‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Recap: S4E19: “All the Madame's Men”

This week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Patriot is dead, that doesn’t mean that the resistance dies with him!

A little while back, actress Chloe Bennett said that this “Agents of Hydra” arc is her favorite of the show, and so far she’s 100% correct.  By doing an entire storyline in an alternate (virtual) reality, that still has high stakes, the show has managed to deliver some fine storytelling.  Last week gave us the biggest gut punch in which Jeffrey Mace was killed within The Framework.  Echoing from The Matrix, if you die in the virtual world, you die in the real world as well.  This helps raise the stakes as it’s been quite some time since one of our heroes has died.

Picking right back up, the episode begins with Sunil Bakshi returning in the virtual world.  Fans remember him as Hydra leader Daniel Whitehall’s right-hand man who died way back in Season Two.  In The Framework, he’s a mouthpiece for Hydra, spewing propaganda as a new anchor for Hydra.  On this week’s episode, he gives his audience the news that the “terrorist” Mace has been killed.  There’s also a very touching Easter Egg where he says that “American Hero” John Garrett died (John Garrett was a character from Season One played by Bill Paxton, who passed away in February) as well.  Once again, Bill Paxton, RIP.

Meanwhile, Daisy has undergone Terrigenesis in The Framework, thanks to May finally having a change of heart at the end of last week’s episode.  While May still is “Hydra” May, her real world sensibilities are starting to bleed through, and she realizes that Hydra is wrong about many things.  The two proceed to escape from the Triskelion shooting their way through countless Hydra redshirts.  As the two try to escape, they are confronted by Aida.  Daisy uses her quake power to launch her out of the building, presumedly to her death.  After Daisy uses her quake powers for the first time in the virtual world, May comments that she gained a complete mastery over her powers very quickly.  Not wanting to break May’s bubble about artificial realities that she’s not yet ready to handle, she tells her that she’s a fast learner.  Now the two have to get out of dodge and find a way to the S.H.I.E.L.D. base.

Of course, Aida doesn’t die.  She simply wakes up in the real world at her secret base where all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are still “jacked in.”  Standing guard is Ivanov (in his LMD body).  Ivanov knows that the agents still in The Framework are a threat to his and Aida’s plans, so he wants to just go and kill them in the real world.  However, he is bound by the same “Prime Directive” that Aida has, and she cannot harm any of them.  He even tries to drive a knife through Coulson’s neck, but is unable to plunge it in.  However, if their plans come to fruition, they will be able to live in the real world, not as LMD’s but in their own human bodies.  Before Aida departed the Framework, she told Fitz to continue their work on “Project Looking Glass,” which is some sort of device aided by Darkhold technology that will allow her to create her own human body, complete with free will.

At the base, the resistance needs to regroup.  Coulson (as a history teacher) knows that with Mace dying, the insurgency could die along with him.  Now is the time for the team to regroup and be stronger to carry on in Mace’s honor.  Once they are reunited with Daisy and May, they come up with the idea of bringing their message to the people.  Instead of launching another assault on Hydra’s headquarters, the game plans is to win hearts and minds.  Using May’s body cam footage of her trying to assault Mace (and finding about the brainwashing center and the subsequent Hydra approved airstrike), they can go to the Sunil Bakshi’s news station and air the footage for the world to see.  After the break in and hold the news crew hostage, Coulson sits in the anchor’s chair where he talks about Hydra’s “Fake News” (they continue their potshots as Trump this story arc) and he delivers a kickass speech to inspire the nation against Hydra.  The episode ends with a group of people coming to the station, but it’s not Hydra coming to stop them, it’s everyone ready to join the revolution!

Next week on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it’s a race to stop Aida from gaining free will.