Weekend Superhero: Agents of SHIELD Has Been Killing It
Most people seemed to stop watching Marvel’s “Agents of SHIELD” around the midway point of season one. Every year, the show goes “on the bubble” of cancellation, but every year ends up back on the schedule for a next season. This is true yet again, as “Agents of SHIELD” has been renewed for its fifth season just this past week. While most Marvel fans fawn over the movies and the Netflix shows, “SHIELD” is oft forgotten and ignored. A shame, considering season 4 has been absolutely incredible. (Spoilers ahead).
Season 4 started off very strong by introducing Robbie Reyes, aka Ghost Rider, as the focal point of the first third of the season. After his arc ended, the season moved into Life Model Decoys – LMD’s – as the primary antagonist. This was a bit of a step down, but it did lead into the best storyline the show has ever done – Agents of HYDRA. After the Darkhold corrupts the mind of LMD Aida, she traps the entire team in a virtual reality world in which their memories of the real world are suppressed and they get to lead a new life in which their biggest regrets are washed away. Unfortunately, these changes lead to a world in which HYDRA has taken control of the world.
The exception are Agents Daisy Johnson and Jemma Simmons, who escaped Aida and have entered the “Framework” of their own accord to rescue their teammates. When they arrive in this new world, they are shocked at what they find. Phil Coulson is a school teacher that spreads the fake history that HYDRA has created for its regime; May is a relentless Agent of HYDRA that carries out missions of questionable intent without equivocation; Mack is living as a regular mechanic with his daughter, Hope, who is dead in the real world; and worst of all, Fitz is at the head of HYRDA as a ruthless doctor that concocts nightmarish tortures to locate Inhumans. By his side is his father, who in the real world abandoned him long ago.
Further complicating matters is that Grant Ward is alive in this world, and is still dating the Framework version of Daisy (who he still knows as Skye). This time around, Grant is a double agent yet again, but this time he’s secretly on the side of SHIELD, who is considered a terrorist sleeper cell group.
By flipping the roles of these characters on their head, “Agents of SHIELD” offered the most thrilling and intriguing premise in its 4-year run. Watching Jemma struggle with watching Fitz literally kill people in cold blood is heartbreaking, especially since you know Fitz is going to remember every moment of it if he ever gets out of the Framework. He’s always had an innocent mind and the blame he will lay on himself for his actions will definitely lead to significant fallout.
But the meetings in the Framework are not all bad. In many ways, the Framework is a blessing for these characters as it gives them a chance to make their peace with those no longer in their lives. Daisy gets to re-live seeing the side of Grant that she fell in love with, and will likely color the way she remembers him forever. Agent Triplett (Trip), who died getting caught in a Terrigen blast in season 2, comes back for a few episodes and reminds us all what a loss he was to the show. His charisma with the cast was a welcome re-addition and it hurts just as badly now that they had to leave him behind once again. Most heartbreaking of all is Mack, struggling with leaving his daughter behind in the Framework. Mack is a character beloved by fans so the emotional turmoil his storyline has created is fantastic. On the one hand, we want him to leave the Framework so that he can continue on with the team (and the show). On the other hand, if he leaves the Framework he loses his daughter for the second time. He’s so happy with her, how can we ask him to leave?
I don’t want to give out too much information about what occurs within the Framework, as I want you to see for yourself. Season 4 is great from beginning to end and you should do yourself a favor and watch it all. If I can convince one person to actually give “Agents of SHIELD” a shot, I will feel better.