*Spoilers! Why? Because HAIL HYDRA, that's why!*
In this latest episode we find out what happened to the other two Agents jacked into the Framework, Mack and Jeff Mace. Mack is actually a single dad raising his daughter (who we found out recently died in the real world) in suburbia, which sounds nice, but he and Hope are constantly under the scrutinizing eye of Hydra...and Mack may not feel that something is not right, or at least, we are led to believe as much. They are eventually captured by Hydra after Hope reprogrammed one of Hydra’s spy drones. I wonder if she is created by a subconscious part of his mind that is meant to defy the Framework, like Coulson and his Tahiti obsession. Or maybe that's too deep.
Hope also totally reminds me of Lunella Lafayette, Moon Girl. I don’t know if that was the intention, but she’s a genius and adorable....and she needs a big red dinosaur sidekick. Just saying.
Mace on the other hand, as Daisy, Jemma and Coulson (who at the end of the previous episode woke up to a degree and remembered that he knew Daisy) find out, is The Patriot, the leader of The Resistance! Coulson, who we find out is a conspiracy theorist/nut that makes his own soap (because Hydra spies on us through our soap...DUH), and he totally fanboys over Mace...who is likely a myth within the Framework. They soon learn that Holden Radcliffe also exists within the Framework (if you remember, Aida killed him and uploaded his subconscious into the Framework) and he may be the only way out of this nightmare world. Ward and Daisy return to the Triskelion to learn where Radcliffe is. Daisy finds out and they are good to go, but not before May and her stormtroopers “need her for something” and they haul her away. Ward just lets them do so, which he totally regrets...or does he? How can we trust that guy anymore?! Jemma sure doesn’t, as she makes clear throughout the episode.
In the meantime, Madame Hydra/Aida, who we find out is literally using the real name of Madame Hydra/Viper from the comics, Ophelia, is totally onto them, and orders Fitz to eliminate Jemma Simmons. Fitz is very much under her spell, because while he does analyze Jemma’s picture for awhile, he agrees to follow her orders AND make out with her. He’s whammied good.
Hydra even convinces Mack to betray Daisy. While she is interrogating him he pretends he knows she is Daisy Johnson and they are both Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She immediately thinks he remembers her like Coulson and after he reveals that he is holding a microphone...she is caught and beaten up by May’s goons in front of his daughter, who met Daisy earlier and took a liking to her. They even force Mack to “hail Hydra”, which is very stinging to hear him say. Things just get worse for the heroes in this episode!
Before her ass is kicked though, Daisy gets her own Triskelion elevator fight. It may not be as cool as Captain America’s was, or successful...but the fact that Hydra tried to trap another hero in an elevator is not lost on me. It's definitely their "go-to" trap.
When Ward, Jemma and Coulson go to find Radcliffe (who is sitting pretty on a private island paradise somewhere playing polo), guess who also shows up to cut them off at the pass? Evil Fitz, Madame Hydra and a group of Hydra stormtroopers (they look very much like Hydra goons from the comics except all in black...too bad, a dark green/yellow motif would have been great!). Ward, Coulson and Jemma hide. We soon discover that not only Radcliffe is here but he is also harboring Agnes, the real woman that Aida was modelled after (Holden uploaded her mind into the Framework before she died too, if you remember). Holden tries to break through to Fitz but all this just infuriates Aida and Fitz soon points a gun to Agnes. Ward has a sniper rifle and a shot on Fitz, but Jemma stops him because if he dies in the Framework, he dies for real (like in the Matrix)!!
This is all very intense and the climax of what happens here is shocking! I actually came away not knowing if Fitz and the others will ever snap out of the Framework spell. They all, except Coulson seem quite set in their new identities. Mack though, somehow finds the super secret Resistance bunker (which is the old S.S.R. bunker they used as a super secret S.H.I.E.L.D. base) by the end of the episode and it looks like he’s at least going to be on the side of the angels from here on in. And I still wish his daughter was Moon Girl.
Once again, this show brings us a haunting vision of the world gone wrong with another stellar episode and I currently don’t know how they are gonna get out of this one. The Ghost Rider story arc was great, LMD was good, but this arc is by far one of the most genius and intense storyline AoS maybe has ever done! I personally can’t wait to see where this is all going, and when things DO inevitably go back to normal, the toll it will all have! Especially on Fitz and May, who are downright terrible people in the Framework.
Can’t say much more than if you haven’t been watching, do yourself a favor and catch up! This show has been awesome all season long!
That’s it for this week! Bleed out!