‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ is a rollercoaster of twists and turns and narrative loop-de-loops this week, some of which threaten to turn the entire season on its head, only to then turn back around and put things pretty much where they started. Also, a character I hoped never to see again returns to the show, which is kind of a bummer.
I asked last week where The Superior was when the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies awoke in the underwater base. Apparently, he was just hanging out in the next room and didn’t notice them. The latest episode opens with him reading through the ‘Darkhold’ book and talking to someone off-camera. When he hears a commotion and pops his head around the corner, he witnesses Aida grabbing Fitz and teleporting away.
The Superior heads into the room to kill Coulson and May. (Now that Aida is human and has free will, the restrictions against killing the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies have been lifted from The Superior as well.) May shoots him to no effect, but Coulson is able to slice his face clean off with that forcefield shield thing that can pop out of his robo-hand. The Superior’s body slumps to the floor, deactivated. Is that really all it took to kill this supposedly fearsome villain?
Nope. It turns out that the person The Superior was talking to a moment ago was… also The Superior. He made multiple robot copies of himself. As a couple of them approach, May slams a door closed and locks them out – but also locks herself and Coulson (and unconscious Mack) in a room with no other exits. Safe for the moment, Coulson catches May up on everything that happened after she was kidnapped, but is a little evasive on some points and neglects to mention that her robot doppelganger seduced him.
On board Zephyr One, Daisy and Jemma manage to get the plane’s weapons systems back on line in time to shoot down the Russian fighter jet attacking them. Yo-Yo is mad at Daisy for leaving Mack inside the Framework and wants to go in after him, but Daisy talks her out of it for the time being. They watch a news broadcast and see Gen. Talbot publicly declaring S.H.I.E.L.D. terrorists again. What is it with this guy?
Aida teleported Fitz to a lovely, peaceful beach. In building a new flesh-and-blood body, she didn’t just become human, but gave herself Inhuman powers. She’s enjoying her new emotions and is a little overwhelmed by them. She claims that she was a slave to Radcliffe’s plan and only followed her programming while inside the Framework. Now that she’s alive, she realizes that she’s in love with Fitz. Before he can respond, she grabs him and teleports again.
May finds a vial of epinephrine and believes that, once she juices up, she can take on the two Superior robots. However, as soon as the epinephrine wears off, she’ll crash pretty hard. The two of them set a trap to lead the robots into their room and fight them. Coulson is able to short one out with an electrical cable. May rages out and smashes the other robot’s head to bits. Unfortunately, they’re not out of the woods yet. Another Superior robot (the original?) escapes with the ‘Darkhold’ on his Russian submarine and launches torpedoes back to the underwater base.
Aida brings Fitz to a house that’s a replica of his home inside the Framework, hoping to ease his transition between the two worlds. She says that human emotions confuse her, and she’s afraid to die. Fitz tries to explain the concept of empathy to her, and begs her to help his friends.
Aida teleports onto the Russian sub and asks The Superior to call off his attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies. He calls her an infant and says that he’s not under her control anymore. When she threatens to kill him, he tells her to go ahead and destroy this body. He has others, and he’s hidden his human head that’s controlling all of them. Frustrated, Aida teleports away and returns to Fitz.
As the underwater base floods, Coulson and May flee to the oil rig above it. They’re not able to unplug Mack from the Framework without killing him and have to leave him behind as the room fills with water. Conveniently, as soon as they get to the surface, Zephyr One arrives and Daisy and Yo-Yo land in a pod to rescue their friends. Yo-Yo refuses to leave without Mack but has no way of getting below as the rig burns and collapses.
Suddenly, Aida and Fitz teleport onto Zephyr One with the unconscious Mack, who’s wearing a little headset that I suppose suggests he’s wirelessly connected to the Framework. Seeing them, Jemma does not hesitate in immediately icing both Aida and Fitz. She then radios down to the others that Mack is safe and they should return to the pod.
Nearly out of fuel and needing a place to contain Aida, the team returns to what’s left of S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters. Daisy has to explain that the Coulson-bot blew most of the place up. Luckily, one of the containment cells that was designed to dampen the Inhuman known as Gordon’s teleportation power is still functional, so Daisy locks Aida and Fitz in it. She and Coulson debate whether they have a right to kill Aida, as well as whether they can trust Fitz and what to do with him.
When Fitz and Aida wake up, Jemma secretly watches them on a security camera. Fitz continues to agonize over the two completely different lives conflicting in his memories, as well as the fact that he has feelings for both Aida and Jemma. Aida seems patient and understanding, until Fitz says that Jemma is his true love – upon which Aida completely loses her shit. She assumed that Fitz would choose her and doesn’t know how to process rejection. Overcome with jealous rage, she reveals that she doesn’t just have one Inhuman’s power of teleportation; she has multiple Inhuman powers, collected from her many eugenics experiments on prisoners while she ran the Framework. She shoots lightning bolts (which she got from Lincoln, I assume) all around the cell.
Jemma runs back to the rest of the team, begging them to pull Fitz out of the cell before Aida kills him or destroys it. However, right at that moment, a bunch of Army soldiers storm the base, led by Gen. Talbot. He thinks they’re all robots and doesn’t trust them.
The B-Team S.H.I.E.L.D.ies pull Fitz out of the cell, but Aida gets out as well and runs around killing a bunch of soldiers and Redshirt characters. One of the S.H.I.E.L.D.ies shoots her a whole bunch of times and believes he’s killed her. Of course, as soon as he turns his back, she returns to life and kills him.
Gen. Talbot eventually lets Coulson and what’s left of his team leave on the now-refueled Zephyr One. He stays behind with the remaining soldiers to search for Aida, but she’s already gone.
Once in the air, Daisy realizes that she hasn’t seen Yo-Yo in a while, and discovers that she plugged herself into the Framework to find Mack.
Aida returns to the Russian submarine. The Superior is amused watching her try to process her conflicting feelings. He says that together they can rebuild the world – the real world – as they see fit. All amped up, Aida says that she wants to feel something. She kisses The Superior, tears off his shirt, and straddles him on the floor. Just as it seems that she’s going to screw him, instead she smashes his head onto the floor until the robot body dies. What she really wanted to feel was the thrill of killing. Of course, another Superior robot stands by and watches this.
The episode then closes with a pair of epilogue scenes. In one, Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes returns through the ‘Darkhold’ portal he vanished through back in the middle of the season. In the other, Yo-Yo wakes up inside the Framework, strapped to a chair as the building around her burns.
For a while, it looked like Aida had turned good and The Superior would take over as the Big Bad for the rest of the season. By the end of the episode, however, we flip back to Aida – the only difference being that she’s emotional and more deranged now. The many plot contortions to get there are kind of fun, but I kind of feel that this episode doesn’t ultimately accomplish much.
It doesn’t really surprise me that Ghost Rider would have to factor in to the end of the season. Sadly, I still find him utterly tedious, and the prospect of a Ghost Rider vs. Aida showdown does nothing for me.
I still maintain that the season will close with Ward (and possibly Mack’s daughter) getting a new flesh body so that he can live in the real world. At this point, that looks like a certainty.