Coming out of this week’s reality-warping, grade-“A” episode, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has promised “a new world order” when the ABC drama resumes Season 4 on Tuesday, April 4. And we believe it.
After escaping a battalion of LMD’d pals and an about-to-explode S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Daisy and Jemma bravely had themselves “hacked” into Aida’s Framework, aiming to inhabit their avatar selves and then find/”wake” their abducted friends. Upon doing so, Daisy awoke in a bathtub, in the apartment she shares with no, not Lincoln, but Grant Ward (!). As for the others, Coulson is teaching anti-Inhuman rhetoric, Mack has reunited with his daughter, May is happily working in the Hydra Triskelion and Jemma… is six feet under, while tech titan Fitz is on the arm of an unseen woman?!
TVLine hit up co-showrunner Jed Whedon, who wrote and made his directing debut with Tuesday’s LMD arc finale, with some of our burning questions about, as he calls it, the upcoming “Agents of Hydra” arc.
TVLINE | First off, please clarify what all Radcliffe and Aida did in creating this Framework. Those put into it have had one “regret” in their life changed…?
They only changed a few things, really. And for those people that they put in, they changed one regret for each of them — and it seems that that’s had some sort of ripple effect.
TVLINE | So in May’s case, for example, wha’ts going on with her there in the Triskelion elevator?
There will be a lot of me saying, “You’ll have to wait and see,” but… you’ll have to wait and see. No, she seems like she’s very comfortable in that elevator. I don’t think that she’s afraid that she’s there. It doesn’t look like she’s a prisoner but perfectly comfortable.
TVLINE | The Grant Ward reveal obviously was huge. As the director, was it simply your preference to reveal that with a framed photo, or was this a case of Brett Dalton not being available at the time to roll over in bed and say, “Hi, honey”?
Bret is a huge diva. No, there are multiple reasons — some of it is scheduling, but truthfully it more has to do with Daisy walking by [the photo] unaware. We want the audience to know [it’s not Lincoln], but her not necessarily to know yet, when we come back.
TVLINE | Will Daisy’s psyche choose which Grant Ward is there — what he knows, what he has and hasn’t been through?
This is a world that is up and running, so [Daisy and Jemma] are entering what Radcliffe and Aida thought was a duplicate of our world. Somehow, using the “magic” — but we know it’s actually hardcore science! — of the Darkhold, they were able to duplicate everything in our world. What that means, we’ll see develop, but we can tell from her reading that text and her reaction, she’s aware where she is, unlike some of the glimpses we got. She’s clearly aware that she’s in this alternate reality, whereas I don’t think anyone she encounters will be.
TVLINE | Talk about the look that washed over Daisy’s face as she entered the bedroom. It seemed like relief, happiness. Is there a danger that she might forget her mission?
Well, it seems like a pretty well fleshed-out world, and the goal of it was to create a reality indistinguishable from our own. So there is that danger. That look on her face I think is hope — “Oh my gosh, am I getting my own dream to come true?” And then we see the picture and we know. “Maybe not, sweetie!”
TVLINE | Meanwhile, Jemma! Did she materialize six feed under, the poor thing??
They were plugging themselves into those avatars, so… she did not wake up in a warm tub. We’ll have to see where she appears, but that was not the end of Jemma Simmons, just to make that clear.
TVLINE | I hate to think she’s now knocking from the inside of a casket, “Help me!!”
That might be the story. I don’t know how many times we can cut to that [gravestone] before it runs out of its drama. But that might be the story that’s coming.
TVLINE | It was interesting that LMD Fitz brought up marriage, during that incredible series of scenes between Iain [De Caestecker] and Elizabeth [Henstridge]. Does that mean that marriage is something that’s on the real Fitz’s mind?
I think so. In that moment, he doesn’t need to manipulate her. We know that with these LMDs, they’re mostly based on the person. These LMDs seemed a little bit more Terminator than the MayBot, but he seemed to be genuine in that moment, which is part of the thing that makes it haunting.
TVLINE | Iaian was so great in that moment where he coolly flips the blade up and then drives it into Jemma’s leg. The two of them were just fantastic, and Chloe was amazing, too. Your cast as a whole really did great.
There were some great performances. It was very fun to be in the trenches working with them. We’re all such good friends, but we had a lot of fun making the episode. It’s funny to think that we were laughing as we were shooting him strangling her, as she stabs him. “Let’s try this!” It was like playing make-believe, but it came out so creepy.
TVLINE | What all do you want to say about the woman Fitz is helping out of the Rolls?
I can’t say much other than what she is meant to represent is he’s clearly not affected by the fact that Jemma is not in his life, or is underground. He seems like he couldn’t be doing better.
TVLINE | Mack’s situation made sense, reuniting with his daughter. But Coulson’s surprised me a bit — teaching?
We’ve learned a little bit about all our characters this year, and that’s not a coincidence. We were planning on exploring them as people with a whole new set of experiences, trying to find themselves or who they are within that whole new reality. We’ll see that with anybody we encounter who’s been plugged into the Framework.