The Spring return of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD has come and gone and it was quite a doozy! When we last left the show in late February, we saw that four of our best (Coulson, Fitz, May, and Mace) along with Doctor Radcliffe were tied into the Framework, a virtually constructed world which is very much like the real world with just minor differences. Those differences are enough to keep them within the world and not be enough where they would question their world. In an attempt to rescue their friends, Daisy and Simmons found a way to enter the Framework where we were left with a few disturbing images, the last being this:
**** Beyond this point is Spoiler-filled. You have been warned ****
‘What If…’ brought us lots of emotionally shocking moments. First thing we saw was Skye starting her day, getting called into work and finding Grant Ward in her bed. Seeing the inside of the Hydra Triskelion (including that sweet-looking statue in the atrium) we see them getting rushed away to a meeting with May, who is a lot less warm & fuzzy and more cold & badass. Agent/Director Coulson is now Mr. Coulson, teacher and snitch for Hydra. Fitz is working for Hydra and is known as the Doctor and experimenting on Inhumans. Jemma is…. well…. Jemma’s dead. We had seen a burial marker at the end of the previous episode and when we get into this episode, we see her come out of a shallow grave next to another dead body (and according to Elizabeth Henstridge during the show, she stated that it was an actual person “they made up to look all gnarly”).
In the Framework, Hydra had taken over SHIELD and actively hunting the ‘Inhuman menace’ in the world. The events of the world seemed to resonate from the operation in which May had originally seen a girl, Katya Belyakov, die in Bahrain though in the Framework she had saved the girl and that grew into a larger issues and the knowledge of the Inhumans began to come out. This event allowed Hydra to surge up against the Inhumans and solidify their power and influence. Fitz has been experimenting on Inhumans using a machine that probed them for their powers without them experiencing Terrigenesis. We see that the Director is none other than Aida, which many people on social media is calling Madame Hydra like the comic books.
We see how the world of the Framework works and how some things just never change. Ward, while working for Hydra, seems to also be working for the Resistance, an organization against Hydra (once a double agent, always a double agent apparently). Coulson, while a teacher and snitch, also seemed to have ‘dreams’ or ‘memories’ of things he didn’t experience in his life. We see in the final moments of the episode several news clippings along with a calendar that has a picture of Lola as well as a paper he wrote that said many times ‘It’s a magical place’. And in the last moments of the episode, Daisy shows up in Coulson’s car, talks to him and she calls her Daisy, making us think that he does remember more.
Quite the powerful episode for Spring opener ranking up there just above both Season One’s T.A.H.I.T.I. With only six episodes left to close out the season, I’m hoping that the Framework arc doesn’t get too confusing or speedy that it leaves us wanting. Very curious to see how much or how quickly they can get any of the others freed from the Framework.
Live tweets will be on @HeroesAndCoffee Tuesday nights at 10PM and follow #ShieldAgents to follow along with us