The Framework episodes are turning out to be a real roller-coaster ride. The character changes they’ve incorporated are nothing short of troubling. With each episode the stakes get higher.
Last week Daisy met Coulson and he finally recognized her. Although, that doesn’t mean he remembers his old life. He only remembers fragments and even those are disjointed. Then there was the bit about the Hydra soap which was just priceless.
Also, Daisy’s reaction was amazing. I loved the part where it took her a moment to realize what he had said.
In other news, Ward is still helping out Daisy and Jemma and clearly doesn’t have all the information about them. It is also abundantly clear that he cares about Daisy. I have a love-hate reaction to this bit. I love that Ward is back and he’s a nice guy but hate that it’s not actually happening. In the real world, he’s very much dead. Feel like I’m being cheated. Anyway, he warns Daisy that HYDRA is coming for Coulson and thanks to that intel, Daisy and Jemma are able to escape with him.
While Daisy and Jemma get all of Coulson’s stuff so they can leave, they realize that Holden Radcliff is also in the Framework and he is the one person who can get them out. They just need to find out where he is and with that objective, Daisy goes back into the belly of the beast.
Next, we meet Mack and Hope and you can tell that it’s going to be very hard on him when he has to leave the Framework and lose his daughter all over again. I like their dynamic, Mack is the definition of the cool dad and I love that he calls her ‘Spark Plug’.
The whole AIDA and Fitz relationship is just vomit-inducing. It is murky as hell plus raises issues of consent which make it even more troubling. I think it is clear that AIDA has made some drastic changes to Fitz’s personality. Unlike the others, for whom she fixed a regret. I think she did way more fix a regret for Fitz. While, his cold demeanor can be attributed to cruel father, add to that, the absence of Simmons, that’s not all. I’ve already mentioned that i think he’s been programmed and this week, I feel that even more strongly because she’s told him about the other side. Of course, it could be that she’s selling that reality as a virtual one, or that it takes place in another dimension or what have you. But he clearly knows about and considers it a threat to AIDA and therefore something to be eliminated.
AIDA shows him Jemma’s photograph waiting to see his reaction and there isn’t any hint of recognition on his face.
Daisy finally gets her hands on Radcliff’s location and just as she and Ward are about to leave HYDRA, they are stopped by May. She convinces Ward to go on without her and give the information to Jemma. For a moment, it looks like May is about to arrest Daisy but instead leads her to a conference where Fitz is giving a briefing about hunting down Jemma. I loved that Ward was immediately willing to fight May and the HYRDA goons. Not for one second did he consider leaving Daisy behind.
We finally meet the leader of the resistance, Mace, the leader of Shield. I love his new suit, it looks like it’s taken its fair share of hits. Also love the stars on his gauntlets, they remind me of Captain America’s shield for some reason. Also, I enjoyed the dynamic shift between him and Coulson, where Mace is the experienced agent and Coulson is sort of the new kid on the block.
Instead of sending Daisy and May after Jemma, they are sent to arrest Mack and Hope. You can tell that when May is questioning Mack and he says that he’ll do anything to save Hope, that things are about to get screwed.
Ward and Jemma share a tense moment on the quinjet, on their way to Radcliff. I can understand her anger at the real Ward, but this Ward is not the same guy and her constant belittling of him is starting to get on my nerves. This guy put his life on the line to protect them and is continuing to do so and Jemma is so passive aggressive, constantly implying that he’s the one who’s not trustworthy. She needs to understand that while these people might be just code, they think they’re real and her constant unwillingness to see that is just mean and cruel to them.
We get a moment between Daisy and Hope and you can immediately tell how important Hope is to Mack. See, Daisy knows that she’s just code as well, but her way of handling is way more humane and kind. Also, when Daisy promised her that she would protect her father, I knew things were about to go horribly wrong.
Daisy goes to speak to Mack and he calls her Daisy and says that he remembers but falters when she mentions Yo-Yo. This was one of the best moments in the entire episode and Chloe Bennet was awesome. Her relief that he recognizes her and then horror when she sees that he actually tricked her into revealing her identity was so well acted.
We finally meet Radcliff, on an island and he seems to be living a quiet life, away from Shield and HYDRA. He still insists that he had the best intentions and that he only wanted to help people but that his ideas were twisted into something ugly. Jemma is finally starting to get through to him when they are interrupted by Madam HYDRA and Fitz, the only thing missing in their entry was Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars.
Mack and Hope’s happy reunion is marred by the HYDRA goons dragging a visibly beaten and nearly-unconscious Daisy. When May thanks Mack for his services, you can see that Hope is troubled and confused because Daisy was nice and kind to her.
The exchange between Radcliff and Fitz was fraught with tension and kudos to Iain De Caestecker for how brilliantly he played this cold and cruel Fitz (more on him later) He kills Agnes for no reason other than to prove Radcliff wrong. Jemma, Coulson and Ward were meanwhile watching all this happen and when Ward is about to take out Fitz, Jemma stops him by telling him that he’s been brainwashed and that she loves him and would lose him forever if Ward killed him now. And you can see that Ward really connects to the part where she talks about how much she loves Fitz, because he feels the same for Skye. Fitz sees Jemma once more here and while he does pause, there is still no glimmer of recognition on his face, he calmly leaves, leaving the Shield team to return empty handed.
Mack finds his way to the Shield base and informs those present that Skye has been taken by HYDRA is not in the best condition. And the horror and helplessness on Ward’s face says it all.
When Fitz comes to see Daisy, she looks even worse than before. She tries to reach out to Fitz but can’t. He calmly informs her that he had her blood tested again and knows that she’s an Inhuman. He plans on torturing her and when she tells him that ‘he doesn’t want to do this’ his smile is especially diabolical when he tells her that she doesn’t know him at all.
Special shout out to Mallory Jensen who was amazing AIDA. She was manipulative and yet so believable. She was great in this episode.
The promo for next week shows us only one shot of Daisy with Fitz and I think it’s from before the torture because she looks more of less the same. We also learn that HYDRA has their own super-soldier serum which May takes to fight Mace. We don’t yet know whether it’s permanent or temporary like the one Mace used to take in the real world.
I’m really not looking forward to watching Daisy go through more pain and unless Ward manages to rescue her or she can reach May, it doesn’t look like she’ll be rescuing herself.
As for how May called her Daisy Johnson, I think AIDA finally realized who could have helped Jemma within HYDRA. She knows that the only two people who hadn’t been scanned were Daisy and Jemma so logically, if Jemma logged into the Framework, then so did Daisy. Also, if you recall, AIDA specifically asks for her to join the op. It was a set-up since the beginning since AIDA knew that she would have soft-spot for Mack considering that they were partners.
Now, as to why Fitz killed Agnes, even when AIDA didn’t really want him to… I think that it’s going to be hardest for Fitz to recall his real life because of the level of changes that AIDA has made for him. The more people try to tell him that he’s not like this, that he’s better, the more strongly he’ll cling to the Framework version of himself. Pretty much everything about this Fitz is disturbing but nothing compares to his casual cruelty. He shoots Agnes and just moves on and then his encounter with Daisy, where again, he’s unaffected. He could be talking about the weather for all that it mattered to him. The only time, he has a strong reaction is when he’s with AIDA, she’s the only one who can get some kind of a reaction from him.
Also, is it possible that AIDA is stuck in the Framework like the rest of the people? Is that what she has Fitz working on? She mentions that when he completes him project, then she can go to other world and destroy it once and for all. It could be that she blocked her own exit so that no one else can escape either and this project, once complete, would allow access to her alone.
As for Skyeward, I don’t really see it go anywhere because while Ward loves her, Daisy doesn’t love him. She barely trusts him and her priority is getting her friends out of the Framework. I think Ward will assist in that endeavour but that’s about it. I would love to see more between them but it doesn’t seem too likely, especially now, that she’s in HYDRA’s clutches. It depends on how long before she either escapes or is rescued. I hope I’m wrong about this, I hope that Ward is finally given the narrative arc he should have had.