acting quickly, Radcliffe takes out Fitz’s remaining guard and tells Simmons that leading him to the exit point was the only way he could think to help him. He apologizes to Fitz for letting the Darkhold get the better of him and admits that none of this was ever his attention. He throws Fitz back into the real world, with Simmons following close behind. Daisy tries to get Mack to come with him, but he refuses because he doesn’t want to go back to a world where his daughter isn’t alive. Daisy is forced to go back through the portal without him. She wakes up just as the Zephyr is being attacked by Ivanov’s forces. Daisy breaks the news to YoYo that Mack hasn’t been saved.

Coulson, May and Fitz all wake up inside Ivanov’s undersea lair. May is physically weakened from being sedated so long. Once May is awake, Coulson wearily sets to work decapitating Aida’s body with a scalpel. Fitz wakes up and is suddenly hit by the flood of emotions resulting from everything he’s done in the Framework. While he’s still reeling from that, Aida walks into the room in her brand new human body. She reaches out for Fitz who’s still in shock and standing between Aida and May, who’s trying to kill her. Before anyone can act, Aida grabs Fitz and uses Gordon’s teleportation ability to warp them both off of Ivanov’s the base.

Favorite/Other/Notable Moments

  • It’s interesting to see the confrontation between Alistair Fitz and Simmons. Despite Simmons insisting that Alistair is evil, he believes that he’s done nothing but love Fitz and turn him into a great man.
  • “How does the existence of alternate reality come up in casual conversation?” – Daisy
  • Daisy suggests to Trip that he should suit up as the Patriot. Honestly, it sounded like an invitation for Trip to jump into Mace’s body in the real world, but that wasn’t the case.
  • “They did not just go and use the bible against me” – Mack
  • “I don’t wanna live in a world without Hope” – Mack

Commentary

COME ON MACK, REALLY!? It’s like you’re trying to make things more difficult than they need to be. The show has really been stretching this Hope metaphor this season. It started when the Ghost Rider said that Mack had “lost Hope” and was in pain because of it. In this episode, it simply means that Mack would rather stay in a world where he has his daughter, even if she isn’t real. Obviously, that’s the way a lot of people feel about metaphorical hope as well. All that being said, everything in me wants him to just snap out of it and not give up his life to hang around with a digital daughter.

An almost equally bad idea was Simmons trying to use Fitz’s father as a hostage. Fortunately, it ended up being a necessary mistake. If not for her killing the old man, Fitz would’ve obeyed Aida’s orders to return to HYDRA and Radcliffe’s bluff wouldn’t have worked. Even though a lot of things had to fall into place in order for this to work out I’ll forgive it for two reasons. The first is that, despite me wanting an honest story, I also didn’t want Fitz to end up stuck with Aida in the Framework. Second, it led to another Fitz-Simmons stand off. I feel like I keep saying this, but those two standing off against each other is always a fun scene. There’s so much going on between them at this point, and there’s so much that the audience can fill in without them having to. It makes for a great scene even if it gets cut short by Radcliffe.

What’s just as good is the moments that followed the stand-off. I loved the moments when everyone came out of the Framework, Fitz being overwhelmed, Coulson waiting for May, etc. I’m sure that it won’t be the last that we hear of them dealing with their alternate lives. However, the immediate issue has to be the fact that not only is Aida a real girl, but she’s a real girl with Inhuman powers. There’s also the problem that almost every member of the team is now under attack moments after they have woken up. It’s a little strange that this episode doesn’t feel like a cliffhanger given everything that’s still up in the air. It’s probably a good sign that it doesn’t feel that way because it would normally feel pretty frustrating. Instead, I’m excited to see how this all plays out.

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