Fitz and Simmons figured it out using scanning tech they recovered from the Watchdogs base. They suspect Coulson, Mace, Daisy, Mack or all of them could be decoys, but they have no idea which. As you can imagine, the mystery caused a pretty awesome episode with the two adorkable eggheads playing a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Right off the get-go we know for sure that Coulson is a decoy because he reawakened the Melinda May decoy, who is programmed quite differently than the rest. Radcliffe wanted her to act JUST like the real May without detection, so she has all the memories of May without any knowledge that she’s a dupe...so she is much more human than the others. Robo-Coulson is very robotic and methodical, and we can see Mace and Mack acting similarly...so we can tell they are kill-bots. And eventually, they reveal that Daisy, who they have sent on a mission to gather all of the Inhuman assets they have including Yo-Yo in one place so they can execute them (carrying on the Watchdogs plans for some odd reason...why would the robots care?), has NOT been replaced. Thank Odin! The one superhero on the team has not been compromised.
Eventually Daisy catches on because she stumbles upon a veritable army of Daisy Johnson LMDs being stored in a prison cube. I’m not sure what Aida’s plan is by making all of these Daisys, but the visual of multiple robot Chloe Bennetts standing there in their underwear Westworld style was pretty cool. Robo-Mack appears and realizes that one of them may be the real Daisy standing there so she won’t be detected. So we get a Batman Begins/I Robot style scene of him walking through rows of duplicates trying to find the real one. She gets the jump on him and escapes. Now she’s gotta beat up all the LMDs in her undies!!! Oh, the trifling world of being a superheroine.
Just kidding. She puts clothes back on.
Meanwhile, Jemma and Leo discover that definitely one of them is an LMD! But which one?! What if one of them is like May and doesn’t even know they are one! Jemma pulls a gun on her maybe-boyfriend and an interesting stand-off scene takes place. She asks him to slit his wrist to prove he’s who he says he is...or is SHE the LMD and is trying to get him to slit his wrists?! I at this point had NO IDEA who was the LMD and it was INTENSE!!! Leo(?!) slits his wrist and bleeds all over the place...Jemma(?!) comes over and then Fitz stabs her in the leg with the knife. HE IS THE LMD! Holy crap on toast! A manic Jemma begins bashing on her robo-BF with a pipe or a wrench (I’m not sure what she was using...this was so crazy I can’t actually remember)! Jemma keeps hitting him over and over, and the crafty kill-bot starts pleading with her saying that he’s still Leo with all of his memories...she hesitates for a second and then finishes the job. This was maybe one of the craziest scenes the show has ever done! Who knew Jemma Simmons had it in her to murder something that looks identical to her true love?! What implications will this have on her relationship with the real Fitz? You can see even when she eventually meets up with Daisy that she is severely traumatised, not even sure if she is really herself.
Another crazy awesome scene occurs with Daisy trying to convince Jemma that she is really Daisy, and wants to “quake” her, just enough so she can feel her bones (I guess she’s embraced the name finally), and at the same time, proving she is real (an LMD wouldn’t have her powers). There is hesitation, but eventually the two long-time teammates and friends share a hug and know that one another is real. I absolutely loved the acting in these two scenes, displaying not only Chloe Bennett’s acting ability, but also Iain De Caestecker’s and especially Elizabeth Henstridge’s chops. All three of these kids have such huge futures in film and TV ahead of them. Count on it.
The LMDs led by Coulson convince the humans agents (red-shirts) that Daisy and Jemma are the LMDs and are ordered to hunt them down. In this episode we get to see Daisy kick so much ass, she reminds me a lot of such lady badasses as Ripley from Aliens, Selene in the Underworld films and Alice from the Resident Evil flicks. I never really thought it could happen, but is Daisy Johnson even cooler than Black Widow at this point? I kinda think so. Yeah, I said it. She is awesome as she tears apart the Mack-bot at to shreds using her powers at one point, and we even get to see Patriot (the Mace-bot) vs. Quake! Wearing the real Mace’s armored suit, he gives her a hard time, but she beats him by strategically quaking the ground underneath him, taking his feet off the ground and then stabbing him in mid-air! It must be the one of the coolest moves she’s ever done! Kudos to the show’s action choreographers for coming up with that one!
Daisy and Jemma eventually manage to convince the red-shirts in the headquarters that they are in fact, the real deal, and thankfully one of the agents has enough Zephyr piloting training to get them out of there. The plan is to take Fitz’ VR tech and hacking into Aida’s program called the Framework. They figured that combined with her Darkhold knowledge, she has created an entire simulation of the real world in there and the actual agents (Mace, Coulson, May, Fitz and Mack) are stuck in it living out their perfect worlds. Simmons and Daisy are going in and using their Framework selves as avatars and save them.
Aida herself has gone completely full-on Skynet and finally and inevitably turns on her creator, Holden Radcliffe. She slices his wrist (lots of slicing wrists in this episode) and plugs him into the Framework, so his brain will live on in there without a body...trapped. This proves that evil robots...no matter how hot they are...suck really, really bad. She also recreates The Superior (who turns out was not all that dead after being crushed under all that rubble last week) in a new host body...and only kept his disembodied head alive! Yeah...Aida is one crazy evil robo-babe.
At the end of the show, Robo-May proves she is the most realistic and human of all the LMDs as she finds a way around her programming and manages to turn against Robo-Coulson. He initially wanted her to bomb the whole S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ is Daisy and Jemma got by them all and were about to escape, but she didn’t. She lets them escape and bombs the HQ, and all of the evil LMDs with it. So...is S.H.I.E.L.D. HQ totalled...AGAIN?! I think it’s happened EVERY season at this point. I hope their insurance is good.
At the end of the show, we get a glimpse of inside the Framework and just what kind of Matrix world that Aida and the Darkhold created. Now...as always, I won’t spoil it for you....but everyone’s lives are VERY much different. I don’t know if this is all of their ideal, perfect realities, but one thing is for sure....an old friend is back.
Pretty wild stuff, and like I wrote earlier, this was probably the best episode of the season, as there were some crazy surprises, action and phenomenal acting. This is the third and final story arc of the season, and it looks like a doozy and a half!
That’s all for this week, true believers! Keep up to date with my weekly reviews! Bleed out!