Agents of Shield Season 4 Episode 15 – Self Control – Thoughts – Part 2 – The Framework and the Superior

The episode ended with Daisy and Jemma entering the Framework and we finally get a glimpse into the world that AIDA has created. The one key difference being that she’s studied the people and removed the one thing they regretted most in their lives thereby making them happier (from her perspective). But I’ll start with the other thing that we saw right before the end – a new and improved Anton Ivanov and AIDA.

Ivanov’s like the other LMDs with one huge difference, he’s controlled by his own brain (remotely) So he has all his hatred and human wiles with a body that’s much harder to kill. I think he and Daisy will have a final showdown since she’s the one who beat him the first time and this time they will be more evenly matched. He’ll be a formidable foe.

AIDA’s arc is quite fascinating. She started out as a machine who slowly started to “wake up”. She studied the people around her to create the Framework and in doing that she yearned for the one thing she couldn’t do, feel emotion. She’s like Pinocchio, she wants to be a real person and everything she’s doing now, is with that goal in mind. The Framework is just an excuse. I think it’s also why she killed Radcliff. He created her and could therefore always “unmake” her. She destroyed her creator and thus took control of her own “life”.

For the Framework world, I’m first going to quickly summarise each of the different avatars and their worlds and then go into speculation and details after that.

First off, I am so glad that Simmons and Daisy weren’t captured and then forcefully put into the Framework. It made me so happy when they escaped. I was dreading the end because I was reasonably sure that they would get captured and it makes me inordinately happy that that didn’t happen.

We first see Daisy’s world:

She still seems to be an agent and in a relationship with Ward

Coulson is a teacher, apparently he never became an agent:

We don’t see a whole lot about Mack, except that his daughter seems to be alive:

Fitz seems to be filthy rich with a woman on on his arm…

Who is not Simmons:

And finally there’s May, who seems to be same but for one key difference:

She works for Hydra.

Speculation time:

Daisy and Ward: A lot of people (including Daisy) thought that it would be Lincoln in the other room only to find Ward. I for one am not surprised by this. For starters I was a Skyeward shipper (season 1 Ward, when he was awkward and adorable) So why is it that Ward is here instead of Lincoln? Think back to season 1. The first person Skye opened up to (excluding Coulson) was Ward. In him she saw a kindred spirit, someone who understood what her childhood was like without having to spell it out. He understood her and for the first time, she didn’t feel alone. He was protective of her in a way no one was before him. Lincoln came much later but it was Ward who helped her become an agent, he was her SO. This Skye was idealistic, her world hadn’t been shattered a million times.

Plus, I’m just happy that Brett Dalton will be on the show, for however long it lasts.

Coulson: Coulson as a teacher would actually make sense. He was always more of a mentor to Daisy than a hard-ass agent like May. He was always compassionate and he wanted to make the world a better place. What better way to do that than to be a teacher and help shape the minds of the next generation? I’m fairly certain that he’s also in a relationship. Is it possible that we might also see Amy Acker in the episode?

Mack: I can’t tell whether he’s an agent or not. The only thing that is certain is that his daughter is still alive. This Mack is happier in a way that the real Mack never was.

Fitz: I can’t tell what the deal with him is. It is clear that he is rich and probably got that way by selling his inventions. I have a strong feeling that this version of Fitz never joined Shield and therefore never met Jemma. He also seems to be a class A douche.

Jemma: Not sure what’s happening here as well except that I think that this is a tactic that would help Jemma move around in the Framework undetected. The grave is probably the back-door she was telling Daisy about. She’s clearly not dead.

May: So May works for Hydra now and I’m assuming so do Daisy and Ward. First off, we don’t know how similar this is to the real Hydra. It could be a slightly different version than the one we know and hate. She seems similar to her real self but with the different outcome for Bahrain, she seems to have changed quite drastically.

Two things are happening here. The first is a domino effect. The lives of these people were interlinked, so if you remove even one person, the effects are evident in all their lives. Daisy’s moral compass is tied to her relationship with Coulson. He’s literally the father she never had. Without him, it’s easy to understand that she would fall in with Hydra.

May’s failure at Bahrain is a key part of her. It continues to influence her decisions. Her drive to save lives stems from that one incident, without it, she’s a different person. Coulson’s absence affects her too because even with her, he was the one who told her that it was okay to feel, to let people in. To care about others. Because like Ward, May too was a specialist, trained to not care about people.

Fitz probably never joined Shield and therefore never met Simmons. She grounded him in a way no one else did. Without her, he is like his father, arrogant and egotistical.

The other thing at play here is the idea that we are shaped by our experiences, good and bad, and that includes our regrets. Without their pain, their lives are hollow. They are shells of their real selves, their lives are a lie. In their “happy” lives all of them have have made poor choices. They are lesser people without their pain. That pain taught them compassion, empathy, the desire to protect and fight for the underdog, the ones who can’t protect themselves. Pain is a part of life, it is an integral part of growing up. Without it, they are vastly different people and their poorer for it.

I think the third arc will be about coming to terms with the hand life dealt them. We know for sure that it will be hard on all of them, it will take a toll. Even for Daisy who knows she’s in a simulation, this alternate version of her life will be a hard to let go off. To see what she could have had but didn’t. That will be its own kind of torture. Boy, is this season serving up one emotional sucker punch after another.

P.S. – I sincerely hope and pray that the show soon gets renewed for another season (or three) I am not ready to say goodbye to these characters. We need this show!!


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