Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: The Framework Reloaded

Most of our favorite Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. escaped The Framework, but what does the big twist tell us? Can Aida now zip between worlds at will?

This was without a doubt, one of the most emotional installments of the fourth season. Daisy saying goodbye to Trip, and Mack deciding to stay behind with his daughter were tear-jerking moments. That said, now that human Aida has “powers” can any of our fallen heroes be brought back from The Framework? Is her new ability simply teleportation? It stands to reason that the Darkhold’s dark magic has not only granted Aida immortality, but also godly superpowers. With just two episodes left, there are so many different ways the story can unfold.

I loved that the episode flashed back ten days, so that we could catch up with Yo-Yo and the others. Boy, did I miss Natalia Cordova-Buckley. I can’t shake the feeling that Yo-Yo will refuse to accept Mack’s fate and enter the Framework to save him. Will Daisy go back in as well to save Ward? He was suspiciously absent this week. The Framework Reloaded!

Clearly, shutting off the cloaking was a bad move but the team didn’t have much choice as the Framework had been draining power for days. It was a convenient way of throwing an additional layer of chaos at our heroes and definitely made for a thrilling hour of television. Anyone that argues the writing team never found their groove on this show is out of their mind.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Farewell, Cruel World!”
Courtesy of ABC
Though I mentioned Radcliffe had made himself dispensable in my previous review, as he had given Daisy the backdoor information… boy was I wrong. With Fitz so deeply brainwashed by the Framework, there was no way he would voluntarily exit the virtual world. When Simmons ultimately killed his Framework pops, I knew she wouldn’t be his salvation. Then the Doctor visited Radcliffe with talk of immortality, taking him along for the ride and I knew Radcliffe would get his moment of redemption. Speaking of Simmons, the tension was thick during her visit with Fitz’s old man and though I had a feeling he would never go along with her plan, I didn’t expect him to attack Jemma so violently. She had no choice but to kill the old fool, knowing Framework Fitz would never forgive her. Still, hearing Fitz say he was going to put a bullet in her skull was rough.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “Farewell, Cruel World!”
Courtesy of ABC
The first sign Madame Hydra was losing her grip on The Doctor/Fitz was when he ignored her command to turn around and not pursue revenge. It’s going to be interesting, now that Fitz has memories from both lives, how he and Aida interact in the upcoming episodes. Will Fitz ultimately be her downfall? He needs to do something extreme to calm the guilt he’s feeling.

Learning that Madame Hydra had modified Radcliffe’s exit was a fun twist. I mean, she’s the architect of the Framework, so making it a pit of molten lava was just perfect. Ouchie! Naturally, the only person/Inhuman who would be able to help was Daisy… quaking the lava. Yesssssss! I saw that one coming, but the VFX in the scene were phenomenal. Mark Kolpack and his team never fail to impress me. How about Aida materializing in the real world? The visual effects in that sequence were mind-boggling, seriously.

Anyway, to add to the mounting tension Coulson was shot which absolutely felt oddly familiar. There’s no way they’d kill him off, unless this was the show’s final season. By the way, with both critics and fans hailing the second half of the season as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s best ever, I feel more confident a fifth season renewal is coming soon.

So, Coulson was the first person through, the only true believer, allowing everyone else to witness the Framework’s glitching. May following Coulson made sense, but what’s their relationship going to be like post-Framework? There’s been a ton of back and forth for #Philinda. Regardless, I’m fairly sure their hurdles will be nothing compared to Fitz-Simmons. Can you believe Fitz shot her? Radcliffe saving the day was brilliant. Though he inadvertently caused all this mess, throwing Fitz into the portal helped redeem him somewhat. I was surprised Mack chose to stay behind, and boy was that an emotional scene between Chloe Bennet and Henry Simmons. I refuse to believe Mack’s going to die in the Framework. Go get your boy, Yo-Yo!

Closing Thoughts…

“Farewell, Cruel World” was one of the most emotional hours in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s entire run, allowing stars like Bennet, Simmons, Henstridge and De Caestecker to really shine. The writing this season has been consistently wonderful, and the series managed to reinvent itself in a way your standard TV show could not. The Framework allowed the cast to play different versions of their characters, keeping things interesting and fresh. I don’t mean to bash The CW’s DC Universe, but where their storylines have gone in circles this year, S.H.I.E.L.D. has kept me totally engaged. That hasn’t always been the case, by the way. The Flash Season 1 was incredible and I watched that season LIVE weekly, but Savitar and the time-travel stuff has made it a DVR show this year. I’ve been struggling with Arrow for a few season’s now, and stopped watching this year around mid-season. Legends had a fun second run. Supergirl is by far my favorite, though the Mon-El character arc (and his parents) have been disappointing to say the least. I haven’t seen any of the finales yet, but if I had to pick an MVP right now… it would be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC.