MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Return”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Review: Aida/Ophelia Goes Cray Cray

Well, I’ve got to say “The Return” is the perfect title for this episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The team returned home, Fitz returned to Simmons, Yo-Yo returned to Mack and even Ghost Rider returned from wherever the heck he’s been this second half of the season.

I remember mentioning in my first review back from the winter break that, “A part of me is hoping it all comes back to Ghost Rider in the finale.” Well now that Aida/Ophelia is Inhuman and totally cray cray, it appears the Spirit of Vengeance has returned to collect her soul. It makes sense the story has come full circle, as Robbie Reyes’ uncle started this mess unleashing the power of the Darkhold. The character’s presence would not have made much sense inside the Framework, but I’ve got to say this is a pretty organic way of reintroducing him for the finale. Yes I’m thrilled we’re getting more Ghost Rider, even if it’s just for the final hour.

Robbie Reyes was name-dropped early on, and if it wasn’t for the press spoiling the surprise (thanks TVLine.com) I would have been super stoked. Knowing Ghost Rider was coming back for the finale ruined the excitement a tad. Still, it was cool watching him step out of the portal.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Return”
Courtesy of ABC
There’s no doubt the creative team has learned over the years what works and doesn’t for this series. They’ve clearly saved a nice chunk of the budget for the last few episodes. I mean, did you see that killer opening shot that lead all the way to the underwater base? What?!? I had been wondering where the Superior went, so it was nice to get his POV of last week’s events. It was hilarious that Coulson told May she’d missed a lot, but “Quick version is… go ahead and shoot him.” His arm-S.H.I.E.L.D. slicing the LMDs face off was awesome! Unfortunately, there were Ivanov duplicates to spare. The Coulson/May banter was in full effect and boy, have I missed it. Will May discover that her LMD put the moves on Coulson?

In my previous review, I assumed Aida had acquired Inhuman powers. Coulson quickly confirmed it, but I never imagined she was loaded with several Inhuman abilities. The electricity thing was totally Lincoln Campbell, right?

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Return”
Courtesy of ABC
It didn’t take long for Yo-Yo to ask about Mack. She did get a little aggressive with Daisy later on, which surprised me. Of course, once she learned about Hope, everything made sense to her. If she can break herself free inside the Framework, will Mack actually pick her over his daughter? They’re close, but I can’t see that happening. How will they exit via the molten lava pit without Daisy? Will Quake follow Yo-Yo in, releasing her friend and helping locate Mack? By the way, I also mentioned in my last review that Yo-Yo would probably head into the Framework after Mack. B.I.N.G.O.!!! Hopefully everyone comes out of it unscathed.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Return”
Courtesy of ABC
While the tension on Zephyr One kept the adrenaline going, it was the quieter moment between Fitz and Aida/Ophelia that impressed me the most. Mallory Jansen has played so many different versions of the character… Aida / Agnes Kitsworth / Madame Hydra / Ophelia, it’s like she’s the Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. One thing’s for certain, she’ll be missed. While it was sweet that Fitz was the first thing she chose with her new freewill, the way she went about things was a nightmare for everyone else. I loved that she acknowledged the error of her ways and listened to Fitz, saving his friends. Naturally, Fitz was going to choose Jemma over Ophelia. If it had gone any other way, there would be Fitz-Simmons fans rioting around the world. Simmons shooting both Aida/Ophelia and Fitz was a total surprise, but she needed to see where his mind was. I was glad to see Jemma’s the only one for him. The duo gave me the feels, big time. I’ve been a Fitz-Simmons fan since the pilot.

I was unclear exactly what went down in the real world that pissed Talbot off, but seeing S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ in ruins helped fill in the blanks. I’ll probably re-watch the episode, to pick up on all the little details I missed. Man, was this installment was jam-packed with information.

MARVEL’S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. – “The Return”
Courtesy of ABC
Fitz comparing his Framework “Doctor-self” to Grant Ward was a terrific way of understanding how Ward went bad. It’s interesting that Ward (Brett Dalton) has been suspiciously absent the past couple of episodes. Was that final goodbye with Daisy really the end for #SkyeWard? Anyone else still hoping Ward somehow escapes the Framework into Season 5? There’s a major setback for Ward becoming a real boy though. Aida/Ophelia’s human-making 3D printer went down with the underwater base. Since she’s got all kinds of Inhuman powers, who’s to say she can’t just zip him out of the Framework? Also, Ghost Rider has his own supernatural abilities. Perhaps he can save Ward’s consciousness somehow? Typing both those options just made me realize how unlikely it is that Dalton will return next season. Bummer 😞

Ultimately, wackadoo Aida/Ophelia got free and killed a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Apparently, she now has an Inhuman regeneration ability as well. It’s going to come down to Ghost Rider ending Aida/Ophelia once and for all. There’s really no other scenario I can dream up. What do you think?

Closing Thoughts…

The penultimate episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. brought us one step closer to the big finale, while tying up some loose ends. Sadly, Mack and Yo-Yo’s lives are on the line. Aida/Ophelia has gone completely bonkers, so it’s always possible she takes someone with her through death’s door. It better not be one of the OG crew, that’s all I’m saying. Will Ward make it to Season 5? The writers and cast have outdone themselves this season. It’s the first time I plan to go back and watch all 22 episodes once they’re available on Netflix.

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