I have not really enjoyed the concept of spending so much time in the Framework this season. I got even less happy with it when they killed off Jeff Mace, the Patriot. He was really growing on me. But, the title for this week gave me some hope: “Farewell, Cruel World!” The Framework is certainly cruel.
They spend more time out in the real world this episode than they have been. Yo Yo and a few other agents are watching over Simmons and Daisy while they’re logged in, but they are having their own problems. The Framework is a massive energy drain, and the ship is starting to run low on power. Out of desperation, they decide to shut down the cloaking device.
Back in the Framework, Hydra is cracking down on the uprising that was sparked by Coulson’s broadcast. After some awkward babbling from Burroughs, Trip comes in, Daisy rushes over and hugs him, and he bemusedly says, “Hey…. person I don’t know.” The worlds are bleeding over a bit. Simmons and Daisy plot about what’s happening in the real world and how to get back. Daisy says they should get the people back they have now, and come back for Fitz. Simmons doesn’t like this, understandably enough. There’s a lot of uncomfortable back and forth between Daisy and Mac, since she knows his daughter Hope isn’t real, and he doesn’t.
May, newly switched over to SHIELD, is helping treat the wounded when Coulson finds her. She comments that resisting Hydra never ends well. Coulson tells her about the Framework, and ends with more about making his own soap. May, skeptical, says Coulson needs to be medicated more.
Fitz roams through the Triskelion, checking on the various prisoners. He goes to see Radcliffe, who doesn’t cooperate. Radcliffe is beaten, and sill resists, saying he’d rather be dead than alive in this horrible world. Fitz takes another approach and gets Radcliffe interested.
Simmons and May talk, and May gives out the great line of “How did a pop tart like you avoid capture?” That probably gets my vote for best line of the episode. May scoffs about the idea of the other world, but drops a hint that sends Simmons off on another solo mission. The agents really are running around on their own a lot in here. Simmons goes and pays Alastair a visit, gun in hand.
Daisy and Trip try to work out where the gateway home is. Trip gets surprised and frustrated when Daisy breaks the news that, in the real world, Trip never dated any of the women on the team. After they banter for a bit, Trip mentions that Simmons has been gone for almost an hour.
Simmons is desperately trying to get Alastair to do what she says, convinced that she can snap Fitz out of the hold the Framework has on him. Alastair isn’t cooperating, and they keep arguing. She does make Alastair call Fitz, but things don’t go according to plan at all. Simmons is making negative progress on this front.
Coulson is getting nervous when everyone stares at him at SHIELD’s base. May tells him that after his broadcast, he is the face of the resistance. When Coulson protests that he’s more a work from the shadows kind of guy, May asks if he taught history that way. Fair point., that. Daisy is annoyed that Coulson told May about the other world, although I’m not sure why. Wasn’t she telling everyone anyway? May says she’s sure everything is fine when Daisy worries about Simmons.
Fitz leads a squad of Hydra troopers to his father’s place. They find the aftermath of Simmons’ visit. Suffice to say that Fitz isn’t happy. He screams at the hapless Radcliffe, although I’m not sure why Fitz brought him along. Fitz bellows out an order about future contact with Simmons.
Things are going poorly in the real world, as well. Yo Yo paces, feeling useless as she watches over Daisy and Simmons. Speedsters in general aren’t known for their patience. It gets worse when they get an alarm on the Zephyr. There’s an SU-27 coming after them, and the ship doesn’t have the power to fight it off at this point. They go into the best evasive mode they can.
Things start popping off quickly as the end of the episode comes closer. Simmons finally rejoins the others, shaking, telling them what happened. Madame Hydra/Aida/Ophelia finally wakes up and is furious as she learns what has happened in her absence. Fitz actually refuses a direct order from Aida, which isn’t going to help anything.
The way out was supposed to be in a park, but is now in a steel mill, yet another of Aida’s changes. The main team goes inside after Daisy says goodbye to Ward and offers a suggestion to him about what he should do next. The team gets inside but has trouble finding the way out. The way Aida hid it was pretty brilliant, really. She pushes her scientists to go ahead on her own project.
As the team argues about the way out, Mac finally gets let in on what’s going on. He’s not happy this was kept from him, which I don’t blame him for. The exit gets very dramatic as they have to overcome Aida’s clever defense, and then Hydra catches up with them to ratchet the tension even higher. They cut back and forth between the gunfight, and some of the agents waking up in the real world. Not everyone makes it out, and things are getting ugly and desperate. It all ends with a big surprise from Aida and the one who stayed behind returning to their simulated life. As all this goes on, the Zephyr is taking too many hits from the fighter going after it.
What I liked: The difference between the two worlds is being played off really well. I like that they have messy edges, they should. May had some great lines. Things didn’t go well, but the mistakes the team made were very believable. I feel bad for Simmons especially in all this.
What I didn’t: I’m still not sold on spending so much time in here. I hate that Mace got killed. It’s going to be sad to leave behind some of the ones we’ve gotten to see again. I’m really coming to loathe Aida. And I don’t like the one staying behind, even if I understand the reasoning.
I’ll give this one a 3 out of 5.