‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: S4E15: “Self Control”

This week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., It’s a fight against the LMDs and an unexpected twist for the rest of the season.

Let’s just start right off the bat, this was probably one of the best Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes EVER on the hit ABC show!  It gave a great conclusion for the “LMD” story arc this season and also set up things for the rest of the season in a very unique way.  Last week after trying to take the fight to AIDA and Radcliffe in an attempt to rescue May (who has spent all this story arc as a prisoner in The Framework, the virtual reality Radcliffe created), a few of the agents were taken prisoner and replaced with replicant versions of themselves.  The only ones who aren’t robots are Fitz and Simmons, our favorite couple.

Or so we thought!

As the two are unsure who to trust, they play coy with the LMD versions of their teammates.  As the two try and walk away to formulate a plan, the LMD detector goes off.  One of them is not who they claim to be.  Much like Battlestar Galactica or The Thing, the two try and prove to each other they are in fact, human.  Simmons believes she is real as does Fitz.  Simmons then comes up with a rather unconventional way to test whether each other is human, let’s slit our own wrists.  It’s good that the show moved to the 10:00 PM slot because this is slowly leaving the comfortable PG area that we associate Marvel movies and shows with.  After slitting his wrists, Fitz keels over in pain as he’s about to bleed out, but it was all a ruse.  Fitz is also a robot!  LMD Fitz and Simmons start fighting and she gains the upper hand when she drops machinery on him.  Because the robot has Fitz’s memories, he appeals to Simmons telling her that he wants to marry her and they can do it in The Framework.  For a second she is tested before she bashes in his robot skull.

Since it wasn’t Fitz who AIDA swapped out, the only other person who is really themselves is Daisy.  Last week it looked like she was also an LMD but that is confirmed when we go see AIDA at her lair reviving Radcliffe from The Framework, where he had been for 24 hours.  Turns out AIDA’s been making command decisions while he was in the virtual world.  He also chastises her for keeping him there for more than 24 hours as it can be easy to lose one’s grip on reality while stuck in there.  AIDA also kept The Superior alive after his confrontation with Daisy.  The Superior tells her he does not want to be placed in a virtual world, nor does he want to become a robot, he’d rather die.  AIDA, ever the evil monster, had other plans, and breaks out a saw and operates on him.

The LMD agents have a plan on luring all the Inhumans currently registered with S.H.I.E.L.D. as a means of cornering them all in once place (since they are a threat to them) and killing them.  Under the guise of “protecting them” from a threat, they tell Daisy that she should make the calls and be the agency’s representative to them.  As she is preparing, she goes with LMD Mack who is keeping an eye on her.  While briefly separated, Daisy happens upon a storage container within the headquarters, where she sees numerous copies of herself.  She realizes that she’s a candidate for being replaced and hides among her replicants in a Westworld-style lineup (with a little bit of clothing on).  As LMD Mack cannot tell which is which, Daisy attacks him and manages to escape.

With Simmons defeating the LMD Fitz and Daisy escaping the LMD Back, the LMD agents now have to go after them.  They manage to convince the S.H.I.E.L.D. soldiers that it is Daisy and Simmons who are the robots and to go after them.  Daisy and Simmons know this is happening and must formulate a plan of escape.  In a well-acted scene by both Chloe Bennet and Elizabeth Henstridge, they formulate a plan of stopping the LMD and saving the normal human agents in order to escape.  They use gas to knock out various humans, so that only the LMDs are still walking about.  After resuscitating the soldiers (and trying to convince them they are in fact, human) they attempt to lead them out.  Daisy manages to get into a well-choreographed battle with LMD Mace, only to be later cornered by LMD Coulson and LMD Mack.  After being shot a few times, she lets off a massive quake, obliterating LMD Mack, and convincing the soldiers that she and Simmons are the humans as they all try to escape.

The only thing standing in their way of escape is LMD May and a whole bunch of explosives.  Lucky for them, LMD May has not 100% been on board with her other robotic counterparts.  She is the only one that was programmed to think she was the actual May and thus, has May’s nobility.  LMD May opts to betray her LMD Team as she lets them escape before setting the explosives off.  LMD May also told Daisy and Simmons how to hack into The Framework.  The plan going moving forward is to hack into the virtual world and rescue their friends.

Meanwhile, AIDA has been having an internal crisis as well.  Her two directives are to safeguard The Framework but also protect Radcliffe as he is her creator.  The more she continues to try and study humanity, she knows that Radcliffe’s humanity might one day betray the Framework and she may have to stop him.  While she and Radcliffe talk about people being jacked in The Framework, he tells her hat their body may die but their consciousness will remain there.  This makes her choice easy as she forcefully connects his mind to the virtual world and then proceeds to slit his wrists ( a lot of wrist slitting this episode!).  With Radcliffe bleeding out, he’s only going to exist in The Framework.  Meanwhile she has resuscitated The Superior in a robotic body, however, he robotic body is being controlled by the human version of him that now only exists as a head in a jar virtually controlling it.  AIDA now wants The Superior to help her discover the secrets of The Darkhold as only a human mind can learn and a robotic body can protect it from.

At the end of the episode, Daisy connects into The Framework and we get to see the virtual reality for the first time in detail.  As the world can be created to the user’s wants and wishes (or pretty much anything), it’s a little bit different that the real world.  Coulson is a teacher and his lessons are anti-Inhuman.  Fitz is some sort of important person as he is being escorted from a black car with bodyguards, and has a mystery woman, as Simmons’s grave is seen.  Mack is a family man (my money’s on he and Yo-Yo being married in this alternate reality) as well.  There are also two big reveals: May is back at S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ (the one from Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and it’s not run by S.H.I.E.L.D. it’s run by Hydra!  Also when Daisy wakes up, she’s in her home and there’s a picture of her boyfriend in a frame, in her virtual life, she’s with Ward!

This was a great conclusion to the “LMD” arc as it looks like the rest of the season will focus in the virtual world and the rescue of their friends connected.  It can get trippy Matrix-style, as we are now going to have the show exist in another reality where the rules may not work the same way.  It also looks like the return of Hydra as well as fan favorite villain Ward, who we haven’t seen for a few seasons.

It’s going to be aa little while before Agents of S.H.I.E.LD. returns as it’s on hiatus until April 4th, but it looks promising!

Oh, and Ward is definitely back!