The Agents of SHIELD/Agents of Hydra’s adventures in the Framework continue in “No Regrets.” It’s really odd seeing the new dynamics among the various characters in these alternate lives. It almost makes up for the fact that we’re spending so much time in a giant video game. But, we do find out they don’t get extra lives when things go badly.
Jeff Mace, the Patriot, and ex-schoolteacher Phil Coulson are staging a fake accident to distract some Hydra goons on a transport run. Coulson is worried about freeing Skye, but Mace is looking for someone else, an undercover agent that Hydra managed to capture. There’s a lot of talk about everyone being off since Fitz cold-bloodedly shot Agnes. Mace, understandably enough, doesn’t really trust Simmons’ word about how things are, since from his perspective, they just met and she’s making really outlandish claims. The bus, which their lookout calls a “squidmobile,” proves to be full of body bags. Coulson is not an expert shot in this world.
Skye is not having a good time in captivity, and Fitz is not the man any of us (or any of them) remember. Fitz is utterly paranoid about the Patriot, and SHIELD taking over his world. When Fitz asks about Simmons, Skye points out that if she knew where Simmons was, Skye would tell Fitz, because if anyone could snap Fitz out of this, it’d be Simmons. Fitz makes an odd comment about getting to “their” world when he’s talking to Skye. Presumably this has to do with whatever the mysterious “Project Looking Glass” is.
May is looking at the “Remembrance Wall,” apparently a memorial to fallen Hydra agents when Ophelia/Madame Hydra/Aida comes to talk to her. Aida (that’s the shortest and easiest to type of her names) has a plan to go after the Patriot, and wants May to volunteer for something. May, of course, agrees, good solider that she is.
SHIELD is hiding out at their hidden base, studying the body bags they recovered from Hydra. Mac goes over the captured bus, and impresses Mace with how thorough and skilled he is. Mac wants to do more, and volunteers to go on their new mission, but Mace has already lined up some help. Coulson is helping tend the Inhuman refugees while Mace wonders what Simmons is hiding.
While May reports to Hydra R&D and gets a very familiar serum, Simmons has a talk with Mace. Apparently, she’s decided to tell him everything. He seems very bemused by his whole, “A team that trusts is a team that triumphs” catchphrase from the real world. Mace asks about their relationship in the other world and we find out how little Simmons really knows about their boss. Ward makes the excellent point by wondering how Simmons knows it’s not the other way around, that this isn’t the real world.
Fitz and Aida stand behind one way glass, watching Daisy in her cell. Fitz is impressed with her commitment to what he calls her lies. While talking about it, Fitz says, “Still, she persisted,” apparently a reference to Senator Warren’s protest some time ago in our real world. Daisy can hear Radcliffe being tortured in the next cell. Aida comes in and tries to buy Daisy’s cooperation by offering to resurrect Lincoln Campbell in the Framework. Daisy is surprised by this. Aida says she’s just trying to give people what they want, and can’t understand why they are resisting her.
After some gearing up, and a scene of Mac with his daughter Hope, Coulson and Mace roll out. They manage to infiltrate the Hydra base, and we find out who Mace’s agent is. I will say that the background work they did preparing/researching the Framework is really impressive, and it’s someone we haven’t seen in a while. It’s good to see them.
Daisy and Radcliffe talk through their cell walls, comparing notes and miseries. Daisy is crushed when she hears about what happened with Fitz and Agnes. After debating about how much a regret can change a life, Radcliffe finally gives Daisy a lead on how they might escape the Framework.
Somewhere else in the building, Fitz goes for a talk with his dad. I guess there’s a double-whammy behind Fitz being so different here. In the real world, Fitz has nothing to do with his dad, who’s a real dick. In here, Fitz and his father are close, plus this Fitz doesn’t have Simmons in his life (which is something I’ll talk about later). From what we see of dear ol’ Dad here, I could easily understand Fitz turning out a lot differently under his “care.”
Mac and Simmons talk about history being rewritten. Hydra’s history books lack things like Martin Luther King, the Trail of Tears, and the Holocaust. Ward picks up on Simmons’ feelings for him (not that she’s being subtle) and he apologizes for whatever he did in the other reality. He makes another interesting point while watching Mac and Hope. You can tell how much Mac loves Hope. Doesn’t that make this real? I actually kind of like this version of Ward.
While this goes on, Aida injects May with a version of Mace’s serum from the real world. Aida tells her she’ll have power to rival Mace’s, but only for an hour. I’d like to point out that, at this point, May is now more like the original Hourman than the Hourman that appeared on Legends of Tomorrow. Which is even more surreal considering that’s another company.
The mission goes badly as May and other Hydra goons show up. There’s an immense fight which leads to a heroic sacrifice. Not everyone is coming back out of the Framework, and I’m going to miss the one that died in both worlds. I feel like there was a lot more they could have done with the character. But the events of this battle finally win May over to SHIELD’s cause. She ends up taking very dramatic action that could potentially shift the balance of power if things work the same in the Framework as they do in the real world.
What I liked: It was good seeing this agent working for Mace. I’ve missed that character, which is going to make returning to the real world a bit sad. For that matter, I like this version of Ward. The heroic sacrifice was well done, but I’m going to miss that character. I’m glad May finally saw the light.
What I didn’t: There seems to be a flaw here. Most of what’s happened to change things is because of one regret in each character’s life. Simmons’ regret was being alive? Because that’s all that seems different for her here. Maybe her story got derailed or maybe Aida is just jealous of her, but something seems off there. I’m going to miss the character that died and the two that are only “alive” in the Framework.
I’m really hoping we’re about to get out of the Framework finally. That said, I’ll still give this one a high 3.5 out of 5.