Thursday, April 20, 2017

AGENTS OF SHIELD Season 4 Episode 18 Review: No Regrets

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We’re about halfway through now and while things are still moving at a glacial pace, we’ve got some good character development and emotional beats. The big thing this week was finding out how to rescue Daisy and Radcliffe. Mace on the other hand, had other ideas, and Simmons tried her best to convince herself and those around her that there’s another world waiting for them. 

In regards to Radcliffe, I’m not sure if the writers expect us to feel sympathy for him or not. His goals were, in concept, noble. He wanted to create a world where everyone was happier and didn’t have any regrets. More importantly, their dead friends would be back from the dead. But his way about accomplishing this goal was by betraying his friends, creating an army of murderous robots, and giving his personal android the ability to manipulate dark magic. How he could have possibly thought this was going to end well, I’ll never know. 

Despite all that, it seems like Radcliffe is being portrayed as some kind of misunderstood genius? With Agnes dead, he has nothing left to live for. As it is, he has no physical body anymore, so he’s forever trapped in the Framework. That is, until SHIELD takes it out of commission, I imagine. (Although, I have to wonder, if both Agnes and Radcliffe’s minds are simply code at this point, could Agnes be brought back to life at any point?) I’m just not sure how to feel about the character beyond his usefulness to help SHIELD escape. 

One of the biggest questions of this pod thus far was what changed in Fitz’s life to make him the way he was? We learned about what changed for everyone else. Originally it was assumed that instead of giving him something, something was taken away. He never met Jemma so he turned into a monster, that sort of thing. Turns out, it’s his misogynist, borderline abusive father that turned him into the second in command at Hydra. It’s no wonder Fitz never had a strong relationship with him out in the real world. At the very least we’re beginning to see some of the cracks in the wall, as he begins to question why he killed Agnes in the first place. 

The rest of the episode involved Mace and Coulson breaking into a Hydra facility in order to rescue a prisoner with intel. Originally I thought this was about Radcliffe, but it turned out they were nowhere near that prisoner center. I hadn’t realized at the time that they were both held at the Triskelion. Instead we were treated to the return of Trip! Which for those who might not remember, died in the middle of season two, when he got encased in a terra-genesis shell. It was nice to see a familiar face and even Coulson still remembers him. 

During a war though, there will be casualties, and Mace was easily the best candidate for that kind of fate. In this world, he was always who he wanted to be. He was a hero, he had real powers, he was a leader, and people looked up to him. For him to go out saving everyone seemed like the best way that could happen. It also reminds people that if you die in the Framework, you die in real life. 

It was interesting to note that Aida appears to be wirelessly connected to the Framework. I liked getting the briefest glimpse of the real world once again. I also couldn’t help but wonder what the Russian had been up to since that time. He was given an android body and had his head put in a tube, so…. What’s been doing? 

Overall this was a decent episode, I just wish the main plot: getting out of the Framework, would move along a little bit faster. At the very least Mace’s death reminds us that while the events in the Framework aren’t affecting the outside world, they do have meaning. Death is real for our characters, so the situations they put themselves in are worth paying attention to.

Written by Peter Freeman, TV & Animation Beat Writer -- Click to read Peter's posts


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