Agents of SHIELD Framework review, Season 4, Episode 16, “What If…”, Aired April 4, 2017
Welcome to the Framework! Okay, so most shows will give you that “Wonderful Life” type of episode now and then and everyone will learn some big lesson about appreciating what they already have. For most shows, it’s a nice glimpse at what life could have been but the take away is always that the character’s original life was better. Agents of SHIELD takes that “Wonderful Life” trope, buys it dinner, falls in love with it and puts a motha f*ckin’ ring on it. FRAMEWORK RULES! This arc may not make newbies to the show flip their lids, but it’s a huge payoff for longtime fans.
In case you need a refresher on what led up to this episode, here it goes. Most of our Agents are stuck in the Framework, which is a virtual world created by Radcliffe and hijacked by Aida. It is a place where you can forget your deepest regrets and live your life without pain. Cool? Nope! Turns out undoing some of the past events has set off a chain reaction making Framework more of a Bizarro world and it all seems to stem from May’s past.
In the Framework, May didn’t kill that little Inhuman girl during that raid that earned her the nickname, “Cavalry” and that resulted in that little girl causing an even bigger massacre later. Even in Framework, May still seems very May-like but everything else is backwards. Mainly, they are all Hydra agents and SHIELD has fallen.
Here are some of the BEST things that went down in the Framework:
Daisy Skye and Ward are a couple! That’s right, the once fan favorite ship #SkyeWard is now a legit couple in the Framework. Daisy is still herself so she is beyond shook to see her former enemy in her bed, but as the episode continues we see that Framework Ward isn’t so bad. Ward is still a double agent there, but this time it’s for the good guys! He betrayed Hydra because he found out his lady love (Skye) was Inhuman and he wanted to save her from Hydra. This is so great! We get to see Ward back with the team (a la Season 1) and we get to see him as good guy Grant Ward again!
Jemma was murdered in the Framework. We love the rad team up of Jemma and Daisy as they work to save their friends and Jemma gets to show off her field skills a bit as they fight Framework to find each other. It’s all very tense and we also get an added layer of drama with the mystery surrounding Jemma’s murder in the Framework! Does her murder have something to do with the new “Doctor” and his less than humane practices? (More on that in a minute.) We shall see.
They are Agents of Hydra. Once in the Framework, we find out that SHIELD has fallen and Hydra is in power. The Hydra peeps are very anti-Inhuman and are running an uber creepy anti-Inhuman initiative headed by a super hardened Fitz. He is so cold and mean that initally, we can’t help but wonder if he had something to do with Jemma’s death. Our Fitz loving minds are eased when we see his concern after Jemma is spotted and he loses some of his iciness. We don’t know if that’s concern for Jemma or for his creepy side chick, but we are going with Jemma cuz #FitzSimmons4eva ya’ll.
It’s a magical place. Coulson is now a teacher and has definitely sampled the Hydra corporate kool-aid. We start to see the cracks in him when Jemma visits and pleads with him to remember her. He kicks her out (and reports her) and then pulls out magazine clippings of a cello player, a paper with a Lola looking car and his scribbles of “it’s a magical place.” Coulson has already had his brain reprogrammed and his facade isn’t holding as well as the others. When Daisy confronts him, he remembers her because (as she reminds him) they are family! It’s such a great throw back to early Coulson.
Madame Hydra is Aida! This crazy robot b*tch is now running their virtual lives and has reprogrammed Daisy and Jemma’s exit so that they are stuck there! Not only that, she is macking on our sweet, baby Fitz. Not cool Aida. It also reminds us of how much we want to see Jemma punch Aida in her stupid, evil face for all of the trouble she has caused.
Bottom line, this was EPIC and we can’t wait for more. Trudging through the slower parts of the LMD story arc made Framework possible so we take back all of our comments of mild boredom during that chunk of episodes. Season 4 is awesome.
What did you think? Tell us your thoughts!
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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday at 10/9(c) on ABC.
(Image: ABC/Eric McCandless)