‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: S4E17: “Identity and Change”

This week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Daisy and Jemma try to stay out of Hydra’s clutches.  At the same time, they meet a few more of their friends who are now living in The Framework.

Last week, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. completely flipped the script and oriented us into The Framework: an alternate reality created by Radcliffe and ADA.  Although this was designed to be some sort of paradise where the soul could life on.  However, ADA had other plans.  In this new reality, things have changed.  Hydra now rules with an iron fist.  All our heroes connected to this new reality (except Daisy and Jemma) are none the wiser.  Because this is a new virtual world, this allows the return of fan favorite hero-turned-villain-now-turned-hero, Ward, who we haven’t seen since last year when his character died.  Now’s he’s on the side of the angels and working within Hydra for the resistance.  Daisy and Jemma tried to leave, but ADA (now Madame Hydra) will not let them leave.

This week, Coulson starts to realize that something is wrong with this world.  And like Neo in The Matrix, he just needed a push from his Morpheus (Daisey).  While he doesn’t have the same memories from the real world, he’s on board to stopping Hydra.  Alt-Coulson marvels about the fact that he has a robotic hand in the real world and also is a conspiracy theorist with his crazy idea about Hydra brainwashing everyone via soap (although everyone really are just programs besides him and the other agents).

This episode also reunites us with Mack, who also is in The Framework.  Just like the other S.H.I.E.L.D. agents connected to The Framework, he has no memory of the outside world.  He also has a new daughter.  Keeping in mind that the purpose of The Framework is to make those connected to it happy, he now is settled with his daughter.  To hit the nail on the head, his daughter is named Hope.  She loves mechanical things just like he does.  However, that works against them as she cannibalized a Hydra drone for her and Mack to use when building their own drone.  This puts him on Hydra’s radar as a result.

Ward, now a good guy, reaches out to The Resistance, and The Resistance is an underground version of S.H.I.E.L.D.  It makes sense that when Jemma got a ride from the good Samaritan who freaked out when she saw the S.H.I.E.L.D. badge as in this world, the agency are terrorists in the eyes of Hydra.  The leader of this new version of S.H.I.E.L.D. is director Mace.  It’s unknown if he’s an Inhuman in this reality (as he isn’t in the real world), but he does wear his Patriot uniform.  They come to the conclusion that they need to find Radcliffe as he might be able to help Daisy and Simmons learn where the “real” version of everyone is, and help them escape from The Framework.

When they catch up to Radcliffe, he’s “retired” and living in isolation with his love Agnus (who Aida was based on).  Radcliffe retains all of his memories as Aida did not mess with him (surprisingly).  Radcliffe is a little distraught that The Framework is not what he intended it to be.  Aida went into it and assumed the mantle of Madame Hydra, and reshaped the reality to her own choosing.  Radcliffe also tells them that there is no escape and they are stuck in this new reality.  The funny thing is that Ward (being a program) is completely clueless as to what’s going on.  Image hearing that your life might be an alternate reality?  It’s a little jarring to take in.

It doesn’t take long for Aida and Fitz (now a complete “Mirror Universe” version of himself) to find everyone at Radcliffe’s home.  Having arrested Mack and convinced him (for the sake of his daughter) to catch Daisy in a lie, therefore arresting her, they now are closing in on the rest of them.  Fitz does the unspeakable and kills Radcliffe’s love, showing just how different he is in The Framework (thanks to Aida’s brainwashing).  This floors Jemma as she is still in love with him and is trying to save him (as they are trying to save everyone) and she now sees the monster he has become.  And she just convinced Ward not to kill him when he had him in his scope.  The heroes manage to escape and now have to figure out a way to save Daisy and break everyone else’s brainwashing.  Mack shows us at their base as he realized he made a mistake (as Hope now is disgusted with her father) and wants to help them.

Next week, the fight continues, and everyone also starts to question their reality