Agents of SHIELD 4.16 Review: “What If…”
HYDRA has taken over in lieu of SHIELD. The familiar has been co-opted. What once was right is all wrong. Up is down. Cats and dogs living together. Yadda yadda.
It’s A Dim, Dark World
As we learn what happens if May saves her, we’re given details of The Cambridge Incident. For all intents and purposes, it’s the MCU equivalent of The Stamford Incident, a tragedy leading to the Superhero Registration Act in the pages of Civil War comic event. Turns out that had the girl from Bahrain lived, her Inhuman powers cause mass destruction at school.
May’s relief has caused Hell for everyone else. It’s quite terrifying when you boil it down: May’s suffering over the girl from Bahrain actually holds the world together. Without that weight on her shoulders evil takes over.
She and Fitz take dark turns in The Framework. May becomes exactly what you’d think an evil version of her would be. Intense, menacing, scary. Fitz, on the other hand, is now in a place of power within HYDRA. And he’s a major creep. Sending out a horror movie villain vibe, a twisted scientist testing Inhumans in the cruelest ways possible. Oh and lest we forget, Fitz is making out with Aida…or, Madame HYDRA.
Where Is My Mind?
Coulson, the heart of all that is SHIELD, has been ripped away. His mind has given into The Framework’s persuasion. Opposing that structure, his subconscious has laid a trail of breadcrumbs. A hula girl tchotchke sets Jemma off as she’s confronting him, pushing him to look into a file containing threads of who he was in the real world. Particularly, the reveal of a flyer with The Cellist was my favorite of the lot.
I’ll come out and say up front I’ve been weary of bringing Ward back. Shoved down our throats for the last few seasons after a solid reveal in season one, it grew tired. That being said, I appreciate the way he’s being used in the Framework.
He’s still a betrayer which I suppose is a trait that just doesn’t leave you. “Luckily,” HYDRA is in control of everything so his betrayals now are helpful. Granted (heh,) that doesn’t mean I’m ready to trust him yet. Frankly it’s too early to welcome him back with open arms after giving SHIELD so much grief over the years.
Where Do We Go?
Leading up to the third part of this season, I was curious how AoS was going to make things “feel” different than the real world. I’m quite pleased with the blue color grading and altered contrast used to portray a world grown cold with HYDRA in charge.
We’ll see how the season ramps up in the finale, but for right now I like the direction The Framework has taken us. Questions I had about characters and tone have been quashed for now which is definitely a good sign.
Agents of SHIELD airs at 10/9 central, Tuesdays on ABC.