The season 4 finale of Agents of SHIELD.
YoYo wakes up inside the Framework strapped to a table, most likely she had been a victim of Fitz’s experiments. Daisy has been leaving Radcliffe a trail of YoYo’s to lead Radcliffe’s consciousness to her to help her. However, they realize that the Framework is shutting down. They don’t know how long it will take, but they know that the Framework is shutting down. With only hours remaining until the entire thing implodes, YoYo is on borrowed time. After seeing Mack with his daughter, YoYo decides to stay with him until the end. The episode plays the “did they make it” game but, after Hope disappeared in his arms, it was always likely that Mack would walk through the doorway that Daisy created for them. As the final parts of the Framework implode on itself, Radcliffe is the last part of the framework to fade away. His last moments are spent sitting alone on a beach with a bottle bourbon.
Coulson also has another problem to deal with due to new information that’s leaked about SHIELD. When Mace’s remains were found (his body was dumped after he died in the Framework), it was revealed that he wasn’t an Inhuman. That’s led to an inquiry into SHIELD. Talbot urges Coulson to attend but Coulson feels that running from Aida is priority number one. They get some good news when they find out that Robbie Reyes has been sighted. The Darkhold created Aida’s body using matter from the same dimension that the Darkhold comes from. The Ghost Rider is from the same dimension and is drawn to it. Robbie points out that he’s now seen that there are many dimensions and Earth is just one of them.
After picking up Robbie, Coulson’s team identifies a new robot face. They track it and realize that Aida is planning to send the decoys into the SHIELD inquiry to put the final nail in SHIELD’s coffin. They try to stop her, but they are moments too late. As Ivanov is going on an anti-SHIELD rant, a Daisy decoy bursts into the room and shoots Talbot in the head but, apparently, he’s still alive. They try to convince his aide that these actions were done by a decoy, but it’s a hard sell. Ghost Rider and Quake go after the decoys and find Aida, but she teleports away when she sees Ghost Rider. Once they get back to the Zephyr, Coulson concocts a plan to use the Darkhold as bait for Aida and Ghost Rider is on board.
They head back to the base where Aida finds them. She teleports into the server room where Simmons and Fitz are holed up. She drives a screwdriver into Simmon’s sternum before electrocuting her in front of Fitz. She tells Fitz that she’s going to kill everyone he loves right in front of him before teleporting to where Coulson is waiting with the Darkhold. Simmons appears behind Aida and pumps her full of shots from an automatic weapon. Coulson then grabs her hand and reveals that the Ghost Rider’s been passed into him. Aida fights frantically, but once the Rider has her, it’s over for her. Her body burns in his hands. Afterwards, Coulson gladly returns the Rider to Robbie, who opens a portal and takes the Darkhold through it.
After he leaves, YoYo and Mack report that the authorities are coming after them. Talbot is alive (in a coma), but SHIELD hasn’t been exonerated. Fitz wants the team to leave with out him so that he can answer for his crimes. Speaking from experience, Daisy tells him that running and trying to take the burden on himself isn’t the way to do it. They agree to stay together and Coulson suggests that they all go get something to eat together.
The final scene of the season shows the team eating together at a diner. Coulson remarks that this is actually the first time they’ve all been together in a really long time. Just as they’re hearing options for dessert, the light go out and a team of armed agents appears behind them. Coulson causally congratulates them on apprehending his team before the agent in charge pulls out a small device that freezes them all in place. He orders that they all be taken quickly. Coulson wakes up in a small room. He opens the window to look out into outer space. He then remarks, “That’s enough sight seeing. Time to get to work”.
- “Don’t mistake my anger for recklessness” – Aida
- Fitz reports that he conducted experiments on around 24 Inhumans, that’s a lot of powers for Aida to have. Among them are Gordon’s teleportation and Lincoln’s lightning.
- “The short answer is, they were murdered by a vanishing banshee made of matter from another dimension”
“You expect me to put that in my report”
“I have cybernetic hand, I’ve been to another planet, this kind of thing happens in SHIELD”.
- “Seriously, therapy. Just, consider it” – Quake to Aida
- The Ghost Rider part of this story references a lot of things happening in the Dr. Strange story. He references a multi-dimensional War, which is what Strange helps fight in. He also uses a portal using a technique similar to the one that Dr. Strange and his comrades use.
- “You know, robot May was way more supportive” – Coulson
- After the Rider returns to Robbie, he asks Coulson if he understands why he made the deal with the Rider. Coulson says that he’ll keep it a secret and asks Robbie to keep it a secret as well. He says he’ll tell the others when it’s time…GREAT MORE SECRETS!
And just like that, Agents of SHIELD closes one of the strongest chapters in its run. This was an interesting close to a very far-fetched sci-fi story that was well delivered both by the writers and the actors. The final episode may have been one of the weaker episodes just because it was obvious that this story was going to be wrapped up in this episode. We all knew that Aida would be defeated and that Mack would be rescued, it was just a question of how. The events that unfolded with Talbot and the hearing seemed like they were just necessary to facilitate a direct confrontation. As an aside, I actually thought that Mack could’ve been killed, I just didn’t believe that they would kill both Mack and YoYo. So, when YoYo decided to stay with Mack, I became a lot less concerned about his fate.
Similarly, the appearance of Ghost Rider in the last episode suggested that he would be needed to defeat Aida. That turned out to be the case as the demon inside him apparently has some kind of issue with the Darkhold and the things it creates. I felt like this part could’ve actually been stretched out into more episodes because there’s clearly a lot more going on here. Both Robbie and Coulson know something about the Darkhold and the demon that they’re not letting on. I wonder if the secrets have something to do with events that are unfolding around Doctor Strange or the MCU as a whole since Robbie has clearly become mixed up in events related to that part of the universe. Hopefully this will get resolved pretty quickly in the next season but, if it is an MCU tie-in issue, we’ll probably have to wait a while to get the answers.
Even though the episode did feel a bit matter-of-fact in some areas, they more than made it up with the resolution to the episode. First and foremost, they made sure to solidify the SHIELD team again. That’s significant because they haven’t really been all together since season 3 because of one reason or another. Even if they had been working together or physically together, they’d all been working different angles or split apart in some way. It was fitting to have Daisy be the one to make sure that Fitz didn’t separate himself because it was her leaving after Lincoln’s death at the end of last season that really started the chain of events that kept them separated.
Now that they’re all together again, it looks like they’ve been taken off to go on some kind of new adventure together. Even though it looked, for a moment, that they were being taken into custody it seems like they may have been recruited or extracted. Coulson seemed to know the people who approached them in the diner. Early guesses suggest that they may now be working with SWORD. SWORD (Sentient World Observation and Response Department) is an extraterrestrial counterpart to SHIELD. They have an orbital base called the Peak, which seems like where Coulson may have woken up. Given that Joss Whedon was one of the creators of SWORD, it wouldn’t be too much of a reach to think that they’d appear in this show. The question is would they (or whoever else is actually behind this) be the main story in season 5 or just a stop-gap measure to more Inhuman-based shenanigans.