SHIELD Recap Season 4 Framework

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Recap: One Hero Returns... and One Hero Falls

This week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. featured the return of a familiar face from a previous iteration of the team, in another wild Framework escapade that resulted in a most heroic death.

With a bloodied and bruised Daisy/”Skye” still being held captive at Hydra, Jemma ultimately had no choice but to read in Ward and Mace on the whole truth about the Framework (and his corny, T-shirt-worthy “Team that trusts…” slogan) — which they had a hard time swallowing, given the full lives, rife with love and loss, that they have been “living.” As he processes Jemma’s story, Mace sets out to sneak into Hydra’s conversion facilities, accompanied by Coulson/”Agent Flugelman” and Agent Burrows. Soon after arriving, one of their rescues from a “rehab” center includes Agent Antoine “Trip” Triplet (welcome back!) .

Over at the triskelion, Doctor Fitz gives Skye a listen, but refuses to give any credence to her “lies” about his true self. Madam Hydra then sends her lovah away while she tries her “own methods” on the subversive. In private, Aida explains to Daisy that all she did was remove one regret from each person’s life, and that the world cold-blooded Fitz and others now live in is merely a “consequence of actions.” Aida then offers Daisy a sweet deal: a life in the Framework with Lincoln, in trade for her and Jemma’s secret location in the real world!

Fitz meanwhile is meeting with his father (!), played by The Tudors‘ David O’Hara. Dad can tell that his son is distracted by something, and Fitz says it has to do with a woman — the one he killed in cold blood, he later claims. “What if she wasn’t lying?” the Doctor wonders. Dad says he raised “a man of action,” and that in “a hard world, we cannot afford the luxury of sympathy.” He then adds, “You’re protecting humanity, and only Madam Hydra understands the weight of that.” Back in her cell, Daisy picks neighbor Radcliffe’s brain about how Fitz could have changed so drastically, and he says that a shift in a person’s life could come down to any single sentence, such as “I love you,” “We’re having a baby” or “She’s gone.”

When Hydra detects that Mace & Co. have breached their conversion facility, they send over a super-charged, juiced-up May, itching to lock horns with The Patriot. And lock horns they do, in a knock-down, drag-out, concrete-crushing melee, with Mace emerging victorious as May’s power-up wanes. Mace then goes to help Coulson, Trip and the others extricate dozens of kids/teens from a conversion center. Madam Hydra orders the Quinjet to blast that building to smithereens, setting the stage for Mace to bravely protect Coulson’s kidnapped student Chris from the tumbling rubble. Mace eventually raises the fallen girders and such up and off them, long enough for Chris to get free — as an increasingly sympathetic May holds her fire and instead looks on — but ultimately The Patriot must selflessly allow the building to collapses on top of him, as a teary Jemma and the others flee.

Elsewhere in the busy, busy episode:

* After “reuniting” with Mack and meeting his sweet daughter Hope, Jemma sees enough value in his not-real life to take his place in joining Ward on the dangerous conversion center mission.

* Trip, we learn, covertly snapped photos (using his Howling Commando dad’s old-timey camera!) of a top-secret project The Doctor is working on, to eradicating Inhumankind.

* As Fitz and his father toast Hydra’s latest victory, Aida checks in on the plugged-in S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, where she realizes that Mace has died. [DISENGAGE]

* In the “bonus scene,” May — in the wake of being urged by Coulson to “Snap out of it!” during the building collapse — asks captive Skye if she is an Inhuman. When Daisy confirms that she is powerful enough to bring the entire triskelion down, May responds, “I hope so” before smashing a terrigen crystal in front of the prisoner. Daisy smiles as the terrigenesis husk begins forming around her….

What did you think of the episode “No Regrets”?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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58 Comments
  1. laurelnev says:

    WOW! What a great episode! I wasn’t that enamored of The Framework at first. But I’m really digging the episodes now. It’s a way for them to explore aspects of characters without needing to retcon, and it’s got tributes to all kinds of shows in its Easter Eggs. LOVED May “waking up” when Coulson told her to “snap out of it.” Sorry we had to lose Mace, but he was always a character kind of destined to “go away” from the day he was introduced.

    And TRIPP!!! Yes, I yelled at my TV. I am SO hoping Bobbi and Hunter are next.

    So Radcliffe keyed Skye into the backdoors, May enabled her to become Quake, and now I have a feeling she’s going to take down Faux Hydra, along with the rest of the Scooby Gang. All she needs is to find where Aida is keeping the bodies and send YoYo there. The question is what they will do with the Matrix now they know those inside experience it as real. Will they let NuWard live to fight another day alongside Tripp?

    And yes…I am so loving this arc right now! It has grown on me, just like the show did. :)

    • Mary says:

      Interesting theory on what happens to the framework once those that are still alive in the real world come back. Can the framework still exist once everyone who is living in the real world come out of it? Also – if you die in the framework, you die in real life, but didn’t Aida slit Radcliffe’s wrist right before she shoved him back into the framework? So is he alive or dead in the real world? Confusing.

      • MelindaB says:

        Radcliffe told Coulson et al. that he and Agnes were both dead in the real world, so apparently it’s possible to exist only in the Framework.

      • laurelnev says:

        Yup…if you die in the framework, your “real body” also ceases to operate, however, you can “live on” in the Framework even after your body has stopped working. That was why Radcliffe started building it to begin with–to give Agnes, his life model for the decoys, a chance to live on past the lifespan of her terminally ill body. Part of why Daisy and Jemma rushed in so quickly was to rescue May before her body gave out.

        And yes, Radcliffe is also now only alive in the Framework. This is where the moral conundrum will lay when they all make it out. Do they disable the framework, and thus kill their own alter-egos who had no idea they were not “real” until our heroes interfered. Especially after they manage to take down Faux-Hydra, which I’m sure they will. Like Mace said “Don’t say THIS life has no meaning, no value!”

        • Annie says:

          The opposite could be how someone will get out of the framework. They’ll have to “die” in the framework (get their vital stats to register them as dead), and then Aida will disengage them in the real world. But there’s probably some risk as to whether or not you’d reawaken/your brain will jumpstart when it realizes you’re not connected. Of course, that’s basically The Matrix plot, lol.

          • laurelnev says:

            I guess we’ll see next week…but I’m pretty sure Mace flat-lining was indicative that if you die in the framework, you die in real life…
            ;)

    • GambitGrey says:

      Maybe she won’t be Quake. In the real world she got Quake powers, but maybe in the Framework she will get different powers. That will be a shocker when she gets out of the husk.

      • laurelnev says:

        I’d be surprised if Madam Aida gave her ANY type of kick ass powers at all…but we will see…

        (And I say that b/c powered folks could lead to Ms Aida’s overthrowal, and I would think she planned for that. Maybe they’ll become ghosts like those other folks who messed w/ the Darkhold during the Ghost Rider arc…)

    • Ben says:

      What I want for Bobbi and Hunter isn’t that they are in the Framework, but that they are instrumental in getting everyone out in the real world.

  2. Jordan Strummer says:

    You got Jemma and Daisy mixed up; Jemma went with Ward and Daisy talked with Radcliffe. And it was great to see Trip again even if the show spoiled it by putting B.J. Britt’s name in the credits

  3. Staci says:

    Loved seeing Trip back, he was always one of my favorites! Poor Mace, I grew to like him.

    Another great episode overall! Hate the wait for the next one

  4. Mary says:

    * After “reuniting” with Mack and meeting his sweet daughter Hope, Daisy sees enough value in his not-real life to take his place in joining Ward on the dangerous conversion center mission.

    I think you mean Jemma. Daisy was still being held by Hydra.
    ———-
    It’s so nice to see Trip again. If any could be brought back to the real world when this was over to an LMD, I’d rather it be him than Ward. Also good to see that May is coming around. I was a bit worried about her since she’s been in the framework the longest.

  5. Stacey says:

    You mixed up Daisy and Jemma. Jemma was with Mack and Ward and Daisy was in the cell next to Redcliffe. Poor Mace, can’t wait till they take down this b. Not sure how Fitz is going to deal once he is out of the framework, I feel for Mack too! Great to see Trip again!

  6. Mary says:

    Awesome episode, although bittersweet. Also – it was Daisy/Skye that was talking to Radcliffe through the cell walls, not Gemma. :)
    I’m trying to figure out, does the real world’s AIDA go into the Framework too and if so how does she get back into the real world as she did towards the end?
    And I wonder what Fitz’s regret was in the real world that AIDA removed, that made him become the way he is in the Framework? It has to have been something when he was young as I think his dad left him & his mom when he was younger, since dad is around now. But what would it be? That he regretted his dad left? I guess we will find out more soon.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Good point about Aida; she must have a way of easily “unplugging” herself from a Framework harness, to then walk around and survey the other human vessels.

      Re: Fitz, I have to think that his regret was Dad walking out on the family — except, that in staying, he proved to be a horrible influence?

      • Mary says:

        I agree with you regarding Fitz’s possible regret. I think that is what Madame Hydra meant when she said to Daisy how one little thing can end up changing lives.

      • Sarah says:

        I always viewed her as playing “God”, meaning she’s in both locations. She downloads herself as a self-sufficient avatar into the Framework, while her real AIDA android self goes on a stroll in the real world. That is why her Framework self has better diction, more real personality, less robotic: it is her ideal self, and she gets to live that life, and be part of the real world, at the same time. I think she would periodically plug herself into the Framework in order to give herself computer updates, or communicate with her Framework avatar to do certain tasks.
        ***
        God love Fitz. He’s going to need therapy after all this. And Mack. They will need to share a couch. Poor guys.
        ***
        I actually wouldn’t mind an LMD Ward. It would actually be nice to see him be a rational, hopeful, caring adult that was not a Hydra double agent. But an LMD Trip? Yes please!!
        ***
        I liked Mace. It’s a sucker punch to know that he’s dead.

        • C says:

          Unlikely to be a LMD trip. The actor is going to star in a new TV show. Unless he’s on AOS in a recurring guest starring capacity as opposed to regular.

      • Alichat says:

        I found that scene a bit odd. If she can step out of the framework, why does she have Fitz working on some way to ‘get to the other world’? Unless he’s working on a way to close up the backdoor Radcliffe built which Aida can’t close.

        And I agree……Fitz’s regret was his father abandoning him as a child. And we see that it was the best thing to happen to Fitz in the real world because that man is awful.

        Also I couldn’t help thinking of Harry Potter anytime O’Hara was on screen. LOL

        • Edward Ashby says:

          Aida wants to be human and she can accomplish this through Project Looking Glass. This is also how they could bring dead characters back to our world,

          • Alichat says:

            It’s interesting that you say that. I have suggested that is Aida’s intentions on numerous sites and it was shot down as a ridiculous theory……which I find funny because we’re talking about a show derived from a comic book that has empowered characters, alien worlds, and a man with a bionic-shield-producing hand. LOL!

        • Neza says:

          the first thig I did was scream OMG Futz’s dad is a Death Eater

          • Alichat says:

            I pointed and loudly said ‘It’s Runcorn!” LOL! It’s oddly fitting that Fitz, who’s become a Josef Mengele-like character, would have a father who was a Death Eater. (in merged worlds of course)

      • KCC says:

        I’m certain Aida is equipped with Bluetooth.

    • Molly says:

      I agree with Matt re: Fitz. Near the end of the LMD thread there is a bit of backstory indicating an estranged, tumultuous relationship with Leo and Pops. When Fitz is showing doubt, his Dad sort of sneers that he’s being like his mom. The regret Aida “fixed” was that lack of a relationship, and as Radcliffe suggested, that one change came with ramifications.

      I have these visions of Aida extended a robotic finger or retractable probe that connects to the Framework hardware while remaining alert in the real world. I don’t think that is what happens….but it’s what my imagination comes up with. :) sort of like when R2D2 connects to the Death Star computer in Star Wars. Ha!

  7. Joey Padron says:

    New episode was really good and a bit sad. Good to see Trip back on the show again! Sad about Mace but glad he died a hero rescuing the kids and helping the team get out of the building. Glad May finally woke up and is helping Daisy! Can’t wait for next episode.

  8. Gastradamus says:

    We respect your passion and I can’t wait for the sequal of Guradian. I have never seen this show, but I’m glad you like it. We’ve got a new short out called a few good fries at our blog Gastradamus and your feedback would be awesome

  9. Aeol says:

    Oh man this is going SO well! When Mace told Mack they had “another driver,” I thought for sure it was the Ghost Rider, but man was I glad to see Trip. I’m still kind of teary eyed. Mace got a nice heroic sendoff, but I’ll be interested to see powered-up Daisy take on the Framework.

  10. James D says:

    Poor Jason O’Mara the guy just can’t catch a break on TV. give him his own show already and renew it before it begins :) great episode glad May has her head on again I wasn’t buying her being brainwashed, she is May, she is a Bamf. Great seeing BJ as Tripp again he has been missed on this show I wish there was a cool way to bring him and Brett back AOS just isn’t the same without Grant Ward. I do hope that stupid robot gets what is coming to her LMD was never a good idea.

  11. Callie says:

    IF they are really going to bring Ward back to the real world, they better also bring Trip back! I can’t stomach another season (that is, if this gets renewed) with Ward walking around… I NEED MY TRIP!!

    Wasn’t always a big fan of Mace but still kind of felt bad when he dies.

  12. Kaz says:

    Why didn’t the terrigen mist kill May? Shouldn’t she have given the crystal to Skye and then left the room?

    • Chris Coburn says:

      If in the real world? Yes. But since they’re in the Framework, anything goes? Maybe Aida reprogrammed the Framework so that if you don’t have Inhuman DNA, you won’t die if around Terrigen Mist.

    • A says:

      the mist itself is harmless to humans unless it has fragments of the metallic obelisk from season 2 then it will kill the human. Its what killed Tripp and why Coulson lost his had when he touched the crystal not the actual mist itself.
      Its in season 2. Im guessing the obelisk doesnt exist in this world.
      The fish oil pills were not infected with that which is why they had no effect on humans.

    • slavchen says:

      Original Terrigen crystals (and consequently their mist) back from Seasons 2 and 3 were indeed lethal to ordinary humans. However, during the LMD arc earlier this season Dr. Radcliffe said he managed to grow new crystals that won’t harm humans. The Hydra lab guy in this episode is shown growing similar Terrigen crystals. That’s why May is unharmed in the end.

  13. Gloria says:

    This series keeps getting better.This episode got me in tears and joy.R.I.P,Director mace.ABC has to renew this awesome show.

  14. Team SHIELD says:

    I was surprised about Jemma’s interactions with Mace in this episode. It seemed they really played up the “hes just a construct” angle, but AFAIK Jemma knows all the SHIELD agents who were plugged into the Framework. Why didn’t she try to “wake up” Mace like she did Coulson?

    • Aeol says:

      It was pretty clear in this episode (at least imo) that they were showing the lack of a relationship Jemma had with Mace in the real world, when he asked her if she even knew where he was from. She didn’t have the same connection to Mace as she did to Coulson, so her efforts to describe him in the real world weren’t as passionate. But it was obvious to me, when she was watching Mace prepare to sacrifice himself, that she regretted not giving Mace more of a chance.

  15. Luis Roman says:

    R.I.P. Jeffrey Mace. He got to live, and die, as the hero he always wanted to be.
    I almost wept when I saw Trip. His death was so unfair; it’s good to see him back, even for just this story arc.
    Fitz’s one regret was not growing up with his dad, and THAT’s the dad he ended up with? Great parenting advertisement, Marvel!
    Wonderful to see Trip, but it raised a niggling point. Don’t humans die from inhaling Terrigen mist?

    • S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent says:

      Terrigen is only harmful if it’s mixed with the metal from the obelisk (which is what killed Tripp and led to Coulson losing his hand), pure terrigen is harmless to humans.

  16. Neza says:

    No wonder Fitz is evil in the Framework, he was raised by a Death Eater

  17. Mel says:

    Loved loved loved this episode! Even though the surprise was ruined with the early credits I still screamed when I saw Trip. He was my favorite and brought a lot to the team. I think one of the people that won’t leave the framework will be Mac. For him to know that he will have to leave Hope behind will devastate him. I can’t wait for the next episode!

  18. Amy J says:

    This pod is amazing. Previous arcs have left me a bit ‘meh’ and it’s been easy to let the backlog of episodes build up until I have time to catch up. Not this one – I have to see the episodes ASAP.

  19. Dominique says:

    i feel like i say this every week nowadays, but man AoS is ON FIRE!
    It has been so ridiculously good this season and the framework arc is another excellent story. it was so heartbreaking to watch Mace finally be the hero he wanted to be, and die like one. i’d hoped he would survive long enough to come back next season, but i guess coulson will be back fulltime as the director. i’m glad may is slowly starting to put the pieces together.
    and trip!! oh that was a lovely surprise! #TripLives

  20. Steve F. says:

    Wait – so if they die in the Matrix, I mean, Framework, they die in “real life”? RIP, Mace…

    Also, YAY for Tripp’s return! Now for Lance and Bobbi!

  21. Kevin says:

    I’ve seen several comments – both on here and elsewhere – stating that Coulson’s “Snap out of it” is what caused May’s change of heart. It didn’t strike me as that simple.

    I got the impression it was a combination of three things:
    1. Seeing that Hydra had kids being “re-educated” shocked her – she clearly didn’t know about it. And remember, killing a kid was her biggest regret, and NOT killing that same kid is a big reason the world of the Framework is the way it is.
    2. Coulson’s “Snap out of it, May” seems to have possibly triggered memories of a sort.
    3. Mace. Both his not killing her when he could have (which he pointed out), and his sacrificing himself to save others, including her. Clearly she had bought into the idea that “subversives” were just thugs and murderers (I don’t remember the exact wording), and neither of his actions fit into that preconception.

    Honestly, having it not be one thing made her about-face more believable for me.

    And I agree with many other commenters that the Framework story line is pretty amazing. Honestly, I wasn’t into it at all at first. Since none of it was real, I didn’t see how anything that happened in the FW would matter. I assumed these were going to be throw-away “holodeck” episodes that didn’t affect anything. And each week, they’ve upped the stakes and blown my mind, starting with Ward and continuing on through Trip.

    I think this show is criminally underrated. I’m continually impressed with where the writers are willing to go with it.

  22. Cynthia says:

    This season has been sooo good and I can’t wait for the next episode!!
    I like this Ward and I think he will eventually be able to turn Jemma’s feelings about Grant Ward around. I think Fitz’s seemingly cold and murderous personality and May’s devotion to Hydra made all of us see how changing people and or circumstances in someone’s life has the ability to change someone fundamentally to their opposite!
    Excellent writing but the actors have been KILLING it. Mace, you will be greatly missed.
    We come back Trip #TripLives!!!
    Where is Deathlock and where are my beloved Bobbi and Hunter??

    • VictoriaM says:

      Deathlock is a creation of John Garrett. Since he didn’t recruit Ward, I don’t think he is relevant in this realm. The only reason he got as far as he did in real life, is due to Ward. Ward was recruited by Victoria Hand, so it was her influence on him. I think that had a major part in why Ward is good in the framework.

  23. VictoriaM says:

    First and foremost, I have to say, this is mine and my family’s most favorite show. I record every episode and watch I multiple times. I don’t delete the season until the new season stops. So, PLEASE DON’T CANCEL IT! Now that that’s out of the way, this season has not dragged at all! I wasn’t really sure about lmd at firVictorst but its my favorite storyline so far. Has Anyone else considered that they might be able to bring “good Ward” back to the real world with them? Also, did anyone else notice that John Garrett didnt recruit Ward?

  24. Why was the teragen no lethal to may? please explain!

  25. Bruce says:

    I’m wondering why the Terrigen doesn’t kill May like other humans who are exposed to it!