Simmons and Daisy search for a backdoor out of the Framework. Mack has to make a decision. Coulson and May take a leap of faith. Fitz is on the brink and Aida’s got no strings on her.
Ophelia, Where Have You Gone?
After being reborn, Aida/Ophelia is Nightcrawler. By which I mean even in her newly biological casing she holds the powers of The Darkhold and can teleport. Or BAMF. However, you’d like to hear it in your head. Big ups to the visual FX team for their second believable body build of the season. Impressive work this year that should absolutely be recognized.
Daddy Mack, or “Hope Is Where The Heart Is”
As far as a “normal” and loving life, Mack has had the most to lose. Henry Simmons’ performance, his eyes, the realization of his daughter not being his daughter. It’s quick but heartbreaking. A punch to the gut as his eyes are opened but our legs get kicked out from under us as he decides to stay in the Framework.
It’s clear he won’t stand to lose her again, especially after the emotional gobsmack of “I don’t want to live in a world without Hope.” I do have faith they’ll be able to pull him back by season’s end because the possibility of coming back doesn’t have to be separate from staying with her. After all, he could bring Hope to the real world using the same resources as Aida in order to become a “person.”
Watching Radcliffe climb back from the depths the Darkhold has wrought is a relief but it’s not a bloodless redemption. He got a hero moment in Farewell, Cruel World, but it’s hard to feel great about him right now. Sure, he was blinded by his weaknesses but at one point or another, he could have stepped back for perspective. As a result, I have a combination of celebration and “but it’s all your fault” waging a war inside of me.
Betrayal is a hard thing to come back from and, frankly, most of my allotted forgiveness was earned by Framework Ward being a swell dude.
Simmons, Not Simulated
I got the feeling that after Fitz shot her, Simmons conceded herself to the moment. Almost to say that if she couldn’t bring the real Fitz back she wasn’t coming back either. I couldn’t quite handle the look of relegation as Elizabeth Henstridge says “Don’t do this.” Much like Mack, she also doesn’t want to live in a world without hope of her own. Something she can’t see without Fitz.
An aside, and this could just be me, but watching Simmons confront Alistair held a fair amount of Alias vibes. Which is awesome. Anytime I feel like I’m reliving an episode of Alias is a good experience.
Fitz And The Tantrums
Fitz has been living tragedy this season. None of what he’s done has been his fault so watching the epiphany of horrible things he had done wash over him isn’t easy. Coming out of that fog has to be traumatic and the physicality in his panic felt real. Everyone in the cast has had their “for your consideration” moment this year, and as brief as it was this was Iain De Caestecker’s.
I kind of skipped over the super sweet May/Coulson interaction once they made it through the backdoor. I think it’s safe to let that one live on its own without overindulging.
The moments closing out this episode were possibly the most stressful of the season. An Aida that bleeds and she’s in May’s sights without a clear shot. Feeling not so much like a cliffhanger but a page break. We’re ratcheting up likely crazy in this final push of season 4. While being skeptical of resetting to real life in a believable way, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the ride. I’m continuously happy to be shown that the grasp of character this season is able to ground the world and respectfully push the story forward without being heavy-handed.